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Richer Than God: Manchester City, Modern Football and Growing Up [Kindle Edition]

David Conn
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Richer Than God is an authoritative, provocative, investigative account of Manchester City's history, culminating in its transformation as Sheikh Mansour seeks to spend the formerly miserable Manchester club into the European elite. When Conn asked an American working in Abu Dhabi whether its economy had been at all affected by the global recession, he said: 'My friend, we're richer than God'.

It is also a tale of innocence: that of a six-year-old boy transfixed by his sky-blue heroes, coming of age as a writer with the mature understanding that both his club and the game are businesses. Why should modern football continue to claim the unquestioning loyalty of fans, when there is so much in the game to question?

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'Few have written as intelligently and passionately about the voodoo economics of modern football as the Guardian journalist David Conn' New Statesman.

'a warm memoir of life growing up as a City fan ... an engaging read, whichever team you happen to support' Sport magazine.

'Always gripping, Richer Than God's story of heartbreak and passion is one that any football fan can identify with, and is an essential read for those who wish to be shown the brutal machinations of the modern game ... Lifelong City supporter David Conn relates an extraordinary tale of industrial decline and global deal making' Big Issue.

'no other journalist has pursued the story so exhaustively ... passionately made' Guardian. 'A must read' The Times.

'A brilliant analysis of Abu Dhabi-era Manchester City, English football and post-industrial UK. I loved it' Independent.

'It is a beautifully evocative description not only of City's turbulent recent history, but also of the trials and troubles of Manchester itself' Manchester Evening News.

'City fans ought to devour Conn's story of their club, and, for those interested in the current state of English football, it's equally indispensable' Independent on Sunday.

'More forensic than Hornby's classic [Fever Pitch], it benefits from the author's instinctive knowledge of when to zoom in on his own involvement and when to pull back for the bigger picture' Guardian.

'combines quite brilliantly a tribute to all that his club have achieved while unravelling how the super-wealthy owners are a major part of all that is wrong with football today' Morning Star.

From the Inside Flap

Richer Than God is an authoritative, emotional, provocative account of Manchester City's takeover by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, culminating in Roberto Mancini's team's remarkable last minute Premier League title victory in May 2012. David Conn chronicles the Manchester City story, from glories in the late 1960s and excellence in the 1970s, through decades of mishaps, to its new status as the richest club in the world. The book details from the inside how Sheikh Mansour's prodigious wealth has rebuilt the formerly rundown club, propelling it to that dramatic Premier League triumph, and into the European elite. By placing the club's extraordinary current rise in the wider context of its patchy modern history, this is also the story of English football's transformation - from the battlegrounds of the 1980s to today's moneyed, seated, global entertainment. Conn grew up in Manchester, always a City fan, and in part this is a tale of innocence: a six-year-old boy transfixed by his football heroes who, as an adult and writer, comes of age with the mature understanding that both his club and the game are businesses. Conn is led to question the very nature of football clubs and being a supporter, as well as the underlying values and running of what use to be called 'the people's game'. A labour of love, this is the powerfully told tale of Manchester City's fall and rise, based on years of meticulous research, and exclusive access and interviews with key figures. Richer Than God is written in the gripping, revelatory style Conn has made his trademark, with a depth and emotion borne of experience.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Conn's book 26 Jun. 2012
Over the last decade, David Conn has established himself as the pre-eminent journanlist and commentator on football in England. He's exposed countless acts of skuldugery and championed the cause of the silent majority. Raised on football and now forced to consume an expensive diet of hype and badly made replica shirts, his articles and this book are the antidote to all that overhyped, overpriced nonsense. This book touchingly, adds in his personal memories of growing up a football fan, plain and simple. How can I put this? The best book you will ever read on football. He speaks with common sense, passion and a crtical eye that the media do their best to cover up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I was hoping for 28 Aug. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Being one of the many suffering and miserable City fans over the years, the sudden success with the F.A Cup victory then the unbelievable climax to last seasons Premier League was a massive lift to us all.
The story of that success; Thaskin Shinawatra buying the club, injecting millions that maybe were not his to inject, then the take over by one of the worlds richest men and the subsequent huge financial outlay - well we all know the story don't we? Whether you are a City fan trying to justify it or an angry fan of another club accusing City of buying success and killing football, its still a fascinating story.
And so I approached this book hoping for some insight into whats gone on at City to get to this point and yes you do get that. But it all becomes rather swamped under the 'money and business' side of it all.
I loved the Authors reminisces about growing up with City, the ruining of a very promising club by Peter Swales the Chairman and Malcolm Allison the returning hero and the eventual drop from top flight to obscurity, but so much more could and should have been written about it all. Where are the interviews with former managers? God knows there was enough of them!
I'm sorry but I found as the Author got deeper and deeper into the ins and outs of club takeovers etc I got more and more bored and found myself skipping pages just to find bits I could understand.
One thing I did learn from it all is yes City (and some other clubs too) ARE killing football and its really hard to face up to that. Like the Author I have fallen a bit out of love with the club now and if I'm honest - top flight football in general.
If you are looking for nostalgia and ultimate triumph as I was then you may be disappointed with this book, but if you want a big bite of a reality sandwich and want to know whats REALLY going on in the Premier League then give it a go. But you may end up cancelling your Sky sports and going to support a local team instead....
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
When Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany lifted the Premier League trophy in May, he celebrated the end of a 44-year barren spell since City won their last league title. But not just that - it marked the fulfilment of a billionaire Arab's quest to take over a football club and make them the best in the land.

