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Over the course of fifteen years, John Delaney ran the Football Association of Ireland as his own personal fiefdom. He had his critics, but his power was never seriously challenged until last year, when Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan published a sequence of stories in the Sunday Times containing damaging revelations about his personal compensation and the parlous financial situation of the FAI. Delaney's reputation as a great financial manager was left in tatters. He resigned under pressure, and the FAI was left hoping for a massive bail-out from the Irish taxpayer.
In Champagne Football, Tighe and Rowan dig deep into the story of Delaney's career and of the FAI's slide into ruin. They show how he surrounded himself with people whose personal loyalty he could count on, and a board that failed to notice that the association's finances were shot. They detail Delaney's skilful cultivation of opinion-formers outside the FAI. And they document the culture of excess that Delaney presided over and benefited from, to the detriment of the organization he led.
Champagne Football is a gripping, sometimes darkly hilarious and often enraging piece of reporting by the award-winning journalists who finally pulled back the curtain on the FAI's mismanagement.
'I read it in one sitting, it's a superb book' Eamon Dunphy, The Stand
'An astonishing exposé' Martin Ziegler, The Times
'Excellent' Irish Sun
'A jaw-dropping story ... brilliant' Irish Times
'Essential reading' Irish Daily Star
'Astonishing ... Side-splittingly hilarious' Guardian
'A damming account' Sunday Independent
'An instant classic, one of the all-time great Irish sports books' Alan English
'Excellent ... includes staggering detail' Daily Mail
'A cracking read ... [An] incredible amount of jaw-dropping detail' Matt Cooper
'One of the most hotly-anticipated sport books of the year' Brendan O'Connor
'A masterpiece' Tommy Martin
'At last, the truth of his ruinous reign has been rigorously and painstakingly exposed' Irish Daily Mail
'An absolutely extraordinary book' Eoin McDevitt, Second Captains
'Remarkable. The desperate story of Irish football but also a book about how Ireland works. Outstanding' Dion Fanning
© Mark Tighe, Paul Rowan 2020 (P) Penguin Audio 2020
A jaw-dropping tale of power and ego going unchecked
I read it in one sitting, it's a superb book ... I urge people to buy it and read it even if you're not interested in football
A cracking read ... [An] incredible amount of jaw-dropping detail
The most important Irish sports book of the year and most significant book on Irish life itself ... Exceptional
A superb piece of investigative journalism, in which a tale of tawdry venality is told with wit, verve, and just the right amount of disbelief
Part thriller, part warning from history, part social diary, Champagne Football is a forensic and often tragicomic investigation into the biggest story in Irish sport. It's a fantastic read
Fantastic ... The best book I've ever read about Irish football
A damming account ... brilliantly detailed