Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bloody Confused!: A Clueless American Sportswriter Seeks Solace in English Soccer” as Want to Read:
Bloody Confused!: A Clueless American Sportswriter Seeks Solace in English Soccer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  968 Ratings  ·  95 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,
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bloody Confused!, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bloody Confused!

Soccernomics by Simon KuperBrilliant Orange by David WinnerInverting the Pyramid by Jonathan  WilsonHow Soccer Explains the World by Franklin FoerThe Ball is Round by David Goldblatt
South Africa World Cup 2010
6th out of 25 books — 12 voters
Fever Pitch by Nick HornbySoccernomics by Simon KuperSoccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo GaleanoHow Soccer Explains the World by Franklin FoerFever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Top Football Literature
18th out of 86 books — 32 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,665)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 05, 2008 Darin rated it did not like it
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
Jan 11, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-owned
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
Mar 19, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 04, 2008 Kevin rated it did not like it
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
Sep 23, 2014 M rated it it was ok
I was hoping this one would be a hate-read (what can I say? I'm an angry person...) but it wasn't as annoying as it promised to be. It is, however, wrong in so many ways... And why the irritating writing style? Yuck. And no, people don't get to 'choose' which team they support *eye roll* And that's lucky because if they did, no one would support Portsmouth.

Ps. And it's not 'soccer'. It's football.
Oct 30, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
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
Jun 12, 2015 Kate rated it it was ok
The first 100 pages were engaging as Culpepper delves into the world of English Soccer. He mixes anecdotes with statistics in a way that makes for light, enjoyable reading where you may even learn something. However, the tone shifts about halfway through the book as Culpepper steps back into his sports reporter role and starts describing game and game after game including stats and not quite enough historical context to make it interesting. Soccer, and sports in general, are visual for a reason. ...more
Aug 11, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
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
Dec 31, 2012 Chuck rated it liked it
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
Feb 11, 2012 Brian rated it liked it
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
Mar 04, 2013 Barb rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
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
Jul 30, 2010 Brian rated it liked it
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
Oct 18, 2008 Turi rated it liked it
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
Sep 30, 2009 Brian Sison rated it really liked it
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
Jun 05, 2010 Matt rated it did not like it
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
Jul 10, 2014 Dana rated it liked it
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
Jan 24, 2009 will rated it liked it
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
Mar 11, 2009 Jan rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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'
Carre Gardner
Jul 11, 2009 Carre Gardner rated it really liked it
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
May 18, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
British culture seems familiar enough to Americans, so the differences seem extra stark. And the culture of British sport has that contrast also- close enough that the differences are jarring. Culpepper spent his career immersed in American sport, so his exploration of the Premiership makes him vividly aware of this, and he writes about it entertainingly. I, too, want to hang out with a blue bear.
Laura Coffman
May 13, 2009 Laura Coffman rated it liked it
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
Jan 17, 2011 Lew rated it liked it
Shelves: sports, books-owned
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
Mar 23, 2011 Jake rated it liked it
Shelves: sports-books
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
Jan 03, 2011 Frank rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, soccer
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
Dec 08, 2013 Gretchen rated it really liked it
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
Jul 23, 2011 Bryan rated it did not like it
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
Josh C.
Jan 18, 2015 Josh C. rated it it was ok
Shelves: gone
Too much oh-look-at-me-clueless-American gawping wonder act, too much taking the "purity" line of old-school American Eurosnob "football" fans at face value, too little interest in engaging English soccer and its supporter culture with a clear head. A shame, really.
Feb 17, 2011 Bryan rated it liked it
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
Ystyn Francis
Nov 19, 2014 Ystyn Francis rated it it was ok
Shelves: sport
This book had some really interesting moments, but I found the author's perspective - like the title - very confusing. At times he seemed to be lauding football and UK fandom over the stale, corporatised equivalents in the US when really both suffer from the same things, an argument he also makes on other occasions, thus contradicting himself. Aside from the revelation of the relegation and promotion battles found in Europe, I couldn't always understand how this jaded sports writer found somethi ...more
May 11, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 55 56 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The World is a Ball: The Joy, Madness and Meaning of Soccer
  • The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime
  • Soccer in a Football World: The Story of America's Forgotten Game
  • Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power
  • Love and Blood: At the World Cup with the Footballers, Fans, and Freaks
  • The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer
  • The Beckham Experiment: How the World's Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America
  • Winning at All Costs: A Scandalous History of Italian Soccer
  • The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy
  • Morbo: The story of spanish football
  • Behind the Curtain: Travels in Eastern European Football
  • Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Football
  • A Home on the Field: How One Championship Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America
  • The Italian Job: A Journey to the Heart of Two Great Footballing Cultures
  • Tor!: The Story of German Football
  • Africa United: Soccer, Passion, Politics, and the First World Cup in Africa
  • A Season with Verona: Travels Around Italy in Search of Illusion, National Character . . . and Goals!
  • Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life

Share This Book