Great debut novel examining the pressures of being gay in premiership football
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For a debut book, this is impressive.
There’s a well-crafted story which looks at professional football (the round ball variety 😉) and the pressures which come from being gay and playing in that world.
I still find it absolutely astonishing that Justin Fashanu remains the only top-flight British footballer to come out as gay while he was still playing and his tragic death only emphasises the hyper-masculinity which is, unfortunately, a feature of the so-called beautiful game
There are a few out players in lower leagues and in overseas leagues but of the 20 teams in the Premiership, I find it incredibly difficult to believe there are no players who identify other than heterosexual.
But, back to the book. As I said, a well-crafted look at the inherent fears involved in playing for a top club, especially when you’re only 23 with all your career ahead of you. I felt so badly for Christian and his anxiety and issues were relatable.
David was a sweetheart and he put up with a lot because he completely understood what it was like having himself once been on track for a professional career.
Their second chance romance was wonderfully sweet, it’s a bit slow burn, a little bit exploratory as Christian is still inexperienced and hasn’t had anal sex (which he considers to be an important element to his relationship with David).
There’re some strong secondary characters, Christian’s twin sister Lily is wonderful, David’s best friend Kit is hilarious, both mums appear in the background as strong women who have raised their sons to be fine young men, Christian’s three footballing colleagues Liam, Jordan and Hugo, are excellent supports for him as well.
I suspect Jordan’s story may be coming next, or possibly Hugo, who identifies as pansexual and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more from this author.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review