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  • Published: 17 September 2020
  • ISBN: 9781844884940
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

Champagne Football

John Delaney and the Betrayal of Irish Football: The Inside Story

A shocking exposé: the inside story behind the fall of the most powerful man in Irish sport

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.

  • Published: 17 September 2020
  • ISBN: 9781844884940
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

Praise for Champagne Football

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

The most important Irish sports book of the year and most significant book on Irish life itself ... Exceptional

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

Utterly COMPELLING ... I can't decide if Delaney is a machiavellian mastermind or a lucky chancer

Marian Keyes, via Twitter

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

Eamon Dunphy, The Stand

An astonishing exposé

Martin Ziegler, The Times

Essential reading

Irish Daily Star


Irish Sun

A jaw-dropping story ... brilliant

Irish Times

Stellar work

Irish Independent

A damming account ... brilliantly detailed

Sunday Independent

A masterpiece

Tommy Martin, via Twitter


Joe Duffy

Fantastic ... The best book I've ever read about Irish football

Ken Early, Second Captains

Made my blood boil

Des Cahill

An instant classic, one of the all-time great Irish sports books ... Terrific

Alan English, via Twitter

Absolutely superb ... Good old fashioned gumboot journalism and a rollicking good read

Paul Howard, via Twitter

Fantastic ... A real page-turner

Marie Crowe, Game On

The Irish sports book of the year


Compelling and often side-splittingly hilarious


Excellent ... includes staggering detail

Daily Mail

Astonishing ... It reads like an outrageous work of fiction with a scarcely believable cast of characters

Business Post

Brilliant ... Easily the Irish sports book of the year

Hot Press

An extraordinary story of what happens when proper governance doesn't exist

Sunday Times

Astonishing ... One of the most important books published in this country. If you wanted to change Ireland, you would need to read this book

Dion Fanning, The Currency

The most important book ever written about Irish sport ... This is the must-read of 2020

RTÉ Culture

A jaw-dropping tale of power and ego going unchecked

Times, Best Sports Books of the Year 2020

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

Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times, Best Books of 2020

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

Malachy Clerkin, Irish Times, Sports Books of the Year 2020

A monumental piece of writing and investigation, a work that will go down as Irish sporting history's Woodward & Bernstein moment

Irish Examiner

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