At its best, football is a glorious, uplifting, unifying sport – but it hasn’t been at its best for some time. Somewhere along the way football took a wrong turn, losing touch with its values and its fans, the very people who made it the world’s most popular sport. 

 

Disillusioned by corruption scandals, billionaire club owners and an ever-smaller group of title challengers, Martin Calladine found himself drifting away from the game that had defined 25 years of his life. He found solace in an unexpected place: American football. 

 

Despite the glitz and the endless ad breaks, the NFL has a curiously Corinthian purity – preventing teams buying success by sharing TV money equally, employing a strict salary cap and, with the draft, letting the worst teams get the pick of the best new players. 

 

The Ugly Game is a funny, angry book of essays for football fans. It sets out where the game has gone wrong and shows that, perhaps surprisingly, the NFL has many of the answers. Money doesn’t have to destroy fairness and competition in sport. 

 

Published on the 12th February, the book explains how and why the Beautiful Game has come off the rails in the modern era – but draws optimism for the future from an unlikely source:

 

- Fan-friendly, ‘water-cooler’ topic of soccer’s modern-day challenges

- Controversial, hard-hitting yet original and thoughtful treatment of the topic: Martin Calladine ‘thinks outside the box’ in a manner rare among football writers.

- Does more than simply flag up problems – provides solutio ns

- Unique comparison of soccer with American football begs comparison with best-selling Moneyball

- Includes colour photo section, with pictures to accompany the text 

 

About the Author

Martin Calladine is a freelance writer who has spent 15 years in advertising and marketing agencies, several years as a copywriting teacher and a short period, in his late 20s, as an agented but unpublished writer of terrible novels. He once received several nominations for ‘most thoughtful poster of the year’ on a football forum.

 

Click here to read the first chapter of The Ugly Game and for more information.