If football is the global game, this is the atlas.
Kuper's look at Johnny Foreigner, in 22 of their 'foreign countries', is remarkable for several reasons. With a journo's nose for sniffing out great stories, his episodic, epic tale encountering players, officials and fans reaches the parts that similar, journey-centred yarns can only dream about touching. It's as much a story of football life than merely football.
What could easily have been bitty and sprawling is instead thought provoking yet entertaining. The chapter about Argentina's then-military government preparing for the 1978 World Cup by putting up scenery of nice houses to hide the slums is astonishing. But then most of the chapters have something equally impressive in them. Like the one with the Stasi, or the idiots at Dynamo Kiev. Even though it's very different to the majority of footy books, it's also miles better.
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