Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports” as Want to Read:
The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,451 ratings  ·  140 reviews
The Club is the previously untold inside story of how English soccer’s Premier League became the wildest, richest, most popular sports product on the planet.
This is a sports and business tale of how money, ambition, and twenty-five years of drama remade an ancient institution into a twenty-first-century entertainment empire. No one knew it when their experiment began, b
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published December 4th 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Club, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Club

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,451 ratings  ·  140 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports
Sumit RK
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everybody knows anything can happen in the Premier League. #Quote

If you are a football (soccer) fan or even if you aren’t, you must be aware of the English Premier League. The Club is the true story of the meteoric rise of the English Premier League from it’s humble beginnings to becoming the richest & the most dominant sporting leagues in the world.

The Club begins before the advent of the Premier League in 1980’s when the game of football in England was in dire straits. The stadiums were
Peter Boyle
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The Premier League is the most-watched football competition in the world, beamed to 185 countries, raking in millions for its wealthy owners. But this wasn't always the case. I'm old enough to remember the late 1980s, when boggy pitches and crumbling stadiums were the norm, and a live game on TV was so rare it was a Big Deal.

Everything changed in 1992. The chairmen of the 22 First Division teams, tired of having to share their meagre TV rights money with the rest of the Football League's 92 club
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Could have been a bit shorter, otherwise this would have been five stars as there is a lot of great information and history on this league. Starting with the decision to award the TV contract to Sky, this book covers practically everything about the business side of the English Premier League. Some interesting points were how now avoiding relegation means just as much, if not more, to the bottom line as winning the championship. The adventures of some of the bigger names such as Manchester Unite ...more
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, football
The Club : How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports (2018) by Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg is a history of how the Premier League has become so globally popular.

The book first covers the history of English soccer and particular it's state in the 1980s and what led to the formation of the Premier League. Then the early Premier League up to and including the Bosman ruling that radically changed the number of foreigners. Then the arrival of f
John Tyson
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you have the slightest interest in soccer or count yourself a sports fan in general, I recommend this book unconditionally. The recent history (~1980-present) of European soccer is fascinating because the market dynamics that shaped the sport’s growth are pretty different when compared to the US, with some notable exceptions (e.g., TV rights!)

The reporting is outstanding, and it is chock full of great stories about players, coaches and owners from the past 30+ years of “football”.

Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
[Rounded up from 3.5 stars]

This was a lot of fun! It had a zippy tone that made it easy to get through while not dumbing things down, and it deep-dove enough to help shed some light on references I've heard on soccer podcasts but never fully understood (namely "It was just a bit of banter"). Also, I like that the authors have spent time in the US, because I think the American influence on how the Premier League is presented is important, but I could also see a lot of UK journalists just hand-wav
Clinton Hutchings
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This was a fabulous book! It had everything I wanted: strong emphasis on economics and the business side of the Premier league with a good discussion around various impactful players, managers and owners. An overall brief but nuanced history of the Premier league. While I'm sure I missed a ton due to not being familiar with the players, etc. from the 1990s and early 2000s, I felt like the author used enough explanation for even a new fan of "football" across the pond to follow and enjoy. (Decide ...more
Ashutosh Dalvi
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, inside-story
I have a lot of friends who follow the Premier League and have told me that I'd love it. I came across this book on Goodreads and decided to see what all the fuss is about. This is a fun and fast read that explains the origins of the EPL, its hyper-growth, and the resulting challenges it faces today. I'm still not sure I'll follow the league, but I do have a better appreciation for it and understand why my friends are so into it.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! I got tired of being abroad during the World Cup and not being about to engage in intelligent conversation about soccer, so last fall I chose a team (Liverpool was a natural choice because of its connection to two other loves in my life: The Beatles and the Red Sox) and finally joined the global conversation. While the business aspect of the rise of the Premier League was interesting, this book was terrific for newcomers to the sport like me to learn about the history of the Lea ...more
Jim Buck
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific primer

