A flood of rich, overseas owners, such as Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich, came chasing glamour
A flood of rich, overseas owners, such as Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich, came chasing glamour

There is a certain inverted snobbery attached to the Premier League, a view that English football was better in the days when the visceral experience of the tribal ritual made up for the decrepit facilities, inedible food and appalling treatment of supporters by clubs and authorities.

During the 1980s English football was in steep decline. Attendances were in freefall: hardly surprising, given the pervasive undercurrent of aggression, the widespread racist abuse at matches and the hopelessly inadequate safety measures. English fans were involved in three disasters in the space of just four years during that decade.

Those who bemoan the fact that the game has become more middle-class, and therefore somehow soulless, conveniently forget all that. As Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg point out in…

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