Andy Brassell We Play On: Shakhtar Donetsk's Fight for Ukraine, Football and Freedom


Code 9781472148070
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'The most important (thing) is to play,' Srna said, 'to show the world that we are still alive, that we are fighting, that we are living, that we will have a good future.'

In 2014, the conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine began - and top football club Shakhtar Donetsk has since been in exile. This book tells their story; inevitably a story of the conflict and the recent Russian invasion but also a testament to the power of the game and the will of the players.

It is ultimately a footballing story, exploring the experience and meaning of being a Shakhtar player through the lens of a country in the shadow of a huge aggressive neighbour. There are moments of direct impact (such as when a youth coach was killed by Russian shelling earlier in 2022) but also what it means to just go out on the field and play, freely.

Andy Brassell is a European football expert and has followed this story for years; he regards Shakhtar as the 'Barcelona of Eastern Europe'. This book celebrates the team and its achievements, while paying tribute to an occupied nation.

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