on 8 November 2010
What an excellent book. Little Liechtenstein's world cup journey may be full of defeats, incomprehensible to an Englishman like me or anyone from a country with a large football culture, but I'll be looking out for them from now on, thanks to this book, bought out of curiosity after Liechtenstein's heartbreaking performance against Scotland recently.
If you are bored with the commercial money = success = money equation of modern professional football, the Liechtensteiners will provide relief. A band of part timers and minor professionals, all of them grow through the story and become familiar, featured in excellent interviews with Connelly. The big centre half Patrik Hefti was a particular favorite, along with the schoolteacher full back Frederic Gigon. The match reports too, are excellent, creating great tension whenever the principality manage to break out of their own 18-yard box.
However, what I was surprised to find was that this little book is also probably the best travel guide on the market for Liechtenstein. The Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland features a staggering six sentences about the little principality. Connelly goes on tour throughout this 16 mile by 4 mile country, and all of the places again, become as familiar as the footballers. If you don't like football, I'd still rate this book four stars, purely for the travel segments. Travel writing is always more interesting when the place covered is little known.
It's quirky, quaint and endearing, and little Liechtenstein are now one of my favorite football teams. As concrete a five stars as I could award on Amazon, I loved it and will read it again and again. Hopefully, the little principality will come back to the UK for a game soon. I'll be there.
on 11 February 2009
Charlie Connelly journeys through the world's 6th smallest country, using the international football team to explore this doubly land-locked nation which is wedged between Switzerland and Austria. An absolutely fascinating read which acts as a real eye-opener for all England supporters, as this miniature country, barely noticable on an atlas, battles through the 2002 world cup qualifying campaign. After reading this book, you're guarranteed to form a soft spot for Liechtenstein and will find yourself looking out for all their fixtures and results (if you don't already). Highly recommended.
on 10 February 2006
This is a wonderfully written book about the small country of Liechtenstein and their football team. Great stories, wonderful imagery, well written...it's the perfect book to read on a journey. Brilliant!
on 23 July 2006
A very funny book about Liechtenstein's 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign as seen through an English journalist's eyes. For some odd reason he decided to follow their home away and games on the back of a travel book on Liechtenstein bought in a second hand bookstore. His story combines the background of the country, its people and its fledgling football team.
The most strking thing is the strageness of living in a country with only 35,000 inhabitants, and how this permeats their personality. Especially the fact that it is all ran a by a bloke that lives in the big house on the top of the hill.
By the end, I was hoping the team would get a result against someone, or even just score a goal. They didn't, but that's football for you.