Everyone loves receiving free stuff and we here at 101 Great Goals are no different (hint, hint). So we were thrilled to receive a copy of Chuck Culpepperâ€™s book â€œBloody Confused!â€
It is the paperback version of “Up Pompey” and 250 pages later we were not disappointed.
Culpepper besides having a great name, is a veteran American sports journalist who is afflicted by â€œCommon Sportswriter Malaiseâ€ and to get away from the NFL, NBA and NHL etc. he came to England in 2006 and immersed himself in the English Premier League.
Like many worldwide fans of the English Premier League, Culpepper is forced to decide which club he is going to support. Culpepper chooses Portsmouth not least because of the “Great Escape” act led by Harry “Houdini” Redknapp in the 2005/6 season.
One of the reasons he picks Portsmouth is because of Pedro Mendes’ last minute wonder goal against Manchester City in March 2006 which started the “Great Escape.” Culpepper writes: “It still seems partly magical every time I type in ‘Pedro Mendes’ and ‘Manchester City’ on YouTube.com (after which I give thanks for the parents of the inventors of YouTube.com).”
Of course, there must be many many new fans of the Premier League who have been drawn in by the numerous clips to be found on video sharing sites. And Culpepper picks Portsmouth because of his fascination with relegation which just doesn’t happen in American sports.
Ironically Pompey improve drastically the following season, when Culpepper goes to most of the games, and in actual fact it is the fan experience that he falls in love with. Or, as he describes it at the beginning of the book: “it was like childhood with beer.”
Throughout the campaign, which is Portsmouth’s best in years, Culpepper feels guilty for not having followed them when they were languishing in the lower leagues and he has trouble getting to grips with hatred of Southampton. But it is fan camaraderie that Chuck loves the most. Throughout the book he repeats chants and songs from the terraces and strikes up friendships with other Pompey fans including a blue bear.
Culpepper is a perceptive writer, it doesn’t take him long to get to grips with the different personalities in English football. On Martin O’Neill: “I even got the I’d-like-to-play-for-that-guy vibe” and on Neil Warnock: “whose filter between brain and mouth either had eroded or had come congenitally thin from the get-go.”
But besides Culpepper’s smooth style of writing it is his journey from tired hack to enthusiatsic fan that is a joy to read.
This week there have been a lot of articles in the English media that have bemoaned the predictability of the upcoming Premier League season but this book and Culpepper himself prove that the football in England can be fascinating for even the most ignorant of sports fans.
And what shines through, is that its the fans, the camaraderie and the atmosphere at the games that draws foreigners to the English Premier League – not necessarily the over-paid players or any particular teams.
The flights to london are confusing too. They promise the fare like orlando flights and on flight services similar to that of new york flights but the only truth is that they are cheap flights. The experience is like that of las vegas flights.