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Spirit High and Passion Pure: A Journey Through European Football [Hardcover]

Charlie Connelly , Sarah Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Oct 2000
European football is growing to gargantuan proportions. Thanks to the expansion of the Champions' League, the best club sides appear on television almost every week. The European Championships grow bigger and more lucrative with every tournament. Yet what lies beyond the faux-classical strains of the Champions League theme music? Is modern European football just big business. or is the game a vehicle for passion, spirit and national identity? In an attempt to find out, Charlie Connelly embarks upon a European journey in search of the soul of the European game. From Spain's Primera Liga to the Faroe Islands' Second Division, this book examines the game at all levels in some of Europe's most diverse nations and puts the game in its political and social context. In Bosnia, Charlie Connelly finds football succeeding where politics has failed in uniting ethnic rivals. In Spain, he visits the top flight club that represents a fiercely independent people, and in Italy, he visits Turin, a city united in grief 50 years to the day after Europe's greatest club side was killed in a plane crash. In France, he watches the Third Division team that want to take up residence in the Stade de France and become a major force in Europe play in front of 500 diehards. A journey to Northern Ireland reveals a struggling side forced to play every match across an international border. And in Vienna, Connelly goes in search of the legacy of an Austrian football legend who came to a mysterious end after standing up to the Nazis. His journey of over 20,000 miles ends at the northernmost football club in the world.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing (2 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840181575
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840181579
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 489,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Charlie Connelly is a bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster.

He is the author of ten books, including the bestselling 'Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round The Shipping Forecast', and 'And Did Those Feet...: Walking Through 2000 Years Of British And Irish History'.

'Attention All Shipping' is one of the biggest selling travel narratives of the past decade, was a Radio 4 Book of the Week, and the audio version was voted the second greatest audiobook of all time in a Guardian/Waterstones poll in August 2008. 'And Did Those Feet' was also a Radio 4 Book of the Week, read by Martin Freeman.

Charlie was a presenter on the BBC Holiday programme, his first film for which won the Silver Thistle Award for international broadcasting.

He co-presented the first three series of Traveller's Tree with Fi Glover for BBC Radio 4 and devised and presented the acclaimed documentary 'Noel Coward, The Poet' for the same channel. He has been a regular guest on 'Excess Baggage' and has also appeared on BBC Radio 2, RTÉ Radio 1, Newstalk 106.2 and BBC Five Live. Charlie was shortlisted for the 2008 British Guild of Travel Writers' Radio Award for his work on Traveller's Tree.

He has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Times, New Statesman, Arena, Irish Times, Sunday Times, Glasgow Herald and - much to his accountant's amusement - the Financial Times. He has also written comedy scripts for RTÉ Radio One and wrote the well-received comedy show What's The Story?, broadcast in January 2011, for the same channel.

Charlie is a popular and entertaining public speaker, having lectured at the Royal Geographical Society, sold out the Edinburgh Festival and spoken at numerous events and festivals with venues for his solo appearances ranging from a sold out Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to the Toller Porcorum Village Hall in Dorset.

He has sung Blue Moon of Kentucky live on Uzbek national television with the country's biggest pop star, is an official ambassador for a breakaway Lithuanian republic, was once hounded by the UK national press after being falsely accused of intending to invade Rockall, was presented with an honorary team shirt with his name on by the Liechtenstein national football team and has been chased across the Great Plain by Hungarian gangsters. They thought he was someone else, but fortunately he didn't notice until they were arrested.

Charlie was born and raised in London. He now lives in Dublin.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and perceptive 28 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This is the book the game in Europe has been waiting for. Charlie Connelly has penned the best book about football since Simon Kuper's 'Football Against The Enemy' six years ago.
Concentrating on the lesser-known countries like the Faroe Islands as well as the better-known ones, Connelly goes beyond the clubs and national teams to discover where they fit in their countries and what they mean to people.
The chapter on Sindelar the Austrian player is possibly the best piece of football writing ever whilst the chapter onm the Superga disaster gives a much better idea of that tragic event than the whole book that recently came out about it.
Helped by Sarah Williams's magnificent photography this book is essential reading for anyone who cares about the game and wants to find out more about Europe. Thgere are tales here that everyone should know and it is beautifully written if badly edited in places.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirit High Passion Pure 26 July 2002
By Neil
Excellent book. Worth the money. Charlie really captures the feeling of Europe, from the outer reaches of the of Atlantic islands to the War torn parts of Western Europe. From great names to less well known 'stars'.
This book is a great read and I can only say that Charlie is a great writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Intelligent Read 1 Jan 2006
This is the type of football book I really enjoy. Intelligent and well written and with a focus on some of the countries that don't get the press attention they deserve. There are some great stories and lots of historical background to the teams and players. Well recommended.
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