Behind The Green Door, by Brendon Owen - First Stone Publishers - £9.99
Brendon Owen is a football fan. More importantly, Brendon Owen is a Yeovil Town fan. One hundred and eight years of non-league football came to an end for Yeovil Town in 2003 and the Championship season was captured brilliantly by Brendonís first book ĎYeovil Ďtil I dieí.
That momentous season was catalogued in a bright and breezy style that we could all relate to. With ĎBehind the green doorí Brendon carries on the story, which has now moved to more illustrious venues with the KC Stadium, McAlpine Stadium and Reynolds Arena replacing Cherrywood Road, The Lawn and Edgar Street.
The book starts with the arguments about the change of shirt design to hoops for our inaugural league season. Remember them? Iíd almost forgotten just how heated the arguments were. Now, twelve months on it seems the most natural thing in the world to see the lads in the green and white hoops. It moves on to describe the turmoil in the camp caused by Michael McIndoe's wish to move to a bigger club. The reader is left in no doubt as to Brendonís feelings in this matter!
Brendon had to miss the first game at Rochdale as his son was getting married on the same day. Radio Five Live picked up on this and phoned him that morning to ask about the fan that was left behind! Brendon managed to keep up with events at Spotland with the help of his mobile phone and was able to enjoy a double celebration that day.
For this season, Brendon had been given access behind the scenes and is able to shed some light on the activities at the club between matches. He was also invited to travel with the team to an away match and this was duly arranged for the teamsí league fixture at Belle Vue against the play-off promoted Doncaster Rovers. As most of us would agree, this was like an early Christmas present to Brendon and even a fairly serious fall at home the night before travelling was not going to stop the intrepid author joining the team. It was interesting to find that the team apparently stayed overnight at the same hotel that McIndoe was staying at! In retrospect, travelling with the team is a brave thing to do. What if you sit in the wrong seat? What if the team suffer their heaviest defeat for years when you accompany them? And possibly worst of all, if the team lose, where do you look for the entire journey home?
As we now know, a Supergav goal won the game that night and Brendonís worries were over.
The book continues to chronicle the season interspersed with stories from Brendonís day-to-day life. It is this aspect which makes the book so readable and personal. Itís reassuring to know that we are not alone in following some of our rituals in our own attempts to help the cause. The camaraderie and friendship that following a football team creates is there for all to see in the pages of this book. We all know it exists. We all try to explain it to our non-footballing friends. Supporting your team is a tribal thing and itís difficult for someone who hasnít experienced this to understand. If youíre having trouble convincing someone of the merits of football supporting then give him or her a copy of this book and tell them to read it. They will soon understand!
The season's high and low points are all here with understandably more than a few pages written about the Liverpool game. Iím pleased to learn that Iím not the only one who felt a little jealous of the poor souls who queued overnight for tickets and enjoyed an unforgettable experience. Iíd forgotten the fire, which created so many problems for the club immediately before the match tickets went on sale.
Of course, the Liverpool match didnít end up as we all wished and indeed you could say the same for the season as a whole. The book does remind me however, of the sheer fun that we had for our first season in the league, even the defeats.
For those who know the format of the first book, the second is very similar but with over 170 pages of text this time the second book is somewhat longer. With some excellent photographs from Nigel Andrews and an appendix which includes statistics from the season's games it is a must buy for every Yeovil fan.
I like sports books. I especially like books about football and feel that we are privileged to have two excellent books from Brendon, which mean so much to us all personally about our team. Iím also not a quick reader. I canít be doing with this scan reading, I have to hear each and every word in my head as I read.
I bought Brendonís book and sat down to read it. I finished it at 2am the following morning, read all in one sitting and I knew the ending!!!!
I can give it no higher praise than that.