George Galloway: My Life in Five Games

George Galloway is best known as the fiercely pro-Palestinian Respect Party MP for West Bradford. But this appearance at The Assembly Rooms is to discuss his new book, George Galloway: My Life in Five Games. He has selected five football matches that have had a significant effect on him and his politics to discuss. I arrive alongside a woman who has no interest in football; she’s not even that interested in Galloway’s politics. ‘He’s just always so entertaining – that’s why I’m here.’ If you too are uninterested by the beautiful game when you walk in, you certainly will be when you walk out.

It’s powerful stuff. Stirring. This is not standard political rhetoric.

Respect to this man. Here’s a big name who really knows his stuff. And as with everything else on which he speaks, George Galloway is passionate about his subject. Graham Spiers, Scottish sports journalist, leads him skilfully through the five games of the title, increasingly weaving politics into the chat about sport. “I was asked recently whether celebrities who support sports are really all that interested in it,” says Spiers. “I told them I knew one guy who was a proper kosher Arab!” he jokes, referring to the nickname given to Galloway’s team.

Politics is never far from Galloway’s lips. One of his five chosen matches took place in the Santiago stadium where thousands were tortured and slaughtered after Pinochet ousted Allende in a military coup. “That was the other 9/11. The one everyone forgets. There was still blood on the grass.” He referred to the famous Bill Shankly quote about football being more important than life and death. “It’s not. Life and death are far more important than football.” It’s powerful stuff. Stirring. This is not standard political rhetoric.

Galloway’s knowledge of football is encyclopaedic. His turn of phrase is often witty and sardonic. This was a great event, even if you know little about football.

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The Blurb

In conversation with award-winning journalist Graham Spiers. Respect MP George Galloway extols his love of football and the many ways it has mirrored and meshed with his political and campaigning life. Selecting the five matches that had a profound impact upon him and the political scene at the time, Galloway’s optimism is not uncritical of the beautiful game both in Scotland and beyond. And did George really score at Old Trafford’s Stretford End?