Martin Cloake

Writer, editor

United Kingdom

Martin is a writer and sub-editor who has worked for some of the biggest names in business, consumer and customer publishing and for membership and campaigning organisations.

He's written extensively on football, football fan culture and the business of football, and has also covered business and finance and the media industry. A collection of his journalism was published in the anthology Taking Our Ball Back, available on Amazon.

The successful author of 16 books, Martin has also worked as an editor with a number of other authors, and chalked up two awards.

Martin is available for writing and editing commissions. Contact him at [email protected]



Irish Examiner
Spurs fans saying they like the cut of Ange's jib

OF course, it had been planned all along. As the club said in its statement announcing the appointment of Ange Postecoglou as manager: “Now that the season and all domestic cup competitions have concluded, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Ange Postecoglou as our new First Team Head Coach.”

Irish Examiner
Terrace Talk: Crisis at Tottenham is always an attractive narrative

THIS is why we do it. You'd have been hard-pressed to find a confident Spurs fan before this game. But afterwards - the sheer elation was something to behold. Man City may have dominated possession, but the collective defensive effort, intelligent breaking and above all a performance of the highest quality by Harry Kane made Spurs worthy winners.

Beyond The Last Man
A History Of Tackling

It is something that occurs in every game of football played. It is essential but so often unloved. It is replete with symbolism. Some revere it as an essential part of competing, the thing that gives you the right to play. Others revile the kind of deification that elevates an act of prevention above an...

Why Mauricio Pochettino leaves behind a complicated legacy at Tottenham Hotspur

A year ago, Tottenham Hotspur were preparing to play in a European Cup Final in Madrid. In the time since 1 June 2019, everything has changed.Tottenham Hotspur's run to the 2019 Champions League final was the culmination not only of an extraordinary campaign, but an extraordinary five years under manager

The Football Pink
Steve Perryman: A Spur Forever | The Football Pink

The highest praise Steve Perryman gives is to describe something as "proper". It means doing something not only in the best way, but the right way. This is a proper book by a proper human being and a proper club legend, eschewing the bland anecdotes and lack of insight or original thought that too often ...

Irish Examiner
Terrace Talk: A harsh call shaped the game but no recriminations

So a magical, inspiring run ends with regret and disappointment for Spurs fans. The team did enough to deserve the applause and support that rang out from the massed ranks in the north tribune of the Wanda Metropolitano on the final whistle, but the reality is, despite dominating the second half Spurs did not take the chance to beat an off-colour Liverpool.

Irish Examiner
We're not meant to be here, but we are

Vivid as it still is, that extraordinary semi-final night in Amsterdam now seems so long ago. The final consumes ever more of our vision. By the time it kicks off, three weeks will have elapsed since Lucas Moura's last-gasp winner against Ajax. "Have you ever seen anything like it?"

Irish Examiner
Time 'want away' stars acknowledged their role in failure

The willingness to be responsible for success but not for failure is evident in much of business and politics, so we should not be surprised when it appears in football. It is nonetheless irksome, perhaps especially in football's case because while the sport is not, in the end, as important as business or politics, it means more to most than either.

Irish Examiner
Terrace Talk: Nothing from officials and not much from our team

Derby day started early with a breakfast meet-up with friends who would be going and others who would be watching in the pub. Most of us are tense, keyed up and unable to talk about or think of anything else but the game, so the answer is to make a day of it and stay well clear of anyone who hasn't got the bug.

Irish Examiner
Sharing not caring, the post-war roots of the North London rivalry

The one-time Flower of the South had wilted. The club had lost its way due to lacklustre performances on the pitch and lack of vision off it. And yet, the crowds still came, through the days of football and economic depression, to see the Spurs.

Irish Examiner
Terrace Talk: A gruelling journey to be done by the direct route

First target is the 8am from Euston via an early tube train liberally scattered with builders and cleaners as London draws those who service and create but rarely share the spoils into its centre. Pre-match is dominated by talk of another figure drawn from the edge of the capital's sprawl onto centre stage, Chigwell's Harry Kane.

Irish Examiner
The no-fuss genius of Christian Eriksen - the 'new Laudrup'

For Ireland fans, Eriksen is the man who could blow their World Cup dreams out of the water. Danish fans view the midfielder as the new Michael Laudrup, and Denmark coach Age Hareide said simply: "When we get the ball, the first thing we do is look for Christian."

