Pointless – a season with Britain’s worst football team by Jeff Connor

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An excellent read which charts Connor as he is granted open access to all things East Stirlingshire for the 2004/05 season. For the princely sum of £2,000 he is able to join the fold of Britain’s worst football team, meet the board for pre-season, stand in on all the team talks, travel on the team bus, and take on the temporary role as emergency kit man.

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East Stirlingshire were attempting to reach the heady heights of 9th in the Scottish third division, having finished bottom of the league for two seasons in a row. Connor charts the highs and the lows as the Shire succeed in bettering their 8 point tally of the previous season despite turmoil and disruption at every corner.

I can appreciate much of what happens, being a fan of Macclesfield Town. The enthusiastic but hapless goalkeeper, ‘the Cat’ often struggled to clear the ball out of his own box when there was a stiff breeze; several teams played on this and built their tactics on hoofing the ball out for a Shire goal kick and then hoping for a mistake. The chairman is completely at odds with the fans, and has implemented a notorious £10 per week wage cap per player. The unconventional striker Donaldson is said to have an unhealthy relationship with the local Burger King. Their best player is an alcoholic who trains when he feels like it and often misses games due to Scottish Rail and their late running trains.

Despite his initial indifference, Connor finds himself becoming more attached to the plucky Shire as the season goes on. The highs of February, where they go a whole month without losing in the league, are described as if by a die-hard fan. An easy read at 240 odd pages, this is the ideal book for Premier League fans when they are feeling down about finishing 5th, or when they can only bring in four £20 million plus players but not that top top player for £40 million.

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