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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating but depressing
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...
Published on 31 Oct. 2004

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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 issues in football such as the Hillsborough disaster and clubs not managing their finances correctly. It is certainly worth reading, though it couldn't really be classed as a light read, in...
Published on 30 Jun. 2012 by Top Reader


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating but depressing, 31 Oct. 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Beautiful Game? (Paperback)
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential and compelling, 18 Nov. 2004
This review is from: The Beautiful Game? (Paperback)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth about football, 19 Aug. 2005
By 
B C Kershaw (Preston, Lancashire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Beautiful Game? (Paperback)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practically perfect, 11 May 2007
This review is from: The Beautiful Game?: Searching for the Soul of Football (Paperback)
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Book, 12 May 2006
This review is from: The Beautiful Game?: Searching for the Soul of Football (Paperback)
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 Essential reading for all genuine football fans, 16 Mar. 2006
By 
D avid C (Wantage, Oxfordshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Beautiful Game? (Paperback)
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
This review is from: The Beautiful Game?: Searching for the Soul of Football (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Lost, 12 Jun. 2011
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This review is from: The Beautiful Game?: Searching for the Soul of Football (Paperback)
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 painful. That the sport was in such denial by the mid-2000s only makes you wonder - actually what am I talking about, we know!! - how much trouble the game is in today. There are some corners of football culture that don't particularly like the naysayers; stop trashing the game, they say, look how exciting it all is, see how much enjoyment the fans get out of it and how much you can see and talk about football today; online, in the papers, and, oh yes on Sky for an average of £50 per month. At the end of a season where £50m buys you one goal in the second half of the year from your expensive striker (yes, we're talking about you Torres), where the ruling body of global football makes MPs in this country look like paragons of virtue, and where the champions of this so-called Premier League don't allow peaceful protest at their celebrations against the eye-poppingly ridiculous amount of debt that the club is actually in thanks solely to its owners, saying the game needs a re-think is a bit like saying The Only Way is Essex is comparable television to Our Friends in the North!! From top to bottom, Conn deconstructs the myths, scandals and downright lunacy that has plagued so many corners of the professional game from at least the 1970s. Amid salutatory and sometimes affecting conversations with the few owners/executives/chancers who admitted to getting it wrong, one recurring fact in the book rings out as a sorry indictment on it all: amid the creditors usually stacking up at football clubs when it all goes wrong,a smallish bill at each is a rolling metaphor for Conn. Nobody ever pays the St John Ambulance! A charity! Who turn up for the sake of fans and their clubs to look after people on a Saturday afternoon! This week, in June 2011, a number of clubs have got together to promote a new initiative at Burnley where a set of facilities will provide classroom space to study and hand out new degrees for football management/administration, thus supposedly encouraging the executives of tomorrow to get involved in the game. And run it better? Differently? With transparency? One can only despair at the hypocritical irony of it all! David Conn's work is nothing less than a gifted and sane voice in a world (especially in journalism where he is based) that has lost its soul and mind to money, greed, and nonsense. A still newer edition of this book is not just recommended and desired, it is essential if the game so many of us love, is not to disintegrate before our eyes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heart and Mind: A perfect analysis of English football, a toy we lovingly shared that 'they' took away and broke to pieces, 2 Mar. 2015
By 
G. O. Squintani "g.o.s." (Portishead, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Beautiful Game?: Searching for the Soul of Football (Paperback)
2004? I know it had been on my "To Read" list for some time, but... seriously?!?

Don't delay any longer. A glorious piece of work, in which Conn weaves between that bygone age in which local businessmen owned their community's club and the new world order of oligarchs and plcs, his sentimental ties to the football he knew and loved in the pre-Premier League age never clouding his fact-based judgement over Sky's impact on the modern game.

As an exiled Sheffielder (of the red & white persuasion), some of the passages about Hillsborough stirred uncomfortable emotions. Conn outlined over a decade ago key elements of the truth that only came out last year, his bemusement at the meaningless nature of safety certificates shared by many - if, tragically, too late. Painful to think that so little (in relative terms) needed doing to prevent so much.

Like any true football fan should, Conn makes no secret of his love. Which is Man City, as he quotes the frustrations of his youth. Surely it's time for either a sequel or an epilogue to the epilogue - the current one pointing the finger at Chelsea's foreign riches and their impact on transfers and wages? Not to mention that what constituted scandalous amounts of money in 2005 is now peanuts (and a risible portion at that) in the context of the new Sky deal...

...so come on, David: there's still a lot of soul-searching to be done.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!!, 18 Oct. 2005
This review is from: The Beautiful Game?: Searching for the Soul of Football (Paperback)
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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The Beautiful Game?: Searching for the Soul of Football
The Beautiful Game?: Searching for the Soul of Football by David Conn (Paperback - 4 Aug. 2005)
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