on 17 October 2008
Totally agree with the above review. Its great to read about the lesser nations - or should that be lesser non-nations ! Well written, with a great balance of factual information alongside the authors own tales. Much better value for money than much of the dross on the shelves in your local WHSmith.
on 26 April 2012
Steve Menary's book, OUTCASTS, can be recommended for anyone who loves football. The book gives a rare insight into a football world that usually does not get much attention in the international media. The book is about the lands that the world governing body of football, FIFA, does not accept as members. The denial of existence by FIFA does not stop these countries from playing football no matter what it takes and how remote these places are. The core of the book is therefore about the true love to the beautiful game.
The book contains so many fascinating stories, that it is difficult to pick one single out. One of my favorite is the story about football on the Falklands Islands, where the passion for football and politics are mixed together. The story about Chris Clarke, who went to take a trial in Boca Juniors, is an intersting example of this mixture. Another fascinating story is about the football in Greenland, where players have to travel long dangerous distances to play football matches, which sometime has tragically consequences.
OUTCASTS is also a very topical. The tiny British colony, Gibraltar, is at the moment trying once again to become a member of UEFA. Gibraltar's membership will be taken up to account at the UEFA Congress in 2013, when all UEFA's members will vote on whether Gibraltar will receive a membership or not. This is certainly not the first time Gibraltar is trying to become member of UEFA. The book describes very well Gibraltar's attempt in 2007 to become a member of UEFA, but where the football giant, Spain, threatened to boycott UEFA if Gibraltar was given a membership.
For me personally the book, Outcasts, is very interesting. I come from the Faroe Islands, which is not an independent nation under the UN. The Faroe Islands did, however, get membership in UEFA and FIFA in 1988. It is difficult to describe how much this has meant for the development of football on the Faroe Islands, and also for the national feeling of being Faroese. The membership in UEFA and FIFA has clearly put the Faroe Islands on the world map, and, after the swimming superstar Pál Joensen,the Faroese National Football Team is today, rightly so, regarded as one of the most important ambassadors for the Faroese nation. I therefore fully understand the dream, passion and determination of all these countries to become a part of the "football family", as Blatter usually calls FIFA's members. You can't do anything else than admire all these peoples, who are behind these football associations, persistently pushing for their case no matter how the chances, of FIFA to open the gates, look like.
I will therefore recommend everyone who would like to get a different angle of the beutiful game to read Steve Menary's book OUTCASTS.
on 16 June 2011
Steve Menary's excellent `Outcasts! The Lands that FIFA Forgot' is a tour around the lands excluded by Sepp Blatter's organisation, and their attempts to try and play fixtures, create and attend tournaments, and develop the beautiful game. These attempts often threatened and thwarted by both FIFA, and international politics, are documented by Menary; but he doesn't let either Blatter's organization, or politics, obscure the varied football stories of the text. Taking in areas as diverse as Zanzibar, the Isle of Man and North Cyprus, Menary's study is both in-depth and informative, as well as being commendably unsentimental. He refuses to romanticise the grim conditions of some of the grounds he visits, and to paint everything parochial as positive; something which few books on lower-level football manage. The potted histories and social reflections of the book also provide interesting reading, from British sovereignty in Greek Cyprus, referendums in Gibraltar, and bringing together the ethnic divisions of previously war-torn Kosovo; and these reflections never take the book off the topic of football for too long. Menary has also managed to interview a number of both coaches and players in the book, meaning that we get a first-hand account of things like Sami traditions and Northern Cypriot identity, from the people who know best about it.
There are a few flaws within the text. Though Menary is a thorough and solid narrator, and rightly refuses to romantically poeticise the situations these sides are in, the book seems to lack a bit of passion, and he doesn't seem too enthralled by the football he sees (though admittedly much of it is of a relatively poor quality). Secondly, the book has a number of grammatical errors, which prove an annoyance whilst reading. Finally, Menary offers a bit too much time to a few people. Arrogant North Mariana coach Vince Stravino is a poor choice for Menary's mouthpiece on the footballing issues of the US territory, and Menary also gives too many pages to the NF Board, who do too little to warrant it. Still, these faults are outweighed by the excellent qualities of the book. Thorough, engaging and genuinely original, Menary's book is perfect for those who've ever wondered what a football cup for Clerics is like, how Greenland's national team functions (or sometimes doesn't), and who enjoy a pun-fest involving gambling company mybet, and the Tibetan national team. A truly worthwhile read.
on 10 July 2009
review by David Carli
Title:"Outcasts! The Lands That FIFA Forgot"
Author: Steve Menary
Publisher: Know The Score Books
"Outcasts! The Lands That FIFA Forgot" is a book written by Steve Menary. It's a book about the world of Unrecognised Football Nations, football nations that are not allowed by the FIFA to internationally represent themselves. It's a publication highly recommended for anybody that is interested in Unrecognised Football Nations (abbreviated to UFN from here on). But it's such a well written book that it's also understandable and interesting for people who don't know much about the world of football outside of FIFA.
