Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed And The Souring of British Football
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Greedy, vain and ambitious personalities dominate English football. From the author of devastating exposes of Mohamed Fayed, Richard Branson and, most recently, Geoffrey Robinson, BROKEN DREAMS is a superbly incisive account of how self-interested individuals, adopting questionable and predatory business methods, are exploiting the sport of football to earn billions of pounds and huge glory. Focusing on key figures including Terry Venables, Ken Bates, David Dein, Harry Redknapp, Rio Ferdinand and other famous agents, chairmen and managers, Tom Bower exposes the money, the politics, and the vicious battles behind the beautiful game. For the first time a non-sports writer reveals the vanity and greed which endanger the national sport.
TV has transformed football beyond all recognition but, according to investigative biographer and historian Tom Bower, where there's brass there's muck. Broken Dreams is Bower's controversial account of how some of the sport's most high-profile managers and chairmen have been getting their snouts in the trough at the expense of their clubs and the game. Focussing on the likes of Terry Venables, Brian Clough, Ken Bates and Harry Redknapp--and a huge cast of FA officials, club bigwigs and super-agents--Bower draws together threads from existing sources, with newly acquired information from over 200 interviews, weaving a compelling tale of vanity, greed and corruption at the heart of the football establishment. Bower argues that the increasingly uneven struggle between the regulatory body, the FA, and the bullies of the gold-rush frontier, the Premier League chairmen, is at the heart of football's problem--the failure of the former to respond to the mounting evidence of dodgy dealing and corruption, and the ruthless efficiency with which the latter have exercised their financial clout. The result is a free rein for the murkier ambitions of some of the most publicly respected individuals in the game today. It's hard to believe that the general thrust of Bower's account will come as a shock to anyone who's followed the sport over the last 20 years--though if nothing else he completely destroys the shrewd wheeler-dealer image of former West Ham boss Redknapp. What Bower brilliantly succeeds in doing is applying a forensic rigour to the task of sifting the facts from a mound of rumour and conjecture, and doing so fearlessly. --Alex Hankin
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Tom Bower has exposed what goes on behind the scenes in the less salubrious areas of football, greed, corruption, toothless football authorities and the pressing need for firm Government intervention are tackled by the author. As a fan of the great game, the issues that Bower has raised are of great concern and need addressing.
Banned directors in other arenas or former criminals are able to, if not actually own a football club, play a part in a club's administration. The chapter on Terry Venables reign at Spurs is an illuminating read of a period most Spurs fans would see as one of their worst periods in recent history. That the abrupt and direct Alan Sugar comes out well in the chapters is apparent largely due to his frustration at Venables "wheeler dealing". A real eye-opener, particularly the brown envelopes behind the scenes of the Teddy Sherringham transfer from Nottingham Forest.
Likewise, the chapter on Ken Bates, chairman, owner, tyrant of Chelsea football club is also revealing. Bower writes about Bates spotty track record as a businessman. Few would be aware of Bates West Indian business almost leading to local insurrection or his relationship with less than savoury business associates...
[Taken from a review of the book on Amazon.co.uk]