Clapton CFC feature in new book on non-league football

CCFC member Matt Coughlan writes about his new book: Turncoat: How I Stopped Supporting Arsenal and Found a New Team.

I’m sure there are plenty of Clapton CFC fans who once followed a league club, seduced by John Motson commentating on the stars of the day, trying to emulate them in the playground, and if you were lucky, going to see them in a large crowd. Only now those crowds are arguing about VAR, winning the transfer window, and if being complicit in a dubious regime’s attempts at sportswashing is worth it for a day at Wembley. 

For me the greed in the game, kick off times moving for TV, and the loss of that excitement I grew up with, meant I stopped going to Arsenal. It was an article about Clapton and their growing band of supporters that got me thinking about starting to go to non-league football. 

This led to my book, Turncoat, which captures my journey from Premier League to non-league. 

Now, since I’m a Clapton CFC member that might give the ending away, but there were plenty of other fan owned clubs, local sides, and famous old names in non-league fallen on hard times that I found myself watching on the way. 

If it weren’t for a waterlogged pitch and then a global pandemic, I would have seen them a lot sooner and it might have been a pamphlet not a book. 

Clapton might seem like an obvious choice, but I reflect on the factors that go into falling for a team. 

The book also captures a mixed bag of football, on sloping pitches and in gale force winds. There’s the sights of non-league (including boardrooms and the all important buffet), the sounds of the terraces (and usually the cry of ‘winners’ from the pitch) and the smells (deep heat and beer) on a journey through non-league in London and the south-east. 

Early reviews have compared it to the Far Corner by Harry Pearson, although that was a review from my brother, so make of that what you will. If you enjoyed reading that classic, then you might want to check out Turncoat.

It’s available through Pitch Publishing, but feeling slightly uncomfortable hawking my book, when there are other worthy causes out there, hopefully it should also be available through your local library.