Tag Archives: Books

Losers can be heroes, too

“How often do you hear today, that somebody declares they deserve success because they want it so badly? Wanting something doesn’t mean you deserve to be rewarded, “want” is often a symptom of greed, of entitlement and more than a touch of arrogance. Success has to be earned and the problem for the aggressively-driven folk in society, they are up against similarly-minded people that also feel they ‘deserve’ accolades because they crave the recognition. In a world where instant gratification, impatience and the need to win attention seems to dominate so many people’s lives, life has become a competition. It may have always been like that, but now we have the means to command and control that attention. …”
Game of the People

Too cool for their own good? Union Berlin’s fight to retain their identity

“It takes about half an hour on the train to get from the centre of Berlin to Köpenick, and the journey is a game of two halves. The second half is a gentle rumble through the industrial, residential and woodland heartlands of Bundesliga club Union Berlin. The first half is a sight-seeing tour of Berlin’s world-famous nightlife. …”
Guardian

How to win the World Cup – Chris Evans (2022)


The art of international football management – by those who’ve done it: “The pinnacle of the game. A job reserved only for the very best. That was how an international manager’s role was viewed for decades. The World Cup was where the globe’s top coaches would meet in the dugout, just as the best players were doing so on the pitch. While the growing importance of domestic leagues and the Champions League has curbed international football’s reputation in the 21st century, there remains a special enchantment to leading a national team to glory. No other job in football gives a manager the chance to bring such unbridled joy to so many people. …”
Guardian
amazon

Mafia Madness and ‘The Miracle of Castel di Sangro’

“Stay with me here: You need  to read a 400-page nonfiction book about an inconsequential Italian club you’ve never heard of, from an inconsequential area you’ve never heard of, with inconsequential players you’ve never heard of, under an inconsequential manager you’ve never heard of, that had one improbably inconsequential season in Serie B from the 1990s. …”
Football Paradise
amazon

The Long Revolution of the Ultras Ahlawy

“CAIRO, Egypt — On Sunday, as Ahmed Abdel Zaher turned to celebrate scoring his side’s second goal in the final of the African champions league, he did something strange with his outstretched right hand. He extended his four fingers, and tucked his thumb over his palm. The goal itself was significant—it ensured that Cairo’s mighty Al-Ahly team would beat South Africa’s Orlando Pirates for its eighth champions league title. But in Egypt, it was Abdel Zaher’s celebration that later stole the limelight. For his four-fingered salute has over the past three months become a potent and divisive sign of opposition to the overthrow of Egypt’s former president, Mohamed Morsi. …”
Road & Kingdoms (2013)
Reading List: Ronnie Close
In Conversation with Ronnie Close about Cairo’s Ultras (Audio)
amazon

Once upon a time in Argentina: the story of Ally MacLeod and his Tartan Army


“In his book A matter of Life and Death: A History of Football in 100 Quotations (2015), The Telegraph’s columnist Jim White quotes former Scotland manager Ally MacLeod as saying: ‘You can mark down 25 June 1978 as the day Scottish football conquers the world.’ As was later to be harshly proven, it didn’t quite turn out that way. The tale of Scotland’s venture to South America for the World Cup finals has gone down in infamy, and if the epithet of ‘pantomime’ that many have sought to label the Tartan Army’s travails in Argentina with is appropriate, many would also be keen to cast MacLeod in the role of the piece’s villain. …”
These Football Times
Google: A Matter of Life and Death: A History of Football in 100 Quotations
amazon

St. Pauli: Another Football Is Possible – Carles Viñas and Natxo Parra (2020)

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“… St. Pauli: Another Football Is Possible chronicles the journey of one of world football’s most captivating mavericks in stunning, historic detail. While the publication is marketed as a sports book, it serves as an excellent contribution to the historiography of German social history. The reader is taken on a socio-economic odyssey through the history of Hamburg, which is a fascinating topic in itself. In a city renowned for its liberal decadence, political engagement and eclectic mix of subcultures, there is plenty to unpick. Of course, there’s also the small matter of St. Pauli and its rivalry with HSV Hamburg, a fallen giant of European football. …”
St. Pauli: Another Football Is Possible – Chronicling the history of Hamburg’s one of a kind institution
Football Pink
amazon

