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5.0 out of 5 stars
Quality read on the life and times of a Manchester City fan, 26 Jun. 2012
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.
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.