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Richer Than God: Manchester City, Modern Football and Growing Up Paperback – 25 Apr 2013
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'The best football book I have read for a long time' Sam Wallace, Independent. (Independent)
'Superb. Nick Hornby meets Michael Crick' Rob Draper, Mail on Sunday. (Mail on Sunday)
'A must read' Tony Evans, The Times. (The Times)
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.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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....
Even worse - if you are an ex=player from prior to the premier league era, you will probably cry. great reading.
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.
Ever the intrepid reporter (Conn is considered an `international enemy of Leeds United' by their chairman Ken Bates for his foraging into the club's ownership), Conn is able to give the audience a rare glimpse of the human side of the Arab takeover through interviews with Chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, and Director of Football, Brian Marwood.
What really engages though is the way Conn speaks of his early days as a supporter on the Maine Road terraces and his battle to remain passionate in his support for his club in more money-driven times.
Conn's fervour and dedication to football comes over expressively throughout, and `Richer Than God' is an honest and moving account of his relationship with the game. The book spans the evolution of a football club, and the sport itself, over 40 years and showcases Conn's talents as one of the top football writers of the moment. And, thanks to Manchester City's last-gasp title win, it even has a happy ending too.