Platform Book Club: The Names Heard Long Ago by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson’s deep dive into the foundational effect of Hungarian football on the modern game during times of soviet unrest is an interesting – and at times – confusing, but ultimately an enjoyable read.

If you follow football journalism to any sort of extent, you should be familiar with the name Jonathan Wilson. He is the acclaimed author of Inverting the Pyramid (a look at the history of football tactics) and a regular contributor to The Guardian.

Wilson has an extensive selection of pieces of footballing history, all of which have much critical acclaim behind them.

This book takes a look at the influence that the growth of Hungarian football had on today’s game, whilst also not shying away from the growth of anti-semitism and the effects of the holocaust in this region.

A brilliantly and thoroughly researched work, the book gives close detail to the foundational figures in Hungarian football’s origins, mainly in the inter-war years. It examines the growth and spread of the Hungarian influence between various countries including Argentina and England.

The Names Heard Long Ago: How the Golden Age of Hungarian Soccer Shaped the  Modern Game: Wilson, Jonathan: 9781568587844: Books
Names heard long ago
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It did get somewhat confusing and led to a heavy read with the weight of information and introductions to new figures in the story, but this is never enough to derail the experience.

The easiest selling point is that Wilson gives a very well researched and deep look at factors that will interest football followers and history lovers alike. The sections concerning the rise of anti-Semitism in this part of the world are (like all media on this period) simultaneously intriguing and incredibly sobering.

The football focused sections will also find something to hold your interest whether you are interested in football tactics or whether you have a passing-to-minimal interest (like me).

For real football fanatics and history buffs, this book is a must read due to the impressive level of research and commitment that went into bringing this story to light. For more casual readers like myself, this book will at times be tough to get to grips with the weight of information but is ultimately a rewarding and informative read.

Big thanks to our designer for our new feature image for the Platform Book Club. Go check out Anna’s designs @annadoesseign_ on Instagram.

By Michael Vince

Feature image: Anna Elias

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