Book Review: Introducing Jarrod Black – An Unashamed Football Novel by Texi Smith
When you think about team sport in Australia, what generally comes to mind is a country where Rugby League, Rugby Union, Cricket and Aussie Rules Football dominate. Soccer has had a fight to establish itself within the sporting consciousness of the nation.
The Australian’s national soccer team (nicknamed the Socceroos) qualified for the 1974 World Cup in West Germany, but then had to wait 32 years before their next appearance in 2006 in a now unified Germany. Since then Australia have qualified for the subsequent tournaments in 2010, 2014 and 2018.
This change in fortunes can be in some way attributed to the formation of the A-League in April 2004 and a golden generation of players, some of whom who appeared in the English Premier League such as Tim Cahill, Brett Emerton, Harry Kewell, Lucas Neil, Mark Schwarzer and Mark Viduka.
Just as soccer has had to work to establish itself in the country, so author of Introducing Jarrod Black – An Unashamed Football Novel, Texi Smith, is looking to make a breakthrough. In speaking to Football Book Reviews (FBR) he said, “the Australian football fiction scene is definitely in its infancy, and I’m keen to help make it a thing.”
His first book tells the story of an Aussie-boy who makes his way from his homeland to England and begin a career in the professional game. In terms of timeline, the novel switches between the teenage years of Jarrod’s life in England and the present day in which the player now in his thirties is at a crossroads in his career.
The author provides a convincing glimpse into the life of a footballer, with this feelgood fiction having a feel of Roy of the Rovers at its heart. It is an engaging novel, which ensures the reader wants to know more about the characters. It is as its title suggests an introduction to Jarrod and accomplishes that, whilst at the same time having an entertaining plotline that sees resolution.
Appetite wetted? Then you won’t have to wait long for the next instalment as book two Jarrod Black – Hospital Pass is already published with a review here on FBR to follow.