Be Careful What You Wish For, by Simon Jordan

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

That wry Turf adage: "How do you make a small fortune from racing? Start with a large one" could equally be applied to football. Simon Jordan should know, having blown much of the £78m he earned from selling his mobile phone business on buying his beloved Crystal Palace and funding it for 10 years, only to see it slide into administration early in 2010.

Brash, flash and full of bottle-blond ambition, he strode into League football at 32 convinced he had all the answers and determined to shake up what he saw as a self-serving industry. So his demise will have delighted the many enemies he made, but by the end he comes across as a surprisingly sympathetic character, with the ability to laugh at himself, if not always very loudly.

The book's strength lies in the inside detail of how the business of football really works, with often jaw-dropping revelations which, while no stranger to cliché, Jordan recounts with verve and humour. But what also shines through is his genuine love for his club; he missed only 10 of their 500 games during his tenure.

The final chapters about his own and the club's financial meltdown read like a fast-paced thriller, even though one knows how it ends. Almost unbelievably, he still dreams of buying Palace back; perhaps he should read his own title again.

Published in hardback by Yellow Jersey, £18.99