The story of Frank Soo needed to be told and credit to Susan Gardiner for doing so.
Gardiner clearly researched her subject exhaustively and provides great thoroughness regarding Soo’s career. We’re provided with extreme detail regarding goings on behind the scenes, specifically in relation to transfer dealings as well as plenty of newspaper articles. I felt that we didn’t quite get to know Soo as a person as much as I would’ve liked but that in itself is part of the story. I found his later years, when it was seemingly harder to know about his existence, particularly touching.
Should Soo’s international appearances count as full caps? Without doing further investigation but based on the information that Gardiner provided, retrospectively, they probably shouldn’t. Football’s hierarchy could possibly have avoided some of the compromises at the time and allowed them to be.
The Story of Frank Soo definitely merits a film and spreading the word of his achievements could serve as inspiration to young footballers (Or potential footballers) of Chinese origins. In fact, it could serve as inspiration regardless of ethnicity.
Gardiner seems a little harsh on Stanley Matthews in my opinion. I don’t necessarily agree that he should’ve been expected to present Soo in great detail in any of his autobiographies. The book is also littered with typos almost exclusively found in the second half of the book. This has always been a bug bear of mine since my early days as a reader and a couple of horror shows in the first few books that I read. Surely enough proof reading could’ve been done to avoid this?! (If ever there was an invite to pick out my own errors!).
Still, The Story of Frank Soo is required reading and merits attention in English football today. Gardiner’s performance earns her a 7/10 rating.