WM74, Als der Fussball modern wurde — by Kay Schiller (Rotbuch)

** Kay Schiller is one of those academics who has invested enormous time, curiosity and insight into setting out football’s place in society and, in particular and across frontiers, through the World Cup.

His latest focus has been on the hosting of the 1974 finals in the Federal Public of Germany, West Germany in Cold War parlance.

To dissect the tournament might appear, on the surface, to be a work of statistical academia. Not so. Schiller sets out a network of intermixed contexts. These include Cold War politics, the West German spy scandal, Joao Havelange’s FIFA takeover, fear of the  Rote Armee Fraktion, the malevolent influence of the various juntas of South America, the juxtaposition with the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, und so weiter.

The colour and dynamic of the tale stems from the human figures: World Cup supremo Hermann Neuberger, the contrasting leadership and naivety of Franz Beckenbauer, the football fan who was Henry Kissinger right on through to the fascinating story of the DTSB (the official East German Fans Delegation).

Rapidly, in conclusion, Schiller sketches a brief resume of then and now. All very different but interconnected. Neither the World Cup nor German football what would what they are today without the watershed of 1974.

* *Published currently only in German.

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. . . comes from the long-established football publishing stable of Andrzej Gowarzewski in Katowice.

Orders to: gowarzewski@gia.pl 

Latest publication of more than 60 . . .

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Another Encyklopedia pilkarska/Andrzej Gowarzewski Special

KATOWICE: The Polish union football in the national structures celebrates its 90th anniversary, but let’s remember that earlier, till 1918, Poland was deprived of its independence for 123 years.

The oldest clubs were established, however, much earlier, although they operated within the statehood of three partitoners: the first clubs in 1903 in Lvov under the name of Lechia and Czarni, while the Polish union organisation called … the Polish Football Association was incorporated already in 1911 in Galicia, under the rules of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.

Thus, maybe we should soon celebrate the centenary of PZPN, which historians dispute keenly. Our tradition lets us be pleased with many successes of the representation of Poland in the Olympic Games and the World Cups, where it won medals.

It also participated in the Euro Cup finals and, in 2012, Poland will play host, together with Ukraine, to the consecutive edition of the continental cup. This publication reminds the organisational history, great victories and failures of Polish teams. In the history of the Polish state in the united Europe, football reflects a lot of tradition, ambitions and dreams of the nation and constitutes an important element of our culture.

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By Alex Fynn and Kevin Whitcher (Vision Sports Publishing: £8.99)

** This is an updated version of the original book though, sad to say from the point of view of any Arsenal fans, in some ways not much has changed since 2008 with no trophies having been won inbetween.

The fascination of the book is the forensic examination of how Arsenal’s form on the pitch has been dictated by events off the pitch. If ever anyone is tempted to believe the old professionals’ claim that there is little connection between the two then this book tells the lie. In that sense it is a cautionary tale.

Even a non-Arsenal fan will find the tale of the Wenger Era in north London an intriguing one because the issues of  the game and its finance have been so central to the entire Premier League ‘adventure.’

A perpetual problem with football books is that so much can change inbetween writing and publishing but that is not a problem here: the questions being posed by Fynn and Whitcher in the closing pages are the questions increasingly impatient Gooners are still asking . . .