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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 – January 27, 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing; 1st edition (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589806417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589806412
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,313,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As someone who only experienced Katrina on my couch watching news coverage from half way across the country, this book was a very good insider's account of what the people of New Orleans really went through during this terrible natural disaster. Intertwining his Katrina story and the stories of his friends from Finn McCool's with the story of the Pub soccer team made for a fascinating read. I was also fortunate to get to meet the author this past summer in NYC during the Chelsea Football Club US summer tour. We are both Chelsea supporters, so the bits of the story where he talks about trying to catch Chelsea matches after being evacuated was especially neat for me as I could sit back and recall where I was for those particular matches.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stephen Rea's book, Finn McCool's Football Club, is one of the best reads I have purchased this year. I'm from the same neck of the woods (sort of) as Stephen, so I understood many of the football (soccer) references, but it really doesn't matter if you have never watched a Chelsea match. The soccer is used to bring the story together, and what a story it is. I have read a few books that deal with Hurricane Katrina, but this one does so with a rawness that makes it hard to set aside until the last page is turned.
As we read about the struggles of the pub soccer team in the aftermath of the hurricane, we feel what they felt, their hopes and fears. These are ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary, and frightening, situation. One can't help but wonder how we would have fared under such circumstances.
Finn McCool's Football Club is a well written page turner that delivers from start to finish.
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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Katrina survivor who lost almost everything, including nearly all of my couple of thousand books, I find it difficult to read accounts of the storm and its aftermath, because they tend to bring back the pain. But Stephen's book is both serious where it needs to be and highly amusing, so I both laughed and cried. The important thing is that his story highlights the post-Katrina resurrection of Finn McCool's, the football club, and the city, ending on the hopeful note that we all need to keep on keeping on. I'll be reading it again.
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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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