Book of the Month for October: Tiro

One of my most pleasing discoveries this year has been the Goalden Times website. Here is a site that not only looks really good but covers football extremely well. It features the kind of stories that I love to read, those that live at the periphery of the game and whose interest lies in a combination of soul and relative obscurity.

These are articles that can be deceptively hard to write. They require a lot of research which often isn’t easily accessible or in a language that you can comprehend. And then the narrative might not line up to provide an interesting story. It takes a particular kind of writer to work past these challenges and pull out the story.

You can appreciate my excitement, then, to have come across a site filled with such articles

There is, however, one unfulfilling aspect of the whole endeavour and that is the lingering feeling that such stories need to be recorded on something that is more permanent than a virtual page. They deserve to be more permanently recorded. Thankfully, the people behind the site feel the same which is what led to the publication of Tiro, a collection of the best and most timeless stories taken off the site.

It works beautifully. The name of the book itself is an indication of the cosmopolitan nature of this collection as tiro, in both Spanish and Italian, is the word used to refer to a shot. This is further strengthened by the selection of articles — thirty three in total — that take in the South American and European continent.

The real strength of this collection, however, resides in the chosen topics where at no point do you get the feeling that they’ve gone for easy articles. In the South American section, for instance, there are articles about Alberto Spencer, the greatest player in the history of Ecuadorian football, whilst the European section features an article that takes an in-depth look at the Galatasaray — Fenerbache derby.

Inevitably there are some areas where Tiro is found lacking. As with any collection of stories some are likely to stand out more than others; which is another way of saying that some articles weren’t exactly to my liking. That is to be expected. More surprising, given that most of the authors of this collection seem to be of Indian origin, is the lack of articles from the Asian continent. Perhaps the feeling was that this wouldn’t be interesting enough for a worldwide audience but I would certainly have appreciated something about a region where my knowledge is lacking.

That, hopefully, will come in any follow-up to Tiro. In the meantime, this selection of great writing will keep anyone who loves the culture that surrounds the game of football and its history infinitely entertained.

Tiro can be purchased from Amazon here. A review copy was provided by the publisher.