How the English Premier League Became the Richest, Most Disruptive Business in Sport
By Jonathan Clegg and Joshua Robinson
The never-before-told inside story of how the Premier League became the wildest, richest, most popular entertainment business on the planet.
This is a sports and business tale of how money, ambition, and 25 years of uncommon drama re-made an ancient institution into a 21st century entertainment empire. No-one knew it when their experiment began, but with luck, brazen confidence and good timing, a motley cast of billionaires, chancers and chairmen struck Premier League gold.
Soon, everyone was attracted to the gold rush, from Russian oligarchs, to Emirati sheikhs, American tycoons and Asian Tiger titans. Some succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Some lost everything. But the cash they flowed into English soccer lured players, agents and managers from around the world, turning ageing industrial cities and a selection of fortunate clubs into the focus of a compulsive global attention.
Today, as players are sold for hundreds of millions, clubs are valued in the billions, and games are beamed out to nearly 200 countries, all while the league struggles to preserve its 'English' identity and traditions.
Deeply researched and drawing on dozens of exclusive interviews with the key power-brokers at every major team - from the aristocrats of Manchester United and Arsenal, to the new money of Chelsea and Manchester City - The Club is the definitive and wildly entertaining narrative of how the Premier League product took over the world.
Jonathan Clegg is an editor for The Wall Street Journal, his work has also written for the Daily Telegraph, the Independent and FourFourTwo magazine.
Joshua Robinson is the European sports correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated.
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- Publication date:
03 Jan 2019
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The transformation of the English Premier League, from the muddy pitches, primitive tactics, and unglamorous pub culture of its early days to the coveted, lavish, global colossus we now know and love is a rollicking tale. Robinson and Clegg delight in every detail of that evolution from backwater to behemoth, spinning a narrative that is part Great Expectations, part Game of Thrones, in equal measure — Roger Bennett, Men in Blazers