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The Premier League: 25 Years By Lloyd Pettiford

Release date: 10th August, 2017
Publisher: Urbane Publications

List Price: £14.99
Our Price: £12.99
You Save: £2 (13%)
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As we prepare for a fresh strain of sporting hyperbole peculiar to satellite broadcasters, the one which accompanies the start of a new football season, bookshops across the land are weighed down with glossy, over-priced tomes ‘celebrating’ a quarter century of the self-styled ‘world’s most exciting league’.

However, if you believe that top-flight professional football has steadily distanced itself from the ‘ordinary fan’ (it was never particularly close in 1992) over the past 25 years, then this is the celebratory page-turner for you.

Money was the sole driving force behind the Premier League’s creation. Moreover, the FA were conned into believing that supporting a breakaway led by the ‘Big Five’ would, in some obscure way, assist England’s national team. The exact opposite has proved to be the case, but the FA are now powerless and have no redress as clubs have developed into tradeable franchises with little affinity to the national team.

Unlike most of the specially-produced books celebrating the Premier League’s 25 years, Lloyd Pettiford’s must-read version chooses not to gloss over such matters. It is to the author’s credit that fans of every club that has appeared in the top flight since 1992 are given a rare opportunity to take advantage without being afraid that a misplaced word will cost them their job.

William Ivory’s foreword is indicative. With the league’s establishment, he writes, came a corresponding “need to embellish the truth, to make it brighter, sharper…so, in the manner of a boxing promoter who needs to sell tickets to the most tawdry of bouts, were told that every game, every tackle, every goal, is critical, stunning, majestic…hyperbole becomes the language of the day [because] everything is designed to shift product...”

Both the FA and (in 1995) the Football League missed golden opportunities to get involved with the Premier League from the outset, hugely expensive mistakes for which they continue to pay. It’s worth recalling that the first Sky contract with the Premier League was worth £35.5 million (for 60 games); the most recent deal is valued at £8.34 billion over three years. No wonder a succession of wide boys and gangsters are so keen on owning football clubs; for a rare insight into how fans see matters, this book is a must.


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