There's A Golden Sky: How 20 years of the Premier League has changed football forever by Ian Ridley
|There's A Golden Sky: How 20 years of the Premier League has changed football forever by Ian Ridley|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Staggeringly good look at the state of English football today and how the Premier League has changed the game at all levels. Huge recommendation.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 284||Date: October 2011|
|Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd|
Twenty years ago the Premier League was founded, changing English football irreversibly. Also 20 years ago, journalist Ian Ridley wrote the classic Season In The Cold, a snapshot of the game at the time. Since then, clubs have risen and fallen, players have become legends, and Ridley himself has become chairman of not one but two non-league clubs – first Weymouth, from 2003-2004 (and again briefly in 2009) and more recently St Albans City. In this stunning follow-up to Season In The Cold, Ridley explore the effect that the changes in the sport have had at all levels.
Ridley was the Sports Journalist of the Year in 2007 in the British Press Awards, and reading any of his books it’s easy to see why he’s so acclaimed. His clear love of football shines through, and given his background in the non-league scene it’s especially interesting to read his tales of the minnows and lesser-known stars. That’s not to say you’ll feel short-changed if your main area of interest is the Premier League himself – there’s a rare interview with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, and the book starts and ends with two stunning pieces on Paul Gascoigne, including a fascinating interview taking place just after he hit the headlines by trying to join in negotiations with killer Raoul Moat.
However, it’s the lesser stories I found the most interesting. (Partly due to my own background as a long-time fan of strugglers Wrexham, to be fair!) Ridley’s interview with Spencer Trethewy, a shadowy figure who as a 19-year old briefly achieved fame in Aldershot as the man who would save their football club, only for things to go horribly wrong, stands out as an absolute jewel of a chapter, while he also returns to ladies’ team Doncaster Belles, and the Sunday league games on Hackney Marshes, to see how the knock-on effects of the Premier League have trickled down.
Other chapters take in everyone from Manchester United to AFC Wimbledon, from a Blackpool team at the start of the season looking forward to the joys of the Premier League to Bradford City a quarter of a century after the tragic Valley Parade fire, and from referee Mark Halsey to Truro City chairman Kevin Heaney. This is a stunning read which will surely go down as one of the best sports books of the past 10 years, and deserves to be read by all football fans. Extremely high recommendation.
If this book has got you in the mood for more football, I think you'll really enjoy Where Are They Now? - Rediscovering Over 100 Football Stars of the 70s and 80s by Matt Allen.
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You can read more book reviews or buy There's A Golden Sky: How 20 years of the Premier League has changed football forever by Ian Ridley at Amazon.com.
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