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Monday, 18 February 2013
Lad Lit Book Reviews: Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan
Perhaps this is not the best endorsement for Simon Jordan and his book, but how many other football chairman can you think of that was more controversial, more outspoken, and more blonde than the former Eagles owner?
Palace fans loved him, opposition fans loved to taunt him. The perma-tanned self-made millionaire made his fortune in the mobile phone business and by the age of 32 he was the youngest owner of a football club. Ten years and £35m later he had lost it all, but what a decade he had left in his wake.
You might not think that Jordan has much more to say in this book that he hasn’t already aired publicly such was his inability to keep his mouth shut in front of reporters or a TV camera, but that certainly isn’t the case.
What is refreshing about this book compared to other football autobiographies is that we get a different perspective on the crazy world of top-flight football. Never one to be a shrinking violet, Jordan is unrelenting with his attacks on players, managers, agents, and other chairman (he once said: “If I see another David Gold interview on the poor East End Jewish boy done good I'll impale myself on one of his dildos).
I applaud his tenaciousness to try and turn his beloved Crystal Palace into a top flight contender, but at the same time I can’t help but shake my head at his insistence to continue to throw millions of pounds at something without considering the consequences. It is a bit like lending cash to your best mate who you know is rubbish with money; you know you’ll never get the money back but you keep trying to help out. Another classic case of an accomplished businessman leaving his business acumen at the turnstiles.
Jordan is certainly lives up to the hype of a big-time Charlie as he talks about his Spanish villas and private jets, but so what? He earned the right to live that lifestyle, and how many more football chairman do you know who dated supermodels? Whatever your opinion of him, his time in football certainly made things interesting.
He battled relentless against the system, creating enemies in every corner of the football family from senior members of the FA to Millwall and Birmingham fans and to fellow chairman (former Charlton chairman Richard Murray challenged him to a fight) and the managers he hired and fired (eight managers would come and go during his tenure). That is not to say that Jordan did not have his supporters and friends in football, but he wasn't afraid of who upset along the way.
In amongst all the bravado and the self-gratification is a very insightful look at the parts of football we as fans don’t normally get exposed to, and after reading this book I truly believe Jordan wanted to make a difference in football and fought a good fight. Unfortunately for him it wasn’t good enough and not only did he lose a fortune, but football in general is probably a lot poorer for the loss of another great character.
As a football fan, I found this a really enjoyable read. Football is a bit like a pantomime or a soap opera and the roles of those characters are played out beautifully in this book. We have the implosion of ITV Digital, the Iain Dowie court case for fraudulent misrepresentation (when Jordan issued Dowie a writ during his press conference as he was being unveiled as the new Charlton manager), and of course the bitter downfall that nearly dragged Palace into the football graveyard of obscurity. Unfortunately for Jordan it was his lone tombstone that was consigned to football folklore.