Europe United

Malta

Matt Walker watched a top-division football match in all 55 UEFA nations over a single season and has written a critically-acclaimed book, Europe United, about his adventures.

The idea to complete a pan-European tour in one season came to me one dull December day in my hometown of London. I immediately thought it was the perfect combination of football and travel with a challenge to focus my interest.
 
The European football family extends to the likes of the Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan and Armenia and this gave my travels appealing variety. I loved the contrast between, say, northern Wales and southern Israel in the depths of winter. I spent an average of four days in each of the 55 nations, which normally gave me the chance to explore and hunt some interesting stories for the book, as well as watch at least one top-flight match.


The logistical challenge was considerable. I started my travels in June 2017 and it was crucial that I visited all of the summer leagues before they ended that autumn. Georgia, one of my favourite countries, made a late decision to shift to a summer season so I kicked off my challenge there. My second country was Iceland, hardly the most logical start to my adventures. Games were regularly moved at short-notice and I even had to bluff my way into an Albanian match being played behind closed doors. My last match was in Podgorica, the bland Montenegrin capital. I celebrated with friends afterwards on the beautiful coastline and took a speedboat ride captained by a Serbian who claimed he was an ex-footballing prodigy.

The Book Cover

I then compressed my experiences into Europe United, my first book. Football is the theme, but it’s intrinsically linked to my travels, in particular some of the people I chanced upon. It was always my intention to visit footballing underdogs – not the European Super League wannabes – so my book takes you to Kruševac in Serbia and Crotone in Italy. I probably got a more personal experience there than in their big city cousins. I think it strikes a nice balance between football and travel and if you love both then Europe United is the book for you! Matt’s book, Europe United, is widely available in Ebook, Paperback and Hardback.

Matt Walker  – writer  photographer – football fan️ “Europe United: 1 football fan. 1 crazy season. 55 UEFA nations” out now! ️  Book available in 25+ countries including the UK Romania and Estonia

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