Despite its immense wealth, and the high public profile it enjoys, English football is not a land of milk and honey. The national side has won the World Cup only once when England staged the tournament in 1966 and the woeful performances in recent years would suggest that Sir Alf Ramsey's success will retain its unique status. 50 People Who Fouled Up Football casts a sceptical eye on the game in this country. It looks at the game as it really is, through the gaze of an outsider, who grew up loving the game but who has been turned off by the excesses of players, managers, broadcasters and fans, and increasingly by the rich men who own and run the clubs. The big bang came in 1992, when the Premier League went its own merry way, aided by the millions that Sky television found to ease the passage. Now the game is richer, and can attract the world's leading stars, but it is poorer in spirit. The old football community means little to these Masters of the Universe. The old links between club and community have been ruined, and many players live in a different world, where they feel free to behave as they like.
The book names the guilty, who include those on the fringes of the game as well as the ones at the heart of it. Indignant in the right sense, it is a lament for a spoilt game, and a world that has vanished. The 50 People are, in alphabetical order: Roman Abramovich, Sam Allardyce, Mike Ashley, David Baddiel, Tony Banks, Joey Barton, Ken Bates, Victoria Beckham, George Best, Sid and Doris Bonkers, Billy Bragg, Ashley Cole, Garry Cook, Hunter Davies, Didier Drogba, Martin Edwards, Sven-Goran Eriksson, 'The Fans', Paul Gascoigne, 'Geordie Blubber', 'The Golden Generation', Alan Green, Alan Hansen, Derek Hatton, Nigel Kennedy, Richard Keys, Lord Kinnaird, Nick Love, Steve McClaren, Freddie Mercury, Piers Morgan, Jose Mourinho, Graham Poll, Sir Alf Ramsey, Antonio Rattin, Charles Reep, Don Revie, Peter Ridsdale, Robinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Richard Scudamore, Bill Shankly, Bob Shennan, Peter Swales, Gordon Taylor, Sir Harold Thompson, Terry Venables, Ian Wright, Pini Zahavi.