After reading 'Those Feet' and 'Brilliant Orange' I was looking forward to this new work by David. In this book he writes about his trip around the world during the 2002 World Cup. During the trip he tries to watch as many games as he can which involve the country he is currently visiting. The aim of the trip is to understand the post-modern impact of the World Cup. The principle is fine, but the execution is far from perfect.
Fans of David's previous work will know that he cleverly dissects a countries national character and social history using obscure metaphors, in order to understand the impact this has had on their national game. However, this book is very different and it appears as though David was not fully prepared for this undertaking.
The book starts off well enough in Poland, however the only other countries where David fully gets to appreciate how the local residents react to their sides performances in the competition are South Korea, Japan and to some extent Argentina. The rest of the journey is beset by flight delays, illness and people just not interested enough in football to bother watching it.
As a travel book you might be a little disappointed at the lack of planning and contingency, but as a football book there is little to interest those who have read football/travel writing before. The closest book I have read to this one was 'I get tickets' where the author watched world cup qualifiers and therefore didn't have any of the logistical dilemmas that David encountered.
In summary, the book touches on what David does best and the concept was unique, but a little too challenging to accomplish to a high standard.
The author decided to go round the World, watching people watching the World`s greatest sporting event, in 2006. Starting in Berlin he goes to England, Sweden, Poland, Canada, USA, Korea, Argentina, Italy. Did I leave any out? Possibly. I really enjoyed this book, although his rant at a totally justified Italy penalty annoyed me! That`s why I left a star off. In the end, the jet lag catches up with him, no wonder. David Winner produces a book that is part travelogue, part social experiment, part football story. He conveys the excitement of the countries he visits and avoids any boring bits. A wonderful book.