Monday, December 01, 2014
Support Your Local League
I have just sent my manuscript for my first book to a publisher and one of the questions they ask is for me to list three titles similar to my proposed tome.
I could only think of one and that was Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch even though my work has nothing to do with a lad growing up in Maidenhead even though we both support the Arsenal. Perhaps though it has everything to do with pushing the envelope?
There isn't a lot of literature out there about Indonesian football in English. A bit more exists about Singapore and Malaysia, not so much about Thailand.
#supportyourlocalleague is an attempt to change that. South East Asian football is, unfortunately synonymous with European clubs coming over on highly choreographed tours designed to turn the local populace into customers parting with their hard earned cash for the right to wear a replica shirt supposedly made from plastic water bottles and carrying at least three different brand names (think club, sponsor and kit manufacturer).
This book is an attempt to change that perception. There is no such thing as a homogenous South East Asia and there is no such thing as a South East Asian football culture, one size fits all. From the choreographed terraces in Indonesia to the 'selfie' culture in Thailand via chicken and rice in Singapore, the football is as varied as the national dishes.
What I have tried to do is introduce South East Asian football to football fans who know little or nothing about the region and I try to do this by talking to fans, players, ex players, hooligans, business people, taxi drivers, bloggers...you name it. Football is football and everyone has an opinion about football much as it pains the likes of Arsene Wenger and Safee Sali.
In the book, set against a backdrop of the Brazil World Cup, I meet Singapore football fans who have fallen out of love with the game, hooligans who battled with police on a major highway for several hours, the first American to play in the Soviet Union, a member of the Cameroon World Cup 1990 squad, expats who support their local team. I go to games in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and have everyone tell me England are rubbish and will never win the World Cup!
This is neither a warts n all nor a kiss n tell. I have tried to present the material in much the way I would if I was talking with some fans. South East Asia has been my home for about 20 years, I have been a football fan for twice as long. I am as passionate of one as I am the other and I hope that passion shines through.
Passion yes, but I don't try and use that passion to blind me to the ailments of the game. They are touched upon but in some cases I feel some issues are better coming from local writers; another fat white guy saying people should do this, do that doesn't always go down well in area that experienced colonialism for so long.
At the end of the day the book is about people. People who love football and support their local league.
Anyway, I am sending out proposals to publishers this week and I hope to get to meet some folks over the next few days in a bid to move this project along a bit further. Not easy, I know but then hey! If you don't try and all that.
Ideally I would like to have English and Indonesian language versions available as well as possibly an e-book.
If you wish to know more about the book please feel free to contact me through the contact me button on the side panel!
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