"Outcasts" is a book that gets into the seemingly countless amount of inconsistencies in FIFA regulations. This is a book about football nations that want to represent themselves by playing international football matches, but are not allowed to do just that. Also in this book are stories about the NF-Board (New Federation-Board) who want to let all the people play.
You can't write a book about UFN without mentioning the NF-Board, so there's quite a lot of stories about the NF-Board here. There are stories about the good: "the NF-Board's initial provisional membership swells to 17 football federations" and the bad: "[it] should be the first game in the VIVA World Cup, but, not only are there no fans, there are no teams." The stories in the book are very honest. Steve Menary tries to describe people and events as accurate as possible and doesn't try to make things seem better than they are in reality.
NF-Board president Christian Michelis and NF-Board general secretary Jean-Luc Kit, who are very impressed with Menary's book, were actually the ones who recommended me to buy this book. And I'm quite happy for that as I've obviously enjoyed reading it.
The book has it's factual errors though. For example, The Hague is incorrectly mentioned in chapter sixteen as the capital of The Netherlands. However, The Hague is merely the seat of government and not the capital (Amsterdam is the capital) of The Netherlands. There is also an incorrect mention of Australia and New Zealand reaching the FIFA World Cup finals in 1970 and 1974 respectively, while it was actually 1974 and 1982 respectively. And I'm sure there's a few more, but you could describe these errors as minor errors and they really don't have any effect on the quality of the story.
I was happy to see an entire chapter devoted to football from the Northern Mariana Islands. To find a book about UFN is one thing, but to also find out that there's also something about football from the Northern Marianas was quite a pleasant surprise. It's a chapter that describes how the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association emerged and became a provisional member of the East Asian Football Association. It's quite an amazing story about how a man called Peter Coleman, who just wanted to let his children play football, ends up creating a national team that becomes a provisional member of the EAFF. This is a rare example where one of the UFN actually starts getting some recognition. Unfortunately, most UFN, for example Greenland who have been trying to get some recognition for many years now, are not this lucky.
It's a very enjoyable book for people interested in UFN, but it's also very interesting for football fans in general as it gives a whole different perspective of the international football than most people are accustomed to. The stories are not only about football, but also about the protection of human and cultural rights. As someone who is involved with UFN, I'm happy to see that there's now a chance for everybody to read about what's really going on in the world of international football. Rating: Excellent!
on 6 April 2012
Outcasts! The Lands That FIFA Forgot by Steve Menary is a must read for anyone interested not just in football but in people, politics and the world at large.
Steve travels around the world and speaks to people involved at the bottom of the international football pyramid getting to know how a man from Denmark started up the Tibet national team, a German comedian organizing an alternative world cup and a Dad who initially just wanted to raise a team for his son to play for but ended up starting a national football team.
If you are intrigued by the world of Football outside of FIFA, away from the mega rich in the Premier League or La Liga then I cant highly recommend Outcasts enough.
Some of the places covered by Outcasts you may never of heard off but after reading this you will know all about football in the likes of Zanzibar, Vatican City, Kosovo or the Northern Marianas Island.
It may be a couple years since this book was launched but the issues and stories told in this book are still important and relevant today. Their is also a number of great photos inside the book which lets you see for yourself the great characters involved in the book.
on 20 March 2010
I was looking for information on "international" results in the Channel Islands and whilst reading an article, this book was mentioned.
It features what FIFA would call non-countries and their struggles to gain acceptance on the international stage. Countries as diverse as Greenland and Zanzibar, Tibet and the Falklands, plus many more. It also looks at the FIFI Wild Cup, played a few weeks before the official FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2006 and the football tournament in the biennial Island Games (like an Olympics for small islands). There is a results section in the back along with appendices with FA formation dates and memberships of various organisations.
I think this quote from the book sums up its outlook: "Sometimes I think FIFA forgets it doesn't own football. It's supposed to be a World Cup, but FIFA doesn't want to share it with the world." (Jens Tang Olesen, Coach, Greenland).
