Margaret Thatcher divided opinion in Britain sharply. When she fell from power in 1990 after eleven years at the helm, spanning three successive general elections victories, the admiration of her supporters remained undimmed. For her acolytes, the Conservative governments of the 1980s restored pride in Britain abroad and at home, curbing unbridled trade union power and modernizing the nation’s industrial infrastructure through extensive privatization. In the eyes of detractors, Thatcher left a trail of victims in her wake. While the economy grew rapidly to benefit many in the mid-1980s, the beginning and end of the decade witnessed deep recessions where the Prime Minister insisted ‘there was no alternative’ to the free market nostrums of sound money and minimal state intervention that left millions unemployed. One facet of Thatcher’s premiership which is widely agreed upon is that she was, in the words of a leading sports administrator, ‘wholly indifferent to sport’.1 Her massive volume of memoirs, published after she left office, made almost no mention of sport, other than to lament the decision of British athletes to defy her wishes by participating in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
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