Ultras are football fans like no others. Fiercely loyal, organised, political and violent, they are a hugely visible and controversial part of the global game, their credo and aesthetic replicated in almost every league everywhere on earth. Their global movement of extreme fandom and politics is also one of the largest youth movements in the world, yet they remain enigmatic: an anti-establishment force that is transforming both football and politics. In this book, James Montague goes underground to uncover the true face of this dissident force for the first time.
Ultras tells the story of how the movement began, emerging from the terraces of post-war Italy, the Balkans and Brazil, and how it has become a global phenomenon that now dominates the stadiums of Madrid, Munich, Moscow and Buenos Aires. With unique insider access, the book explains how ultras have grown into a fiercely political movement that embraces extremes on both the left and right; fighting against the commercialization of football and society, the resettlement of refugees, the rise of fascism, opposition to dictators and the attempts to control them by the authorities who both covet and fear their power.
It’s an unforgettable look at the volatile new forces in football, at a time when people power and anti-establishment voices are redefining politics – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.