Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Book Review - Sky Blue Heroes by Steve Phelps

We get sent a few books to review here in the Attic and it's always a delight, even if we don't always find the time to review them all. One book in particular I was looking forward to getting my hands on was this - Sky Blue Heroes by Steve Phelps, author of many a quality book about my beloved Coventry City.

Naturally there's been lots written about our 87 FA Cup win, but what makes this different is it's not a story of that journey told as a narrative by a distant voice; this is a collation of copious interviews with the people who were there and went on that journey. That doesn't just mean the fans. This includes everyone from the management, players, club staff and even the people who wrote the Cup Final song, Go For It City!

Starting with interviews from the players, the book follows events of the FA Cup run match to match, combining memories with excerpts from the club programmes and papers of the time. As always with these things, it's the minutiae that really set the scene... transfer figures in the tens of thousand rather than the millions, club jaunts to Spain rather than Dubai etc, all reminiscent of the pre-Premiership days when the 3rd Round Football Focus special would always show a 4th Division player doing his normal job (usually a brick layer) to show the discrepancy between top and bottom flight.

The chronological nature of the book not only means that each interview is short (rather than a series of long interviews with each person), thereby giving it a nice, punchy pace, but also allows the tension and excitement to rise as time goes on and what started as just another cup run in a freezing January, builds with each match to a rising sense of belief that this might actually happen and finally the explosion of sheer joy when it bloody well did!

It's a cliché say that something is a must for any particular set of fans, but this is a book that every Sky Blue fan has to read. For those who were there or at least a fan at the time, it's a beautiful recreation of the time and given the multiple viewpoints, there's always something you can identify with. Moreover, for those too young to have been there, it's as close as you'll get to living through it and in these dark days of League One, reminds us what we once achieved by having the right people and the right mentality.

So, if you're a Cov fan, make sure this is on your Christmas list!

Sky Blue Heroes is available from Amazon here.

- Rich Johnson

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