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

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,324 ratings  ·  111 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)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  1,324 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Start your review of Bloody Confused!: A Clueless American Sportswriter Seeks Solace in English Soccer
Oct 05, 2008 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 09, 2009 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
Nov 03, 2010 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. ...more
Brendan McCarthy
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book because it was a topic that I really like, sports and especially soccer. I was able to connect with the author on his thoughts and ideas about English soccer. He talks a lot about the environment of the stadiums and what it is like to be a fan. This was intriguing for me because from a young age I have always wanted to experience what an English soccer game is like and to this day I still have not had a chance. Bloody Confused! also gets into some of the lingo used in ...more
Jul 27, 2010 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
Nov 04, 2008 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
Oct 23, 2008 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
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Read for the 2018 PopSugar reading challenge. This is "A book about or involving a sport" - in this case, the European, specifically English, style of football. It was sitting there on my girlfriend's shelf for me to pick up.

I can't imagine this book was ever groundbreaking, but it probably felt a bit more new and different when it was, well, new. In the decade or so since Culpepper has published it, the Premier League has become a slight bit more familiar over in America, such that a person who
Charlie Tyson
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was ok
It's probably important to remember this book was published in 2007. Soccer in America still existed in a liminal space, not quite entirely foreign anymore but not getting massive TV deals worth millions upon millions. The descriptions of the Premier League in this book are pretty elementary but at the time may have passed as sufficient.

Before I critique I should say that overall the author seems like a decent enough guy, like someone you'd tailgate with and have a good conversation with. At ti
William Snow
Sep 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted to have a light sports read to honor the start of a new season. This was a nice choice! Culpepper’s writing is humorous and filled with sarcasm and irony. The funniest part still for me was how drastically the world of soccer has changed since this was written in 2007. (Manchester City was a shite afterthought at time of his writing, to name but one example.)

What pervades the book, however, is a sense of passion for the world’s most beguiling and bedeviled sport. The feeling of falling
Ryan Hock
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Coming off of my first trip to the UK, which included getting to see my beloved Manchester United play, this was a good read. Culpepper does a great job of showing the intricacies of the Premier League from everything involving the games, buying ticket, travel, etc.

I enjoyed seeing his progression from narrowing it down to a few teams then picking a favorite and chronicling his journey.

I would recommend for anyone who is interested in soccer, sports that they aren't familiar with, and England.

Will Chapman
Dec 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Culpepper constantly maintains an obnoxious, pretentious American soccer fan point of view, and it makes him look really bad. He is pretty clueless about anything he isn’t reporting exactly as he has seen it, and he is a poor writer as well. His stereotypes of English supporters and people again are very broad and often inaccurate, and his American sports comparisons are very annoying. Please find a different book about the beautiful game, there’s loads!!
John Matthew
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fun book about an American sportswriter who fell in love with Portsmouth FC and followed them home and away for the 2006 season.

It gives an insight into English football fandom.

And features a blue bear!

p. 214: "It's not a choice."
P. 229: "Some got there early
Some arrived late
Hard to say more
Pain's too great"

I would liked to have seen a schedule at the game listing all the games and scores.
Brent Davis
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this to any soccer fan. It is really entertaining, humorous, and informational. I also agree with the author that relegation should happen, and it is a very motivating factor for lower performing teams/clubs if applied to any tiered sport.
Sep 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016, 2017, 2018
High anticipation for this book but I
couldnt wait for it to be over, such a thin book, took forever to finish.
would be even thinner if he took out all the "great" American sports he's covered.

i wonder if he's stuck with Portsmouth?
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great book for lovers of soccer and the English Premier League. Funny and poignant!
Scott Affeldt
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable. The away trips are fantastic fun.
Matthew Cobb
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly entertaining!
Keith Nix
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read by American writer that goes to England to see what the fuss is about soccer (football). Follows a big club and supporters and writes an outside view of the sport and it's fans. ...more
Michael Romo
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Culpepper is bloody confused as the sub-title attests: A Clueless American Sportswriter Seeks Solace in English Soccer.

Culpepper wanted to become a fan again as opposed to a sportswriter and he decided to sample English soccer teams before finally choosing to become a Portsmouth supporter. I think as the following passage attests that he just didn't understand.

"I noticed two particular Newcastle fans at the pub, two guys, then noticed them again at London Waterloo, then noticed them again board
Jan 12, 2009 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
Walter Hall
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
I should have been the prime target for this book, since I too am an American who fell in love with English football/soccer while living abroad. I recognized so much of my history of learning about the intricacies of the how European football is different from American, with all the different concurrent cup competitions and histories of the league. So why don't I love this book?

Because Culpepper is the worst sort of fan: it isn't enough that he loves his sport, he has to tell you constantly why
Dec 30, 2011 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
Brian Sison
Sep 11, 2009 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
May 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sports
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
Apr 24, 2011 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
May 22, 2015 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
Jan 29, 2013 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
Feb 14, 2014 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 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
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