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Book Review – The world of Manchester United

It’s 5.45am on Saturday 14th March 2009. Tim Webber sits alone in front of a television inLas Vegas watching his team Manchester United slip to a crushing defeat to arch rivals Liverpool. As soon as the humiliation finishes he returns to bed for two hours sleep, waking his girlfriend Clare, before he rises for a five hour drive to San Diego. We all know that football fans will do anything for their team but does that sound worth it?  This is not a one off however. For seven months Tim gave up his season ticket to travel through 14 countries attempting to follow United across 11 time zones, all whilst trying not to destroy his and Clare s trip of a lifetime. Why?

Because he’s a Red. Would you seriously keep it up? At least Tim has a reason to do it – he s fascinated by a number of questions – why do people who live thousands of miles away choose to support a team that they have no connection to? Is the globalisation of United as a brand really reaching places such as Tokyo, Moscow, Phnom Penh, Cape Town and Ulan Bator? Do the natives of Cochingive a toss about Edwin van der Sars’ shutout record?

Whilst trying to quench his own United thirst Tim tries to unearth this worldwide fan base that the club insists exists. He seeks to question the very people who have made it obligatory for complete strangers to sneer at anyone else just because they find out that they’re United fans.

United Nations: Around the Manchester United World in 80 Games is the story of a very different season told in a 240 page paperback published in 2009 by Know the Score Books

Much of the focus is about Webbers’ attempts to find somewhere showing the match and find out why someone three continents away would support a team from northern England. This is a very enjoyable read which although ideally suited to someone who likes football, be it Manchester United or not, there’s plenty of good humour in it.

Since graduating in English from the Universityof Leeds, Tim Webber has written extensively for various websites, primarily for Goal.com and controlled Fantasy League Ltd as Head of Football Game Management at the country’s premier provider of fantasy games. As a United expert Tims’ regular column has been syndicated throughout Asia including China, South Korea, Japan and India.

Not your typical football book but it makes a pleasant change from the norm.

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