A Very British Coop

Mark Collings

01 August 2013
256 pages


Meet Les Green. Head of the most potent pigeon racing team in the UK – known in pigeon racing circles as ‘The Mafia’. A sharp-tongued, quick-witted ex-gang member from Salford who now devotes his life to breeding and racing pigeons that are as swift and consistent as the expletives that fly from his own foul mouth.

The RPRA (Royal Pigeon Racing Association) – an organization filled with ex brigadiers – sees Les and his lads as a bunch of Northern upstarts out to make trouble. Given the chance, and if they weren’t so damn good, the RPRA would ban them from competing.

This conflict forms the backdrop as we follow Les from his legendary coop in North Manchester to the National Pigeon Racing convention in Blackpool; on to the $250,000 Las Vegas classic; and finally to take part in the ultimate pigeon race – the $1 million bonanza in Sun City, South Africa.

A Very British Coop is the story of Les and his team trying to defy the odds and drag pigeon racing into the 21st century, meanwhile pursuing the ultimate feathered flying prize. It is also the first insight into a global pursuit which blurs hobby and sport, sees pigeons flown first-class round the world before changing hands for over $100,000, and where grown men will stop at nothing to see their bird flying into sight first.