From the publisher:
Association football, from humble beginnings, now has a foothold around the globe. From modest beginnings on the fields of British public schools, the early work of footballing missionaries has succeeded in spreading the game worldwide. International football competitions of today are incredibly competitive affairs, with national sides from Europe, the Americas, and to a lesser extent Africa, enjoying a taste of the glory on offer.
However, there remains one vast portion of the world which almost never achieves podium finishes at a global level. To this day, no Asian international or club team has ever been crowned world champion, and just one Asian footballer has ever been part of a victorious team in the UEFA Champions League.
Much like the burgeoning European powers of the early 20th century, Asian football is now beginning to see an influx of foreign talent in the hope of sparking improvements in nations with a broad scope of sporting ambitions.
Across ten chapters, Missionaries examines the footballing ambitions of various regions in Asia, with a specific focus on the British and Irish men who have somehow found themselves playing a central role.
These characters range from players competing at the elite level, coaches working in grassroots development, and even executives driving decision-making in the boardrooms.
Meet the Limerick-man taking Cambodia by storm, the non-league defender playing at the request of a petrostate’s royal family, the university graduate who became the world’s youngest national team manager (sort of), and many other unbelievable tales of footballing nomadism.
Chris Foley is a freelance writer covering football in Asia as well as his native Ireland.