Tears at La Bombonera: Stories from a Six-Year Sojourn in South America


Tears at La Bombonera is author Christopher Hylland’s six-year journey living, working, and traveling through South America—where soccer, called football, is a way of life. From Buenos Aires to Colombia’s Caribbean coast and back again, Hylland experiences the history and fanaticism at some of South America’s football clubs along the way. Football is a global language, and he shares the stories and experiences from the terraces. It’s a place where what happens on the pitch can rank low in terms of quality, but means so much off of it; where everything else, most notably the culture of the game, is unrivaled. Hundreds of thousands of football-mad visitors flock to South America every season. To the iconic stadia such as La Bombonera and Maracanã; to lower division teams in the shadows of some of the world’s poorest slums and favelas. Tears at La Bombonera is a book rich in human interest, including the author’s own personal experience of adapting to a new continent and way of life.”
Goodreads
amazon

Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football – Tobias Jones


“… In Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football, Tobias Jones charts a way of life reviled by polite society. Although football hooliganism and ultra culture can be found in many societies, it takes a distinctive form in Italy. As a previous author of fiction and non-fiction with Italian themes, and a devoted fan of calcio, Jones is an expert and sympathetic guide to this strange and tenebrous world. Although helpful, an interest in and knowledge of football is not required to profit from reading the book, because it is about a bigger subject: what the author describes as the ‘vanishing grail of modern life: belonging’. The book traces the genealogy of ultra culture, which originated in the anni di piombo (‘years of lead’) marked by political violence from the far-left and the fascist right and by Mafia murders. …”
Book Review: Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football by Tobias Jones
FT – Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football — fandom and the far-right
amazon

The Barcelona Inheritance – Jonathan Wilson


“… His new book is The Barcelona Inheritance: The Evolution of Winning Soccer Tactics from Cruyff to Guardiola. Wilson takes his tactical knowledge and applies it to a specific coaching tree, albeit one that is quite famous. Johan Cruyff has traditionally been attributed with creating the modern Barcelona style of play. Even today, with every new manager, the questions are asked whether the new man can keep Barcelona playing the same tika taka style while churning out the next great generation of soccer talent every year. Wilson explores Cruff’s legacy through the men who succeeded him at Barcelona and in the Netherlands. …”
Review of Jonathan Wilson’s new book, ‘The Barcelona Inheritance’
Jonathan Wilson and The Barcelona Inheritance
amazon

Three forgotten men and the birth of Iraq’s national football team


“In 2001, exactly 50 years after the Iraqi national team was formed, I made a discovery. I was reading a comment on the old sports forum about a player named Saeed Easho. It was the start to unearthing the story of Iraq’s first national team. Many years later I contacted the ex-footballer, and through him it seemed as if everything fell into place. He had spent the best part of 60 years living outside Iraq so no one knew what had happened to the centre-half of Iraq’s first national side. …”
Guardian
amazon: Birth of the Lions of Mesopotamia: The early years of football in Iraq

Zonal Marking: From Ajax to Zidane, the Making of Modern Soccer – Michael Cox


August 24, 2019: “In life, it takes time to create successful ideas and concepts. Scientists and researchers spend years, even decades, analyzing and studying data to create trials or a study before publishing the results to the world. … I mention this because it may seem odd at first to take a 17-year period and be able to identify seven overarching and different tactical revolutions in soccer in Europe. However, Michael Cox has long established himself as a tactical observer par excellence and his new book argues that the dominant soccer cultures in Europe in the recent past have existed for merely 2-4 years. Zonal Marking: From Ajax to Zidane, the Making of Modern Soccer makes the claim that we have seen six dominant styles of soccer in Europe since 1992 with each based around a national soccer culture. …”
World Soccer Talk
Intelligent football: Michael Cox and the rise of tactical analysis (Oct 2020)
Zonal Marking
Vox in the Box: Michael Cox
amazon
YouTube: Football Tactics with Michael Cox (Zonal Marking)(Aug 13, 2019)

Masters of Modern Soccer: How the World’s Best Play the Twenty-First-Century Game – Grant Wahl


“In Masters of Modern Soccer, Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl asks: How do some of the game’s smartest figures master the craft of soccer? By profiling players in every key position (American phenomenon Christian Pulisic, Mexican superstar Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Belgium’s Vincent Kompany, Spain’s Xabi Alonso, Germany’s Manuel Neuer) and management (Belgium coach Roberto Martínez and Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc), Wahl reveals how elite players and coaches strategize on and off the field and execute in high pressure game situations. …”
amazon
Google