For me – one of the biggest sports fans you could hope to meet – perhaps the most memorable image of this year’s soccer World Cup in Brazil was not the breathtaking image of a beautifully-wrought goal, nor was it the shot of the Brazilian players as they strained nerve and sinew into singing the national anthem. It wasn’t a panning shot of Rio de Janeiro, taking in the majestic Christ the Redeemer statue, the sweet Sugar Loaf Mountain, and the glorious white stretch of Copacabana beach. (Though I did love all of those images.)
No, it was something else.
What I loved were the pictoral representations of tweets as they happened. We saw Earth as though from space and upon that canvas, the firework display of tweets all over the world whenever a goal was scored. These explosions of colour – these hot-spots – occurred largely in the nations which were engaged in the current game. But they also ricocheted across every continent, into every corner of the globe. Twitter used keywords and hashtags to track the tweets in real-time.
I’d never seen anything like it before.
The hot-spot tweets show us three things:
Number one, obviously, is the burgeoning popularity of soccer in the US – the hashtag #USMST went viral. Obama watched the games and talked up the team. Will Ferrell invented his own brand of cheer-leading. It was something to behold.
Number two is something we over here – in England, where our team was less successful and a lot less gutsy than yours – have known for a long time. Soccer truly is the global, everyman/ everywoman sport. I understand that during one of the World Cup’s Round of 16 matches – Chile versus Brazil – a total of 16.4 million tweets were chirped out into the ether, thus making it the most tweeted-about sporting event ever. When Chile missed the decisive penalty kick, there was an incredible burst – a hot-spot if you will – of nearly four hundred thousand tweets that minute, breaking a previous record set in this year’s Superbowl.
And number three? It teaches us that when something eventful – momentous some might say – occurs, it is our first instinct to tell other people about it. Even if we known damned well they’ll already know about it too because they’ll have been watching the same images as us.
We like being part of the zeitgeist.
Twitter – it appears to me – is great for lots of things. Whenever I want to see a picture of a cat doing something cute, Twitter’s my first port of call. But it is also especially good for sports fans. Sports are all about things happening in the moment, and Twitter – it seems to me – is the ideal medium for talking about sport. Twitter is also a great boon for writers. It is words – our words mostly – which we are hotly firing out there onto that great canvas which is the world, hoping someone will read them.
All of which is a longhand way of saying that prior to witnessing that image of the Twitter hot-spots during the World Cup, I dabbled with Twitter. I paid my dues and sent out the odd tweet. Now, I’m going to try and harness it to help get the word out there about my new book. My new book – coincidentally – ties in sports and writing and as such should be perfect fodder for the Twitterati. If I get things right.
If not, I might as well be shouting into an empty cave.
What also excites me is the fact I can be here in the first place, talking on a US blog, about soccer. You guys get it now (I hope). And as such, there is surely a whole new marketplace opening up to me from ‘across the pond’.
My book is about my favourite sports team, Manchester United. It is a narrative which contains triumph and tragedy, death and glory. Love too. And surely that’s the type of thing everyone wants to read about. It’s an introduction, a primer, into how soccer can get into the blood of a family – my family – and stay there from generation to generation. Frankly I enjoyed every minute of writing it. Every page was – to me – a hot-spot.
THE PRIDE OF ALL EUROPE
ANNOUNCING the release of the much-anticipated new sports book by Andrew J Kirby, the author of the exceptionally well-received Fergie’s Finest: Sir Alex Ferguson’s Greatest Manchester United x11.
The Pride of All Europe: Manchester United’s Greatest Seasons in the European Cup is published by Endeavour Press and is available as an ebook now, with the paperback coming soon.
About the Book
Manchester United was the first English team to make the foray into the European Cup, participating in the tournament despite the express disapproval of the Football League.
They were also the first English winners of the trophy.
Over the years, United’s European adventures have spanned tragedy – the 1958 Munich Air Disaster – and triumph – three European Cup wins – and have provided no shortage of memorable stories.
Despite United being only the eighth most successful club in the competition’s history, the United name is irrevocably linked to the European Cup.
This book explores the reasons why.
With interviews from fans, personal anecdotes and excerpts from football archives, this book looks back at the history of the club and their greatest – and worst – moments.
‘The Pride of All Europe’ celebrates Manchester United’s triumphs in European football, concentrating on ten key stories from the twenty-five seasons and six decades the club has participated in the Europe’s premier competition, interspersed with brief, first-hand fan accounts of those fabled United “Euroaways.”
In this detailed study, Andrew Kirby dissects the rich history of Manchester United in Europe.
This is the one book that every true Manchester United fan ought to read.
Praise for Andrew Kirby:
‘A brilliant look at the finest players we’ve seen during Fergie’s reign, and indeed, the club’s entire history. A must read for any red.’ Scott the Red, Editor: Republik of Mancunia United Blog
‘As a Manchester United fan I found it really interesting and the author knows his stuff. I recommend reading it.’ – Angela Bowman, Manchester United fan
‘This book takes an intelligent, thorough and witty look at the players who served Fergie during his reign at Man United. The perfect gift for the red devil in your life! Sam Sharp, Manchester United fan
‘I definitely recommend this to anybody interested in football in general and Manchester United in particular. Buy it now!’ – Michael Hopkins, Manchester United fan
About the Author
Andrew J Kirby’s sports writing has featured in BBC Sport magazine, and on the Radio Five Live website. He has held a Manchester United season ticket for the entirety of the Sir Alex Ferguson reign at Old Trafford, and regularly follows the Reds across Europe and beyond. He is also the author of ‘Fergie’s Finest’.
He also writes award-winning crime fiction as AJ Kirby, and has published five novels including Sharkways and Paint This Town Red, which was shortlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize 2012.
About the Publisher
Endeavour Press is the UK’s leading independent publisher of digital books.
Notes to Editors
Contact the author, Andrew J Kirby, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone on: 07939092243
‘Like’ the Facebook fan page in order to find out all the latest news, views, and opinions of the book, as well as some exclusive special offers and competitions.
Or follow the latest feeds on his Twitter page here: @ajkirbyauthor
Issued by AJ Kirby/ Endeavour Press