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She Stood There Laughing: A Man, His Son and Their Football Club [Paperback]

Stephen Foster
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Mar 2004
'If I have an idealised still of my childhood, it's of standing amongst a small group of like-minded boys beside the player's tunnel as drizzle falls through the beam of the floodlights waiting to see which one of the team will come out to talk to the presenter...On an absolutely perfect occasion, on completion of his work in front of camera, the player might autograph my programme and possibly ruffle my hair and maybe even refer to me as mate. Sometimes on a Sunday I'd bike down to the ground and circle its silence, reliving the day before...' Last season Stoke City were unexpectedly propelled into the dizzy heights of the First Division, rare oxygen for a club that has been known to have three managers in one season. Stephen Foster, a diehard fan, who now lives in Norwich, follows the fortunes of his dire team as they struggle to retain their hold on this slippery peak of glory. From Icelandic owners, hopeless managers, hapless players, and a ground to rival the best of East German architecture, this is a marvellously mordant account of one fan's helpless obsession with a team that nearly always manages to let him down.


Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (1 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743256832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743256834
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 460,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I began writing at the Norwich School of Art and Design when I returned to education in my mid-thirties. For my degree show piece I had fifty copies of a book of short stories printed which I put on a plinth. I intended to sell them at a fiver each on the night thereby making fifty quid over the £200 cost of publishing. Instead I gave most of them away and came out of it with a net loss of £150. It was an illustration of why writers need agents.

Those fifty books were called 'Close Quarters' and were eventually published as 'It Cracks Like Breaking Skin' by Faber, a course of events which amazed me. They were short-listed for the Macmillan PEN Award. More amazement. Next I wrote my first novel, 'Strides,' about love and trousers. I think it's my favourite of my own books. My project was to see whether you could get an un-cynical, literary love story published. And it turned out you could. It didn't sell much though. Next, a sequence of events involving my football club, Stoke City, provoked me to write my first non-fiction title, 'She Stood There Laughing.' That book charted in the national press, which was exciting. By now I was at work on my second novel, 'Are You With Me?' I am proud of that book, and I especially like the cover on the paperback original. I think it's my favourite cover of all my books.

While I was working on AYWM? a rescue lurcher called Ollie came along. Ollie tried to destroy my life for a while. After we had reached some sort of accommodation I wrote 'Walking Ollie,' which, to my surprise, became a bestseller. A pup called Dylan came to join Ollie and naturally there was a follow up 'Along Came Dylan,' which, for one week only, was outselling Russell Brand's 'Booky Wook.' I wrote an 80s memoir next: From Working Class Hero to Absolute Disgrace. Nice reviews, zip sales. Then Stoke City were promoted into the Premiership and I chronicled that year in 'And She Laughed No More.' That wasn't especially well published and by now my career was in a tailspin.

Stoke, founder members of the football league, have just reached the FA Cup Final for the first time in 148 years of club history. They will play Manchester City. I intend to write a book about that match called 'The Final.' Because I want to have it in the public domain as soon after the game as possible I am going to experiment by publishing it direct to Amazon Kindle on June 1st. Dear readers, please spread the word on that, and thanks for your support over the years.

All best wishes, Stephen Foster


Blog: http://walkingollie.wordpress.com/

Product Description

Review

'Somewhere between Julian Barnes and Nick Hornby' -- GUARDIAN

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
We’ve nearly all done it – driven that 300 mile round trip to see an away game, only for our team to, yet again, let us down with a pathetic show of footballing ineptitude. But for Stephen Foster, the author of the book, every game is an away game. In fact, some of the away games are closer than the home games! Foster is a Stoke City fan living in that ideally placed, centrally located metropolis of….. Norwich!
This story covers the 02/03 season of Stoke City’s first season back in the First Division for about 4 years. It tells of Fosters journeys with his son to the games and is an excellent insight into psyche of any football fan and football club. But you don’t have to be a Stoke fan to enjoy it. You’ll both laugh and cringe at the sense of familiarity that you feel with the circumstances described by Foster, no matter what club you support; puffer-jacket wearing chairmen, ‘honest’ strikers, last minute goals, first minute goals, biased referees, 4 managers in a year, etc, etc. If you know little or nothing about football (perhaps you call it 'soccer'), and think it's a glamorous, professionally run sport, then read on – you’ll be astounded!
‘Fever pitch’ this is not – it’s so much better than that. Nic Hormby’s idea of failure is not winning the championship, or loosing the final of the FA Cup. For Foster, his idea of glory is staying up on the last day of the season.
Funnily enough, I read ‘Fever Pitch’ just before I read ‘She Stood There Laughing’, and I’m glad I did. I’m a great believer of leaving the best ‘till last.
In a nutshell, ‘She Stood There Laughing’ is the best read I’ve had for a number of years.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
It's not often you pick up a football book and come across the line 'But, as the renowned French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan has it..' but then it's not often you pick up a football book as honest (to use the author's terminology) and refreshing as this.
Stephen Foster has written a book that easily recreates what it feels like to follow a less than successful football club through the course of a season. And this I feel, is it's major plus. For every disassociated, gloryfied Premiership 'Big Club' supporter we need to remember there is at least one, if not more, of us who follow the also-rans. For most of this book, it's easy to replace the words 'Stoke City' with the name of your own club and you'll know exactly what he's talking about. Poor performances on the pitch, bad management in the boardroom, it's all displayed here in it's earthy glory.
That said, the season the author writes about is not a typical lower division story. For although we can juxtapose our own club at many points, much of this book is uniquely Stoke-esque. The humour, the schadenfreude, the quintessentialness of the region comes across as he explains to the reader quite why he, and many more, believe that Stoke have punched below their weight for so long.
The dual dimension of the use of his son (football buddy, and also as counterpoint to explain quite why he feels the need to put himself through such drudgery.. often he asks of his son 'why are you still coming? you don't need to.' of course, his son says exactly what he needs to hear 'because, you fool, it's Stoke'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So funny but yet so true 25 Feb 2008
Format:Paperback
Being a Stokie myself I purchased this book almost immediately after it came out and have now read it at least three times. I also had a season ticket that year and so can empathise with everything that Foster has to say. Also gives a reminder how bigger clubs are continuously a*** licked. Take Newcastle for example. There fans are described as being the LONGEST SUFFERING in football what a joke. They have been in the Top Flight nearly since its conception. They should try following Stoke or worse still Port Fail to experience long suffering. Still if you like football or have read or seen Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch then YOU should get this. It's a p*$$r in places.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good read 15 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
I bought this for my son who is a avid Stoke City supporter. He said it was an excellent read.
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