on 3 June 2014
Purchasing this product was a bit misleading, as I assumed it was the memoirs the football writer / journalist Jonathan Wilson - author of "Behind the Curtain: Travels in Eastern European Football" and "Inverting the Pyramid: A History of Football Tactics". It's not. It took me a while to catch onto this. Football is referred to as "soccer" throughout the book, I had imagined the author to be a lot younger, and I didn't know he was Jewish. Football / soccer is more a background theme to the memoirs, when I expected it to be the forefront of the content. I was always waiting for the part when he takes an interest in Eastern European football, or switched allegiance from Spurs to Sunderland, but it never came!
This is by no means the fault of the author, and I did enjoy the book, it just was about someone completely different to who I thought it was!
Kick and Run – Could be Any English Guy
Kick and Run – Memoir with Soccer Ball could have been written by most men in Britain of a certain disposition, football (soccer) lovers. The twist in this book to add to his outsider status as a football fan is that he happens to be Jewish and was brought up in North London. The one main difference is that Jonathan Wilson is now living and working in America in a world that think football is an egg shape and should be thrown around a pitch. They never really got the concept football means that is should be moved by the foot, but who am I to point this out to our colonial cousins?
Jonathan Wilson recounts his life from North London Jewish boy to a respected American academic at Tufts University through the prism of football. Like all football fans he has broken the book down in to chapters that fill the full 90 minutes plus extra time as if it were a cup tie. What Wilson brings to this wonderful book is a dry sense of humour, especially when recounting trying to teach the upper echelons of Boston society kids the basics of football.
He describes that when he was a member of the North West London U14 Jewish Boys Club team, there was a secret that ran through the heart of the team. A number of the parents had been refugees on the Kindertransport and the relatives left behind were murdered by the Nazis. He also points out that Pope John Paul II played for a Jewish team before his ordination in Wadowice.
This memoir with the aid of football matches takes from North London, to Essex University and on to Boston, to the World Cup final in the Rose Bowl in 1994. There are some great stories retold throughout the book, and to me some of the funniest usually encounter Tottenham Hotspurs or Spurs to us football fans. Also the 1994 World Cup brings up some funny stories of trying to talk football, when none of the population are interested. What he did find that he got to speak to many immigrants about football, about the world’s biggest single sporting event.
There are times when this book really does tug at your heart strings especially after his mother died in 2003 and he found out more about his family. He encapsulates what it is like for families that have been separated by war and events, something I too know, when history walks up and punches you in the face! At times this book can also haunt you with the stories that need to be remembered especially as the witnesses are getting fewer by the year.
An interesting book written by a Jewish Spurs fan with family that were Polish Jews, read by a Manchester City fan whose family were Polish. An interesting book for those interested in football or those those like to understand people that love football.