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The Club/ Jonathan Clegg & Joshua Robinson

The subtitle of this book is “How the Premier League became the richest, most disruptive business in sport” which reflects a work that is more assertive than analytical.

You can tell it’s written by journalists – in this case the Washington Post’s as a historian tends more to rely on primary sources than interview as is the case here.

It is an account of the genesis of the Premier League and how it became a global phenomenon described as England’s greatest export.

The authors state that there was a transformation from an antediluvian sport in which no money was made to riches beyond belief attracting the cream of international talent and their agents.

In fact money was made prior to the premier by the likes of Ron Noades, Chairman of Crystal Palace, Sam Hamman at Wimbledon, Doug Ellis at Aston Villa and Ken Bates at Chelsea, usually out of the ground.

Whilst in the Premier, American businessman like Randy Lerner at Aston Villa and Elliot Short at Sunderland have lost out on their investment.

It would also have been useful if we had the bigger picture of massive ticket prices for fans, the decline in the national team, the quality of the football and the rise of the super agent who can create or break up a successful team and with whom a manager often has a relationship of self-interest.

I suspect the well-informed reader will find nothing new here but the book has more to it than most sensational memoirs of a football star.

About Rex Mitchell

Rex Mitchell is a Brentford supporter from childhood. This has not prevented him having a distinguished Fleet Street career as a sports reporter and later deputy football editor. A widower, Rex is a bit of a bandit golfer off his official handicap of 20 and is currently chairman of his local bowls club. More Posts