Welcome to Hell?
In Search of the Real Turkish Football
By John McManus
The first book to shine a light on modern-day Turkey through its passionate football culture
Ask a British football fan what they know about Turkish football, and they are unlikely to describe scenes of camaraderie, hospitality and humour. They are more likely to mention banners proclaiming 'Welcome to hell'. Or Leeds United supporters stabbed to death on an Istanbul street.
Frustrated by the game's distorted image back home, John McManus set out to show the Turkish football that he knew - the rich, funny, obsessive, fan culture that he had encountered on the terraces. But he hadn't accounted for the politics. His voyage began at the start of one of the darkest periods in Turkey's modern history, marred by bombings, armed conflict and an attempted coup d'état. Football, he would soon discover, could not help but get dragged in.
Travelling from the elite training facilities of Istanbul to dusty pitches on the Syrian border, taking in visits to far-flung clubs, encounters with characterful players and experiences at riotous matches along the way, Welcome to Hell? offers a unique perspective on an alluring yet troubled football culture, at once both familiar and miles apart from the game in Britain.
John McManus is an anthropologist based at the British Institute at Ankara, where he researches sport and migration in Turkey and the Turkish diaspora. He supports Besiktas and Leicester City. Welcome to Hell? is his first book.
- Other details
- Publication date:
26 Apr 2018
- Page count:
'Excellent' — Irish Sun
'McManus heads off in search of colour and character across the country. He serves up both in ample measure. Nationalist agitators, left-wing ultras, Kurdish fanatics and Syrian ex-professionals . . . all provide fascinating insight into the complex relationship between politics and football at all levels of the Turkish game' — Rob Kemp, When Saturday Comes
'The book takes us on a tour of the beautiful game in Turkey, a window through which to examine society, history and contemporary politics. McManus is a sensitive and astute guide with an eye for the telling detail . . . Full of humor as well as insight . . . Welcome to Hell? is a terrific read' — William Armstrong, Hurriyet Daily News