How did English football – once known for its stale pies, bad book-keeping and hooligans – become a commercial powerhouse and the world’s premium popular entertainment?
This was a business empire built in only twenty-five years on ambition, experimentation and gambler’s luck. Lead by a motley cast of executives, Russian oligarchs, Arab Sheikhs, Asian Titans, American Tycoons, battle-hardened managers, ruthless agents and the Murdoch media – the Premier League has been carved up, rebranded and exported to phenomenal 185 countries. The United Nations only recognizes 193.
But the extraordinary profit of bringing England’s ageing industrial towns to a compulsive global attention has come at a cost. Today, as players are sold for hundreds of millions and clubs are valued in the billions, local fans are being priced out – and the clubs’ local identities are fading. The Premier League has become the classic business fable for our globalised world.
Drawing on dozens of exclusive and revelatory interviews from the Boardrooms – including Liverpool’s John W. Henry, Tottenham’s Daniel Levy, Martin Edwards and David Gill at Manchester United, Arsène Wenger and Stan Kroenke at Arsenal, Manchester City’s sporting director Txiki Begiristain, and executives at Chelsea, West Ham, Leicester City and Aston Villa – this is the definitive bustand boom account of how the Premier League product took over the world.