From Udine to Catania, from the San Siro to the Olimpico, traveling with the raucous and unruly Verona fansâwhose conduct is a cross between that of asylum inmates and the Keystone KopsâTim Parks offers his highly personal account of one manâs relationship with a country, its people, and its national sport. The clubs are struggling, as always, to keep their heads above water in Series A. The fans, as always, are accused of vulgarity, racism, and violence. Itâs an election year and politics encroaches. The police are ambiguous, the journeys exhausting, the referees unforgivable, the anecdotes hilarious. And behind it all is the growing intuition that in a world stripped of idealism and bereft of religion, soccer offers a new and fiercely ironic way of forming community and engaging with the sacred.
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