Award-winning UK journalist David Conn’s book Richer than God is a very thoroughly researched piece of literature, which tells the story the transformation in English football. This is primarily through his journey as a childhood fan of Manchester City and culminates in the club’s takeover by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi. The book does not place the full emphasis on Man City but the team is firmly put into context in Conn’s look at a journey from a young football fan’s perspective to where the league has come to today, which as he describes is all about power, wealth and greed.
The name of the book comes from a phrase he coined while in Abu Dhabi preparing to meet and interview the owners. In literary terms, the title was meant to indicate the financial strength and discipline that Man City possess in today’s market, which culminates in the team’s Premier League title two seasons ago.
As a Manchester City fan, he expresses his distaste and questioning of former owner and Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra. At the same time he gives the new owners of the club a great deal of respect for their takeover and continued success these past few seasons. He makes a consistent theme of the power that comes with owning the team, using Khaldoon al-Mubark’s role with the club and his important involvement with Garry Cook, Simon Pearce and Brian Marwood. He gives those men plenty of credit for them developing and maturing the club, which for a while was not respected in the Premier League.
Keeping up with the theme of looking at the club’s management, Conn analyses Francis Lee’s takeover of the club in 1994 away from Peter Swales and how it affected the club in a positive way. He notes that the way Lee ran the club helped supporters forget the negativity that surrounded the club when Swales was in charge. He makes claims that the way Lee ran the team helped guide them in the right direction and has given them continued success.
Finally, despite many opinions in his book both positive and negative, Conn maintains a calm temper in his writing throughout and is not intense dialogue.
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— FootballFanCast.com (@FootballFanCast) June 26, 2013