Long Distance Love: A Passion for Football

Long Distance Love: A Passion for Football

Long Distance Love: A Passion for Football

Long Distance Love: A Passion for Football

Synopsis

Since he was a young adult, Grant Farred has wandered the world. Born in South Africa, his own personal growth was fuelled by dreams of English football, as a player, and then, when age and reality set in, as a fan. Coming to the United States at a still young age, Farred still loved football - especially Liverpool - and watched it from afar. Writing about his experience, Farred shares with the reader his experience growing up coloured in South Africa, moving to England, and finally to the US, and how his passion for football kept company with his many moves. Along the way, he talks about the contradictions of football; how race and class politics mix on and off the pitch; how Farred's own ideas about what it means to be a colonial subject is both reinforced and liberated by the idea of football, and how players can serve as gods and monsters. And he offers the most entertaining description of soccer and why it is the world's most popular sport. Fellow expatriates will rejoice in Grant's writing about their beloved teams, and the novice to the sport will find in Long Distance Lovean intoxicating introduction to the Beautiful Game. Grant Farred is the author, most recently, of What's My Name? Black Vernacular Intellectuals. He is a life-long fan of Liverpool Football Club, the greatest and most successful club in the history of English football (although some will argue with Farred's contention).

Excerpt

I remember dates—birthdays, anniversaries, important historical events. I never forget them. in my life there are few dates more important than the 18th of March 2004. It was the day I met God. “I'll give the talk,” I said, “as long as you get John Barnes to come to it.” They offered, instead, to get me tickets to the Liverpool–Wolves game. “Sorry,” I replied. I would eventually revise that position, but not until later. Two nights before I was due to give the talk at Liverpool John Moores University, just after having given a talk at the University of Manchester (at the invitation, as fate would have it, of a Manchester United fan), I was in a noisy student pub outside the University of Manchester when someone handed me a cell phone. “John Barnes is coming to your talk,” the voice on the other end of the line said. John Barnes.

In truth, I still didn't believe it. the player who had enabled me to be, finally, truly, a Liverpool fan was coming to hear me give a talk. I was going to meet John Barnes: Liverpool winger, Liverpool captain, scorer of one of the greatest goals in the history of football. He scored that goal on the 10th of June 1984, at the Maracana Stadium in Rio, England against the Brazilians. Barnes beat five Brazilian defenders— left them sprawling in his wake, mesmerized them, made Brazilians believe that the traditionally stolid English, after all, might have some skill in addition to that famed toughness and endurance. Pelé, it was . . .

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