Before I embark on my review of this remarkable book I must make the admission that I am not an entirely unbiased observer. I collaborated with co-author Alex Fynn on several successful football books in the 1980s and 90s and continue to regard him and his lovely family as friends. Having said that, I'm sure that in making a few comments on this 2016 update of the original book I can be trusted to remain as objective as any writer should. Many of you will be familiar with the thrust of the book's narrative so I will restrict my critique to what I regard as the two most important aspects dealt with in the new chapters contained in this update. First, there is a forensic dissection of Arsenal's finances and how they impact the club's trophy-winning potential. For gooners everywhere, the lack of silverware in recent years has become of increasing concern. And as the situation has continued to be evermore out of kilter with fans' aspirations, there have been moments when wholesale destabilisation has seemed just around the corner. For any fan who wants to understand how this has come about and where it may be leading, the Making of a Modern Superclub is a must-read experience. The level of detail, from transfers (including the Luis Suarez fiasco), through merchandising and TV deals and on to ticket prices supporters are expected to pay are all woven together to make impressive sense of what, to even the most knowledgeable fan, at times appears unfathomable. Second is a beautifully crafted observation of Mr. Wenger. He comes across here as a somewhat lonely man, driven by his obsession both with Arsenal and his desire for control. It is a poignant description of his personality - and elicits sympathy with and annoyance for him in equal measure. Finally, overall, this book is easy to read and digest and rarely indulges itself in bombast or assertion. No Arsenal supporter should ignore it.
I know I'm obviously biased but I'd I'd read anything good on Arsenal and this is a well documented piece. It will be interesting to see if there's another one in a few years time as the football world is changing perhaps not for the better as it's now a huge business more than a sport.
Arsenal: The Making of a Modern Superclub gives an insight into how Arsene Wenger and the board transformed Arsenal into the club it is today. A global brand with a strong worldwide supporters base, with a turnover that has increased by ten fold since 1996.
Alex Fynn and Kevin Whitcher provides a detailed but balanced analysis of Arsene Wenger; a pioneer on and off the pitch, who is now struggling to emulate his past successes and adapt to the rapid changes in modern football.
This book offers readers a brilliant insight into the club through interesting anecdotal stories involving various people such as David Dein, Arsene Wenger and Anthony Spencer, while it also provides a fascinating look at the evolution of the business of professional football in England.
Look at the front cover and you will notice a very subtle but telling grave accent over the è in Arsènal, which pretty well sums up the Club in recent years. And although that doesn't tell the whole story this book pretty well does. It's one of the best Arsenal books I've ever read and I say that as someone whose collection contains dozens of books on the Gunners. The book isn't just about the football played or trophies won although that's well covered. But it also delves behind the scenes into the boardroom shenanigans which have been plentiful in recent years. How can any club spend an arm and two legs on a brand new deluxe stadium and still remain at the top of the tree? The answer to that and many more insights are to be found in this little gem of a book.
Bought this as a present for my father-in-law (a lifelong Arsenal fan). Although he knows a great deal about the clubs history, he says that he has learnt so much more from this book. He says its a very interesting book and a great read for Arsenal and general football fans alike.