"Hilarious and heart-warming...a great read." -- Coventry Telegraph, September 15, 2008
Genuinely funny...thoroughly recommended
-- When Saturday Comes, August 2008
This marvellous memoir is a must read...exceedingly funny...ranks among the very best books with a sporting theme. -- Birmingham Post, October 2008
From the Publisher
This book is the story of Bromley's worst ever season. It is a funny and heart-warming tale of football at the very bottom: Dave turns up to each match with his football boots in his bag, just in case the team are a player short; the crowd is always announced as 400 as no-one can be bothered to count; the team ship so many goals that in one match, the taunting opposition fans actually lose count of the score.
It's easy being a football fan when your team are always winning. The Bromley Boys is the touching true story about supporting a club through thin and even thinner: proof that the more your team may lose on the pitch, the more there is to gain on the terraces.
From the Author
It was the late 1960s and I must have been 12 or 13. I was down at my local park in suburban Bromley, kicking a ball against a fence, pretending to be my favourite striker when I was suddenly aware of a small group of skinheads standing around me. "Who do you support?" one of them demanded in a menacing tone.
I was terrified and looked for clues as to what the right answer might be. But there were no giveaway signs of scarves or tattoos. Unexpectedly, I felt a burst of defiance rise up inside and looked him firmly in the eye. In a voice that came out far more squeaky than I had hoped, I said, "Bromley!"
He looked at me in disbelief and burst out laughing. The rest of them joined in, and as they walked away they were still in hysterics, repeating the word "Bromley" over and over, as though it was the funniest thing they'd ever heard.
It was about the only time in my life I've been glad to be a Bromley fan.
My team have never been one of the glamour clubs, even now that they've reached the dizzy heights of the Blue Square Conference (South).
Bromley have never had a tell-all book written by a star striker. Their replica shirts are not seen on the high streets of Britain. And there are no DVDs of our 101 Greatest Goals (in fact, the only DVD on sale in the club shop is the Kent Senior Cup final 2006/7 "with bonus footage of post match celebrations and trophy presentation".)
This, to me, sums up their appeal.
Life has always been much simpler in the lower reaches. You turn up at the ground at five to three, knowing you'll be able to choose where you sit. Kick off times are always the same and not at the mercy of TV companies. Most importantly, you could really feel a part of the club.
So why the book?
I decided to write my book, The Bromley Boys, during the 2006 World Cup, when I realized I was falling out of love with football. It was a combination of things: the ubiquitous cheating and diving which had become a feature of every match, the histrionics which greeted every perceived injustice and the joyless, negative approach adopted by so many of the teams.
I wanted to go back to a time before the beautiful game started to turn ugly. For me, that was the 1969/1970 season. Even though this turned out to be the worst in Bromley's history, I became so obsessed with the team that I even went to watch them train twice a week, and only missed two games, home or away.
Although it was mainly a season of lows for the team, there were plenty of highs for me. These included watching Bromley come close ( in my mind, anyway) to beating the European Cup Winners Cup holders, landing a job in the tea hut and, best of all, getting a lift home from an away game in my favourite striker's car.
I don't think football was better then. It's undoubtedly more skilful today and the players are much fitter. I just don't feel as passionate about it as I did in those days - or as much a part of it. Back in the 1960s and 1970s the teams, from Corinthian Casuals to Walthamstow Avenue, were unique. And so were the fans.
Non-league teams tended to attract the misfits. Looking back at my fellow supporters in those days, I can see that we had several things in common. A contrary nature, which was necessary to resist the appeal of one of the bigger teams, irrational levels of optimism and a stubborn streak of independence.
Not to mention the knowledge that we'd probably get laughed at whenever we told people who we supported.