The Funny thing about getting books for Xmas

There’s one consistent theme in my family, that for Christmas, we exchange books. Most of the time, I get some book about Basketball, (my first love), and usually can finish it within a week. Well this year, I got the

Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe During the Second World War

by Simon Kuper.

As I’ve said before, my undergrad degree is in European History, and this hit me right at home. To combine a book with War, and footy is amazing. But why I’m highlighting this book for you guys is that this is it opens another part of the game that I didn’t know, and most people probably didn’t know. That is, the war years of footy for Europe. We know that the UK closed the game for a bit, just like most of the other countries, (well save for Italy and Germany). The Dutch didn’t, and there was some alarming stuff in here.

How about Sparta banning all Jewish people, members etc?


Ajax helping with the Resistance?


How the German national team played friendlies all over the world, sometimes playing upwards of 100’s of games?


How the Nazi’s made the clubs release their star players for national teams, even if the players didn’t want to go?

I’m halfway through the book and I can see the love of the sport, that the Dutch love their footy, and are mostly obsessed with Ajax. You can also see that  this resistance culture, and bucking the system, is what brought Rinus Michels and the Total Football, which also gave us Johan Cruyff. Which is funny because even though Cruyff has been out of the sport for a while, his game is still influencing the sport.

So far I can recommend this book, and as you guys will see coming up, there will be more Dutch, and more historical stuff coming out of having this book.  As you are going to see, I’m going to spend less time focusing on the sport nowadays, and redirect the fans towards the past. The game nowadays is getting so boring (ok I’m getting depressed watching Liverpool screw up, every year, be bad at every month. If I wanted crap, I’d be a Millwall fan).

If you want to follow something, or know a sport, you have to know the past, and that’s where I’m taking my writing from now on. Screw this era, the past is fun.