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1312: Among the Ultras Reviews

1312: Among the Ultras by James Montague

1312: Among the Ultras: A journey with the world's most extreme fans

James Montague

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Ebury Press
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Publication date: 12 Mar 2020
ISBN: 9781529106282

A hugely visible and controversial part of the global game, their credo and aesthetic replicated in almost every league everywhere on earth, a global movement of extreme fandom and politics is also one of the largest youth movements in the world.

4 stars out of 5
Kieran Pender
7 Jul 2020

"an impressive feat of book-length reportage"

Montague’s stories of racism, bloodshed and corruption paint ultras in a poor light. But he strives to be even-handed about the continuing transnational feud between fans and heavy-handed policing (the book’s title is a numerical version of the abbreviation ACAB, the fan slogan that stands for “All Cops Are Bastards”). Montague makes a persuasive case that the authorities are often at least partly to blame. A chapter set in Germany, meanwhile, highlights the role of fan activism in protecting football from commercialization and resisting far-right radicalism in the stands. “No matter what race you’re from, which sex you’re from, which sexual orientation whatsoever”, a German fan tells him, “you should feel welcome and safe to support our team.”

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
26 Mar 2020

"a daring insider’s guide to the violent but complex world of ultra fans"

Montague is a brilliant and daring guide. Travelling to 25 countries to compare ultra movements around the world, he takes the reader to warehouses, forests, terraces and underpasses. In Albania, a nationalist called Ismail drives with his knees as he loads, cocks and fires a gun. In Indonesia the author is chased by rival ultras armed with machetes. He smokes weed with a fascist mobster in Rome. It’s frequently pretty dangerous: “I had been warned that if we ever got into trouble that I should not, under any circumstances, fall over. ‘If you fall, you’re dead.’”