Interview with David Goldblatt, historian, sociologist, journalist, broadcaster and lecturer of the FC Barcelona Master in Football Business by Johan Cruyff Institute
David Goldblatt was born in north London in 1965 and inherited being a fan of Tottenham Hotspurs from his father and grandfather. He was the kind of kid who created graphs and charts of Spurs league position on his bedroom wall. Fast forward to 2002, and that kind of obsession turned into the World Football Yearbook – a 750-page infographic encyclopedia of world football published in nine languages. He quit his job as lecturer in politics at the Open University and applied the same thinking to his research into social theory and globalization … The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football was born, then written and finally published in 2006. He has been in the same groove ever since.
Could you please explain to us your research work on football?
I’m a historian, sociologist, journalist and broadcaster. My work straddles the line between accessible academia and serious journalism, synoptic sweeps of existing literature and as much original research as I can manage. Since 2006, I’ve published Futebol Nation (a history of Brazilian football), The Game of Our Lives (an account of English football and society since the fall of Margaret Thatcher) and The Games (a social and political history of the Olympics.
What are your views on the current state of the football business worldwide?
As with the wider process of economic globalization – brilliance and wealth at the top of the pinnacle, hollowing out and injustice at the bottom. Expect more of this.
What are the main trends and what changes are needed if any?
A steady shift in the gender balance of the game as women’s football grows and women find their place in more niches in the industry. Expect more sexist backlashes of all kinds.
What is the importance of understanding the history of football in order to understand the football business?
Everywhere the football business trades on the meanings and authenticity that the past delivers – you only have to see how many clubs have opened museums in the last 20 years to see that. Studying football history, at the very least, provides one with the tools to avoid talking rot and repeating myths –widespread in football– and delivers the kind of critical edge and cultural range that every all-round citizen of the football nation needs.
How do you see the recent events in the football business through a historical context? Are they in line with history or are we on the verge of unprecedented changes?
Leicester City won the Premiership, the UK voted to leave the EU…all bets are off on everything!
FC BARCELONA MASTER IN
The main objective of the FC Barcelona Master in Football Business by Johan Cruyff Institute is to educate with in-depth and up-to-date knowledge and insights from the football industry. Students will analyze the core theories and relevant case studies that will help them visualize the behavior of the football business. Students will also have the opportunity to learn, interact and contribute with FC Barcelona business strategy and operations.Sign up