LIBERATING FOOTBALL TRAVEL

  1. JIM WILKINSON
  2. TONY & LIAM DAWBER
  3. ANDREW FLINT
  4. YUANYUAN FU
  5. KATE CARLISLE
  6. MATT WALKER
  7. COLIN YOUNG
  8. ROB FRANCIS
  9. SABRINA SIRCO
  10. IGOR SPANJEVIC
  11. EUGENE PRICE

    COACH::
    PETERJON CRESSWELL

Libero has been created by a cast of dozens, contributors, photographers and fellow travellers, plus one very talented designer and one very savvy site creator. Here’s our first XI, with plenty of strength in depth, squad-wise.

PETERJON CRESSWELL

Salvaged from the wreckage of provincial hell by punk rock and Total Football, Mönchengladbach-born Peterjon Cresswell has always looked to Europe for work and inspiration. He covers sport and travel in (mainly) Hungary, Croatia, Poland and Slovenia, creating guides to cities such as Budapest, Zagreb and Kraków. He has talked Hungarian football face-to-face with Ferenc Puskás in the historic Hotel Béke for World Soccer and interviewed Eric Cantona by a pile of sand in Dubai for The Observer Sport Monthly. Libero is his first digital work and the result of far too much research into the subject.

 

Igor Spanjević

Part-Montenegrin, part-Hungarian and 100% Partizan,Igor Spanjević relocated to Budapest in the early 1990s, his talents in Sonic Youth-style experimental combo Pizda materina unappreciated in the local bars of northern Serbia. Instead of being chased out of town by villagers with pitchforks, Igor gained acclaim in Hungary as a top-class designer. Art director of Time Out Budapest then Forbes Hungary, Igor has since turned his talented attention to web design, including Libero. If you like what you see, he would be happy to receive commissions at spanjevic@yahoo.com.

JIM WILKINSON

Lancashire’s sprightliest septuagenarian and lollipop man extraordinaire covered lower-league football for the nationals and had stints at the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Observer – as in Chorley, Lancashire Evening and Accrington. He acquired the football travel bug from following Blackburn on pre-season tours across Europe. Not even late-life marriage could quell his wanderlust as the honeymoon package included a friendly at DC United as well as Springsteen & Roxy Music gigs. Regular pre-Covid holiday weekends were always meticulously arranged to coincide with soccer diversions, be it Barça, Boavista or Babelsberg. In a single morning, Jim once walked a good 11 miles to take in Belenenses and the Jamor Estádio Nacional beyond Lisbon but advises anyone similarly keen and unfit to take a taxi up those particular hills. He hopes to chalk up Valencia, Leipzig, Dresden and Kiev once the pandemic recedes.

MATT WALKER

Ardent fan of Fulham FC, travel oddities and heavy metal, Matt Walker rebelled against middle-aged mundanities by experiencing a football match in all 55 of Europe’s top leagues in one season. His book, Europe United https://www.amazon.co.uk/Europe-United-football-season-nations/dp/1787476138/ retells his incredible adventure and was rated one of the top lockdown reads by FourFourTwo. Matt has visited over 100 countries, watched 15 Africa Cup of Nations matches in nine days and had dozens of football-mad Ethiopian school children shout ‘Crutch’ at him. ‘Crutch, Crutch, Peter Crutch!’ He is quite white and very tall. 

TONY & LIAM DAWBER

Escaping a dull office job in his native Lancashire by means of a politics degree and two journalism diplomas, Tony Dawber cut his teeth as a news and sports reporter and went on to cover huge, illustrious football names such as Wigan Athletic, Blackpool and Bromley. His career highlights include being sworn at by ex-Arsenal boss Bruce Rioch. He has travelled the UK, Europe and the USA while researching for Libero, often being accompanied by son Liam, a keen photographer who shares his fanatical love for Burnley FC but not his devotion to punk heroes Stiff Little Fingers.

