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The Beautiful Game? [Paperback]

David Conn
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 30 Sep 2004 --  

Book Description

30 Sep 2004
Once, football proudly claimed to stand for passion, community, honour, even beauty. Today, football is about money. Its richest club, Manchester United, earned GBP175 million last year; yet since 1992 thirty-six of the Football League's seventy-two clubs have been insolvent. The game is in danger of losing its lifeblood - and its soul. David Conn, the game's most respected investigative journalist, sets out on a journey through the heart of our national game, exploring how the sport has failed - and who is to blame. Travelling to football's every outpost, Conn interviews players, managers, chairmen and fans, building up a picture of a game mired in crisis. At its heart, football is a game deeply loved by millions. This is a book for those who keep the faith, who believe that the sport itself, stripped of the greed and self-interest blighting its organisation, still has values, and can still be beautiful.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press (30 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224064355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224064354
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,223,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘A quite magnificent book... Do yourself a favour: make this the seasonal gift to yourself.’ -- David Walsh, Sunday Times

Book Description

A powerful, passionate exploration of a game in turmoil. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating but depressing 31 Oct 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book fascinating but mightily depressing at the same time. All the usual issues are covered here -- overblown wages in the premier league, chairmen ripping off their clubs, the FA suits' indifference for the health of the real game, the devotion of the fans in the smaller clubs such as York City, Bury and AFC Wimbledon, the atrocities that were Valley Parade and Hillsborough and the incompetence of many of those (in)directly responsible. If you love football you simply have to read this.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential and compelling 18 Nov 2004
Brilliant, emotional exposure of how football has evolved, been destroyed and the impact this has on the lives of the millions who play and love it from the boardrooms of Highbury to the wastelands of Salfords parks. Not only does it give a huge amount of insight into football and its mismanagement but gives a ray of hope in both the authors words and the sheer bloodymindedness of supporters. Clearly the author loves and understands the game far better than those who have mismanaged it from the top. Amazing book, should be the Blueprint for football and read by all who have any interest in the game
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!! 18 Oct 2005
What an amazing book, cant rate it highly enough. Tells the story of how the game has changed for since skys billions were supposed to reinvent the game, but instead of filtering down through the leagues most of it has found its way into the players pockets. Covers everything from David Dein to Hillsborough to Glossop Town. A really superb book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth about football 19 Aug 2005
This book is simply amazing. All true football fans must read this and they will understand why so many of our professional football clubs are in financial trouble. The most facinating part of this book looks at how the premiership breakaway began and how it has ruined football. And all that matters in football is money. I advise all fans of premiership clubs to read this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Book 12 May 2006
Conn's account of modern day football, and the sinister forces controlling the game, makes for a wonderful read.

Too often books on football ignore the trials and tribulations of lower league clubs. That is not a charge that can be levelled at Conn. His chapters on Wimbledon, York, Crewe, Bury, Notts County and others are magnificent accounts of the enthusiasm, passion and fervour of football supporters. In the same chapters there are often desperate tales of the greed of chairmen and directors of these same clubs.

Conn reminds the reader how fans are told that football is now a business, and as a result, has to be viewed in different terms from the game that many supporters grew to love. However, Conn responds with the argument that if football is now a business, then why are people who have continually run their business into the ground been rewarded with well paid jobs.

As a Liverpool supporter I recoommend the book. It's especially recommended to those supporters who perhaps are unsympathetic to the demands of the Hillsborough families. If you're in any way unsure about what happened on April 15th 1989, please read the book. Conn is not a Liverpool supporter. He's not a spokesperson for Liverpool or the bereaved families - he's just a journalist who has restored this reviewer's faith in football writers - and quite possibly football in general.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practically perfect 11 May 2007
This is, in my opinion, the best book ever written about English football. Conn explores everything, from the politics behind the formation of the premiership, to the chronic mismanagement of some of England's proudest clubs to League Two teams struggling with financial survival, to the myths and untruths surrounding the Hillsbourgh Disaster. What really endeared me to the book however, was that throughout the devastating criticism of footballs corruption, Conn is always remains constructive and outlines an effective blueprint that could provide hope for the future of English football, focusing on Crewe as an example of how football should be run. Very informative and enlightening, especially for Premiership fans who have only a vague knowledge of the plight of teams struggling to survive without the bountiful riches from Sky.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all genuine football fans 16 Mar 2006
If you are genuinely interested in football and only have time to read one book then this is the one. Full of factual stories of how genuine fans strive to keep their clubs going often in the face of owners who have only self interest in mind. The journey doesn't confine itself to the household names of football but covers all levels of the Football League and how money has become the only word for many in authority at the expense of the game itself. Not only for genuine football fans, this book should be compulsory reading for every football club director.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad someone has said it at last! 3 Dec 2008
A sad but brilliantly researched and written book. I couldn't agree more with its sentiments. The author's skill is reporting what he shrewdly observes but, in the main, leaving the reader to make value judgements and draw conclusions.

The format is an essay-style chapter on each of several topics or clubs, eg AFC Wimbledon, Arsenal, York City [post fans acquisition], Glossop North End [classic non-league club]and Sheffield Wednesday [post Hillsborough].
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book
Fascinating throughout- a must-read book! A great insight into the finer workings of English football. Impossible to put down- so much included that I had no idea about.
Published 6 months ago by Swarby
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent
This book is so insightful and lays bare some of the truths that should have been obvious at the inception of the Premier League - the league which is all about self interest and... Read more
Published 9 months ago by D C Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beautiful Game
Excellent thought provoking book by David Conn. Loved his chapters on the lower league club's particularly on Crewe, where Dario Gradi did absolute wonders. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have!
This is a 'must have' book for any serious fan of the game but be warned, it may leave you with a nasty taste in your mouth and feeling very cynical about 'the beautiful game'!
Published 16 months ago by Hebburnlee
3.0 out of 5 stars It looked like a book....
Hmm - Was a Xmas present a year ago, so not sure how I should rate it....Three more words required
Published 19 months ago by Goz
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful game
Well written and a good read.Gives a good insight into the machinations of football,may possibly colour ones view of the game but it shouldn't stop you reading it.
Published 21 months ago by Lindylou
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay book
The seller sent the book super quick and it was in excellent condition. The book itself is clearly intelligently written and there are a variety of topics covered relating to major... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2012 by Top Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Best football writer there is
A great book from the best football industry writer there is. Not exactly uplifting or optimisitic, but then, why should it be? A really strong piece of writing.
Published on 13 Jun 2012 by DCollins77
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Lost
The fact that David Conn's book, even in its revised edition, is some five years old now, doesn't make his assessment of modern football out of date so much as it does ever more... Read more
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by Mr. 880
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
After reading all the rave reviews about this book ('A brilliant book', a quite 'magnificent book'), and being a frustrated and disillusioned Arsenal and England fan, I just HAD to... Read more
Published on 4 Jun 2011 by Gordon Charles Ros
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