The Game of Our Lives

The English Premier League and the Making of Modern Britain


By David Goldblatt

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around November 11, 2014. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

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 queen — like her mother, Prince Harry, the chief rabbi, and the archbishop of Canterbury — was 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 clubs — Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur — the 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 EPL — the most popular soccer league in the world.

  • “Readers curious about why people around the world care so deeply about teams made up of mercenary, millionaire strangers and owned by billionaire businessmen will find some answers in Goldblatt's analysis.” —Bill Littlefield, The Boston Globe

    "[Goldblatt] writes about soccer with the expansive eye of a social and cultural critic....[He] has written not just the best soccer book in many years but an exemplary account of the changing character of British society in the post-Thatcher era.” —David Runciman, The Wall Street Journal

    “[D]eeply researched and worth the read for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of both English football, and English society in general.” Men In Blazers, newsletter recommendation

    “David Goldblatt's The Game of Our Lives offers an enlightening, enriching experience…it is based on a formidable range of sources, acute personal observation and a pleasingly pithy, sardonic turn of phrase. Not all football writers know their stuff, let alone the socio-economic context, but Goldblatt truly does…altogether, this is an exceptional book” —David Kynaston, The Guardian

    “It is difficult to describe in words what an outstanding storyteller and incomparable researcher David Goldblatt is." —Kartik Krishnaiyer, World Soccer Talk

On Sale
Nov 11, 2014
Page Count
368 pages
Bold Type Books

David Goldblatt

About the Author

David Goldblatt was born in London in 1965 and lives in Bristol. He shares his affections between Tottenham Hotspur and Bristol Rovers. He is the author of The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football and Futebol Nation: The Story of Brazil Through Soccer. Since then he has made sport documentaries for BBC Radio, reviewed sports books for the TLS and the Guardian, taught the sociology of sport at Bristol University, the International Centre for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University, Leicester and Pitzer College, Los Angeles.

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