The Independent
It's seen Diego Maradona to Johan Cruyff but Spurs have finally outgrown the Lane

It was the collapse of the refreshment stand that did it. There were 15,000 inside the ground at Northumberland Park and many thousands more locked out. Those inside for the game against Woolwich Arsenal were packed in tightly. A few climbed onto the roof of the refreshment stall, more followed, then still more until the structure gave way.

Evening Standard
White Hart Lane expert takes you through 118 years of history

The need to accommodate more spectators and generate more income have driven Tottenham to move to a new stadium. The story was the same in 1899 when the club moved to White Hart Lane - a ground that has never formally been named.

Irish Examiner
Terrace Talk: Still wondering how this became yet another nearly

I've been at every one. Maybe I should take the hint, although tens of thousands of Lilywhites are probably thinking the same thing right now. The mood going into the game was confident but not cocky. It felt good to be going into the biggest game in English football for some time on a level with the opposition, rather than as underdogs.

Irish Examiner
TERRACE TALK: Tottenham - A deflating drive home after our gormless effort

Three games, no wins. I'm starting to wonder if I've been set up. In truth, this gormless performance from Spurs didn't deliver anymore than it deserved. Unbeaten all season, now two away defeats on the bounce. There are some question marks for Tottenham and a test of character ahead.

The FA needs to start acting like a national football association

Addressing the opening session of last weekend's football fan summit at Wembley Stadium by video, Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said: "I like to mix with ordinary fans". With exquisite timing, the camera shot cut away from Dyke in his armchair to show Dyke chatting to England star Wayne Rooney on a yacht.

Why is men's football the default "proper" sport, while the women's game is merely a pale imitation?

The mere introduction of women's soccer as a subject of conversation provokes 'common sense' observations from sexists about how "no one wants to watch women's soccer" because women are weaker, slower etc. That is sexist. That the people who work on women's soccer have to defend women's athletic ability in order to participate in any conversation about women's soccer - that is sexist."

Did we all go out of our minds on transfer deadline day?

We have all gone completely out of our minds. On English football's transfer deadline day, a record £630m was spent by the 20 Premier League clubs, up 29 per cent on the previous year. The day's transactions included a world record £85m for a single player, Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur, who was bought by Real Madrid.

The Glory Glory Nights: The Official Story of Tottenham Hotspur in Europe

It can be hard to remember that football fans used to be all but invisible. The vast crowds have been a feature of the game for over a century, but for most of that time they were just the backdrop to the game, albeit one that helped place the sport in its place in the national psyche.

A Very English Visionary

His last public appearance came sitting in an armchair at home, an appropriately humble setting for one of the least demonstrative of the great men of football. It was the final scene of a programme made to mark the centenary of Tottenham Hotspur and Arthur Rowe, the manager who led the side to its first League title in 1951, was asked what the club meant to him.

When Saturday Comes - Grudging rivals

Tottenham fan Martin Cloake begrudgingly accepts that Arsenal are not only winning, but winning in style Columns of black smoke billowed into the night sky from the wasted shells of burning cars, helicopters clattered overhead and the sound of sirens pierced the air.

When Saturday Comes - Not him Forest

A boardroom reshuffle at Nottingham Forest throws up a familiar face to Spurs fan Martin Cloake In 1989, this man said: "I love Tottenham. You watch two other teams and you don't feel you want either to win... unless they're playing Arsenal." He also told the Independent that he disapproved, pointedly, of directors who "move around" between clubs.

Football business

Punk football: how the rise of fan ownership could save the sport

Woke up this morning feeling fine Got punk football on my mind We play football the way, the way that we should Oh yeah Something tells me I'm into something good They sing that in the stands at FC United of Manchester, the club set up in 2005 by fans disillusioned with what the city's more famous United has become.

The FA's report proves that money and power are the fundamental problem with English football

The Football Association's report, issued on Thursday, claims to want to fix the problem of a lack of English players in the Premier League, and thus also give the national team a better chance at future World Cups. However, as per usual, the FA's proposals, analysis and reasoning provide a pretty comprehensive illustration of everything that is wrong with modern soccer.

Are football's authorities finally going to have to concede on supporter-owned clubs?

Complacent. Mistaken. Damaging. Inherent weaknesses. A dysfunctional system. Capricious behaviour. An absence of understanding. Woefully inadequate. Lackadaisical attitude. The language is not normally associated with the careful formulations of the British establishment, but these terms are liberally sprinkled through a report issued by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mutuals entitled "What is the vision for the future of supporter-owned football clubs?"

