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The Beautiful Game?

A powerful, passionate exploration of a game in turmoil Football has never been richer, more hyped, more central to Britain's culture than today. Yet never has it been in greater turmoil. Once, football was about passion, community, beauty. The game celebrated and honoured its past, striving to uphold the values that had made it great. Today, football is about money. Its richest club, Manchester United, earned [pound]146 million last year; yet since 1992-34 of the Football League's 72 clubs have been insolvent. The game is in danger of losing its lifeblood - and its soul. David Conn, the game's premier investigative journalist, sets out on a journey through the heart of English football, exploring how our national sport has failed - and who is to blame. Travelling from Highbury's art deco stands to provincial non-league outposts, Conn interviews players, managers, agents, chairmen and fans, building up a picture of a game mired in crisis, from the casino that is today's Premiership all the way down to the lowest leagues. For every all-conquering Manchester United or 'Chelski', there are ten clubs in desperate straits, ready to implode. Many of these stories have never been told before; many of them are shocking. Along the way, there are new revelations on the Hillsborough tragedy of 1989, where 96 people died because of failures which football has never fully addressed; on the decline and fall of Sheffield Wednesday; and on the formation of the Premier League itself, born from an influx of TV money, bitterly divisive and bitterly regretted. Yet, at its heart, football is a game deeply loved by millions. This is a book for those who keep the faith, who believe that the sport itself, stripped of the greed and self-interest blighting its organisation, still has values, and can still be beautiful.
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A powerful, passionate exploration of a game in turmoil.

About the Author

David Conn writes a weekly column, 'Inside Football', for the Independent, and was the Football Supporters' Federation's Football Writer of the Year in 2002. He regularly appears on Radios 4 and 5, and his television credits include Panorama and Reputations. He was the Editorial Director of the Exhibition of Football History at the National Football Museum in Preston. His previous book, The Football Business was published in 1997 to great acclaim.


"This is a quite magnificent book...with a splendid eye for important detail and a determination to ask difficult questions, Conn reminds us of what is important- Conn's greatest feat in a book that is well researched and written with searing honesty is to show the game's magnificent resilience" -- David Wash * Sunday Times * "For a fascinating insight into the causes, and the creators, of the game's ills this is a superbly told tale" -- Peter Corrigan * Independent * "An important book" * The Times * "Should be read by anyone who really cares about football" -- James Lawton * Independent * "This is a must-read for all who love football" -- Delia Smith

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