Jumpers For Goalposts is a fascinating reflection on the history of football, which examines why the charm, innocence and good humour has disappeared from today's game, compared to the golden days of yesteryear.
On August 15th 1992, the Premier League kicked off for the very first time to the sound of money. That same season, a new kind of branded commercialism descended across the continent as the European Cup was re-launched as the Champions League. In 1994, the game's oldest trophy, the FA Cup, would become the last of English football's major competitions to fall to commercial sponsors. The early 1990s mark the moment at which the beautiful game, the sport of the common man, wound up on a market stall, complete with price tag. Of course the game needed to change - terraces had become ugly, dangerous places, blighted with racism and afflicted with the tragedies of Hillsborough and Heysel; on the mud-patches that passed for pitches, tackles were brutal, bone-crunching, and very much from behind. But rather than righting wrongs, pockets were lined as the legacy of football was cashed in. Rob Smyth and Georgina Turner explore the fan's-eye view of 21st-century football, a game that can be about breathtaking style, but very little substance; a grossly inflated memory of its former self where Football's Soul (TM) is an idea to be traded, not treasured. 'Jumpers for Goalposts' gives the facts, figures, wit and insight that proves that in the game of the people, for the people, the fans do know best and that to recover its soul, the beautiful game has to rediscover its roots.
Rob Smyth is an experienced sports journalist who writes for The Guardian, Wisden Cricketer, The Economist and many other newspapers and magazines. His first book, The Spirit of Cricket (9781904027843), was published by E&T in 2010; this is his second. Georgina Turner is an experienced football journalist who writes for Sports Illustrated, The Observer, The Guardian and When Saturday Comes, among others. She teaches media and communication studies and has absolutely no left foot.
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