The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer
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In this extraordinary tour de force of a book, David Goldblatt describes the rise of football, from a chaotic folk ritual to a sector of the global-entertainment industry. It's the story of players and managers, fans and owners, clubs and national teams; a chronicle of who won and who lost. But it's also a history of states and markets, money and power. And, above all, how all these forces interact. It is a history which attempts to locate where the line between the realm of glory and the realm of power has been crossed, that celebrates the love of the game, but knows that it can be bought. Thus the book describes and accounts for the careers of Pele and Maradona, Puskas and George Best; the histories of the Wunderteam and the incomparable Hungarians, the anti-futbol of Estudiantes de la Plata and the futbol arte of Brazil 1970. It explores the cultural meanings and political uses of football in Peron's Argentina, Adenauer's West Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union and Mussolini's Italy. It ranges from the postcolonial politics of African football to the manufacturing history of the football boot; from the history of stadium architecture to the architecture of power in global football's leading institutions.
a mere half century after he had noted the virtual disappearance of football it should have come to dominate the curriculum of the most prestigious and powerful public school in the land. It would surely have been beyond even the wildest reaches of Strutt’s imagination to conceive that a century after he had casually written the obituary of traditional football it had in its modernized form become the national game of England and Scotland and was well on its way to becoming the single most
courtiers acquired and properties bought and filled. The crowd may have sung ‘Maradona, no se vende. Maradona no se va, Maradona es Patrimonio Nacional’ - ‘Maradona is not for sale, Maradona is going nowhere, Maradona is the nation’s heritage.’ But he was for sale, and he would be going. European money was calling. As Maradona’s star rose, so that of Argentina’s economy fell. The military’s stringency had failed to quell inflation which was climbing towards astronomical levels again. Output
and political theory, economics and psychology to help us. Most of these disciplines do not even recognize play for what it is, the most obvious universal human characteristic in a world that seems irretrievably diverse. When the imaginative resources of the social sciences fail us there is literature. In Hermann Hesse’s novel The Glass Bead Game we can find one of the few systematic thought experiments into what a civilization might look like if its aspirations, hopes, values and identities were
country’s sports pavilions were among the loudest exponents of imperial hubris and punch-drunk patriotism, while the 1909 general strike saw many clubs offer up armed vigilante groups to the government. The regular game between Sweden and Denmark, beginning in 1908, became the centrepiece of this strategy in which the unruly working-class energies of the terrace could be flared off like a flammable gas in an outward-facing nationalism rather than consumed by domestic class conflict. In the 1913
from central Moscow like the spokes of a wheel. They provided, for the first time, inter-communal transport for the poor and middle classes - an essential precondition of lower-class organized football. Each of the first five lines built out of Moscow generated its own distinctive dacha league, as a contemporary report described: In recent days soccer has spilled over into the dacha towns. Young people are enthralled by the game, and they are turning their backs on the unhealthy activities