The future of football depends on the fans

Last Monday, a significant discussion took place in Westminster. The subject was football governance, and the occasion was a session of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mutuals.

Why the rising price of TV football is bad for all of us

The breaking of a monopoly, a kick in the shins for Rupert Murdoch, more money going into sport - on the face of it, the news that BT has secured exclusive rights to all pan-European club competition in a deal that will see £897m go into the game over three years from 2015 is good.

Just how much "community value" is in a football stadium?

The most significant victory of the 2012/13 football season in England may well prove to have been secured by Oxford United. Or, more accurately, the club's fans, who have succeeded in designating the club's Kassam Stadium an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act.

Is football about spending or sport?

Manchester United 8, Arsenal 2; Tottenham Hotspur 1, Manchester City 5 - two eye-catching results from this week's Premier League programme which also raise some points about the finances of the modern game. I discussed those points with football consultant Alex Fynn.

Football can curb TV, says Alex Fynn

Football can and should redress the balance of power between the game and its TV paymasters. That's the view of football consultant Alex Fynn* who was speaking in the wake of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson's comments that "television is God at the moment'.

England's football clubs play offshore

Former Manchester United and England football captain Bryan Robson (right) did not come well out of this week's Dispatches exposé 'How to buy a football club'. He was

Top 10 Euro football money earners

To make money as a football club, it's not absolutely necessary to win trophies. Being a big enough name to rake in TV appearance money means that, as Nick Berry once famously observed, every loser wins. A look at the European clubs who earned the most last season appears to confirm this.

Eto'o tops football pay list: £18m a year

Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o (right) has played football in Barcelona and Milan, Now he is to ply his trade in the war-torn north Caucasus region of Russia, for a team called Anzhi

When Saturday Comes - Paying at home

The introduction of pay-per-view television is a sign, Martin Cloake warns, that the media is changing football as we know it "Pay-per-view is a good thing, because for years fans who pay at the gate have subsidised entertainment for armchair fans.

When Saturday Comes - Minimalist manifesto

With the promise of being the most football-friendly government, Martin Cloake investigates the manifesto which helped New Labour come to power in 1997 Promising to be the most football-friendly government ever helped Labour get elected in 1997. This time, football has been much lower on the agenda of every party, where it appears at all.

Football culture

The Football Pink
Book review: W C L D N | The Football Pink

It takes a deft touch and an eye for detail to evoke a sense of place . Glen Wilson has both and so succeeds in taking the reader back to London in the...

Book review: Adrian Tempany's And the Sun Shines Now

It's possible to identify a body of written work on the development of football in England and what it means that has both substance and insight. Nick Varley's Parklife, David Conn's The Beautiful Game and Richer Than God and David Goldblatt's The Game of Our Lives are essential reading for anyone wishing to really understand football as a cultural force.

The mutual dependence of football and the media

If you've ever railed against the way TV scatters the kick-off times of football matches across the schedules at short notice with barely a thought for the people who have to go to the game, think on this.

Football is escape, not a moral maze. Isn't it?

"I wanted them all to go home happy just this once, and for a great football story to happen, however compromised by all the money." David Conn's description of his feelings on Sunday 13 May 2012 as he stood in the crowd watching his team, Manchester City, win their first league title for 34 years, encapsulates the conundrum of modern football for football fans.

"We are the Yids": should Spurs fans be prosecuted for using the Y word?

Last week, the Crown Prosecution Service announced it would "discontinue" the prosecution of three Tottenham Hotspur fans for a racially aggravated public order offence. The story of how the case was brought, and how the accused fans have been treated, is shameful. And it throws up some challenging questions.

How to counter the menacingly authoritarian tendencies of modern football

"Absurd" is a word that crops up increasingly frequently the more you look at modern football. Recently, it was used by two rival clubs in an extraordinary joint statement to describe the actions of the police. The statement came in the midst of a row over arrangements for the upcoming Tyne-Wear derby between Newcastle United and Sunderland.


Football writers draw on the language of battle so regularly to colour their narrative that describing a game in which two teams slugged it out on the pitch does not seem so unusual.

Business and finance

Inflation: What does it mean for stocks?

"We cannot accept high rates of inflation as a permanent fact" said US President Jimmy Carter in March 1980. Inflation had surged to record highs after a decade in which it loomed large in economic discourse and, said Carter, was "a symptom of economic distress" that required "urgent measures".

