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Date: 6th August, 2020
Publisher: HEAD OF ZEUS
Winner of the Daily Telegraph Football Book of the Year Ultras are often compared to punks, Hell's Angels, hooligans or the South American Barras Bravas. But in truth, they are a thoroughly Italian phenomenon... From the author of The Dark Heart of Italy , Blood on the Altar and A Place of Refuge . Italy's ultras are the most organised and violent fans in European football. Many groups have evolved into criminal gangs, involved in ticket-touting, drug-dealing and murder. A cross between the Hell's Angels and hooligans, they're often the foot-soldiers of the Mafia and have been instrumental in the rise of the far-right. But the purist ultras say that they are are insurgents fighting against a police state and modern football. Only amongst the ultras, they say, can you find belonging, community and a sacred concept of sport. They champion not just their teams, they say, but their forgotten suburbs and the dispossessed. Through the prism of the ultras, Jones crafts a compelling investigation into Italian society and its favourite sport. He writes about not just the ultras of some of Italy's biggest clubs - Juventus, Torino, Lazio, Roma and Genoa - but also about its lesser-known ones from Cosenza and Catania. He examines the sinister side of football fandom, with its violence and political extremism, but also admires the passion, wit, solidarity and style of a fascinating and contradictory subculture.