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A celebration of the classic football derby matches. From the Celtic–Rangers rivalry and Tyneside derby to the biggest global clashes from Barcelona to Buenos Aires, journalist Andy Mitten uses the fans' own words and stories to illuminate the conflicts, tensions, histories and culture behind these fascinating games.
From Belfast to Barcelona, Buenos Aires to Bogotá, these are football matches that are far more than a game.
Often a microcosm of life in a city, there are countless rivalries between clubs which are steeped in a historical enmity based on class, religion, politics, envy or philosophy. Some of the games, like Rangers v Celtic, are renowned for their vocal sectarianism, others like Tenerife v Las Palmas for their eclectic fan base, while little or nothing is known about the derbies in Cairo and Calcutta which attracts twice as many fans as any Old Firm clash.
Andy Mitten journeys across the UK and the far-flung regions of planet football, talking to a host of passionate fans – from the vividly ordinary, working-class supporters to the corporate box brigade who think nothing of hopping on a plane for their weekend jaunt to the exotic cities of Madrid, Barcelona or Milan – and gets to share their highs and lows. This in turn provides a fresh and revealing insight into the people who make these matches matter – the fans – using their own words and stories to illuminate the conflicts, tension and histories behind the games. He also interviews players, managers, politicians, local journalists and agents drawing out differing opinions and perspectives on the beautiful game.
Among the highlights:
Celtic v Rangers, Man Utd v Liverpool, Cliftonville v Linfield, Sunderland v Newcastle, Preston v Blackpool, Barcelona v Real Madrid, Roma v Lazio, Boca Juniors v River Plate, Fenerbache v Galatasaray, Ajax v Feyenoord, the Faroe Islands derby, the Calcutta Derby, and the worst derby on the planet, alongside many more.
‘Football is a little dangerous…it is very popular and all the religions are there. Especially Hezbollah. Football is very important for the Shia.’ Spokesman for the Lebanese FA
About the author
Andy Mitten started the Manchester United fanzine 'United We Stand' when he was 15, in 1989. He writes for The Independent, FourFourTwo and GQ. His previous books include Paddy Crerand’s autobiography, Never Turn The Other Cheek, The Rough Guide to Manchester United and We're The Famous Man United.