I really enjoyed this. Gives an overview of how the Premier League grew to what it is today. I have followed the Premier League for many years, and this helped me understand how it got up and running, and how it has developed.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some fun nuggets for fans. Spoiler: it's actually about a bunch of different clubs.
Blake Crowley
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best overview of the Premier League for a new fan. Super informational and covers everything from the last 30 years.
Spencer Emmerson
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply enthralling. The level of access is second to none and the pacing propels you forward.
Jesse Kraai
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great intro to the behind-the-scenes of the Premier League.
The most stunning thing I got out of it was to discover another area of my life that Rupert Murdoch changed without me knowing it.
May 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I would be interested in reading an update on the effects of COVID on the PL business.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extremely well-researched and reported book that takes you well behind the scenes of the formation of not only the most popular sports league on the planet, but perhaps one of the most well known businesses on earth. Even if you're not too familiar with the names involved, this is a must-read if you're a fan of sports, business books, or want to know how a soccer league from England has taken over the world.
Greville Waterman
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A rollocking, racy read by two Wall Street Journal writers about the rise and rise of the Premier League.

Predominantly aimed at an American audience the two writers rehash much of what has already been told before elsewhere - mainly it is true to say for the UK market - and manage to repackage it in an interesting and attractive manner.

They have certainly done their homework and have managed to interview most of the main protagonists.

As a football junkie I cannot say that I learned much that was
Alexander Fitzgerald
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I knew nothing about English Premier League football before this book, which seemed odd to me as a sports fan. So, for the hell of it, I picked it up.

Great decision. Such a fun read from start to finish. When you hear about the nut cases who run these clubs and the risks they took...oh my Lord is it ride. I couldn't put it down. I laughed out loud multiple times. It gave me a great appreciation for the league.

Highly recommended for any sports fan.
Filip Olšovský
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jaw-dropping. The amount of work these two guys did should make 99% of out sports writers feel miserable. Although the topics they deal with have been covered several times they manage to come with new information in every chapter. And even if it might initially feel as if they are dramatising way to much with their cheap cliffhangers you simply have to admit they have all the rights to do so.
Gaurang Sadekar
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a football fan for over 15 years. Even without knowing anything about the business of football, the EPL has changed in front of my eyes, setting the pace for global football to catch up. Living in USA for the past few years, I've witnessed the level of coverage evolve to what it is now, where the NBC broadcast is of a higher quality than anything that Star Sports back in India or Sky / BT Sport has been able to do, besides the quality of analysts they get on their shows.

This book chron
Elda Mengisto
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The rise of the English Premier League is a story about the sports world's wildest gold rush. In the span of twenty-five years, the league's twenty clubs have increased their combined value by 10,000%, from around $100 million in 1992 to $15 billion today...How this happened is a tale of how the country that invented the world's game reinvented it and how a handful of secret meetings in 1992 spawned a crazy quarter century in which money, ambition, and uncommon drama turned an ancient league in ...more
Mike Goemaat
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Look, I'm a huge soccer fan, I was always going to enjoy this book. Though my rooting interests lay outside of the Premier League, its presence in my life is huge: close friends have teams they've either supported for years or are finally getting into it, the Saturday morning games are a staple of my weekend (whether or not I care about who is playing, a game is on), and the global transfer market and European club competitions mean that even if you cheer for a team not in the PL, you are aware ...more
Aaron Mcquiston
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is a continuous argument throughout the all soccer (football) world on which league is the best, the most talented, and the most exciting. The English Premier League is in the top three of everyone's list regardless of where they live globally, and this is because two things: talent and exposure. In the last five years even, the EPL is more of a household league because every Saturday there are games broadcast throughout the world. In the US, I know people who get up early, some as early a ...more
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: football
For its original subject matter and its willingness to cover the full story, I leaned towards 4 stars rather than 3, for the book had a lot going for it, and its primary sources meant that this was insightful in its own right rather than a rehashed history. But some parts were a bit too narrative-friendly, or seemed lacking enough in nuance that it jarred a little.

