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Jumpers for Goalposts: How Football Sold Its Soul

Jumpers for Goalposts: How Football Sold Its Soul [Kindle Edition]

Rob Smyth , Georgina Turner
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Description


...his book combines an encyclopaedic knowledge of cricket matches, anecdotes and facts with delicious turns of phrase. --Guardian

Smyth's love of the game shines out from every page. --Irish Times

A warming read, littered with the wit and knowledge that make Smyth such a magnetic writer.

Product Description

On August 15th 1992, the Premier League kicked off for the very first time to the sound of money. That same season, a new kind of branded commercialism descended across the continent as the European Cup was re-launched as the Champions League. In 1994, the game's oldest trophy, the FA Cup, would become the last of English football's major competitions to fall to commercial sponsors. The early 1990s mark the moment at which the beautiful game, the sport of the common man, wound up on a market stall, complete with price tag. Of course the game needed to change - terraces had become ugly, dangerous places, blighted with racism and afflicted with the tragedies of Hillsborough and Heysel; on the mud-patches that passed for pitches, tackles were brutal, bone-crunching, and very much from behind. But rather than righting wrongs, pockets were lined as the legacy of football was cashed in. Rob Smyth and Georgina Turner explore the fan's-eye view of 21st-century football, a game that can be about breathtaking style, but very little substance; a grossly inflated memory of its former self where Football's Soul (TM) is an idea to be traded, not treasured. These days, at least as much energy is spent figuring out how to exploit money-spinning opportunities as holes in the opposition back four, with long-suffering supporters brazenly commodified along the way. Yet in the game of the people, for the people, 'Jumpers for Goalposts' proves that the fans do know best and that to recover its soul, the beautiful game has to rediscover its roots.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 578 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Elliott & Thompson (21 Dec 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907642226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907642227
  • ASIN: B006ZOYM4K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #146,566 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and funny 5 Jan 2012
By Sam W
The market is saturated with football books, usually of the stocking filler variety - either god-awful laddish affairs, unjustified memoirs or beyond boring pub trivia-type drivel. Bravo for this one, then, which instead provides a very thought provoking and intelligent dissection of the state of modern football. As a fan these days I find myself getting bored reading the media football pages and having read JFG I thank the authors for pointing out why.

Starting with a guilty dream team, JFG quotes Danny Blanchflower, who states that football is not so much about winning but is about glory. And so by attempting to define the soul of football, and what makes it great, the book then sets about illustrating how all this has come undone in recent years, most notably since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.

The reasons themselves are familiar to most football fans: narcissistic players, the winning at all costs mentality, the monopolisation of domestic and European competition by the elite few, the stinking governing bodies, the hypocrisy of fans and the damned media. Where this book differs, and how it ultimately works, is that it is academic in its research, yet the witty journalistic style is very readable, and you don't have to be an "in the know" football nerd to appreciate it. There were plenty of bits that had me nodding in agreement: "where the money is stacked highest an antagonistic sense of entitlement has crystallized and fans strop about like Veruca Salt". Being a fan of the nouveau-riche Leicester City, I can attest to that! A section about fans in the media (commenting on online news stories etc) is also particularly good.

I would recommend buying this book - the fact that it is so contemporary, written in the early part of the 2011/12 season makes it worth doing now but I think the themes will make it relevant for a good many years to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good number-crunching but nothing new 2 Jan 2013
The book is well-written and its points are well-supported by statistical analysis. I doubt many fans would have much to disagree with in their conclusions, but it does feel like it's preaching to the converted. I would have liked to have seen more than a dozen pages dedicated to potential improvements the game can make. A good read though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 7 Jun 2012
By Flash
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I started reading this I thought it might turn out to be a sort of "Grumpy Old Men on Football" style book, reminiscing about how things were better "...when I were a lad...".

I was wrong, not completely, but this is not a Clarkson-esque tirade against modern football. It is a very well thought out and reasoned discussion on how the game has been robbed of that magic that turned us all onto the game in the first place. Also quite clearly stating that this focus on money is not a new thing ! I won't spoil any of the book as I found it very entertaining and don't want to spoil it for anyone else.

The only thing missing was a section at the beginning "Dear FIFA..." and a space at the end where we can add our signatures before sending the book out to Mr Blatter and his colleagues !
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This is a lovely book, beautifully written and laced with wit, that describes the excesses and compromises of modern football. It is not some dry critique by people who despise football, but a book written by and for those of us who love the game, or, at least, what the game ought to be. It is both funny and deadly serious, unashamedly idealistic, but also grounded in a deep understanding of what the game is properly all about: not bling nor even just winning, but `glory', in the words of the great Danny Blanchflower. The book is packed with facts, stories and brilliant quotations, but always assembled as part of a convincing story or argument on how the game's best values have been systematically abused over the last couple of decades by its massive exploitation for money. Rob Smyth and Georgina Turner have given us a delightful, thoroughly researched, funny-but-serious assessment of the game that is a must-read for anyone interested in it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Yes football is a business now but why has it turned into such a money hungry, morality free, opportunity for product placement?

Football is a business but that's not a get out of jail card (sometimes literally) for the people involved in it.

Never forget *why* you love football - why you love your football club. Is it because you enjoy their particular brand of capitilism or is it something else? Something more...and this is a dirty word these days...romantic. You were chosen by your club(as you don't choose who to support on a whim) because your father took you to games, you liked how they played or there was something about a particular player. This book showed me that it's not stupid or delluded to be romantic about football as thats what it's all based on. If we don't have romance, if we don't have heroes then what do we have?

Anyway, loved this book, read it in 2 sittings. Hoping for more from these authors.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Partly very enjoyable, partly frustrating 21 April 2013
By M. V. Clarke VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
On the one hand, I really enjoyed a lot of this book; the argument that football has sold its soul is persuasive, and the evidence of ticket prices, kit changes, wages, transfer fees, TV rights, treatment of supporters etc is compelling. I share the authors' yearning for a simpler, more honest approach to the game that foregrounds entertainment, style and a strong sense of shared identity between players, managers and supporters. The recollections of bygone decades is very entertaining, and resonates strongly with my childhood memories of the FA Cup, Italia '90 and such like. On the other hand, the authors' central theme is somewhat repetitive, and they present very little hope of redemption. The focus is, perhaps unsurprisingly, on the Premier League and international football, but surely there are signs of hope and examples that go against the grain in the lower leagues and non-league. Also, the concluding section, which offers some suggestions is rather vague. Football has changed, and if the values the authors appeal to here are to have any future relevance, ways of reconciling them with the current climate need to be found; I kept hoping that the authors would attempt to map this out, but ultimately, they didn't. Their lament is hardly misplaced, but it became a little over-bearing by the end.
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