Business and finance
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 is currently Group Chief Sub-Editor at content marketing agency Sunday, which was PPA Content Agency of the Year 2019 and shortlisted in 2020.
He's written extensively on football, football fan culture and the business of football, and has also covered business and finance and the media business.
Other examples of Martin's work can be found at https://medium.com/@martincloake
The successful author of 15 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]
Business and finance
Much has changed in the world of finance in the last two years and I've been lucky enough to cover that change. Now, after writing almost three quarters of a million words on over 1,200 posts, I'm moving on to tackle a challenge that's simply too good to turn down - but which has to stay under wraps for now.
MC As the protest near London's Stock Exchange enters its third day, the call for the church to back the action has been raised by a leading campaigner for tax justice. Protestors are camped
With the film starring Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway (right) as the lead characters Dexter and Emma now on release, One Day by David Nicholls was the bestselling book at UK booksellers last week
The full extent of the UK government's cover-up over the biggest banking fraud in history has been laid bare after a five-year legal battle. The Treasury used taxpayers' money to fight to conceal the names of more than 40 people and companies linked to the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
The podcast from Michael Hudon linked in this tweet by Steve Keen is well worth listening to: https://twitter.com/ProfSteveKeen/status/1312388761276178432?s=20 Michel Hudson had the whole problem of rentier capitalism worked out a long time ago.
As speculation grows about if and how the Scottish National Party will push on to independence there's a growing lobby which sees Scotland's future as a tax haven. The clarion call is
Getty There was no denying it was an awful week on the markets last week, but with the FTSE 100 and the Dow both closing on the rise there was a chink of light in dark times. This morning we have
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...
There's so much in this fascinating short book to appeal not only to followers of Tottenham Hotspur but to people who really want to understand the...
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
It's becoming increasingly rare to find a football book that is both original and absorbing, but Paul Brown's latest succeeds on both counts...
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 ...
TWO years and three months ago Spurs played Liverpool off the park in a thrilling 4-1 win at Wembley. Both clubs have moved on since then; Spurs to one of the best stadiums in the world, Liverpool to one of the best football teams in the world.
Shuffle served up The Killers' Smile Like You Mean It on the way to the game. The line 'Dreams ain't what they used to be' seemed apt. Spurs have gone for change, a break with all that has been created over five years that brought so much joy to so many.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
t's the camber I remember. Emerging onto the stone terrace at the front of the West Stand and seeing the vast expanse of grass spread out before me, curving away towards the far side. It took my breath away, the size and majesty of it. It was April 8, 1978.
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.
White Hart Lane inspires affection because it is so firmly a part of where it is situated, still just yards from where a group of schoolboys founded Hotspur FC under a gas lamp on the High Street in 1882.
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.
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.
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.
On the morning of the 12th April, 1964, the Sunday People newspaper broke one of the most sensational scandal stories in British football history. The paper revealed that a syndicate of professional footballers had colluded to fix matches on which they'd bet on the outcome of.
This coming weekend marks the 19th anniversary of the day a clash of blue-hued kits saw Chelsea forced to take to the field against Coventry City at Highfield Road wearing the home side's chequered away kit. A memorable afternoon, particularly for City's shirt sponsors, Peugeot.
Next season's football fixture lists are released tomorrow, and eager scanning of what is in store for our teams will almost inevitably be followed by the air turning blue when we discover some of the ridiculous trips we've had served up. So how do they come up with the list?
When a team from football's third tier knocks one of the game's giants out of a cup competition, it's usually seen as a good thing by all but fans of the vanquished and embarrassed losers. Unless the team doing the giantkilling is MK Dons.
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.
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."
In the luxury resort of Vilamoura on Portugal's Algarve, important discussions about the future of English football are taking place. It's the Football League Owners and Executives Conference, the objective of which, according to a letter from Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey, is to "increase engagement with clubs".
So England will be at next summer's football World Cup finals tournament in Brazil. It's possible this might be the last time it matters. There's a rich vein to be tapped into when football's ultimate prize is juxtaposed with Brazil, a country with a romantic tradition in the game and one whose people have a passionate attachment, and no doubt the marketing machine will make the most of it.
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.
Central to the popularity of sport is the notion that those taking part are judged ultimately on their sporting ability. But not, it seems, if you are the Football Association. The organisation set up to safeguard the English game seems increasingly often to be engaged on a mission to remove all elements of sporting chance from the modern business equation it eagerly promotes.
Wembley's iconic twin towers stuck in the mind. The arch that tops off the corporate glass and steel of the characterless modern stadium goes over most people's heads. The FA Cup Final was once the showpiece weekend of the English football season, but in recent years it has become a focus for the sense of unease many have with football, or more precisely the football business.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All the norms have changed. The COVID-19 pandemic is the kind of all-encompassing event we used to read about in the history books or watch unfold...
