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 Beautiful Fans

Milan derby tifo

Many comment on the decline of Serie A as an exhibition of the highest quality Football on the planet in the past two decades, but far fewer seem to correctly observe the fact that the Italian Football culture has been undoubtedly one of the most influential in the 20th century. Fanatics and Ultras from Lombardy to Sicily were the first to incorporate choreographies and tifos into the typical game day on a large scale, and this Continue reading

Akhmetov’s Own Goal

Shakhtar Donetsk white shirt

Current Ukrainian Premier League champions and former Europa League victors Shakhtar Donetsk FC is one of Ukraine’s leading Football clubs. The vivid black and orange colours that adorn their kits are perhaps appropriately symbolic of the dark and fiery political struggle that threatens the future of those living in the Eastern Donbas region that the club calls home, and possibly even the club itself.

Two oblasts comprise what is known as “The Donbas”; Luhansk and Donestk, names that Continue reading

El Not-Quite-So Clásico

Frente Atlético

The black shorts are purposefully featureless so as to not draw attention away from the design up top. 5 off-centre red stripes vertically dissecting an otherwise entirely sunflower yellow jersey achieve an unconventional look, while a scribbly font identifies player names on the back, also in jet black. The effect is retro, stunning, and very conspicuous. As the wearers consign themselves to a likely defeat, the least they can do is make a scene. The travelling fans appreciate the effort. A chorus of boos, whistles and cheers answers their slow chants sung in clear Catalan, just in case you didn’t get the message behind the shirt design. Spanish flags are raised, brandished toward the away block. “Plus Ultra”, the Continue reading