Gunshots & Goalposts: The Story of Northern Irish Football – Benjamin Roberts [BOOK REVIEW]

For the lovers of football and history – this book will be of your interest. If you happen to have any connecting with Northern Ireland as well – this book is made for you!

I don’t think I fit in the description above. I love watching football – but I am not a football maniac, that knows who plays where, the club’s managers and who is on top of the Champion’s League this year. I love me some good sports matches, and I know a lot of players by name or face, but that’s about it.

Now – Gunshots & Goalposts: The Story of Northern Irish Football – the book that covers the stories of many football players in the past century in Northern Ireland.

While it covers so many stories, I wasn’t able to connect to any of the characters, and I choose to blame this on the way the book was written.

Which – is not a bad thing at all. Why? Because, this book is not meant to make you fall in love with the characters. It is instead, meant to show you the real picture of their lives, the politics that were ongoing in that time, and give you a brief history lesson of what you happened to miss in high school. All related to football, of course.

For me, it was very useful to learn a bit about the politics and history. Before I started the book, I knew NOTHING about Northern Ireland’s history. I knew NOTHING about their football history. This was a great first book for me to dive into the waters of the history of Northern Ireland’s football.

The author, Benjamin Roberts, has done a wonderful job in the description and research. It covers a lot of the history period from the First and Second World War, the protestants vs catholics, the unionists vs nationalists, the east vs the west.

This book reminds me a lot of a movie that has been made in the country where I was born – Macedonia. The movie was called ‘’The Third Half’’ and deals with Macedonian Football during World War II, and the deportation of Jews from Macedonia. It reminded me a bit of this, even though in this book we don’t connect with the characters, or dive into their stories too much.

This is a three-star book for me – for the sole reason that this is not a book that I would usually read, and I wouldn’t read books similar to this one either. I enjoyed it, at times, but wouldn’t re-read it. However, I would definitely recommend it to people that love both football and history. I just prefer books where I connect with the characters.

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