Corner flags and corner shops (the Asian football experience) – by Bains & Johal

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Another good read (seem to be picking them well at the moment) which looks at the experience of Asians in the British game. The book charts the experiences of the co-authors in British football and many of the chapters also contain tales from other contributors, from Jimmy the promising player turned coach, to Abdul the Aston Villa club shop apprentice turned commercial manager.

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Although the book is full of positive examples of Asian involvement in British football, it does illustrate that the Asians are underrepresented at all levels of the game, both on and off the pitch. Some of the accounts of the racist abuse branded around, and the fear this has created in the Asian community are also reminder that there is still a long to go to ensure that football is welcoming to all sections of society.

it is hard to pick a favorite chapter, but there are are a couple that stood out as particularly enjoyable. The first tells the story of Jimmy Khan, a British born Asian who excelled in his school football teams, and found himself scouted by some of the country’s biggest clubs, before opting to sign with local club Blackburn. Although Jimmy’s career never took off, he had the honor of playing international football for Pakistan, and has since coached hundreds of junior footballers.

The second story is that of Abdul, a lifelong Aston Villa fan who harbored a dream of playing at Villa Park. However, he very quickly realized this was never going to happen and instead set his sights on the next best thing, a job at Villa. He went from hanging around at the club shop before reserve games and helping out with any job that was asked of him, to running the commercial side of a club with a turnover of 50 million+.

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