Beautiful Game is Over
The Globalisation of Football

By John Samuels
June 2008
Book Guild UK
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9781846241642
441 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/2"
$39.95 paper original


For most football fans the winning game is over. The rich clubs are becoming richer; the smaller clubs of increasingly little importance. There is a marked decline in competitive balance and football's biggest consumer, TV, is dominating demand, with the traditional fan being pushed out.

Meanwhile, the game's global regulators (FIFA and UEFA) pursue their own interests, with the result that domestic regulators are losing their power to enforce standards. In England, the national team suffer at least in part because the Premier League is comprised of a disproportionate amount of foreign players and managers.

Success for clubs from the Midlands, North East and most other parts of the country is now largely judged as avoiding relegation, or at best, finishing higher than seventh place in the Premiership. Inequality is increasing. Can competitive balance be restored? Is the game now forever doomed to crass commercialism and speculative, foreign ownership? And can football ever find its way back to the beautiful game it once was, a game loved and celebrated by families across the country?

Over the last twenty years football has moved from being a local sport, with success based on gate receipts and good leadership, to being a global sport based on TV ratings, sponsorship and lots of money.A few teams dominate, both on the pitch and in the transfer market. In the Premiership there are 16 clubs who face relegation and four who have a chance of being champions. What's up with the beautiful game?

This is a book for football fans who are fed up with reading about the successes, the transfer dealings, the wage negotiations and the scandals of the few 'elite' clubs.Why have some clubs hit the big time and so many more missed out?Will the game be up for many more struggling teams, or can they claw their way back to the big time? "The Beautiful Game is Over" argues convincingly and urgently for change.

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