“The Cultural & Political Influence of the Football Industry in a Globalised Economy”

The Business of Sport – Seminar Series

Room G01 – Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London WC1 7HX

Wednesday 7th November 2007 at 6pm
(For directions click here)

“The Cultural & Political Influence of the Football Industry in a Globalised Economy”

Given by:

David Goldblatt, author of the best selling book:  The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football.


The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football was published by Penguin in October 2006 to both critical and popular acclaim. The Guardian commented:

“There is more food for thought in the few pages of the conclusion than in a hundred ghostwritten biographies of rich twentysomethings. Quite simply, The Ball Is Round takes football history to a new level.”

In this lecture David Goldblatt will be discussing the making , researching and reception of the Ball is Round and reflecting on some of the core themes and arguments of the book – in particular the major global trends in the development of football and the cultural and political meaning of this rare and precious universal cultural resource. He will describe the rise of football, from a chaotic folk ritual to a sector of the global-entertainment industry. It’s the story of players and managers, fans and owners, clubs and national teams. But it’s also a history of states and markets, money and power. And, above all, how all these forces interact. It is a history which attempts to locate where the line between the realm of glory and the realm of power has been crossed, that celebrates the love of the game, but knows that it can be bought. Thus the book describes and accounts for the careers of Pele and Maradona, Puskas and George Best; the histories of the Wunderteam and the incomparable Hungarians, the anti-futbol of Estudiantes de la Plata and the futbol arte of Brazil 1970. It explores the cultural meanings and political uses of football in Peron’s Argentina, Adenauer’s West Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mussolini’s Italy. It ranges from the postcolonial politics of African football to the manufacturing history of the football boot; from the history of stadium architecture to the architecture of power in global football’s leading institutions. In doing so David will illustrate that football is very much more than just a game.


David Goldblatt was born in London in 1965 and inherited Tottenham Hotspurs from his grandfather and father. In previous lives he has explored and fled the worlds of medicine, theoretical sociology, politics, televison and academia. In his present life he lives in Bristol where he shares his largesse with Bristol Rovers and Bristol City. He currently works as a writer, broadcaster and teacher.


For further details on the Birkbeck Sports Business Seminar Series contact:

Sean Hamil

Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Email: or Tel: 020-7631 6763

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