Happy Thursday! Today I’m bringing you an extract on the blog tour for More Than a Game by Ralph Robb…
Sabina Park Rangers is the first team of black players to reach the final of the Watney’s Challenge Cup. But coach Horace McIntosh has more selection problems than most. The First Division champions want to sign one of his best players – and right up until the day of the match he is uncertain that he will have a team for the biggest game in the club’s history because of arrests, a scam and an atmosphere of impending violence.
extract – from the prologue
This gives an introduction to the setting of the book:
By then the team had been going for over a decade, and had changed its name twice, but had finally settled with ‘Sabina Park Rangers’ for over half that period. It was a name that evoked happy memories for the coach, who as a youth had watched the Jamaican national team play in Sabina Park stadium in Kingston. Horace McIntosh had ambitions for the young men who played for him; they were not particularly grand but he wanted them to expand their horizons a little further than the town’s smoky boundaries. He believed football would give them a purpose and a sense of achievement that wasn’t exactly plentiful – as he saw it – in a lot of their lives. When his team moved from a town to an area league, he decided that they needed a new name, one that had a cultural reference but that was not overtly provocative to some of the white teams. In the early 1970s his players had travelled to areas where there were few or no black people and the team members were sometimes greeted as if they had just landed from outer space. Normally such trips passed without trouble, but in rougher areas home teams would often bring a gang with them if they saw their next fixture was against a side whose name included words such as ‘Afro’, ‘West Indian’, ‘Caribbean’, ‘Punjab’ or ‘Black’. The thugs were rarely up to much, they’d jeer during the match and throw stones at the minibus as the team was leaving, but there had been incidents that had escalated into more serious violence. Once, after some guys on the sidelines made monkey noises, a mass brawl broke out. It involved the spectators, all twenty-two players, substitutes and coaching staff. Two other white teams also got stuck in; they had been playing on an adjoining pitch but got involved when it became obvious that those in Horace’s team who had dabbled in boxing and the martial arts were getting the upper hand. There had been talk of setting up a black league after that, but it was eventually decided that it would be tantamount to a surrender to racists and so the team changed its name for a final time and joined another, bigger, amateur league.
about the author
Ralph Robb was born and raised in the industrial town of Wolverhampton, England, and now lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife, two cats and a dog. A proud father of four, Robb works as an engineering technician and loves rugby, martial arts and of course a good book. His world is balanced by his obsession with comic books, quality TV, global events and the great outdoors.
tour hosted by:
Rachel’s Random Resources
Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on the tour and to Ralph and the publisher for sharing an extract.
Have a lovely day!