Last week the Premier League published its conclusions from a survey conducted alongside accountancy giants EY that claimed the average price of a top-flight ticket was £31. All 20 Premier League clubs provided data on "the cost of every ticket sold or available this season" that was analysed by EY
At first they ignored it, then they tried to rubbish it, but now it seems that there are some faint indications that those with power in football are realising they have to do something about the price of tickets to the match. And make no mistake, that's because of a sustained campaign by fan organisations.
Proposals to put elected fan reps on the boards of football clubs, to give fan groups the right to purchase up to 10 per cent of a club's shares in the event of a sale, the establishment of an expert group to examine ways of removing barriers to supporter ownership...
If put into practice, Labour's football proposals will be the most radical shake-up of the sport for years. The news was welcomed by Supporters Direct, the body set up in 2000 to help fans of sports clubs have greater influence in the way those clubs are run.
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.
As feminist issues go, observed the Guardian's Marina Hyde, the email exchange between Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and DLA Piper media lawyer Nick West is "non-league feminist irk", coming in some way below "equal pay, female genital mutilation, access to abortion and rape reporting rates".
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.
A lot has been written in this space about what is wrong in modern football. So here's an upbeat story. It's about how the worst of times can become better times if people work together. And it is a rebuttal to those who argue that it is impossible to change things, especially when you're up against the rich and well-connected.
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?"
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.
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.
Imagine the uproar if a group of lobby correspondents were banned from parliament for reporting criticism of the government. Even with government figures feeling increasingly emboldened in threatening media outlets they feel are not toeing the line, they have stopped short of outright bans.
There are few areas where weasel-worded apologism for the excesses and failures of the unfettered free market is quite as pronounced as the secondary ticketing market - or touting, as we used to call it before the internet gave it a veneer of respectability.
Richard Knights used to have a season ticket at Everton FC. But the club took it away. The circumstances of the case raise concerns about the silencing of dissent. Knights is described by those who know him as a "middle-aged, quietly-spoken, primary school teacher". He's passionate about the club he has supported for over 50 years.
It's becoming fashionable to say, especially of football, that business is ruining sport. It's the language that irritates the most, turning fans into customers, games into matchday experiences and throwing up job titles such as Head of Fan Relationship Management.
In 1966, Harold Wilson spoke of "a tightly-knit group of politically-motivated men" at the heart of the seafarers' strike. The demands of the strikers appear modest now, higher wages in a notoriously poorly-paid and insecure industry, and a reduction of the working week from 56 to 40 hours.
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.
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 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'.
Former Manchester United and England football captain Bryan Robson (right) did not come well out of this week's Dispatches expos&eacute; 'How to buy a football club'. He was
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.
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
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.
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.
In his sweeping account of football in Britain, The Game of Our Lives, David Goldblatt describes 'a thick web of values, rituals, histories and...
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...
Loon pants and bar scarves, feather cuts and Oxford bags, Doc Martens and butcher's coats - and badges. Lots of badges. A hitherto undiscovered set of...
I wrote a book. It was about some things that happened. As books tend to be. I never imagined the fuss it would cause. The reaction in some quarters to One Step from Glory, a book built around Tottenham Hotspur's 2018-19 Champions League run, that I wrote alongside Alex Fynn, a respected and experienced observer ...
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.
For the past 19 months, I've written a series of articles for the New Statesman about football. This magazine may not seem the obvious forum in which to write about the game. Hunter Davies's irreverent observations have long been a staple and the sport has reared its head elsewhere in the print edition from time to time.
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.
"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.
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.
"You've got to be a bit daft sometimes, if you want to change things." Those words, spoken in the closing sequence of writer Julie Welch's semi-autobiographical film Those Glory Glory Days, help illustrate why the 1983 movie is that rarest of things, a film about football that works, and has appeal beyond fans of the sport.
"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.
Phil Thornton's book Casuals is an insightful cult classic. Easily lost in the midst of waves of football counterculture tales - and fairy tales - that clogged up the sports section shelves when the book trade discovered there was money in selling vicarious thrills to wannabe geezers, Casuals was something apart.
Writing about football tends these days to want to take on the big themes, to paint the big picture. The game itself is pumped up, self-important, at times hard to love, even for those of us who admitted we were hopelessly hooked years ago.
You hear people say they are "against modern football" quite a lot these days. But what does it mean? There is, without doubt, a general sense of dissatisfaction with a whole range of issues, players who are perceived as mercenary and overpaid, high ticket prices, sterile stadiums, traditional fans being pushed aside in favour of what are contemptuously described as "tourists", a general trashing of tradition and a commodification of a collective culture...
As the final whistle blew on a tumultuous FA Cup tie at Sunderland's old Roker Park ground, a small group of away supporters prepared for an unusual journey home. It was 4 March 1961. A crowd of 61,236 had come to Roker to see Sunderland attempt to halt Tottenham Hotspur's march to the league and FA Cup double in a sixth-round tie.
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.
Do your content writers have the depth of knowledge to win fans for your brand? The article below was first published on this site as a straightforward celebration of great writing by some exceptional journalists, or, as we might now call them, content creators.
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 ...
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 ...
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...
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.
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.
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
Back in January, there were two events, organised by journalism.co.uk 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.