Experiencing Europe’s 55 football nations in one season
My slightly crazy aim was to be the first to experience top division league football in all 55 UEFA nations in one season. 55footballnations.com showcased my ongoing travels. My ultimate goal was to publish my reflections in a book based on this potent fusion of creaking trains and strained limbs.
I explained the reasons behind my challenge live from IFK Mariehamn’s Wiklöf Holding Arena.
What is 55 Football Nations?
Europe remains the richest vein of football’s expanding body. The UEFA family now covers 55 members from traditional heavyweights to more recent upstarts Gibraltar (affiliated in 2013) and Kosovo (2016). League football forms the backbone of European football, attracting crowds of over 170 million each season.
I plan to watch a live football match in all of these lands, covering the top national leagues in places as diverse as the Faroe Islands, Israel and Kazakhstan between June 2017 and May 2018. I also aim to interview fans from across Europe at the matches that I attend, drawing common threads from the supporters that remain the lifeblood of the game.
Why complete 55 Football Nations in one season?
Football and the world are changing faster than I can type. There is a new immediacy that makes experiences live short in the memory. 55 Football Nations provides democracy and a rare consistency. All the leagues, teams and supporters are experiencing football over the same 2017-18 season. A season that, like my travels, will end at the World Cup in Russia.
It’s also a challenge! Is it possible become the first person to complete 55 Football Nations in one season or, at least, the first to then write a narrative based on it? This is a project inspired by the meanderings of Paul Theroux, Jonathan Wilson and Bill Bryson and the lunacy of Tony Hawks’ ‘Round Ireland with a Fridge.’ It is difficult to predict the hurdles I will face, but they are more likely to be due to foggy postponements or political instability than electrical.
The 55FN schedule is also available.
What about Liechtenstein?
Liechtenstein are the only UEFA member without their own league as their teams play in the Swiss League. FC Vaduz, the sole representatives from Liechtenstein, were relegated from the 2016-17 Swiss Super League. 55 Football Nations will now cover 55 football leagues, all of the 54 top divisions and FC Vaduz in the Swiss second division.
How do I become part of 55 Football Nations?
You can receive the latest updates from the 55 Football Nations website by joyfully substituting Cristiano Ronaldo beneath the green penalty box. You can also follow 55 Football Nations on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
If you would like to get in touch with me, please email email@example.com or telephone +44 7753 834020