Gresik Is United

Gresik united fans

Having added the final signature, Fandi Ahmad Yani threw down the pen with a sigh, turned to his counterpart and extended a firm hand. As Kaji Riki (a representative of Ultras Gresik) shook it, a polite round of applause rippled among the journalists and reporters gathered in the conference room. The six men sat at the table congratulated each other on the business conducted that day before turning to force a smile for the photographers.

It had happened at long last. Gresik United Football Club is owned by Continue reading

Football’s Most International National Cup

Football fans Singapore

Originally constructed in bonnie Newcastle in 1915, the HMS Malaya had been of service both in World War I and II in places as varied as Denmark, Anatolia, Malta, Genoa, Cape Verde and the Caribbean. She gallantly ended her service as target bouncing bomb practice in Loch Striven in Scotland in 1944, but where Football is concerned, the HMS Malaya made her most important trip in 1921 – to the land after which she was named. Continue reading

Sunnis, Sukarno and Soccer Pt II

Palembang fans

For part I of Sunnis, Sukarno and Soccer, please click here.

It is easy to make the mental leap that Indonesia is “more Muslim” than its sibling Malaysia is. But if that is the case, why are Koranic prayers read at before Football matches in Malaysia and not in Indonesia? The answer perhaps lies in the path to independence of both modern nation states.

It is something of a sour point to the Chinese and Indian Malaysians that Islam, a faith that is entirely foreign to them, has been chosen as their state religion. Yet in a country where ethnicity is a factor that influences your legal rights and civil status, the Chinese and Indian Malaysians are somewhat used to playing second fiddle.

The British shipped their ancestors into their Southeast Asian territories in Continue reading

Sunnis, Sukarno and Soccer Pt I

JDT Malaysian super league

A gruff voice boomed across the ground, magnified to ensure absolute clarity. The chatter of noise from the terraces abruptly stopped, all spectators shuffled to their feet. Way down below I was already on mine, but to my left I noticed a handful of young men in one of the media boxes end their conversation and put their smartphones away in haste, before bowing their heads. The exact message of the announcement was lost on me, but I Continue reading

China’s Favourite Non-Chinese Club

Tianhe stadium night

The ethnic Han account for approximately 92% of the population of the People’s Republic of China. A couple hundred other ethnic groups are formally recognised by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), though possibly thousands more exist unofficially within the world’s most populous country. In his book “The Emperor Far Away”, author David Eimer literally and figuratively explores four geographic regions of China where the Han Chinese are outnumbered by their reluctant compatriots, and his work directly inspired this article.

The picture he paints is bleak. While the Han Continue reading

On Bulgaria, Old & New

CSKA ultras

The international breaks are usually moments in the Football calendar that bore the FBTG crew, partly because the fixtures are seldom particularly competitive, and partly because we’re not really patriotic folk. But the past 7 days have been interesting for a number of reasons. Sergio Ramos became the most-capped Spaniard to play for the national team EVER. Scotland emphatically got themselves back on track by firing 6 past San Marino. And another mouth-wateringly high score was overshadowed in Sofia, as members of the Continue reading

The Partisan Politics of the Peninsula

Cadiz CF fans

On the 28th of April, the majority of 47 million people go to the polls in Europe’s next major parliamentary election. After major votes in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy, it is the turn of Spain, a country that is possibly more politically divided than any other in 21st century Europe.

While a victory for the PSOE is likely, the right is expected to Continue reading