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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Football in the dock
Tom Bower has exposed what goes on behind the scenes in the less salubrious areas of football, greed, corruption, toothless football authorities and the pressing need for firm Government intervention are tackled by the author. As a fan of the great game, the issues that Bower has raised are of great concern and need addressing.
Banned directors in other arenas or...
Published on 8 Mar. 2003

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting topic but tends to drag on in places
The likes of Harry Redknapp, Ken Bates, Brian Clough, Peter Reid, George Graham and Terry Venables all suffer at Bower's hands with detailed chapters exposing their willingness to use the cheap foreign players to make themselves a quick buck. In many cases managers are shown to have purchased players on the advice of an agent without any knowledge of the players ability...
Published on 11 July 2007 by Jay


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4.0 out of 5 stars A revealing nugget, 25 Mar. 2013
An informative review, full of little nuggets that show how shockingly some of the big beasts behave. Bower (p.344) reveals Sir Alex Ferguson, for example, prepared to schmooz with Israeli death squad leaders, for that is what the Mistaharim are, to smooth relations with Israeli footballing agent Pini to help sign Rio Ferdinand:

"As Manchester United's fortunes tumbled over the following weeks, Ferguson pondered his strategy to fulfil his dream. Fortunately his relationship with Pini was close. Ferguson had recently flown to Israel, and, in recognition of his fame, had been honoured by an introduction to the Mistaharim, a top secret Israeli undercover army unit who specialised in posing as disgruntled Palestinians in the West Bank. Ferguson was excited by his glimpse into Israel's secret war and, a few weeks later, returned the compliment by welcoming the commander of the Mistaharim and his son at Old Trafford and introducing them to the team. Counting on that bond, Ferguson phoned Pini Ferguson phoned Pini to evoke reassurance about Ferdinand's continued enthusiasm for a transfer."

Worth it for such gems.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars the equivalent of the football journeyman, 13 Jun. 2003
By A Customer
Mr Bower's talent and experience as a journalist are held in high regard by many, but for the football fan this production is a largely dry and repetitive account collated from various newspaper sources. The 'story' should be an exciting one, but somehow it lacks soul.

It should inspire resentment towards the (often high profile) figures it targets. Instead, all too often, it takes aim with inane detail about, for example, the financial dealings of Ken Bates. The cast of characters soon expands to unmanageable proportions, requiring continued reference to the index and the need to revisit earlier sections.

Mr Bower does not floor his targets - he merely concusses them. Much of the 'damning' evidence would be considered in a court as no more than circumstantial. Obviously these people are slippery characters - but do we really need to shell out yet more cash to know this?

I sense he is not a football fan and he admits as much near the end of the book. He continually refers to players stripped down to their barest components: player X, a forward, or player Y, a midfield player. This quickly becomes irritating - he does not add the extra colour that the football fan demands. A player is much more than the sum of his statistically documented parts. Duncan Ferguson, for example, is casually dismissed as an "unremarkable forward". While this may be strictly true in terms of his goalscoring record it fails as an accurate discription since much of football's charm cannot simply be ascribed to figures like this.

Mr Bower berates a number of people for trying to make a quick buck with football being their secondary concern. While i am not in any way suggesting the same of Mr Bower, he appears guilty of the same weakness as many of these men - failing to recognise that the normal rules do not apply.

There are also see a number of silly (indeed unacceptable) errors which have crept in and stayed. It is suggested, for example, that Duncan Ferguson was jailed for 3 months for "biting an opponent". PLEASE! This should set alarm bells ringing. Another is the suggestion that Johansson of Charlton is Swedish - he is in fact Finnish.

Minor errors they may be but such facts are readily ascertainable from any newspaper or internet search. They can only serve to foster doubts about the veracity of the information about the behind-the-scenes shenanigans.

