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Stamping Grounds

UK Publisher: Time Warner Books

Charlie Connelly follows the Liechtenstein national football team through their defeat-strewn qualifying campaign for the 2002 World Cup. Drawn in a group with Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Austria and mighty Spain, it was hard ever to see the principality’s part-time players scoring even one goal, never mind adding to its meagre international points total. So what motivates a nation of 30,000 people and 11 villages to keep plugging away despite the inevitability of defeat? Travelling to all of Liechenstein’s qualifying matches, Charlie Connelly examined what motivates a team proudly to take the field in the shirts of Liechtenstein despite the knowledge that they are, with notably few exceptions, in for a damn good hiding. Sampling the delights of the capital Vaduz such as the Postage Stamp Museum, the State Art Museum and, er, the Postage Stamp Museum again, Connelly provides an evocative and witty account of the land where every year on National Day the sovereign invites the population into his garden for a glass of wine.

Praise for Stamping Grounds

‘A great insight into a footballing backwater… A real pleasure to read’ – Nottingham Evening Post

‘Part serious travelogue, part sports report, part Louis Theroux-esque foray into human weirdness, it’s an eloquent, atmospheric and very funny read’ – Venue