The Club is the previously untold inside story of how English soccer’s Premier League became the wildest, richest, most popular sports product on the planet.
This is a sports and business tale of how money, ambition, and twenty-five years of drama remade an ancient institution into a twenty-first-century entertainment empire. No one knew it when their experiment began, but without any particular genius or acumen, the motley cast of billionaires and hucksters behind the modern Premier League struck gold.
Pretty soon, everyone wanted to try their luck, from Russian oligarchs to Emirati sheikhs, American tycoons, and Asian Tiger titans. Some succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Some lost everything. Today, players are sold for tens of millions, clubs are valued in the billions, and games are beamed out to nearly two hundred countries, all while the league struggles to preserve its English soul.
Deeply researched and drawing on one hundred exclusive interviews, including the key decision makers at every major English team, The Club is the definitive and wildly entertaining narrative of how the Premier League took over the world.
Journalists Robinson and Clegg, both of the Wall Street Journal, expertly explore the creation and expansion of the English Premier League, club soccer's preeminent sports organization, in this investigative chronicle of sports, business, and global culture. The league was formed in 1992 when England's top soccer teams broke with the country's football league, in which they had been "bound to every other club in the country by a four-tiered structure" since the 19th century. By creating their own top-tier league, team representatives capitalized on new revenue streams, including a 304 million TV contract from Rupert Murdoch's Sky TV. Enthralled by the intense competition and an influx of cash, billionaire owners from the U.S., Russia, and the Middle East bought up the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester City and began playing in state-of-the-art stadiums, selling merchandise internationally, and paying the world's best players exorbitant salaries. Using their investigative journalism skills and mixing facts into a solidly entertaining narrative that melds boom-and-bust business with athletic competition at the highest level, the authors perfectly capture the rise of one of the world's best-known sports organizations.