This is the most important rugby book of the modern ear. Laced with controversy, it covers the period from when professionalism was adopted after the Tokyo and Paris agreements of 1995, up to and including the 2011 Six Nations Championship. In that time England employed six coaches: Geoff Cooke, Jack Rowell, Clive Woodward, Andy Robinson, Brian Ashton and Martin Johnson. It takes a critical look at them all in a period when England have not won a Grand Slam since 2003. With over half a million players in 2,500 clubs, could we not have done better? England is, after all, the wealthiest playing nation on God's earth and the only Europeans still making a profit. Why then have so many clubs fallen into the dankness of administration or gone out of business altogether like Orrell and Wakefield? Why have clubs like Coventry, London Welsh, Moseley and Bristol experienced financial difficulties? What does the future hold for Blackheath, London Scottish, Waterloo and West Hartlepool, to name but a four of the famous oldies? Is it sensible for clubs to chase after overseas players as Saracens and Leicester have been doing for many a year? Have Exeter caught that particular bug?
The book looks at the shambles of the English league system, which is unedifying, cramped and costly. What are Redruth doing if they are playing Blaydon, when the cost of travel is GBP3,000? Why are the leagues not regionalised? What is the point of the British & Irish Cup? How important is the Heineken Cup? Why is a club promoted to the Aviva Premiership not awarded the same level of financial help as those already in the top division? These and a host of other taxing issues are examined in depth.show more