Welcome to Hell?
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Ask a British football fan what they know about Turkish football, and they are unlikely to describe scenes of camaraderie, hospitality and humour. They are more likely to mention banners proclaiming ‘Welcome to hell’. Or Leeds United supporters stabbed to death on an Istanbul street.
Frustrated by the game’s distorted image back home, John McManus set out to show the Turkish football that he knew – the rich, funny, obsessive, fan culture that he had encountered on the terraces. But he hadn’t accounted for the politics. His voyage began at the start of one of the darkest periods in Turkey’s modern history, marred by bombings, armed conflict and an attempted coup d’etat. Football, he would soon discover, could not help but get dragged in.
Travelling from the elite training facilities of Istanbul to dusty pitches on the Syrian border, taking in visits to far-flung clubs, encounters with characterful players and experiences at riotous matches along the way, Welcome to Hell? offers a unique perspective on an alluring yet troubled football culture, at once both familiar and miles apart from the game in Britain.
'McManus offers profound insight into modern Turkey through the vantage point of its football culture. Blending his deep knowledge of Turkish history, politics, sociology, and sports culture, McManus brings modern Turkey to life and does so with playfulness, great attention to detail, and a rare insiders' view' -- Soner Cagaptay, senior fellow at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy 'Turkish football is a fascinating topic and generates very strong emotions, and this lively book from John McManus explains why' -- Andreas Beck, Besiktas, FC Stuttgart and German National Team player 'The book takes us on a tour of the beautiful game in Turkey, a window through which to examine society, history and contemporary politics. McManus is a sensitive and astute guide with an eye for the telling detail . . . Full of humor as well as insight . . . Welcome to Hell? is a terrific read' -- William Armstrong * Hurriyet Daily News * 'A perceptive and compelling account of how to understand football in Turkey through the eyes of someone who has lived there' * The Football Pink * 'An engaging book about football and Turkish society' * Economist * 'McManus heads off in search of colour and character across the country. He serves up both in ample measure. Nationalist agitators, left-wing ultras, Kurdish fanatics and Syrian ex-professionals . . . all provide fascinating insight into the complex relationship between politics and football at all levels of the Turkish game' -- Rob Kemp * When Saturday Comes * 'Excellent' * Irish Sun * 'I really enjoyed Welcome to Hell? By John McManus. A heartfelt look at Turkish football culture, which challenges some stereotypes about it, explains others, and smells a little bit of cordite . . . excellent' -- Rory Smith 'John McManus is one of the very few writers in English who actually knows Turkey. This crucial but poorly understood country may be best interpreted through football - and he is perfectly placed to do it. McManus thinks like a good academic but writes like a good journalist. He captures the Turkish game with love, in all its beauty and darkness. For all the country's problems, in the midst of its current crisis, this book makes you want to get straight on a plane to catch a match there' -- Simon Kuper, author of Football Against the Enemy 'A book as rich and complex as the extraordinary worlds of Turkish football it explores' -- David Goldblatt 'McManus's triumph is to combine thorough research with readability. A fascinating history of Turkish football, and a model for other books of this type' -- Jonathan Wilson
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