Jumpers for Goalposts: How Football Sold Its Soul
15 September 2013, 06:27
2011 | EPUB | 363.38KB
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. These days, at least as much energy is spent figuring out how to exploit money-spinning opportunities as holes in the opposition back four, with long-suffering supporters brazenly commodified along the way. Yet in the game of the people, for the people, 'Jumpers for Goalposts' proves that the fans do know best and that to recover its soul, the beautiful game has to rediscover its roots.
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