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June 25, 2024

Regular price $26.99
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It’s 1989 and a surf-loving Aussie teenager flukes a dream move to an English footballing giant. Problem is, it’s never been his dream, and in the brutal big leagues he has a fight on his hands to ensure his laidback life doesn’t turn into one giant nightmare.

Before Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka and Tim Cahill became household names in English football, and once Craig Johnston retired, there was another Aussie name on every football fan’s lips.

Rippa - Joey Rippa.

This 19-year-old high school drop-out wants to be on the waves or smoking pot and strumming his guitar in his small Western Australian beach town, instead of being on a football pitch. But the round-ball game is where his real talent lies and when he has the match of his life for the State team against a travelling West Ham United side in a glamour friendly, he’s offered a pro contract with the English First Division side. With the bill’s mounting in his father’s bar, his beloved uncle facing homelessness, and his band needing a new recording, he reluctantly signs and heads over to the UK.

But the dream move turns sour the moment he lands when he discovers that The Hammers’ manager, Bobby Noll, has been sacked and with no one at the club having any idea who this blonde-stubbled Kim Wilde-lookalike is, he’s farmed out to Middleby United, a struggling non-league provincial outfit.

And in the most landlocked town in Britain, and with its howling wind, never-ending rain and permanent grey skies, he feels a million miles away from his beloved sand and sun lifestyle.

Rippa is faced with isolation, loneliness, terrible cuisine and a dressing room and stadium of home fans who think of him, at best, as a novelty, and, at worst, a pathetic joke.

Still mourning his beloved English-born football-loving mother (who vanished six years earlier), he finds an unlikely ally in the club’s female physio and tries to buckle down and make it in the brutal sink or swim world of English football. And along the way, he makes his family and hometown back in Australia proud, reminds West Ham that he actually exists, and get struggling Middleby back to the big time.

This is the second football novel from P.J. Laverty, his first The Gaffer was published in 2022.

More Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Published: June 2024
  • ISBN:  978-1-925914-33-7
  • ISBN: 978-1-925914-34-4
  • Weight: 0.4kg
  • Size:  219mm x 152mm
  • Pages:  288
  • Imprint: Popcorn Press

About Author

P.J. Laverty is a Scottish-Australian writer specialising in historical football fiction (with a comedic spin), with a PhD in Creative Writing from Curtin University.

​Under the moniker Paul J Laverty, he is the host of 94.9 Main FM literary book show, The Quiet Carriage, which airs nationally on the Community Radio Network. He has written two novellas, Man Overbored and Cider Country (RoadHouse Media). He also wrote the first biography on Grammy award winners Arcade Fire and another on Beck (Artnik / Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf Verlag).

​He is a football tragic who will never tire of telling anyone within earshot all about his adventures in Germany during World Cup 2006. P.J. lives in Castlemaine, Victoria, with his wife and two children.

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Regular price $26.99
Regular price Sale price $26.99