The Club is the previously untold inside story of how English soccer’s Premier League became the wildest, richest, most popular sports product on the planet. This is a sports and business tale of how money, ambition, and twenty-five years of drama remade an ancient institution into a twenty-first-century entertainment empire. No one knew it when their experiment began, but without any particular genius or acumen, the motley cast of billionaires and hucksters behind the modern Premier League struck gold. Pretty soon, everyone wanted to try their luck, from Russian oligarchs to Emirati sheikhs, American tycoons, and Asian Tiger titans. Some succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Some lost everything. Today, players are sold for tens of millions, clubs are valued in the billions, and games are beamed out to nearly two hundred countries, all while the league struggles to preserve its English soul. Deeply researched and drawing on one hundred exclusive interviews, including the key decision makers at every major English team, The Club is the definitive and wildly entertaining narrative of how the Premier League took over the world.
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Joshua Robinson is the European sports correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated. Jonathan Clegg is a senior editor for The Wall Street Journal. His work has also appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Independent (U.K.), and FourFourTwo magazine.
Table of Contents
Authors' Note ix
Part I Breaking Away 1
Part II Rise and Rise 37
Part III Invaders On The Shore 81
Part IV Premier League Inc. 153
Part V Britain's new empire 219
Selected Bibliography 315
Cast of Characters 317
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Everybody knows anything can happen in the Premier League. #Quote If you are a football (soccer) fan or even if you aren’t, you must be aware of the English Premier League. The Club is the true story of the meteoric rise of the English Premier League from it’s humble beginnings to becoming the richest & the most dominant sporting leagues in the world. The Club begins before the advent of the Premier League in 1980’s when the game of football in England was in dire straits. The stadiums were crumbling, football hooligans were driving away the genuine fans and the premier league did not even have a proper TV deal. The book tracks how owners of the top clubs in England finally rebelled against this system and formed the league in 1992. From a slow start to the world’s biggest sporting league, this book tracks the entire history of the English Premier League. This book is divided into 4 sections. First covers the pre league history and the formation of the league. Second section cover the rise of Manchester United, Arsenal, the rise and fall of Blackburn Rovers. Others cover the invasion of foreign billionaires and how their riches transformed club like Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City , remarkable stories about other clubs and some memorable characters. Finally the books covers how the premier league is transforming and how the English and World football is transforming due to the Premier League. The book is not just plain history but has lot of behind the scenes stories, interview snippets and unknown facts. The history is mostly chronological and covers some fascinating stories about clubs, players, managers and key events in the league’s history. It also covers how business of the league evolved and how the clubs transformed themselves to global business entities. The research is impeccable and covers dozens of interviews with the men who created the EPL. At times, it may feel that the book focuses more on individuals than the clubs but the topics are mixed well. Great care is taken to avoid making it feel like a history book but rather like a novel. Overall, The Club is unique, informative and entertaining at the same time. If you are a football fan or even mildly curious about the Premier League, you will enjoy this book.
The Club is a terrific book. It really is. The fact that I share a last name with one of the authors and, if memory serves, took him to his first English Premier League soccer game, has nothing to do with the great storytelling that is so readable and enjoyable between the covers of this book. Both authors are professional sports journalists, with serious credits - both are with the Wall Street Journal - and both grew up in Britain. So they come to the EPL naturally. But what they've here, and done so brilliantly, is tell the inside story of British soccer - the Brits call it football, but that's just to confuse us Americans - with a great sense of narrative, colorful characters and a multi-boardroom/stadium setting. It's non-fiction, a terrific example of proper reporters doing proper reporting, brought to life by two journalists who understand true storytelling. It reads like a novel and that's high praise. That said, The Club is not really a soccer book - my mother won't come away with an understanding of the offside rule - nor is it a business book. The fact is, it's both. And, at the same time, it's something new. Think of The Club as a sports version of Liars Poker and Barbarians At The Gate. As I said, it really is that good./ Jeffrey Robinson