Bloody Confused!: A Clueless American Sportswriter Seeks Solace in English Soccer
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Bloody Confused!: A Clueless American Sportswriter Seeks Solace in English Soccer

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  685 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Chuck Culpepper was a veteran sports journalist edging toward burnout . . . then he went to London and discovered the high-octane, fanatical (and bloody confusing!) world of English soccer.

After covering the American sports scene for fifteen years, Chuck Culpepper suffered from a profound case of Common Sportswriter Malaise. He was fed up with self-righteous proclamations,...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Darin
Culpepper's aim in this text is to convince people who don't know anything about the world of international soccer that it's a great product, and worthy of an American's time. The problem is, unfortunately, that he skips from "soccer know-nothing" to the worst kind of American soccer fan--the pretentious, condescending know-all who is fully convinced that other countries play soccer because it is everything true and right while the Yanks represent everything stupid and wrong. And that's the text...more
Jennifer
Inconsistencies in the scope of Culpepper's knowledge throws the reader off from truly enjoying what could have been a humorous look at soccer/football through the eyes of a new American fan. Culpepper goes from choosing a team based on their name (Aston Villa) or for seemingly no reason at all (Newcastle and Portsmouth) to quoting facts and details from previous seasons. Culpepper also relies too much on the gimmick of his, "Oh, I'm from Virginia, we don't do those sort of things," way of livin...more
Jennifer
I wanted to enjoy this book a lot more than I actually did. The premise is brilliant (an American sportswriter immerses himself in English soccer, and system he knows nothing about) but the execution was, well, a lot like English Premiership Football: a lot more complicated than it really needed to be.

I had a hard time following the narrative. With so many teams and matches and players to follow it was hard for someone like me who was truly clueless to get a sense of who was who and what was wh...more
Rachel
Many, many laugh out loud moments. He does a great job of making you feel like you're on the journey with him. And makes you feel like American sports are missing something by not participating in relegation.
Amy
Delightful memoir by a jaded American sportswriter who has had enough of NFL coaches, Derby jockeys, and Kentucky basketball players for a lifetime, and decides to move to England to find the spark that led him into sports writing in the first place. Once there, he discovers that to have an authentic English sporting experience, he needs to choose a soccer team to support, and this is that story.

He's navigating the world of sports from a completely different angle, without a press pass, behind-t...more
Chuck
2.5 stars really. At times it is an entertaining read, but at times it is a bloody mess. The book starts out well with the author talking about the malaise he has as an American sportswriter. Most Americans can identify with the cliches and scandals we are bombarded with daily. What saves Culpepper is not necessarily a new sport to watch (English Football) but the fact that this sport allows him to be a fan again. He gets to lose his objectivity and just be another bloke in the stands (though of...more
Kevin
Nov 04, 2008 Kevin rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Those wanting to confirm beliefs that Americans are no-nothing jerks, and that English are superior
Recommended to Kevin by: Nick Webster and Stephen Cohen of FSC/FFF
I get it, Chuck. You hate American sports fans, and you aren't that keen on Americans in general. Thanks for taking 272 pages to let me know that.

I am an enormous fan of English Football. It isn't that hard to follow. As a reader, I am asked to believe that someone who is paid to follow and write about sports for a living took over two years to figure out how the game works. Fine, I guess. But it damaged his credibility with me.

Luckily, while regaling the reader with tales of his education, th...more
Brian
As an English football fan of only three months, I felt that I was the perfect audience for this book. But while I enjoyed some of the wide eyed wonder that Culpepper approached English football with as reminiscent of what I too was experiencing, it couldn't escape the fundamental problem many sports books have, namely that unless you are heavily emotionally invested in a team it becomes somewhat boring to read about one of a team's seasons. I am not a Portsmouth fan, and even if I were, I would...more
Barb
Fairly entertaining read. Nice to see the cynicism of a sportswriter melt away, though Culpepper frequently got bogged down in the details of a sportswriter--while he would describe action on the pitch in detail, I'd often have to reread to figure out the score or even, sometimes, the teams.

I loved the descriptions of the resilience of the fans and his epic journeys to away matches. Learning about the intricacies of Premier League attendance was actually really interesting; who knew it was so c...more
Brian
Jul 30, 2010 Brian rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anglophiles, soccer fans
As an immersive account of being a soccer fan in England, this book was highly entertaining and enlightening. Culpepper proves very adept at effectively communicating the feelings and impressions of each experience he has as he immerses himself in the 2006/2007 season of Portsmouth FC.