A final note to Scottish and lower league readers - the reference to "British" football is misleading. 95% of the book refers to the English premiership.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Important yet strangely disappointing, 1 Dec. 2003
By 
G. L. Haggett "glynlhaggett" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football (Paperback)
Having much enjoyed "Blood Money", Bower's examination of the Jewish money confiscated during the Nazi era locked away in Swiss bank vaults, I was looking forward greatly to this book. Unfortunately, it shows little of the pace, verve and energy characteristic of the previous book.
While it is most certainly a very important book, in that it quite rightly exposes wrongdoing and dubious business practice, I fear its (necessary) concentration upon complex financial detail may serve to make it inaccessible to those very supporters who most need to be given the message.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An eyeopener, 23 Jan. 2014
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A friend said to me: "If you think The Secret Footballer was shocking, you should Read Broken Dreams". And so I did. Now my view of certain people in the English game has been changed forever. Controversial as it may be, Broken Dreams is an eyeopener to some of the shenanigans going on in English football. It is not nice, but the book makes you think - and that is not a bad thing.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Power, corruption and lies, 28 April 2003
By A Customer
Everyone who turns off the TV on a Saturday night with a warm glow in their hearts having witnessed the thrills and spills of the Premiership, should read this book for a reality check. Bower's tale is compelling and depressing, above all for revealing the half-hearted attempts of the current government to do something about the national game. If anything Bower could have been harsher on the players themselves, who have their egos stroked by the agents and must take their share of the blame for the current desperate financial plight of English football.
My main complaint about the book is the sloppy editing, some players' names are misspelled or they are given the wrong nationalities, and in his desire to simplify labyrinthine complexities of football corruption Bower often cuts too many corners , leaving the reader often more confused than if he gone into all the details. His often over-elaborate prose style doesn't help either.
Although this is an examination of football over the last 10-20 years, it would have been worth pointing out that bungs, insider-dealing and corruption have been part of organised sport for centuries and football is no exception to this rule.
For all that, a definite must-read for those who care deeply about 22 men kicking an inflated sphere about on a patch of grass in a city or town near you.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Broken Dreams? - Fantasy Football more like..., 21 July 2004
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football (Paperback)
Having read some of Mr Bower's earlier exposes, I had rather hoped that he would do to the world of football what he had earlier done to such doyens of the seedy world of business as Robert Maxwell, Tiny Rowlands and even Richard Branson. The result, sadly, is rather underwhelming.
First, the good points. Bower is excellent at making sense of the myriad of scandal and financial turmoil that has dogged the game. I wouldn't say that he has simplified it, but he certainly removed the spin from the reality. As an outsider to the game he views the way football is run as a business dispaionately and is particularly good at exposing the largely non-sensical world of agents, who grab 5% plus of every transfer fee going - even when they've done little or no work. Why, one ponders, can club chairmen bot just call each other to sort out transfers like they used to?
Yet it is Bower's outsider status that most undermines the book. He clearly had little interest of the game before he wrote it, and developed little love of what happened on the pitch while writing it.
Yes, football can be a seedy world - but so is practically every big business. Lots of money has unquestionably been wasted by clubs, but it is too by politicians, bankers, bureacrats and so on on a daily basis. Footballs woes are never placed in any sort of external context; nor does Bower once make the link between the unbridled joy a goal or a win can bring, and what has passed off the pitch. David Dein, the Arsenal vice-Chairman, for instance, takes heavy criticism; but if my club chairman had frittered away a couple of million on agents fees and produced a team like Arsenals - well, frankly, I wouldn't care in the slightest.
His lack of knowledge about the football itself is abundently obvious and occasionally hilarious. Leeds United apparently bought Rio Ferdinand from West Ham after he had 'humiliated' Leeds in a 0-0 draw at Upton Park. Come again? There are plenty of assertions just like this, which bear no relation to anything any right-minded fan or journalist would state about a performance.
The text is also replete with factual and spelling errors. Everton's Duncan Ferguson apparently went to prison in 1998 for 'maliciously biting' an opponent. Oh yeah? Similar mistakes crop up every couple of pages.
Bower also sinks into gross generalisations of a whole variety of characters; and the complete disdain he shows to other individuals undermines any criticism that follows. How, for instance, can he be dispassionate assessing Ken Bates' business affairs when (without any sort of foundation or accusation) he intimates that Bates lied about his own upbringing. Who do we trust?
I don't think the book deserves to be trashed; but equally, I certainly don't believe it was worthy of any of its critical or commercial adulation, and CERTAINLY NOT the Sports Book of the Year Award. How a man, who obviously knows little about football as a game and apparently cares even less, could win such a prize defies belief.
Ultimately, only if you're interested in the murky world of sports business, and football in particular, it's a worthwhile read - but do so with extreme reservations.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Foot, 21 May 2003
By A Customer
Well researched, with interesting insight into some of the big names in the game.

However, disappointing in that it often failed to explain the politics and relationships involved, and offered no conclusions.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where football became dis-united, 21 Jun. 2010
As a football fan it is good to read what has happened to our Beautiful Game. We all knew it was going on, the chapters on Venables and Redknapp are libellous if they're not true. The book is printed still so it must be true.
Agents have wrecked the sharing of money throughout our football, just kept it and tough luck to anyone not in the premiership elite.
Arsenal success story well documented. Dein such a success in business huh? Allardyce not protecting his family, nor Fergie. Levy squeaky clean.
Liverpool and mu doing so well, debt free?
A cracking read, a must read
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment, 7 April 2003
By A Customer
Tom Bower clearly put a great deal of effort and research into this book. Unfortunately, the product is plagued by poor editing and organisation. Some facts are repeated several times, while other information is presented with almost no context. The chapters seem to be arbitrary divisions of content.
Bower makes obvious his disdain for the current state of football management. It's a shame that he didn't support his case with more compelling writing. I found The Football Business by David Conn to be a more lucid and effective argument.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service, 5 Oct. 2010
I received the book I orderd very quickly and was very pleased with the quality of the book.
I would have no problem recommending this service.
The content of the book was all I had expected and a great read.
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