Hotbed. Noun - an environment promoting the growth of something, especially something unwelcome.
The Oxford Dictionaries definition of the word ‘hotbed’ raises an interesting discrepancy in meaning and application of language. Politically – for example – it’s associated with agitational, revolutionary, and even terroristic ideology that would certainly tick the box marked ‘unwelcome’ for any element of the establishment. The term has long been used in relation to football too but certainly not in a way that infers an undesirable growth or culture. Quite the opposite, in fact. We – as football lovers – have come to employ it as a badge of distinction to celebrate a particular city or region that is famed for its passionate fans, world renowned clubs, local rivalries, or tradition for producing great players.
In this issue TFP focus on just a handful of those football hotbeds from around the world to try and pinpoint some of the various ingredients that go into making that place so noteworthy. As you’ll soon come to realise, there are many common themes replicated from place to place, but there are also plenty of reasons why one area is special or unique compared to any other. There are even contentions that some of these universally accepted hotbeds of football should not be considered so at all – at least, not anymore. The articles found inside issue 18 present the evidence in that respect and we'll leave you to make your own mind up.
Here's what you'll find inside Issue 18:
* South Yorkshire - Football in the Furnace
* Buenos Aires - A Hideously Beautiful Tango
* Moscow - Between Darkness and Light
* Shizuoka Prefecture - The Lifeblood of Japanese Football's Transformative Decade
* The Ruhrgebiet - Solid, Fluid, Intrepid
* West of Scotland - Hope Springs Exulting on Triumphant Wing
* Istanbul - United by Division
* Belo Horizonte - One Man's Up is Another Man's Down
* Belgrade - The Eternal Flame
* The Basque Country - A Very Local Obsession
* Pacific Northwest - Roots
* North East England - The Final Whistle