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Kicking Off Around The World

Kicking Off Around The World

55 Stories From When Football Met Politics

by Ramon Usall

Translated by Luke Stobart

55 unbelievable stories of how football made history

'A tour-de-force that touches on how football is always mixed up with politics in every corner of the globe' Mehreen Khan, The Times and co-host of the 'Heroes & Humans' podcast

'Brings us closer to the overlooked aspects of football, the social and political ones, which truly imbue clubs with soul' Carles Viñas, author of St. Pauli: Another Football is Possible

Think you know everything about football?

Which football match triggered a war? How did 'the beautiful game' push back against the tyranny of dictatorship, and usher another into power? Kicking Off Around the World includes 55 incredible stories in which football clubs have been a mirror to—and a maker of—world history and politics.

Full of anecdotes, surprising facts and illustrations, Ramon Usall mixes the grassroots with the greatest of all time; the unknown and the unforgettable. He looks at the women's game, football during the war in Ukraine, and stories of clubs from Britain to the US, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, from football under the Nazis to the communists and everyone in between.

Ramon Usall is a writer, academic and political activist. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Lleida, and regularly writes in different media on the relationship between sport, history, society and politics. He is the author of Futbol per la llibertat, which won the Josep Vallverdú Essay Prize.

Luke Stobart is an academic and writer, as well as a translator and interpreter. He is a lecturer in Spanish history and politics at King's College, London, and economic history at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He is currently writing a book on contemporary left-wing politics and movements in the Spanish state.

'A tour de force that touches on how football is always mixed up with politics in every corner of the globe'

- Mehreen Khan, The Times and co-host of the Humans & Heroes football podcast

'Usall brings us closer, through these 55 stories, to that often overlooked and underestimated aspect of football, the most social, political, and advocacy-driven one, which truly imbues clubs with soul and keeps them rooted in their respective communities'

- Carles Viñas, author of 'St. Pauli: Another Football is Possible'

'An absolute must for anybody interested in the history of football clubs. Kicking Off Around the World not only provides riveting stories, it also reveals surprises about the politics of football that will keep you engaged throughout the whole book.'

- Stephen Ortega, Global Sports Initiative, Harvard University


1. Britain and Ireland: Manchester City F.C., Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Liverpool F.C., Forest Green Rovers, British Ladies' Football Club, Celtic F.C., Star of the Sea Youth Club

2. France and Italy: Red Star F.C., S.C. de Bastia, Juventus F.C., Torino F.C., A.S. Roma, Inter Milan

3. Iberian Peninsular: Associação Académica de Coimbra, Atlético Madrid, Madrid F.C. (Real Madrid), Rayo Vallecano, F.C. Barcelona, C.E. Júpiter, Spanish Girl’s Club

4. Central Europe and Scandinavia: Berliner F.C. Dynamo, F.C. Union Berlin, S.C. Tasmania von 1900 Berlin e.V., St. Pauli, Polonia Warszawa, Ajax Amsterdam, Hakoah Vienna, Christiania S.C.

5. The Balkans: G.N.K Dinamo Zagreb, H.N.K Hajduk Split, F.K. Sloboda Tuzla, F.K Velež Mostar, Olympiacos Piraeus

6. Eastern Europe and the Caucasus: F.C. Olt Scornicești, F.C. Dynamo Kyiv, F.C. Shakhtar Donetsk, F.C. Karpaty Lviv, F.C. Stroitel Pripyat, Klub Oktyabrskoi Revolutsii (Lokomotiv Moscow), F.C. Akhmat Grozny, Qarabağ F.K.

7. The Middle East and Central Asia: Erbil Sports Club, Al-Wehdat Sports Club, Shaheen Asmayee F.C.

8. Africa: Racing Universitaire D’Alger, Club Atlético de Tetuán, JS Massira, Hafia F.C., The Passive Resisters Soccer Club

9. The Americas: New York Ramblers, Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, C.D. Cobresal, Colo-Colo, Mushuc Runa S.C., C.D. Euzkadi


Published by Pluto Press in Jun 2024
Paperback ISBN: 9780745348797
eBook ISBN: 9780745348803

129mm x 198mm