Interview: Levelling up to save football from itself

10 September 2021

Liverpool fans
Photo: Alamy Liverpool supporters during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road, Norwich, England on 14 August 2021.

Mark Gregory, one of Britain’s leading economists, who served Ernst & Young as chief economist for a decade, has published a thought provoking book on how English football can be saved from itself.

“A conversation on the future of football was urgent when I started this book, but it is critical now,” he says after the game was rocked by Covid and the Super League.

Gregory has a radical vision for the game, which involves far greater redistribution of Premier League riches and new owner-player settlement.

“The highest earning players have to show solidarity with their fellow professionals and accept some restrictions on wages at the top end of the game,” he says.

James Corbett, Senior Correspondent corbett@offthepitch.com

When he was starting his career as a young economist with Coopers and Lybrand in the early-1980s, each Monday morning Mark Gregory would carry into the office a dark secret.

“The ‘What did you do at the weekend?’ conversation was one I tried to duck,” he recalls. “As I spent my weekends either playing or watching football.”

The game back then was very different, recalls Gregory. “The experience for fans going to a game back then was often a dismal, frightening and sometimes dangerous one…. The national sport seemed taboo.”

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