The People’s Game: Salman Rushdie’s Notes

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In 1994, when the soccer World Cup was about to be played across the length and breadth of a largely indifferent America, perhaps the main concern of those few U.S. citizens who knew it was happening was that the alien phenomenon of soccer hooliganism might be about to arrive in the States. Fortunately the England team failed to make the finals, and so the feared English hooligans stayed home. Fortunately for the hooligans, I suspect, for, as I heard an American comedian explaining on British television, the World Cup matches were to be played in some of the toughest neighborhoods of some of the toughest cities in the world. “I tell you what,” he suggested. “Why don’t you bring your hooligans, and we’ll bring ours.”

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