TITLE  = Spirit High and Passion Pure
AUTHOR = Charlie Connelly
PRICE  = 13.59 Pounds, EUR 21.13
SIZE   = 208 pages
YEAR   = 2000, Mainstream Publishing
SOURCE = www.amazon.co.uk
RATING = 3 stars

A decent effort by Connelly, although not as good as some of his other efforts, such as Stamping Grounds or London Fields

The subtitle of this book is A Journey through European Football, and has some pretty decent chapters. It is geared towrds a British audience, but doesn't really lose much in the translation :)

For most of the larger or familiar countries, he focuses on a particular situation or incident to illustrate the state of the game. For example, the Spanish chapter is basically Athletic Bilbao. (A minor criticism is that he readily accepts the "vanguard of Basque nationalism" mantel that Athletic like to wrap themselves up in. For a more level account, see Phil Ball's excellent Morbo). The Italian chapter concentrates on the great Torino team that perished in the the 1949 air disaster. Germany is viewed mostly through the lens of Unterhaching. That makes it somewhat dated, since the then "scrappy" club of Bundesliga fame has dropped the "s" and is in the 3rd division, and possible to drop to the 4th. His desire to latch on to some of the more obscure clubs is admirable, since it would have been easy to just concentrate on the big-shots and call it a day. Among the best chapters is the story of football in the Faroe Islands, lining out how the game has developed there. He wraps his trip up with a trip to Tromso, Norway to check out the state of the game in the "northern-most top flight club."

Again, overall a good book, worth reading.