How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup

JL Carr
Very strange and extremely funny, this uncategorizable novel is a surreal fantasy set, vaguely, in the early 1970s, during one highly memorable football season. Steeple Sinderby Wanderers, in their new all-buttercup-yellow strip, start it by ravaging the Fenland League and end it with a phenomenal nail-biter against Glasgow Rangers. Told through unreliable recollection, florid local newspaper coverage and bizarre committee minutes, How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup is somehow both entertaining and very moving. There will never be players again like Alex Slingsby, Sid 'the Shooting Star' Swift and the immortal milkman-turned-goalkeeper Monkey Tonks.

Sometimes you come across a book with such a far-fetched idea that you almost believe the storyline. This book is one of those gems. An improbable story about a village football team, made up of misfits, winning the most hallowed trophy in English football. Yet there is enough in this story to have you on the side of believers.

I saw this book discussed on Twitter by some North Ferriby fans and had to buy the book. It's a slim volume, ideal for a session or maybe two. It's unusual for a book to give away in the title exactly what the ending will be. Would that sort of betray the whole plot line? Would I be disappointed at the outcome? No because the essence of a good read is the journey, not the destination.

Underpinning this story is a set of characters worthy of being cup winners. From the captain, Alex Slinsby, who meticulously looking after his ill wife, to the striker who had once had fame at his fingertips, through to the goalkeeper Monkey Tonks who paid boys to shoot at him. Steeple Sinderby Wanderers are a team with a ground that was once a meadow, who haven't won a game in years. Behind them is a Hungarian who sets out a plan to win the trophy. Along the way there are riots, betrayals and ultimately glory.

I loved this dive into a fairytale story. The characters were all well drawn. At no time does it appear to be outrageous. You will them on, smiling and laughing out loud at some scenes. Which boy hasn't dreamt of taking their local team to glory? It's a very enjoyable, quick read that leaves you at peace with this crazy world. Highly recommended for those who can believe.

Review by Brompton Sawdon
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Brompton Sawdon - Author

Brompton loves books and is always willing to give a viewpoint on books that have been exciting or disappointing.

From the top of a tower, somewhere in the Pennine Hills, Brompton views the world though world weary eyes. Occasionally ranting or raving over something that may seem irrelevant to you but matters to Brompton.

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