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How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F. A.…

How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F. A. Cup (1975)

by J. L. Carr

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This most delightful of novels is described by David Taylor, in his introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics edition as "a fantasia" on English football "circa 1973" and "an extraordinary performance. . . a comic masterpiece and a study in national temperament that the doughtiest social historian would struggle to match".

Well, it's all of that. The variety of styles which JL Carr uses to describe how Steeple Sinderby Wanderers win the FA Cup is wonderful to experience. As the author himself says "it is told through unreliable recollection, florid local newspaper coverage and bizarre committee minutes".

But don't let any of that, or the subject of football, put you off this novel. Carr's characters are more rounded than mere sporting or committee types, and none more so than Arthur Fangfoss ("Mr Fangfoss" to you), the Wanderers' chairman "because he was the chairman of everything else".

In past lives, I have served chairmen like that! Indeed, I am serving one right now (and a good chairman he is, too!).

And finally: if you watched or heard any news almost anywhere in the world in 2016, you will have heard of the magnificent achievement of Claudio Ranieri and Leicester City football club in winning the English Premier League. It was a supreme achievement by a good, hard-working football-team and their talented manager.

Except this, dear reader : Steeple Sinderby Wanderers got there first! (And if you want to know how they did it, JL Carr's novel will tell you.)

I highly recommend this wonderful book. ( )
  SunnyJim | Mar 13, 2017 |
3½/5 ( )
  Bagpuss | Jan 17, 2016 |
signed by the author on first page ( )
  overthemoon | Aug 2, 2006 |
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After the big Share-Out there was a thousand pounds left for an Official History.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This time J L Carr turns his satirical pen to the world of football.
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