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Finn McCool's Football Club: The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of a Pub Soccer Team in the City of the Dead Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing; First Edition edition (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589806417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589806412
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #940,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Given the growing number of books about American soccer fans trapped in a country that doesn’t value or even understand their sport, Rea’s take—that of a Northern Irishman trying to watch and play the beautiful game in New Orleans—adds an enjoyably different perspective. Dissatisfied with the lack of camaraderie at pickup games and desperate to find broadcasts of his beloved Chelsea, Rea breaks his vow to assimilate and starts hanging out with a bunch of other expatriates at a pub called Finn McCool’s. But just when their team is starting to gel, Hurricane Katrina blows everything to hell. Rea is an agreeable chronicler, and his blend of comedy, tragedy, and social observation moves briskly. The narrative arc isn’t entirely satisfying, and it can be hard to keep track of all the characters (many of them, oddly enough, named Stephen), but Rea’s thoughts on the pains and pleasures of globalism’s diaspora, and the horrors of Katrina and its aftermath, make worthwhile reading. The parts about soccer, however, may mean that the book’s best audience will be made of the usual suspects: those to whom “football” is never played on a “gridiron.” --Keir Graff

Review

"Score 10-nil for Rea and the McCools." --The Irish American Post

More About the Author

Stephen Rea is a freelance writer based out of New Orleans who has contributed to national and international newspapers, magazines, and Web sites for over twenty years. He has worked for England's Daily News and Western Daily Press in the features, sports, and entertainment departments. When he was only seventeen, the Sun daily newspaper chose him as their first-ever trainee reporter, and he covered a range of news stories, from the Gulf War and terrorist attacks in London to the resignation of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Rea attended Campbell College in his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. He studied journalism at the United Kingdom's National Council for the Training of Journalists before joining the Sun. After moving to New Orleans with his wife, Rea won a writing grant from the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival in 2006.

After his move to New Orleans, Rea struggled to find an outlet for his love of soccer. He discovered an Irish bar in New Orleans's Mid-City area called Finn McCool's, an eccentric blend of locals and ex-pats. The men eventually formed a club team and joined a league--the perfect place for Rea to play soccer and express his love of the game. He wrote Finn McCool's Football Club while he was displaced to Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Katrina, and the story follows not only Rea's struggles through that difficult period, but the rest of the team's as well.

Stephen Rea's eclectic life has led him to more than one hundred countries, all seven continents, and all fifty U.S. states. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he spent his childhood against the backdrop of bombings and shootings in that country during the seventies and eighties. At the age of sixteen, he went on tour with rock star Ozzy Osbourne and later traveled the world as his assistant road manager, contributing a chapter to Osbourne's official biography Diary of a Madman. In New Orleans, Rea served as the media relations officer for the Shell Shockers, the city's minor league soccer club. Rea lives with his wife and daughter in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Customer Reviews

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Had me laughing out loud!
C dot
What a great insight into not only the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, but the city of New Orleans itself!
J. Carlson
Well written and with great characters.
B. Wild

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doron Erlich on September 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I heard of this book through World Soccer Daily (now Football). this is a wonderful read - I laughed, I cried, I smiled. highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Butler on September 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Rea's account of his life in New Orleans, the happenings at Finn McCool's, and the impact of Katrina on the patrons of this fine pub is an absolutely enthralling--and humorous--read.

As a long-time fan and visitor of New Orleans--yet a recent convert to soccer fandom--Rea's book introduced me to a side of NOLA I had not seen, the life of ex-pats just looking to get their soccer fix...or those "odd" Americans who would get up at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday to watch a game largely ignored by most of our countrymen.

Here's to raising a pint to Rea for sharing his story with us...and hopefully we can all enjoy that pint with him at Finn McCool's while watching (ugh) Chelsea!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fergal Carr on April 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was in New Orleans and wanted to see Liverpool v AC Milan in the Champions League. I got an address for Finn McCools and decided to head over there.

I walked into the place and had a sip of my Harp and could hear a Belfast accent cheering on Chelsea to my left. Turned out to be Steven Rea and I found out all about him and his book. You couldn't meet a nicer person I had to come back at 7am to watch another game before I left.

The book is amazing it has everything in it and appeals to all audiences young, old, ex pats, locals, football fans and any sporting fan in general. It has some sad moments and some very laugh out loud moments (which make you fit-in well with the random crazy subway riders who talk to themselves).

All round fantastic book and fantastic fella who should be very proud of this accomplishment.

I look forward to the next installment!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. White on March 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I received Finn McCool's Wed and took it to work and was finished that evening. It's an amazing account of real people facing tragic situations that you can really relate to. If you're a football fan, you can relate even more to the characters in the book......if you're not it's an amazing accout of New Orleans. GET THIS BOOK!!! You will not regret it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve70124 on May 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a funny, compelling novel about finding a new home, new friends, and football in the darkest moments of New Orleans. Rea tells his story in an engaging and self-depreciating manner as he weaves together the story of Katrina and it's aftermath, living in a changed city, and getting the club back together.
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Format: Hardcover
In this funny, poignant, and insightful book, Rea weaves together a vertiginous mix of characters, mishaps, and an unflinching passion for soccer into a luminous tapestry of struggle, rebirth and life in and around a New Orleans working-class pub. New Orleans is the richer for having this wonderful ex-pat author in its number and we hope that more books will come marching out of his compassionately beautiful mind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By kmack3 on May 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A touching, funny and ultimately inspiring look back at how some of New Orleans' most recently adopted sons survived the chaotic near destruction of one of America's great cities.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By w j philbin on May 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Found Stephen Rea's book to be a great read from the first chapter's scene at Finn McCools where he familiarizes us with the bar's habitues, many of them members of the newly-formed soccer team, while introducing a world as obsessed by Chelsea and Manchester United as most New Orleans bar patrons would be with the latest Saints' tomes of alternating success and travail. Overhanging this opening chapter is the reader's implicit foreknowledge of how ominous this Saturday morning bar scene really is and will turn out to be. Rea quickly follows a solid beginning with riveting stories of the ordeals experienced by teammates, that hook the reader for good into a story that is about a lot more than any one of its elements -- the storm, the Irish and Irish-American soccer bar that is at once displaced and at home in a unique American city, a superb narrative of how people you grow to know and care about endured and prevailed. A great tale well told that shows that even years afterward, there are non-cliched Katrina-related stories yet to be told.
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