What are the factors that come together to turn a team into something special – a team where the whole is much greater than “The Sum of the Parts?”
- Nonfiction, Sports
- Page Length:
- 250 – 500 Pages
- Book Status:
- Working Draft
Ten years ago was a special time for Reading Football Club, a provincial team with a long but largely undistinguished history.
Suddenly, all the pieces of the football jigsaw clicked into place to create what was virtually a perfect team – a team that won the Football League Championship in style, amassing a record-breaking total of 106 points in the process. The next season, their first ever in the Premier League, they confounded pundits and opponents alike by finishing eighth and narrowly missing out on European qualification.
That was a perfect time to be associated with Reading Football Club, a time when every week seemed to bring new highs and new wonders. But it was short-lived, and the following season they were relegated back to the Championship.
In the years since then I’ve been striving to discover exactly what made that team quite so good. Just what happened in this brief period to transform a group of relatively unknown players into such a perfect team? Most of them were either at the start of their careers or coming to the end of largely undramatic ones, so just what happened at Reading to make them all have the best years of their careers all at precisely the same time? What was the particular combination of factors that came together simultaneously to make this team so much greater than the sum of its parts?
This book tries to explain that – to discover the ingredients that go into making a team different from a collection of players.
So it’s not just an account of what happened over those three incredible years, it’s also an in-depth analysis of how and especially why it happened, gained from extensive interviews with those on the pitch and those behind the scenes making the key decisions.
As well as recording everything I’ve discovered about what made it all possible, I want to give other Reading supporters a chance to contribute to this project, and to make their own contributions to the text to give a range of voices, opinions and memories other than my own. So I’m using crowd-funding and the “Loyal Royals” panel as part of this project.
I’m excited by this, and hope you will be too and will support it – whether you’re a Reading supporter who wants to celebrate such a great time in the club’s history, someone interested in football and how it operates or just someone interested in what makes a team greater than “The Sum of the Parts.”
Interview with Jon Keen
Why did you write the book?
The Reading team of 2005/6 was really something quite special – no-one who saw them will ever forget just how good they were.
That magical period deserves celebrating and needs to be brought to a wider audience, but as well as recording WHAT happened I’m determined to understand HOW and WHY it happened – how the gods of football all smiled on Reading at the same time and turned them into something so much more than just a collection of players, but into a marvelously effective and entertaining team.
What do you plan to do with the funds you raise?
These funds are needed to produce the book and the first print-run – taking the project from an idea and a blank screen and turning it into a fully-formed book.
This includes taking it through all the stages required to turn it into a quality publication, which means employing professional designers, transcribers, editors, typesetters and so on at all stages, including a high-quality editor sourced through Reedsy. It will also cover various other costs that associated with publishing a book, such as ISBN registration and publicity costs, as well as the first-run publishing costs.
The end result will be a high-quality hardback book with a colour, custom-designed dust jacket, which will include a selection of quality photographs.
Also, just to clarify, none of this crowd-funding income covers my time or travel – they are my own donations to the project.
What research are you carrying out to write this book?
I’m interviewing as many of the key people involved in this team as I can, to understand their perspective on what happened and what made it all possible.
So I’ll be interviewing players and coaching staff, as well as those who chose and funded them, and also a number of others intimately involved with the team on a day-to-day basis. By the end of this, I hope to gave gained real insight into what was behind the team and what made them tick.
Oh, and I’m not forgetting the fans. I want to include opinions and perspectives from a whole range of supporters, so I’m giving them the chance to contribute to this project and to have their thoughts included, through what I’m calling the “Loyal Royals” panel.
When are you publishing? Why wait until March?
I want to publish as closely as possible as I can to the tenth anniversary of Reading’s promotion, 25th March 2006. The current plan is to launch the book at the Madejski Stadium, Reading at the nearest home game to that anniversary, which (subject to fixture changes) is the game against Cardiff City on 19th March 2016.
Is this an official Reading FC publication?
No, definitely not, so I hope it’ll be less “corporate” and more free-thinking than an official book. Reading FC are co-operating in this project, though, and I’m interviewing lots of current and former staff as part of my research.
There will be an “official” Reading FC book commemorating what happened in the fantastic promotion season of 2005/06, which I can thoroughly recommend. To find out more about this project see : http://www.readingfc.co.uk/news/article/onehundredandsix-170615-2496444.aspx