It is also frequently very, very funny.

The only problem I had with this book was that it occasionally proves its pedigree as a book written for a British audience (its UK title was Up Pompey) and only slightly twea...more
Turi
I've always been a bit fascinated by English football, as a sport, fan fixation and general cultural phenomenon. I read Fever Pitch and Among the Thugs years ago, and learned that there was no way that I could possibly understand the game, let alone the nuances, rivalries, and everything else that makes it such a rich experience. Chuck Culpepper's book reinforces that - an American sportswriter, he finds himself in London, and falls into football fandom. Well, actually, he goes about it systemat...more
Brian Sison
In a nutshell, this is an American version of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch. The differences between the two are substantial, but those differences are what make this the "American" version.

Instead of a lifelong devotion to Arsenal, the author decides to support Portsmouth Football Club almost on a whim when he moves to England. And instead of an agonizing account of year after year of ups and downs, watching your team climb and plummet in the tables, the author just takes a one year snapshot of his...more
Matt
Bloody Confused! enlightens and entertains the reader with the idiosyncrasies of English soccer and its fans. English soccer is something Culpepper tried to present as winningly different from American sports, particularly in terms of its fans. He was right about the fans, but I'm not so sure about the rest. For example, I never knew about the "Big Four" of the English Premier League - Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal - who finish the season ranked 1-4 in the league in some o...more
Dana
Honestly, this book was a little obnoxious at first. Culpepper kept repeating things that didn't really need repeating (Did you know America is a younger nation than England?!), as well as some things that I could understand repeating if this were a series of articles published separately rather than short chapters of a single book. I even did a tiny bit of research (read: checked the verso page) to see if the chapters had been published separately, but alas, they've always been part of the same...more
will
You've got to lurve the title of this book just for its ability to use the word "bloody" in the title. Of course, there is something ironic (in a 10,000 spoons type of way) that the title announces the author's cluelessness (and why doesn't this word exist?) and then follows it up by calling English football, "soccer". Hey, ho.

I'm on a sort of American-sports-writers kick at the moment. I do love my sport, and I do like good writing about sport. In many ways I have found that American sports wri...more
Jan
Chuck Culpepper is an American sportswriter who, disillusioned in his career, moved to England and fell in love with the beautiful game, aka soccer.

I found this book to be slightly tedious, which is why I'm giving it only 3 stars. I felt that he repeated himself rather frequently, and you could clearly see his sportswriter's background in his obsessive blow-by-blow detailing of games that happened a year prior to the book's release.

However, I also felt that Mr. Culpepper really captured what it'...more
Carre Gardner
This is a hilarious inside look at the world of British Premiership football, for the...well, bloody clueless beginner! Culpepper accidentally falls into the mysterious world of football when he moves to England as a disenchanted American sportswriter. This is a record of his gropings through the complex maze of teams, rules, relegation processes, fan ettiquette (never speak to the stranger next to you at a match. It's okay to hug them, though. And don't feel obligated to eat the terrifying meat...more
Laura Coffman
May 13, 2009 Laura Coffman rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: soccer fans
I finally finished this book! Culpepper is a very funny guy. I would love to join him in England to take in a Portsmouth game and a post drink pint or two. But only if the blue bear tags along! I am somewhat of an English Premier League follower, and this book did give me a better understanding of the passion of the fans in this league, and the excitement generated by relegation and promotion of the bottom teams in the divisions. It's not just about who is in first place. I thought it was funny...more
Lew
Overall this is an interesting book as an American sportswriter who I think has moved to England and he describes how he begins following English football (soccer)as a fan and not a writer with eventually deciding to become a Portmouth (Pompey) fan and his following the team in what turns out to be it best premiership season in club history. I enjoyed most of the book and at times was informative even for an American who has followed English football since the late sixties.
What I didn't like wa...more
Jake
Culpepper oversells his jokes and analogies to the point where the reader is driven with frustration. Shame cuz it takes away what is, when stripped of its dull attempts at humor, a pretty good story about an American trying to get into the Premiership. The writer provides a neat enough perspective on being the stereotypical "clueless Yank" trying to navigate English soccer. Some of the stories are fun. The repetitious "The English do it this way while their dunderheaded, narrow-minded, 869-year...more
Frank
For reasons beyond my own comprehension, I have become intrigued by England's Premiership soccer league. Not watching it, just learning about it. After all, it is the most popular sports league in the world (which, I suppose, makes my interest a bit easier to comprehend.)

