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Gus Honeybun, Your Boys Took One Hell of a Beating By Simon Carter

Release date: 04th January, 2017
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: 12.99
Our Price: 11.89
You Save: 1.1 (8%)
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On several occasions during the current football season, Sky Sports’ comparable Premier League viewing figures have been down by 20 percent, while BT’s Champions League audience has plummeted by up to 40 percent.

This is hardly a surprise, given that the Champions League magic evaporated years ago when a contrived group stage format was introduced to ensure a comfortable passage to the knock-out stages for the same ‘big’ clubs every season. As for the Premier League, well, only three or four teams can realistically win it. Leicester City was a ‘Black Swan’ event.

Simon Carter, author of Gus Honeybun, a paean to the ‘glorious inconsistency’ of lower league football, would probably agree. His book opens in a Southampton shopping centre where he has taken his young daughter to the Build-A Bear-Workshop before he spots the replica shirts – Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United – each manufactured specifically for teddy bears. “My God,” he reflects, “This is what it’s come to?”

Carter is an avid fan of Exeter City, a club “far removed from front-page scandals and overpaid foreign mercenaries” and his mammoth tome is a must for genuine football supporters, irrespective of which team they follow.

Carter’s love of the Grecians begins with a description of joy unconfined after they overhaul mighty Newcastle United 4-0 in an FA Cup replay. It’s a match typical of those that confirm lifetime allegiances and once smitten, the author’s love never wanes. He even travels to fierce rivals Plymouth in the hope that they’ll lose and miss out on promotion. A 500-mile round-trip to watch his side lose 4-1 at Wigan on Boxing Day ends with the equivalent of a written thumbs-up: “Wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” he says.

His regular stats, mostly confirming how bad Exeter are, or can be (he reckons they’re the least successful football club in terms of league achievement), are delivered with an infectious boyish enthusiasm.

There are, inevitably, some great moments: Glyn the police dog indirectly responsible for Lincoln’s relegation; play-off finals, reliving Tony Kellow penalties on YouTube, listening to the Wurzels and sharing more than a few beers with Brad Pitt.

The author is a real football fan, one who appreciates that while success is a rare joy, hope is eternal. He is part of a huge television audience the broadcasters of top-flight football have lost.



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