REVIEW: UNOFFICIAL FOOTBALL WORLD CHAMPIONS – PAUL BROWN.
At the time of writing, many football fans are disillusioned by Fifa and it’s associated official tournament. The Unofficial Football World Championships provides a novel alternative. Paul Brown takes you on a fascinating journey through its 138-year history.
The idea is simple. On the 30th November 1872 the first international football match kicked off between England and Scotland. The winner of this match could declare themselves unofficial world football champions. Incidentally nobody won, however England were soon to get the ball rolling by beating Scotland in the next international match.
It it thus a continuous international football competition in a boxing style format decided by title matches. It has been fought and won by international footballing heavyweights and flyweights during so called alledged ‘meaningless friendlies’ and official World Cup finals. Every Unofficial Football World Championship title fight is a official World Cup final. Why wait four years?
Brown traces the entire 138-year history of the Unofficial Football World Championships chronologically, covering over 100 of the 838 title fights. With such vast amounts of information it would have been easy to bore readers, however Browns entertaining style manages to keep the reader gripped throughout. The balance between knowledge and humour is perfectly weighted, with an abundance of both.
There will be facts you’ve already stumbled across but due to the inclusion of forgotten matches and giving a new perspective on the game even the most hardcore of football fans will become more knowledgeable as a result of reading the book. Some thing’s you’ll read and learn about are:
• The English referee you could call a Bastard and get away with it.
• How the Netherlands Antilles produced a truly giant killing performance to become the unofficial football world champions.
• Why winning was a matter of life and death for Germany’s international football players during the Second World War.
• Which country were the first outside of Europe to become the unofficial football world champions in unbelievable circumstances, and the tragic tale of the winning goalscorer.
• How the Unofficial Football World Championship avoided having two holders of the title.
• Discover why the first game between the unofficial and official world champions is known as the ‘Battle of Highbury’.
• Learn why the unofficial champions during the 1930s couldn’t have become the official champions.
The book is designed in a way which it is easy to pick up and put down as you wish. However, once you begin reading the book it’s easy to to lose yourself and before you know it you’ve travelled through 138 years of international football. A refreshing and informative, yet incredibly entertaining read.