A stonking Europe United launch party took place on 6th August in the 19th century Tower Hill crypt that is Vout-O-Reenee’s. The 100-strong crowd embraced the call for retro and obscure football shirts, ate chocolate footballs, viewed photographs and mementos from the European football road and, of course, bought shiny copies of Europe United. So many copies that the bookseller sold out by 9.30pm.
They also listened to three different talks. Osama Rahman, my ex-Director of Analysis at the Ministry of Justice, crunched through some of the factual (6 nil nil draws) and fictional (340kg of pasta consumed) numbers from 55 Football Nations. Richard Arcus, my editor, explained how he used an array of interesting Euro-anecdotes to sell the book proposal to football nuts and shunners alike at publishers Quercus. And, of course, I told a few stories, including how Belarusian goalkeeper Yevgeniy Kostyukevich – who scored from his own penalty area and was then sent off 20 minutes later – recently offered me his soiled boots from that legendary match in Vitebsk.
It was hard to hear above the good-humoured bonhomie. But a Spotify algorithm-stretching playlist (see below) included tracks and bands that either inspired my travels or are mentioned in Europe United. The likes of Entombed, Bananarama and the KLF rubbed unlikely shoulders with Ricky Martin, Megadeth and Bad Religion.
Europe United is now available in 26 countries – click through to buy in the UK, Ireland, US, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, India, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. Other retailers are, of course, available.