I’m slowly finding more and more books that take in football in Oceania and so I’ve decided to review them here so as to spread the word for other like-minded fans.
Let’s face it, if you’re looking for books on the English Premier League, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or European football in general, there are a million and one books you can buy to satisfy your craving. But what about those fans who want to read more about the teams who struggle? How about semi-professional or amateur football? Or maybe the very bottom of the FIFA Rankings is your poison?
I recently picked up a copy of Aidan Williams’ quite brilliant book, “Worst In The World – International Football At The Bottom Of The FIFA Rankings”. In the 139 pages of said book, the writer goes in-depth on national teams from around the world who have taken their turn to prop up the rest of the FIFA world’s nations. There are interviews with players, coaches and administrators and also the quite brilliant stories of their World Cup Qualifying adventures. For instance, how many knew that there was an alternative World Cup Final being played the same day as the 2002 World Cup Final in Japan? The only difference was that this alternative final was being played in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, and it was between the two lowest ranked sides in the world at the time.
A personal highlight for me was reading of how the volcano-hit Caribbean island of Montserrat, cobbled together a squad of part-time and amateur players from the refugee diaspora in the UK. With two thirds of the population having left after the Soufriere Hills erupted with menace, it’s quite some story. Also the former teacher who was released by Hull City as a junior and ended up finding his way to he beautiful Turks & Caicos Islands to found a national side, FA and youth setup so as to play World Cup Qualifiers every four years.
There are also tails from Asia, Europe and, of course, Oceania in the shape of American Samoa. This was something which was also covered in the quite brilliant documentary “Next Goal Wins”.
I can thoroughly recommend this book and would suggest it’s a must for any fan of the world game. To purchase, it can be found here.
by Paul Gellard