Walker’s quest to watch a match in each of UEFA’S 55 nations, all in one season, is at its best when he explores European football’s less fashionable outposts. In the Faroes and Iceland, the £240,000 that clubs receive for Europa League qualification – a week’s pay for one player at some top clubs – really is make-or-break.
Walker paints an informative, quirky, fascinating picture of matchday culture across Europe. In Norway, as Arctic terns swoop overhead, Brann supporters sing, “Niagara Falls, London and Paris, what are these compared to Bergen, the Nordic paradise?” In Albania, supporters sip 65p beer and bask in the afterglow of a surprise Euro 2016 appearance. In Armenia, 80 fans attend a ghostly top-flight fixture.
While on his travels, Walker demonstrates how Europe is becoming more homogenised – yet the have-nots crave the lucrative TV deals that see, for instance, the best Polish players moving to Germany or France.
The book’s sheer breadth does mean Walker whizzes through some sections. Even so, Europe United is a culturally savvy look at football across the continent.