Tales from the Top Flight by Chris Darwen (The Higher Tempo Press, 2016)

Tales from the Top Flight, Chris Darwen’s third book, is a review of the 2015-16 Premier League season in a diary format. Anyone familiar with the author’s first two books, the fictional series following the career of “Johnny Cooper”, manager of Mansfield Town in Chris’ Championship Manager saves, will be aware of the format as it follows a similar pattern.

The author is a self-confessed fanatic of Championship/Football Manager, an avid Luton Town fan and a shareholder of Real Oviedo. Following a spell as a director of Spanish club CD Torrevieja, Chris is now making a living writing about football and resides on Spain’s Costa Blanca.

What I liked about Tales’ format, as opposed to books with a similar style, is that he generally posted entries once a week, or only when something noteworthy happened. The diary entries about the international break and the FA Cup felt a little like filler given the name of the book, although often those fixtures go hand-in-hand with the goings on in the Premier League and are directly linked.

The authors cynicism, sarcasm and self-deprecating humour are evident throughout the book and were right up my street, and at only 144 pages, it’s a decent length and therefore easily digestible.

The book ends with Chris’ never-published pre-season predictions. Like us all, Chris failed to predict Leicester’s  title victory, instead tipping them to finish 19th and go down. In the acknowledgements section of the book he even apologises to Claudio Ranieri for the oversight, before thanking his partner Jess for supporting him throughout the process which I’m sure went down well in the Darwen household!

One slight criticism is the lack of introduction and conclusion to frame the story, perhaps give us an insight into the authors motivation for writing the book. There is a foreword in his previous two efforts, so it could have done with one here.

However with Tales from the Top Flight available from as little as £2.99, less than the cost of a pint, it’s an absolute bargain and will be surely be enjoyed by Premier League fans. Now that the European Championships are over it’s time to start thinking about the new season and this book would certainly refresh your memory.

To purchase the book please click here

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