Every so often, I like to go off tangent in terms of blog posts. The first time I did this was my post on my view on English non-league football, and this time, I am taking a trip through three centuries of football to do a book review.
The book, called Unofficial Football World Champions, is by Paul Brown, and you can find him here (http://www.stuffbypaulbrown.com/).
The book starts off with a three page introduction of just what the Unofficial Football World Championships are about, then from there the reader is treated to 145 pages documenting many of the matches that had these Championships on the line, most of which have match reports. The matches range from dull 0-0 affairs, such as the opening match between Scotland and England, to well know classics such as the 1966 World Cup final between England and West Germany, and even some little known, or easily forgotten clashes between teams such as Costa Rica, Netherlands Antilles, Morocco, Luxembourg, Albania and Qatar to name but a few. With many of these games having reports that take you through the action, it is almost like a journey through a small portion of footballing history.
The statistics in the book also make for good reading: you get 19 pages listing all the results of UFWC matches, as well as the top scorers list, which ranges from well known names such as Pele, Gabriel Batistuta and Michel Platini to the perhaps more obscure names of Steve Bloomer, Hughie Gallacher, tothe top scorer of all time in the UFWC, Gunnar Nordahl, who scored 43 goals in 33 Swedish appearances, as well as a very successful career for A.C. Milan over the 1940’s and 50’s.
There are few criticisms; the only one I’d hold would be that not all the matches get the same coverage, but when you are looking at the fact that matches from three separate centuries are covered, this criticism is very picky on my part.
In conclusion, fans of football should make this book part of their bookshelf, as it is an easy read, but an informative one at the same time. Paul Brown goes into strong detail over a whole host of matches across the world, and it is presumably the only worldwide competition that Scotland are the best nation in.
UFWC website: http://www.ufwc.co.uk/ (The current Unofficial World Champions are Japan)