Anyway, what I found here is one of the best sports books I have read. Well-written (some passages struck me as Vonnegutian, not something I throw around lightly), funny, and insightful, it addressed the issue of universal sport...more
Gretchen
I actually know NOTHING about soccer other than the following: There is a goalie (my brother played that position in high school), there are some people that run around the field (forwards, maybe? defenders?) and then there's something they call "off sides" (whatever that means...). So when I took up reading this book, it was really to learn something about English Football, nothing more. I had heard that the leagues work different than American Leagues (is that a real thing?), but I had no idea...more
Bryan
This book was awful. Horrid. The author, Chuck Culpepper, paints himself as that foulest of sports writers -- the cynical insider who knows all owners are rich fools, all players are cheats and all fans are dupes. He's the type of guy who should get out of the biz, but never does, usually because he loves the attention he gets for covering sports. The reader gets to follow his transformation into a soccer fan -- if you can get through his sickly fawning over all things English, usually done at t...more
Bryan
As an American who loves English football, I think I enjoyed this book simply from the point of view that the author is also an American who discovered the joys of the sport. I enjoyed being reminded of some events and my own feelings as I became a supporter a few years ago. At times Culpepper's writing is amusing and engaging as he relates various anecdotes and describes some of his experiences. But there are too many times that he goes back to the well of reminding the readers he's the "cluele...more
Mark
Soccer was just on the edges of my radar in high school since we had a team. I went to a few games and was friends with the players. It drifted toward the center of my radar when MLS formed and my city had a team. As my interest in gridiron football waned over the years, soccer has moved to dead-center of my scope. This book mirrors that in many ways, and I think much of America is headed the same way.

If you are a fan of American soccer that has dabbled in the goings-on of the English Premier Le...more
Jaclyn
I'm not really a soccer fan, so I would not have picked this up under normal circumstances. My boyfriend is a die-hard soccer fan, and he asked me to read this book so that I could get some sort of understanding about his passion. Well, I was pleasantly suprised. This book is an easy read - even for someone who knows nothing about soccer. Chuck Culpepper explains a lot of the game and does a great job describing the atmosphere at each stadium.

This book gave me some insight into soccer fandom, a...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Chuk Culpepper abandons the NHL, MLB, et al in search of a new sporting pursuit to revive a flagging enthusiasm for his trade. He does so with a dogged intention to see the funny side and succeeds for a s long as the reader buys into his sense of humour. This reader was eventually worn down by the relentlessness before the end, but it was fun for quite a while.

The parallels that exist between British and American sport - and those that don't - are interestingly explored. Readers who don't know m...more
Brad Wolvin
This is the best insight into English soccer around, particularly for Americans. It could have been much more, though, on par with A Fan's Notes, but there is little self reflection. Regardless, the author really knows how to turn a phrase. In terms of structure, the book follows the burnt-out sportwriter through a season cheering on his newly discovered favorite soccer team in the UK.

The book is funny throughout, primarily driven by the author's understated tone. The best Chapter in the book is...more
Rachel
I'm a flower-in-the-sidewalk kind of person, believing that beauty is more striking when viewed against the ugly or mundane. That's why good sportswriting is so sublime. Take this passage from "Bloody Confused!" describing the ecstatic cheers at a British soccer game:

"Why bother with sport? Here's the number-one answer: because you might hear this kind of noise. It might swim in your ear canals and rustle your soul and electrify your skin and maybe even prolong your life."

This book is a delight...more
Lance
This book could have been so good. But between his lack of knowledge of any sort of soccer. Which, regardless of when this was written, a 44 yr old sportswriter should have at least a passing knowledge of sports all over the world. As well as his lame attempts at humor, made this book a chore to read. The only slight enjoyment I was able to receive from it was a bit of a nostalgic one and even those moments were few and far between.

All in all not a worthwhile read. I am glad I got it used becau...more
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