First, the good stuff: this focused on the business side of the Premier League, and not just in the more usual way of listing the siz
Andrew Rent
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Club gives an insightful and behind the scenes look into the Premier League. For a bit of context, the Premier League is arguably the best professional soccer league in the world. The book starts when the league was not as popular or even televised. The beginning, if you will, is all about the business side and how the league really came to fruition. It talks about a major deal with Sky Sports that really paved the way for being broadcasted. Once the established consistent television airings ...more
Tejas Sathian
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Entertaining business history (with some football mixed in) of modern English football. Hillsborough and the crisis of the sport in the 80s that made changes (terraces, searing, bathrooms) necessary. The founding moments of the Premier League and the big clubs’ breakaway from subsidizing the lower tiers of the game - inspiration from the NFL and its money making machine. The early rich owners: Uncle Jack of Blackburn Rovers and the failures of vision after winning one title, and the small sums r ...more
Bernard Tan
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Highly rated book. But in my years of following the game, I was already familiar with the 30 year story of how English Football emerged from the depths of hooliganism, decrepit stadiums and declining attendences to become the best and richest league on Earth.

I recalled meeting Richard Scudamore, who was then the CEO of the Premier League. Our conversations revolved around winning the US market. We spoke about how matches were increasingly scheduled to cater to the global audience, but in partic
Kudakwashe Manjonjo
A story about Empire building

As a football fanatic, this book is a gift that kept on giving. The nain theme through out the whole book was understanding how football on England has been a continuous quest of building empires.

The macro empire of English football ofcourse, but within it, there are 92 football clubs that constantly try buold themselves to be the next huge story.

Not only was it humorous itnalsongave insight into the financial, business side of the clubs we love function. There is a
Hashim Alsughayer
Let me start my review with this: I really liked this book.

I know I took two stars from this book but the entertainment value that I took from reading this book was not a small amount. The book has many positives that would make any fan of the premier league enjoy reading it, or in my case, listening to it.

Although I would not categorize this book as a history book or a book that explains the history of the premier league, but at least I can say that this book gives you most of the important e
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If your interest in the English Premier League (EPL) extends beyond the action on the pitch and into the clubby world of team owners and league executives, then you will love this book. Both authors are seasoned sports writers with a keen eye for the business side of this game they cover for the Wall Street Journal

I've followed the EPL since the late 1990s when the good ol' internet led me to enjoy a raucous broadcast of English soccer action on an otherwise unremarkable weekday afternoon. Over
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Zonal Marking: The Making of Modern European Football
  • Done Deal: An Insider's Guide to Football Contracts, Multi-Million Pound Transfers and Premier League Big Business
  • Football Hackers: The Science and Art of a Data Revolution
  • The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines
  • The Barcelona Legacy: Guardiola, Mourinho and the Fight For Football's Soul
  • Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics
  • Men in Blazers Present Encyclopedia Blazertannica
  • Bring the Noise: The Jürgen Klopp Story
  • The Billionaires Club: The Unstoppable Rise of Football’s Super-rich Owners
  • Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World's Biggest Sports Scandal
  • Building the Yellow Wall: The Incredible Rise and Cult Appeal of Borussia Dortmund
  • How to Watch Soccer
  • The National Team: The Inside Story of the Women who Changed Soccer
  • Das Reboot: How German Football Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World
  • Masters of Modern Soccer: How the World's Best Play the Twenty-First-Century Game
  • Soccernomics
  • The Age of Football: Soccer and the 21st Century
  • State of Play: Under the Skin of the Modern Game
See similar books…
Joshua Robinson is the European sports correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated.

Related Articles

Here in the United States, it's football season. It's time of great rivalry, wearing of team colors, and obsessing over the...
8 likes · 12 comments
“The rise of the English Premier League is a story about the sports world's wildest gold rush. In the span of twenty-five years, the league's twenty clubs have increased their combined value by 10,000 percent, from around $100 million in 1992 to $15 billion today.” 1 likes
“The Premier League is a timeless tale of boom and bust, no different from all those other bubbles they warn you about in business-school textbooks. Except, that is, in one crucial respect. In football, the bubble never burst.” 1 likes
More quotes…