The intervening years between the halcyon days of Maine Road heroes Bell, Lee and Summerbee, and the epic drama of Sergio Aguero's late winner at the Etihad Stadium were fraught with moments referred to by long-suffering fans as `Typical City'. From the disastrous return of Malcolm Allison as manager to the second coming of Francis Lee in a director's seat and the open-armed welcome to Thai human rights abuser Thaksin Shinawatra and his (ultimately fictitious) riches, Manchester City's history has been littered with false dawns.

And City's continued association with the tragicomic and their long-standing blight of living in the shadow of their illustrious and successful neighbours Manchester United made them an intriguing enough story even before the riches of Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour made them the world's wealthiest club.

Guardian sports writer David Conn, a Manchester City fan since the early seventies and a specialist on the topic of football finance, is expertly placed to write about their new fiscal luxury. He does so by alternating between his insights of the present-day City and his own emotional experiences as an embattled Manchester City supporter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
i am a united fan and i loved this book - i didnt become a united fan because they won everything - if you are over forty you can remember the docherty / sexton / atkinson and early ferguson years when we were 'fourth in a two horse race'. This book is about why you fell in love with football as a FAN in the first place and why you dont feel it fulfills the same place in your heart, no matter which club you support. if your club is now owned by someone who puts money ahead of glory (nearly every club) then you will recognise a lot of your own life in this.
Even worse - if you are an ex=player from prior to the premier league era, you will probably cry. great reading.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Through his regular column in The Guardian and two previous books David Conn has over the years established himself as the pre-eminent writer about the business of football and by virtue of his well researched pleas for financial openness and best practice and his unerring ability to expose financial misappropriation, charlatans and frauds, Conn has been a seemingly lone voice of reason in a mad world seemingly populated by egomaniacs and billionaires (both real and imaginary).

Quercus Publishing has now come up with a real winner and a thirty yard volley into the top corner as behind his outward appearance of wearing a hair shirt of fiscal responsibility and crusading zeal, David Conn has revealed himself for what he really is - a true football fan, and irony of ironies as a life-long supporter of money-bags Manchester City!

This is a love story, warts and all, of a young boy's introduction to his local team and takes us through the ups and downs of the club tied in with a social history of Manchester itself and the trials and tribulations of a working class upbringing in the 1970s.

Whilst heroes such as Colin Bell, Joe Corrigan and Willie Donachie receive their full share of praise, Conn is not slow to point figures regarding the long-term decline of the club and its fall from the heady days of success in the late 60s to becoming known as "the club for cock-ups".

Conn places the club's fortunes firmly within the wider context of the game at large and takes the reader through the magical transformation of Manchester City to its current status as perhaps the richest club in the world and forensically details how Sheikh Mansour's wealth has paved the way to the first Championship success since 1968.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 3 months ago by Alastair Rainey
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read.
OK but not quite what I expected really. Decent enough read and raises a few good points, plus a few points for comment.
Published 6 months ago by Grimnod
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story and great story telling
Man City have undergone a remarkable transformation from an under achieving club that despite itself enjoyed brilliant loyalty from fans to a club richer than any other in the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mark Knowles
4.0 out of 5 stars Most fans will only care about winning trophies and will be glad the...
A very interesting look at the changes at Manchester City, although David did complain too much about the direction the club has taken. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Michael Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars Richer than God
A great read. Not just for City fans. A very good account of all our childhood memories where top flight games could be enjoyed on pocket money. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mr. M. N. Powis
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
I enjoyed reading this book as a counterpoint to the World Cup. It is a bit repetitive in places though which broke up the flow a bit. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mrs Sarah Killingback
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you really know who you support?
Why did I decide to read a book about Manchester City? Probably because I knew that David Conn's excellent writing would bring to life the journey that many of us take during a... Read more
Published 15 months ago by rfawcett1973
4.0 out of 5 stars a must read for any fan of not just City, but any club
A very insightful and at times poignant story of the rather turbulent experience of supporting the oft laughed at but now behemoth that is Manchester City..... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Honest man
4.0 out of 5 stars know more!
Great book. Sometimes a little too journalistic in its prose to be a page turner but then it is a very long article in truth. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ingsie
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read
have read a couple of David Conns before and this doesn't disappoint. Hugely interesting and engrossing for football fans of all creeds and persuasions. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
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