Football story spans 100 years in Burnley's history and FA final triumph

Steve Goddard with his novel

Steve Goddard with his novel

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

AN author who has brought together the tale of two football fans – united by Burnley’s historic FA Cup win – is looking forward to the new season with interest.

Ex-newspaper sub-editor Steve Goddard used the experiences of fictional East Lancashire coal miner Tom to explore the 1914 final at Crystal Palace.

And in his book Rattles and Rosettes, he later fast-forwards to disillusioned Eagles fan Dan, who laments that he has missed the ‘golden age’ of football.

The fact that the Clarets and Palace will play each other for the first time in the Premier League on September 13 is especially poignant for the writer.

Tom’s odyssey takes him from the Edwardian streets of Burnley, via a love affair across the class divide with a suffragette, to the final in South London.

The game is renowned as the first to take place in front of Royalty, as George V presented the trophy to winning captain Tommy Boyle after Burnley’s 1-0 victory over Liverpool. In the story Tom, much like the Clarets skipper, goes on to fight in the trenches on the Western Front.

Steve started out on the project as a way of examining the effects of Premier League football on the ordinary fan.

This Is Lancashire:

He said: “Comparing the country prior to the First World War with credit crunch Britain seemed the most engaging way to do it.”

The author has been surprised that Palace fans appear to have taken more to the tale of Burnley supporter Tom than one of their own.

Steve, who is based in St Helens, added: “I hope this shows the novel has an appeal transcending tribal loyalties. As fans, we have to fight for the soul of football and that is the driving theme of the book.”

l The book is published by Ship of Fools Ltd and is available via Amazon online.

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