I would heartily recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the wider world of football.
on 4 January 2008
While confessing an interest - I know the author Steve Menary - I can honestly say that this is an excellent book. At a time when football is increasingly dominated by money, Steve has travelled to countries ranging from Greenland to the Channel Islands to find people excluded from the mainstream but with more passion for the game than a whole host of Premiership stars. It's an insight into the politics at the margins of the game and a series of portraits of people and places I knew nothing about. Good for pub quizzes too - do you know who won the inaugural Wild Cup in 2006?
on 11 February 2014
It is an odd thing it turns out, the definition of a country. What seems such a simple idea of nationhood can end up in a right royal mess when looking at some of the more ambiguous nations on Earth. It seems hard enough for the United Nations to agree on what is a country, so how does FIFA go about it? FIFA of course famously have more member “nations” than the United Nations; an anomaly explained by the inclusion of various non-independent territories, and of course the odd non-nation notably England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.<!--more-->
Recent legal haranguing has seen the territory of Gibraltar gain UEFA membership, playing their first fully fledged international match in November 2013. Their admission to the European governing body was so controversial given Spain’s refusal to accept their membership application and the fact that UEFA and FIFA changed their rules, but crucially only after Gibraltar’s original application, to exclude non-independent territories. Only excluding those not already in the club that is. The likes of Faroe Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Anguilla and Turks & Caicos Islands may not be independent nations but they are already part of football’s world.
In this book Steve Menary explores football in some of the world’s smaller aspiring “national” football teams, from Gibraltar to Jersey, Guernsey, Greenland, Northern Cyprus and Tibet among others. What comes across in every tale of dashed dreams is a love of the game and a simple desire to be able to represent their “nation” on a grander stage than they are currently allowed. For many, local clashes such as the annual Jersey – Guernsey match are the main focus of their ambitions. The Islands Games provides a more international flavour to their ambitions as does the VIVA World Cup and the Non-FIFA Board of football nations. This is the official club for the officially excluded.
With interviews from players and officials from the various national teams he visited, Menary paints a sad picture of nations striving for acceptance. That’s not to say that all of the teams featured in the book want to become part of FIFA – for some that would represent a step too far, the reasons for which Menary delves into in the book. Some of the reasons are political, some are practical, but in each differing case this book reveals one common love of the game and passion for representing their people.
Particularly in view of Gibraltar’s recent progression to the ranks of UEFA’s nations this book makes for an interesting read, and shines a light on various footballing backwaters that are kept from the collective consciousness of most football fans by their lack of FIFA’s backing. Written in an engaging style, only occasionally venturing into detail overkill, Menary educates and informs the reader leaving you hoping for more recognition for those “nations” who want it, or at the very least more opportunities to play and represent their people.
What comes through is the myriad of reasons behind why certain nations can’t be represented. Needless to say, the hypocrisy of FIFA or its regional subsidiaries is a recurring theme. For example the case of CONCACAF allowing membership to various non-independent territories merely it seems to boost its voting bloc within FIFA. But other countries are excluded for not being independent, despite having the same status as those accepted through CONCACAF.
FIFA gets to decide who is in and who is out, and creates its own world map accordingly. For the areas of the world not a part of that map, finding opposition to play is a challenge, and for those organisations trying to bring them together the road is a constantly tricky one.
on 15 August 2011
"Outcasts! The Lands That FIFA Forgot" is not only about football and FIFA. Via interesting anecdotes and interviews the book describes the interactivity between football and politics. It's about countries that feel politically distinguished from a colonial power, or are a minority in a larger country. The common dream they all share is to be able to defend their national feelings in sports. That large institutions and countries such as FIFA and Spain see these dreams as a threat becomes quite clear.
Finding literature about football in those "outcasts" such as Northern Marianas, Greenland or the Falkland Islands is hard. Menary unravels many of the mysteries and challenges around football in such isolated places. The book basically gives the reader a social, historical and political introduction of nation of nations that are ringing at the FIFA doorbell. Since this door remains closed for many of the nations described, results of these "national teams" are not very easy accessible. Menary gives in the last section of the book a database of all known results of these "obscure" national teams.
In all, "Outcasts!" is a fascinating read on "the other side" of our most beloved football.
on 15 February 2012
Steve Menary's work provides a unique insight into non-FIFA football and is a wonderful reflection of the fact that football is the world's game. So much so, in fact, that there are parts of our globe which (for a variety of reasons which Mr.Menary brilliantly puts across in the book) FIFA has yet to reach. Not only is the book an illustration of the game's reach to every corner of the world, but it also provides an excellent insight into the political and social complexities that accompany the game, perhaps precisely because of the extent of it's reach and popularity.
The book will appeal to lovers and students of the game, to those who marry an interest in football with one in politics and/or international relations, and to those who are fascinated by the quirky curiosities and accidents of history and geography which abound in many areas of our planet.
Buy this book!