'A Season in the Sun'-Reviewed by Dave Thomas
Renown Clarets author, Dave Thomas approached Vital Burnley recently asking if we would promote a new Clarets book by Peter Haworth with the title 'A Season in the Sun'
We are of course delighted to do so and today we provide a review from Dave Thomas himself about the book.
'A Season in the Sun'-A Review by Dave Thomas
Lucky old Peter Haworth, keeping a diary of the Premiership season; the last time I kept one was when we went 19 games without a win in the Championship. Lucky old Peter Haworth, not only did he have the fun of writing about the Premiership season, but also the drama of Mr Coyle`s walkout. No shortage of material for Peter then to write about.
A Burnley supporter since 1959/60 and employed in the weaving industry for 35 years you could say Peter has had joy and desperation both as a supporter and as an employee. Sprinkled into the story of 2009/10 is also the uncertainty of employment as close colleagues are made redundant. The latter puts any football into true perspective and in the context of losing your job, football is what it is, just a game for those who watch.
Starting with a brief reminder of the day at Wembley, A Season in the Sun is his story of what really was a remarkable season, sadly for all the wrong reasons. It ended badly, and the January part was pretty grim too. So Peter`s book records it all, and I wish there were less naff phrases then highs and lows, and ups and downs, and rollercoaster ride, but if there are I can`t think of them. But for sure we experienced the whole gamut of emotions and Peter records them all.
So that`s what Pete`s book does, the high of Burnley 1 Man U 0 and then the utter low of Burnley 1 Man City 6. 3 - 0 down in, was it just six minutes? Ten years from now we can take the diary off the shelf and relive some the fantastic things that happened and some of the less fantastic. Some pages we`ll read more than once, some we`ll prefer to skip.
It`s a funny feeling now reading about the faith we had in Coyle, the way we bought into his rhetoric and spin. Pete writes "he`s very special and destined for great things… always seems to say the right things." Well he, being Owen Coyle, certainly said all the right things and we thought he meant them didn`t we?
Pete is grateful to Clarets messageboards. It seems he`s another who spends far too much time at work, reading Burnley websites and then exchanging banter with people in the office who support neighbouring teams whose name we cannot speak. I sometimes think it`s a wonder some people do any work at all they spend so much time on these sites. He has a long suffering wife who doesn`t really share his passion (my wife seems more keen than I am sometimes). And he is just the same as all the rest of us - ecstatic one minute, gloomy the next, one day glass half full, the next, glass half empty. If there is a value in diaries, that`s another one, they`re written by proper fans who feel all the pain and anguish and how being a supporter of any club, not just Burnley, will dominate our lives and emotions.
He sets out and records the season in a fairly straightforward way, month by month, and game by game. In July, psychic Dean Midas Maynard predicts Burnley will stay in the Prem - not very good was he, I shan`t be asking him to pick my lottery numbers. Piers Morgan predicts relegation. Neither of them predicted what Morgan would write about Coyle in January in his column.
In November Coyle says, "I love it at Burnley. My job is here and that`s what I will continue to do." Yeah right: just weeks later he was off to Bolton.
There`s a painful reminder of West ham 5 Burnley 3. I was there, what a shambles it was. And then there was Wolves fielding their reserve team at Man U and then their rested players beating us in the next game at Wolves.
Throughout the book there are sorry tales of defender errors, the soft goals we gave away at one end, and the sitters that Steve Fletcher missed at the other. How many points fif those misses cost us? People are quick to cite and remember goalkeeper errors, but what about striker goofs?
Come December and there`s Boxing Day and Bolton and we all will wonder forever more just when the first approach to Coyle was made. When was he first tapped? It was said to be the weekend of January Saturday the 2nd, but we all know how football works. Pete ends the month with a personal observation: "All the clubs in the Championship are searching for what we`ve got - an Owen Coyle." Unfortunately there was a Prem club as well who thought nothing of taking away another club`s manager in mid season.
And then within days Pete`s wondering just why he would leave sideways and commenting on the timing; from God to Judas, hero to zero in less than week. "Some of the magic has died," he writes. So Coyle goes and Laws comes and Pete records what we all felt; anger at the disappearance of the first and underwhelmed at the appointment of the second.
Through February and March there are reminders of games we lost that in our heads we had marked as winnable, and the end of the month he asks, "When did all the fun go?"
He echoes our thoughts, what went wrong in the home games against Wolves, Portsmouth and Blackburn and that horrible 0 - 1 defeat at Wigan and their last minute goal. It`s a painful read at times. To rub salt in the wounds the team remind us how well they could play, 4 - 1 at Hull and 4 - 2 in the last game at home to Spurs.
With a foreword by Martin Dobson, and published by Dawber Publishing at a modest £9.99, 'A Season in the Sun' is a thoroughly good record of an astonishing few months. This, along with Brendan Flood`s book and Dave Burnley`s (also published by Dawber) give three very different fan`s accounts of what it is like to be a Burnley supporter.
There is one school of thought that thinks it may be some time before we see the Prem again. Another set of fans asks do we really want another season with the money grubbers; is the Championship not more enjoyable? Others would love to be back there. Peter promises to write another diary when we do.
Somewhere in the notes I jotted down as I read his book, I scribbled down "Pete seems a glass half empty kind of guy." Well so am I, so I can pay him no higher compliment.
Dave Thomas-October 2010