By P.J. Laverty

The Gaffer

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It's January 1989. Neighbours rules the screens, Madchester bosses the airwaves, Lineker, Barnes, Gazza and Co are lording it on the football field, and there's a fresh wave of optimism breezing through the nation. 

Not everyone's happy though.

Thomas Bamford, known disparagingly to all as Tam Bam, is an angry man. He may have pride in his hometown on the Isle of Guff - situated 30 miles off Cornwall - but he hates everyone on it. And the feeling's mutual as he's spent most of his 47 years gorging on pasties and Lucozade while cursing and whinging about his never-ending ailments.

The only thing Tam lives for is Guff Rovers, his local fourth division football team - though you'd be hard-pushed to call him a fan. Despite never missing a game, his brutal and unrepentant abuse from the sidelines makes him a menace to the struggling side and a nightmare to anyone sitting near him. 

Tam's miserable existence flips when he discovers his AWOL father struck it rich in the Middle East before kicking the bucket and has left him £5million. After trying to buy Manchester United (he claims to be a childhood penpal of Alex Ferguson), Tam settles for a majority share in Guff Rovers, installing himself as the gaffer.

Tam, though, is dangerously out of his depth, sacking the entire team and buying in a hodgepodge of journeymen including a cleaner, a kebab van owner, a caber toss champion, and half of Swindon Town's reserves. The club quickly spirals out of control teetering towards their first relegation into non-league football in their 99-year history and financial ruin as Tam Bam learns there's more to football management - and life itself - than he ever realised.

More Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Published:  November 2022
  • ISBN:  978-1-925914-46-7
  • ISBN: 978-1-025014-54-2 (ePub)
  • Weight: 0.4kg
  • Size:  219mm x 152mm
  • Pages:  303
  • Imprint: Popcorn Press

About the Author

P.J. Laverty is a Scottish-Australian writer specialising in historical football fiction (with a comedic spin).

​Under the moniker Paul J Laverty, he is the host of 94.9 Main FM literary book show, The Quiet Carriage, which also 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 currently completing a creative writing Ph.D. at Curtin University.

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

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Regular price $19.99
Regular price $26.99 Sale price $19.99