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Stamping Grounds: Exploring Liechtenstein and its World Cup Dream Paperback – 3 Nov 2005
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A damned good read ... charming, off the wall and well worth a tenner (SUNDAY TIMES)
Connelly has a relaxed style and an intelligent eye for people and places ... his hilarious account of following the Liechtenstein national team should be swallowed whole in one sitting (THE TIMES)
A wonderfully recondite book (OBSERVER)
A must for anyone who loves the underdog. (IRISH EXAMINER)
How a European principality of 30,000 people took on the world at football. And lost.See all Product description
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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.
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.
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