The Game of Our Lives is a masterly portrait of soccer and contemporary Britain. Soccer in the United Kingdom has evolved from a jaded, working-class tradition to a sport at the heart of popular culture, from an economic mess to a booming entertainment industry that has conquered the world. The changes in the game, David Goldblatt shows, uncannily mirror the evolution of British society.
In the 1980s, soccer was described as a slum game played by slum people in slum stadiums. Such was the transformation over the following twenty-five years that novelists, politicians, poets, and bankers were all declaring their footballing loyalties. At one point, the Palace let it be known that the queenâlike her mother, Prince Harry, the chief rabbi, and the archbishop of Canterburyâwas an Arsenal fan. Soccer permeated the national life like little else, an atavistic survivor decked out in New Britain flash, a social democratic game in a cutthroat, profit-driven world.
From the goals, to the players, to the managers, to the money, Goldblatt describes how the English Premier League (EPL) was forged in Margaret Thatcher's Britain by an alliance of the big clubsâArsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurâthe Football Association, and Rupert Murdoch's Sky TV. Goldblatt argues that no social phenomenon traces the momentous economic, social, and political changes of post-Thatcherite Britain in a more illuminating manner than soccer, and The Game of Our Lives provides the definitive social history of the EPLâthe most popular soccer league in the world.
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