Warren Dudley is a screenwriter best known for the 2018 film The Bromley Boys based on the book about Bromley FC by Dave Roberts. In 2020 Dudley turned his hand to writing novels, producing Baby Blue: An American Horror Story and then his football based book, Sir Unwin Pugh: From Hull to Camp Nou.
The author himself describes it as, “a comedy football autobiography about a 90 year old ex-player and raconteur called Sir Unwin Pugh. A bit Partridge, a bit Count Arthur Strong, a bit Ron Atkinson.” Traits from these three personas are presented to the reader, as Sir Unwin regals his life story against the background of an impending court case. Like Alan Partridge, Pugh is never afraid to promote his own worth and has something of the Little Englander about him, with his right-wing views evident through his story. Pugh also displays at times a pompous attitude with significant delusions about his abilities as a player and manager, and indeed his life in all aspects, features akin to the Count Arthur Strong character. In respect of Dudley’s nod to the much travelled ex-manager Ron Atkinson, Pugh comes to represent all the cliches that managers and pundits come to espouse in the game over the last few years. There are of course other influences, with this book also aiming an arrow firmly at the ‘boy-done-good’ football autobiographies.
As its title suggests, the book does indeed take readers from Hull and its team Hull City to the Nou Camp the home of Spanish giants Barcelona FC via Pugh’s playing and managing exploits. However, in addition to the football related aspects, there are various bizarre tales of song-writing, business interests and his various marriages, with each chapter a mini-story or anecdote in the overall tale. As the book cover itself headlines, this is a “Footballish Story”.
Dudley is clearly a skilled writer which means this is a very readable and in parts amusing adventure. Comedy like music or art, is all about personal taste and therefore whilst one might appreciate a particular form, invariably it can never appeal to everyone. With that in mind, this readers view is that this book is likely to divide opinion.
(Sixty6Media. November 2020. Hardback 278 pages)