So this new Chelsea football/punk novel ‘The Wrong Outfit’ turns up on my doorstep and while unwrapping it, I’m hoping this won’t just be another disappointment. I peruse the unusual cover thinking, “This doesn’t look bad, it’s old style punk with a child wearing a Police helmet, with leery punk style letroset writing quite similar to an old Angelic Upstarts picture cover, the innocent kid’s eyes blanked out like some youthful criminal.
Looking at first like a substantial read, it becomes much swifter the more you delve into it: The 70’s home life and Chelsea terrace stories are all bang on, all too real and poignant, those all too frequent crazy “ding-dongs”. I have to say, the terrifying yet hysterical Cold Blow Lane story is without doubt one of the best youthful football tales I’ve ever read.
The punk scenes are woven brilliantly too, even more so as you don’t expect them to perhaps work alongside impassioned football regaling, “Weren’t punks supposed to have absolutely no energy or interest for sport in general?” Well, not here. The Wrong Outfit is a proud and heartfelt tribute to all those football and punk heroes of yesteryear.
There’s also a good few twists and turns of the rollercoaster variety and so many hilarious moments especially, ‘The Hole in the Floor Gang’ and ‘Cider with Rosies’ with its zany, underage, coming of age. Laugh? I nearly wet myself!
By the end, there’s a real sense that this loyal Chelsea punk fan, born right by Stamford Bridge, was always destined to put his vivid West London football/punk memories down on paper. And thankfully, not just for himself, but for the benefit of us all.
Verdict? An absolute must read.
You can download the book from Amazon