I’m a little tired of trying (and failing) at the *insert ambitious number here* book challenge. So this year, for a change, I’m going to approach this a little differently. I’m just going to call it the ‘x’ book challenge and then replace the ‘x’ with how many ever books I manage to finish by the end of the year. Can’t lose that challenge now, can I? HA!
Book 1 of X
The Club: How the English Premier League became the wildest, richest, most disruptive force in sports.
By Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg
I got this as a birthday gift from a colleague and dear friend who I can’t thank enough for this. If you follow the league, this book is an eye-opening, jaw-dropping masterpiece. The drama of the EPL on the pitch is entertaining and it’s what we see every week on TV. But our eyeballs enable the business side of the league and this book documents the evolution of that business from an idea in a secret meeting in the early 90s to becoming the most watched sports league in the world. What I absolutely love about this book are the anecdotes about teams, people or places that most football fans are familiar with only by name or in some limited context of our recent history. Of course, as a fan who has followed the league only from afar (first from India and now from the US) my knowledge of the league pre-2007 is largely folklore like the miracle of Blackburn once winning the league. The growth of this league and its now successful teams is remarkable. Things weren’t always this way. The stadiums weren’t as fancy. The money wasn’t as good. The insane competition we see isn’t accidental and the fact that billionaires are falling over each other to buy into the league is not surprising anymore. My friends and I have debated whether this idea of a European super league or some other structural alteration of the premier league is feasible. Having read this book, one thing is clear to me. It’s not just feasible, it’s inevitable.
Reading time: 10 days (but only because I was remarkably slow at the start. I finished most of it in the past 3 days. Unputdownable book.