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Pirates Punks & Politics By Nick Davidson

Release date: 17th March, 2014
Publisher: Sports Books Ltd

List Price: £8.99
Our Price: £7.95
You Save: £1.04 (11%)
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Imagine you’re an established publisher of sporting books and an author arranges to meet with you to discuss his idea for a football-related tale.

The omens are not good. Far too many football tomes stick to a bland, predictable template, churning out stories we’ve heard before and presenting their ‘authors’ with often cumbersome opportunities to settle old scores.

Nonetheless, you welcome the author and listen politely, quietly considering the likelihood of his book’s appeal. As the meeting draws to a close, you scan your hand-written notes.

The author proposes to write about an obscure German football club, relegated from the Bundesliga in 2011 and now playing in the second division, which finds itself forever in the shadow of a more famous and considerably more successful near-neighbour. The club’s recent history includes hosting the 2006 ‘FIFI World Cup’ for those nations such as Greenland and Tibet not recognised by world football’s governing body; at it’s helm is the first openly gay, transvestite president in German football; it boasts the largest number of female fans of any German club; oh, and its ‘fundamental principles’, coupled with more than a passing association with pirates, make it the most left-wing club you’re ever likely to happen upon.

Fair play to Sports Books Limited for not only considering author Nick Davidson’s pitch, but publishing Pirates Punks & Politics, a wonderfully refreshing change from some recently-published footballing tripe.

Davidson tells of how he fell out of love with the English game and the highly-polished, corporate image it endeavours to project and found FC St Pauli, Hamburg’s ‘other’ football club, whose ground, located in the city’s red light district, plays host to an ‘alternative’ fans scene. For ‘alternative’, read ‘passionate’. The players are an integral part of this too; you can sense the togetherness of this incredible set-up.

Early in the book, Davidson describes attending a thrilling FC Pauli cup tie against Bayer Leverkusen, replete with last-gasp winner, after which the players spend quarter of an hour parading around the ground, high-fiving fans, applauding and saluting them. Davidson asks a Pauli fan whether these celebrations are due to the nature of the victory over Bundesliga opposition. “No,” she replies. “It’s like this every time we win a game.” Davidson was hooked – and so too will readers be of this outstandingly distinctive story.


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