COLIN YOUNG
The result of an alliance between two Partick Thistle fans, Colin Young was born in Glasgow, brought up as a Junior Red in York and educated in football by Bremner and Dalglish with a little Burns and Robertson thrown in. He trawled the lower leagues for a few years as the Hull Daily Mail football correspondent before big-money moves to the nationals, resulting in two whirlwind decades travelling the globe with Ireland, the North-East’s big three and many little ‘uns. As happy in the Northern League as he is the Premier, if not happier, he can be spotted, right of stage, nodding his head at a Wedding Present gig in t’north. Books include Jack Charlton: The Authorised Biography https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Charlton-Authorised-Colin-Young/dp/1910827010.

EUGENE PRICE

Originally from the rolling hills of Donegal, Ireland, Eugene Price  is a web developer now based in Australia. Saddled with an unrequited love for Hibernian FC from a young age, Eugene now spends most of his time either nerding out on a computer or exploring the Australian bush. You can find out more about Eugene and his work at eugeneprice.dev.

ROB FRANCIS

Coventry fan Rob Francis first got the football travel bug in 2001/02, when his studies at Munich University enabled him to Interrail across much of Bavaria and Central Europe, and take in copious amounts of live football. He then settled in Brussels and somewhat obsessively groundhopped to every top-league ground in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. A season-ticket holder at Union Saint-Gilloise, he also follows Belgium home and away. Rob writes for a number of publications including When Saturday Comes, The Sporting Blog, Halb Vier and Futbolista, covering football and marathon running. At the last count – and yes, he does count! – he’d seen 923 matches at 478 grounds in 43 countries, always with one more to visit. Follow him on Twitter @robccfc.

KATE CARLISLE

Texan-born and Italy-based for 25 years, Kate has rolled out international comms for Clarence Seedorf and Technogym, danced with AC Milan’s midfield at the club’s Christmas ball and paid a visit to George Clooney’s villa overlooking Lake Como. She has put tricky questions to calcio royalty, Gordon Ramsay and the head of the Lazio ultras. Staff positions span maverick post-Wall Budapest Week in Hungary and Business Week  in the Eternal City. She also received the Sidney Hillman award for her investigative cover story on the Ecomafia and the Livingston Award for From Bad To Horrific In A Gypsy Ghetto. She penned Working and Living in Italy for Cadogan and worked the newsdesk, radio and TV for Italian state news agency, ANSA. Called into action for Libero, she has been guided around the storied corridors of Panini stickers, found the best football bar in Verona and picked splinters out of her jeans after enduring one Serie C stadio too many. Her latest travels focus on sustainable development, taking her on assignment to Uganda and India, writing for The Good Idea, CTA and Dept. Agency. Now in Amsterdam, she lives with her adopted troupe of cats, dogs, rescued birds and house mouse Marigold.

Yuanyuan Fu

Yuanyuan Fu is from China and has also lived in the UK and the Czech Republic. She is currently working in Cádiz, where she did a splendid job on her first Libero assignment covering the recent La Liga promotees and the city shortly before sunset. While she can certainly handle a camera, she remains flummoxed by the offside rule. When not snapping, she enjoys long walks along the beach – perhaps popping into one of those pre-match seafront bars by the Estadio Ramón de Carranza.

ANDREW FLINT

As it turns out, getting rejected by Lidl isn’t the worst thing in the world. It spurred Andrew Flint to move from Morden to Russia in search of other employment, reigniting his love of sports reporting. After graduating from an NCTJ course, Andrew has won awards for his long-form writing with These Football Times, and has also featured in the Guardian, When Saturday Comes, FourFourTwo and Mundial. He now works for RT and the official English-language site of the Russian Premier League while trawling his new homeland of Siberia and beyond for the nation’s sleekest and shabbiest football stadiums.

USA team v England, 1950
SABINA SIRĆO

Sarajevo-based Sabina Sirćo is an avid mountain guide and social-media expert in tourism. She has her own blog, www.wildinthebalkans.com, where she provides cultural and hiking tips around Bosnia-Herzegovina and other countries in the western Balkans, writing extensively on local nature and culture. When not exploring obscure corners of the country for Libero, she works as a social-media expert for USAID project, Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia-Herzegovina.