Tax Research UK
Debt deflation

The podcast from Michael Hudon linked in this tweet by Steve Keen is well worth listening to: Michel Hudson had the whole problem of rentier capitalism worked out a long time ago.


Content Desk
How to avoid those Twitter storms - Content Desk

Like most technology, Twitter evokes strong responses about what it does to communication. While some swear by it, and some others swear on it, others still bemoan its effect. New Statesman editor Jason Cowley once ventured the view in a leader column that the word Twitterstorm is one of the most depressing in the English ...

Content Desk
Riffing off Rapper's Delight - Content Desk

I said a hip, hop, the hippie, the hippie To the hip hip-hop, and you don't stop The rock it to the bang-bang, boogie say "up jump" The boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat Multimedia storytelling was one of the many media buzz phrases that, well, buzzed loudly a few years ago ...

Content Desk
In the media, change doesn't have to mean extinction - Content Desk

Change is often seen, or presented, as the end of something, rather than the beginning. That seems especially true in the media business, where the advent of digital media has prompted a plethora of 'end of' stories. The end of print, the end of sub-editing, the end of books, the end of professional photography...

The Magazine Diaries
Martin Cloake Archives - The Magazine Diaries

I started with cow gum, scalpel and passing off stone. Now the keyboard is king with DTP and social media. The constant is arranging words and images to engage and entertain. It is still a great job to do - creative, collaborative, constantly challenging. Distribution is key - it always has been.

Content Desk
Comment: the power of creative content - Content Desk

To communicate clearly in a content-rich world, brands need an innovative approach to awareness and trust, says Martin Cloake We live in complicated times for the written word. The copy that journalists once wrote has become content. And the word 'content' can give the impression of just another commodity, some stuff to fill space.

Interview: Ian Malone of We Are Apps

I've been speaking to Ian Malone, (right) MD of rising app development firm We Are Apps about the success of his 15-month-old business. Over coffee near the firm's base in London's

Future of Journalism

Back in January, there were two events, organised by and the NUJ, looking at the changing role of the journalist. Martin Cloake attended both and came away with some very upbeat conclusions. The media tizzy about technological change has prompted a few years of gloom and depression about what can no longer be done because all the old models are broken.

Tea & biscuits?

Consultation takes many forms. Sometimes it doesn't happen at all, sometimes it's occasional and sometimes it's mere dressing for a decision already taken. But, more positively, in some companies it is an ongoing deeply ingrained process, where there is a genuine desire to pool resources and benefit from colleagues' experiences.

Do we still need proper journalists?

With the seemingly remorseless rise of citizen journalists and UGC, do we still need the real thing? Shouldn't we just hand out camera phones to all and sundry and wait for the exclusives to flood in? And, assuming we do need them, how should we be t

Skills up, quality down?

Today's journalist is a highly skilled individual. They can write the story, shoot the film, record the interview, edit it all up, sub it and then squirt it down the various tubes that make up today's multimedia newsroom. The burning question is, say

When Saturday Comes - Silent witnesses?

Journalists' freedom to write is being restricted by power-hungry football clubs, says Martin Cloake Having access to football clubs is very important for national newspapers, and for local papers it's often vital. Football clubs know this, and exploit the situation to minimize unfavourable coverage.


Content Desk
Why sport is prized content - Content Desk

Sport has arguably never been more culturally dominant. It is the content most prized by media companies, hugely popular with advertisers, and is even used to promote such lofty principles as international peace and solidarity. Some of us remember when that wasn't the case. Sport was something that happened away from everything else.

The problem with Harriet Harman's proposed gambling tax

Labour's latest big idea to sort out sport is a betting levy. The shadow culture secretary, Harriet Harman, and shadow sports minister, Clive Efford, are very keen to promote the idea, the centrepiece of an ambitious "sport for all" approach unveiled in one of the policy documents we're sure to see more of in the run-up to the general election.

What a £26,400 cricket ball tells us about our mania for sport

Writing about sport throws up a unique challenge. The affection for the subject that most, if not all, sports writers have means that the usual journalistic scepticism wrestles constantly with the desire to believe that what we want to see is what we are seeing.

Sport was never "only a game"

In the future, if people want to explain sport's appeal, its reach, its capacity to engage and to capture not only the imagination but the intellect too, they could do worse than pick the summer of 2013 to use as an example.

'Be creative over Olympic Stadium'

After the Olympics finish, the Stratford stadium should be used jointly by a football club, music promoter and an NFL franchise that aims to capitalise on transport links with Northern Europe.