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Behind the Curtain

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781409109044

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 9th April 2012

Genre: Lifestyle, Sport & Leisure

Select a format:

Paperback
‘Epic… Wilson writes captivatingly with humour…anyone with an interest in eastern European sport will be consulting this book for years to come’ FINANCIAL TIMES

This fascinating and perceptive travelogue includes a fine collection of anecdotes too colourful for fiction’ SUNDAY TIMES

A blissful book, lovingly and stylishly written’ DAILY TELEGRAPH

From the war-ravaged streets of Sarajevo, where turning up for training involved dodging snipers’ bullets, to the crumbling splendour of Budapest’s Bozsik Stadium, where the likes of Puskás and Kocsis masterminded the fall of England, the landscape of Eastern Europe has changed immeasurably since the fall of communism. Jonathan Wilson has travelled extensively behind the old Iron Curtain, viewing life beyond the fall of the Berlin Wall through the lens of football.

Where once the state-controlled teams of the Eastern bloc passed their way with crisp efficiency – a sort of communist version of total football – to considerable success on the European and international stages, today the beautiful game in the East has been opened up to the free market, and throughout the region a sense of chaos pervades. The threat of totalitarian interference no longer remains; but in its place mafia control is generally accompanied with a crippling lack of funds.

In BEHIND THE CURTAIN Jonathan Wilson goes in search of the spirit of Hungary’s ‘Golden Squad’ of the early fifties, charts the disintegration of the footballing superpower that was the former Yugoslavia, follows a sorry tale of corruption, mismanagement and Armenian cognac through the Caucasuses, reopens the case of Russia’s greatest footballer, Eduard Streltsov, and talks to Jan Tomaszewski about an autumn night at Wembley in 1973…

Reviews

There's everything you needed to know about football and plenty that you didn't... wittily observed travel writing.
WHEN SATURDAY COMES
A terrific book
Henry Winter, DAILY TELEGRAPH
Football is centred squarely within a fascinating socio-political context... There is plenty of humour too
INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Compelling... he [Wilson] succeeds in going well beyond the lurid headlines, skilfully interweaving his own travel notes with forays into politics, culture and history
FOURFOURTWO
An intriguing, entertaining history-cum-sports travelogue. ****
METRO
Wilson knows an immense amount about eastern European football and has crammed a lot into 300 pages. He writes well and has a lot of good stories
GUARDIAN
As absorbing as any post-war spy thriller
SUNDAY LIFE
Engrossing and funny travelogue-cum-social history
GLASGOW EVENING TIMES
This fascinating and perceptive travelogue includes a fine collection of anecdotes too colourful for fiction
SUNDAY TIMES
Jonathan Wilson brilliantly plugs the gaps in our knowledge...an observant and witty guide to life in Eastern Europe
WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY
With style and erudition, [Wilson] proves that football is a metaphor, an allegory, and much more than just a game
THE TIMES
Enlightening
THE SCOTSMAN
With style and erudition, [Wilson] proves that football is a metaphor, an allegory, and much more than just a game
THE TIMES
Enlightening
THE SCOTSMAN
Epic... Wilson writes captivatingly with humour...anyone with an interest in eastern European sport will be consulting this book for years to come
FINANCIAL TIMES
A blissful book, lovingly and stylishly written
DAILY TELEGRAPH