Ceylan Hussein on When Friday Comes

Ceylan Hussein talks about ‘When Friday Comes: Football, War and Revolution in the Middle East’ by James Montague. For seven years, the author, travelled to every country in the Middle East uncovering stories of the beautiful game’s survival and resurgence. “The Indiana Jones of football writing.”

One afternoon, my cousin came back from the Arsenal. We were sitting quietly in a tiny Islington kitchen, and he said, “D’you know, once I’m through those gates, everything’s fine. I sit down, I scream my lungs out for two hours, and I go home.” I shut the fridge door with a sniff, a smile, and a nod of agreement.

Some of us find peace and a clear mind within a ground. Others find a voice. A voice that “would not be heard by any other means, for good and sometimes for bad”, as this second edition of Montague’s award-winning debut shows in a horribly colourful manner.

The chapters gallop on, wearing you out, until suddenly, you see before your inner eye riot police lining up again, only feet away – forming threateningly like the Golden Army from Hellboy.

My voice resounds at its loudest inside a ground. Yours? Well?

Ceylan Hussein is a freelance translator and editor.

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