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When Friday Comes: Football in the War Zone [Paperback]

James Montague
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Aug 2008

While religion often violently divides the Middle East, the countries of the world's most explosive region share one thing - a deep and obsessive love of the beautiful game. James Montague travelled there for three years, observing the region's cultures and politics through the prism of football and interviewing all the major teams along the way. He soon realised that to understand the game there is to understand its people. For as much as football forms an unlikely common thread between different countries, the sport also reflects what is unique in the national characters of those who play, support and organise it.

When Friday Comes is an insightful and humorous account of Montague's journey, during which he gets stoned with the Yemeni FA, harangues Iran's Deputy President at the World Cup, has a gun pulled on him by genocidal Lebanese football fans, encounters a rioting group of fanatical young Jews singing 'I'm West Ham 'til I Die' in mockney English and was made to strip and then dance for the Iraqi national team.

This is a compelling travel memoir that will enlighten, surprise and entertain football fans everywhere.

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When Friday Comes: Football in the War Zone + Thirty-One Nil: The Amazing Story of World Cup Qualification
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing (28 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845963695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845963699
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 379,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Funny, exciting and thrilling, with tragedy at every turn, it's a deep but rewarding read" (FourFourTwo)

"A courageous, amusing and informative work" (Daily Telegraph)

"Accessible, well written and hugely entertaining . . . one of the most fascinating sports books of 2008" (Scotland on Sunday)

"Particularly recommended if you prefer your sporting non-fiction to have a dash of humour and a sprinkling of history" (The Observer)

"A vibrant account of sport in the world's most volatile region" (GQ)

Book Description

The first-ever footballing travelogue of the Middle East

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great debut offering ! 17 Oct 2008
You'de think that every aspect of the great game around the world had been covered by now, definately not so ! While we probably know as much about Serie A or the top leagues in Spain and Germany as football fans in those countries do, there are still some areas that have received scant coverage - James Montague has to some extent rectified that with his excellent story of football in the Middle-East.

A statistical history this certainly isn't, a tale of football surviving in the most volatile places in Earth it is. Amusing at times, almost heartbreaking at others, Montague recounts his journeys - and inevitable mishaps and misunderstandings - among the football fanatics of the Middle East, meets lots of important people, drug smugglers and everyday fans - and manages to tell their story, without ever trivialising the all too real political problems prevalent there. There's a good balance between his stories and the factual background details that are necessary in order it make it convincing.

A great read - I'm looking forward to part 2 !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By M. V. Clarke VINE VOICE
The countries of the Middle East are not renowned for their footballing prowess, yet this book makes clear that the game is nonetheless hugely popular there. In an area beset by political, ethnic, religious and humanitarian problems, the popularity of football seems to be both an escape from the difficulties of everyday life and yet also a means for particular groups to assert their identity and values. Montague travels extensively through all sorts of infamous places watching football and getting to know players, officials and fans. His writing is good, setting the football in cultural context in an engaging way. His attempts to prove his own rebelliousness are a little bit tiresome, but on the whole these don't detract from an excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading 18 July 2009
This book is an intersting reading about the huge fotball passion in the Middle East and there are both funny, sad and unexpected parts. The author writes with great passion and i truely enjoyed his stile. I would recommend this book to any football fan or to any person who is intersted in a different perspective on the Middle East.
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