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Goals, Glory & Greed by Joe Lovejoy

Release date: 01st September, 2011
Publisher: Mainstream

List Price: 11.99
Our Price: 5.99
You Save: 6 (50%)
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The Stalinist-style airbrushing of pre-1992 football history grates with most of the game's supporters.

Football existed long before Rupert Murdoch pumped billions into the game's highest echelons, so creating ideal conditions ripe for breeding a raft of spivs, shysters, chancers as well as legitimate football club directors and agents.

From the time Preston won the league in 1888-89 up until the 1991-92 season when Leeds United were crowned champions, football was just as exciting and commanded an equally fervent following as it does today, although some commentators forget this.

Nonetheless, the idea of producing a book focusing on the emergence and development of a sporting phenomenon over its first two decades is, on paper, a fine one. Unfortunately, Glory, Goals & Greed fails to deliver.

Instead of reading of structural change within the English game, or how the top flight has become a domestic feeder for the Champions League, or how those at the very top of our national game have alienated supporters, we're treated to a re-run of the author's 'Top 20 Matches', a chapter which accounts for 17 pages. By contrast, the chapter entitled 'Television's Part' runs to just half a dozen. This disparity in emphasis is remarkable. Without television and its cash, the Premier League, and everything associated with it, simply wouldn't exist.

Unfortunately, this is not the book's only negative. For the chapter headed 'Twenty Headline Makers', the author chooses to ignore the likes of Hull City remaining in the top flight against the odds; Blackpool and their manager providing a welcome breath of fresh air last season; West Brom regularly receiving praise for being the best-run club in England. Instead, we get regurgitated nonsense such as 'Terry's Shame' - the story of John Terry having an affair with the girlfriend of an England team-mate, 'Rio Misses Drugs Test' and 'Keane Breaks Haaland's Leg'.

There's nothing about those 'forgotten' clubs and how they've struggled since dropping out of the Premier League - the likes of Oldham, Swindon, Bradford City, Nottingham Forest, Coventry etc.

This book has missed an excellent opportunity. Instead of 30-odd pages of Ryan Giggs on the last twenty footballers of the year, there was so much more the author could have focused upon. If the airbrush is still knocking around, this book should be placed squarely in front of it.


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