Book to relive Coventry Bears’ best season yet

James Gordon

Coventry Bears’ record-breaking twentieth anniversary season is set to be immortalised in a new book – a publication that will also raise money for charity at the same time.

Forward! Inside the Coventry Bears’ Twentieth Anniversary Season takes readers through the entirety of the club’s history-making 2018 season, which saw the side record their first-ever victories over traditional heartlands clubs, go further than ever before in the Challenge Cup, put together their longest-ever winning streak in League 1 and break their attendance record twice in the same season.

It also highlights what life is like running, playing for and supporting an expansionist rugby league club that is based outside of the sport’s northern heartlands.

The book run across – naturally – 13 chapters and is part season diary, part behind the scenes profile; it features the story of every Bears game from the 2018 season, all interspersed by a set of six ‘tackles’ – interviews with some of the club’s key volunteers; including their President, matchday reporter and leader of the supporters’ club.

It also features a foreword from BBC Sport’s rugby league correspondent Dave Woods.

All profits from Forward! will be split between the Bears and Rugby League Cares, an independent charity that touches the lives of people involved in every level of the sport.

The book has been written by Dave Musson, a Coventry Bears season ticket holder and co-host of the Bear Necessities podcast – who followed the club home and away last season. It is his first book.

Dave said: “2018 was an incredible season to be involved with the Bears. Not only was it a year-long celebration of the club’s twentieth birthday, but the team really did the business on the pitch too.

“Also, as a case study for what a successful expansion club looks like – one that is working hard to spread the game to new areas, build a loyal fanbase, grow a business and do it all within budget – the Bears are a fascinating example.

“All in all, last year felt like a great subject for a book, so I went ahead and wrote it!”

Alan Robinson, Coventry Bears founder, owner and CEO, said: “Our twentieth anniversary season was by far the club’s best season yet, so it’s amazing to have it captured forever in this book. We made a lot of friends and turned a lot of heads last season, and passed some important milestones too.

“What’s most exciting, though, is that we’re really only just getting started! I’m honoured that Dave has decided to write a book about such an important season for my club and I hope anyone with an interest in rugby league will support him and support the Bears and buy it.”

Chris Rostron, the Head of Rugby League Cares, said: “We are thrilled to be involved with this fantastic project which celebrates one of the sport’s real success stories. Coventry Bears do so many things exceptionally well, both on and off the pitch, and the book captures all the excitement of what was a pivotal season for them.

“The Bears have always been great supporters of the charity and we are very grateful to be selected as a benefeciary of Dave’s terrific book. We wish the club and Dave every success with the launch of Forward!

The book costs £10 (plus delivery) and is available to pre-order until 22 July as part of a crowd-funded, independent publishing campaign. To buy a copy, head to