As we have a mountain of material previously published in our printed fanzines we thought we’d start a new weekly column which might present that older material to a new audience. We’re going to look at reviews of stuff we’ve done previously and today we’re kicking off with a fantastic book which we think the football obsessives who dig TF could be interested in.
This is the perfect football book. It has everything. It is obviously a history of one of the world’s most storied clubs and an Italian institution. La Grande Signora is European football aristocracy whose history is inextricably linked within the history of Italy over the last century, politically, culturally, economically and socially. Want to know about Italy? Learn about Juventus. This is a starting point.
Juventus Football Club, for me is a phenomenon. It represents power and an insatiable desire for success. That all-consuming ambition has taken a great club frequently into the swamp of corruption.
This book charts the formation and central principles of Juventus, their decades’ long patronage from the Agnelli family and their FIAT empire, how they negotiated the fascist era of Mussolini, the economic miracle of the 1950s as the USA wrote the cheques for Europe to keep a continent devastated by WW2 out of the orbit of the Soviet Union.
But what cannot be ignored is the Marmite nature of this great club. Juventus is a club that has eschewed civic identity or parochialism which its founders snootily refuted despite their home in Turin facing off against their historic rivals Torino. Juve aspired to be the club of Italy, reaching way beyond Piedmont at the foot of the Alps.
It is well known Juventus attracts supporters from the small towns and villages of the south and there is an economic explanation for that, aside from them being the country’s most successful club of course. That and their win at all costs (often going beyond what is regarded as decent, fair and legal) brings upon them the opprobrium of fans in a way in which Italy’s other great clubs, AC Milan and Internazionale do not suffer.
Politically and socially, Juventus has an identity centred with one of Italy’s richest industrialists. It is a club with a central philosophy to win at all costs. That it is what makes it so successful and loved … but also so reviled.
A word for Sykes’ style which is never less than at the right pace and as apparently entertained by the subject matter as his readers.
This is a great football book. Highly recommended!
Michael Martin – @TFMick1892
Available here via Amazon