Does money make football go round?
Football isn’t the same anymore. Football fans are fickle. Armchair fans who don’t attend games and know very little. Footballers aren’t the same anymore. There is no loyalty. There is no allegiance and they are just money grabbing mercenary happy to sit on the bench.
We’ve all heard these eloquent quotes from footballing connoisseurs. Now, we are seeing what they mean by the argument regarding lack of player loyalty. In the good old days, when a player kissed a badge he meant it. When he signed a contract, it meant something, it meant more than finances because it was something they truly wanted.
Now though, things are different. Players are moving clubs regularly, moving clubs and kissing the new badge, talking of how they needed a new challenge, how they want to be a part of a new project and will silverware, talk of how at their previous club the fans lacked passion whereas here the fans are passionate. There are millions of excuses given. Looking at it from a simplistic point of view, money plays a large part.
We’ve seen several clubs taken over from billionaires, both in England and elsewhere. Chelsea, Manchester City, QPR, Getafe, Anzhi Makhachkala amongst others. These clubs subsequently attract all the players. They’ve got the wages, which leads the players to believe they’ll attract other players and win silverware.
I however, refuse to believe it is as simple as that. As a football fan, I would dislike to see my football fan made up of 11 foreigners who I have little in common with, who do not understand the history of the club, what it means to play for the club I support and have little allegiance to my club until the next sugar daddy comes along.
I honestly believe, for a football club to be successful in the long term, you need a mix of youth, experience, world class players but crucially home grown players that will relate to the supporters. Players, who when the going gets tough will rally their team mates and dig deep for their side rather than sulk and not bother.
This emerging pattern of football clubs pricing out clubs for a player is going to be the death of football. We’re seeing teams with over 30 players on their books, when only 11 can start how and why is this necessary? We’re seeing a time where football clubs are purchasing players which seems like, just so no-one else does. These players are then sitting and rotting away on the bench because they aren’t getting the opportunity to play thus hindering their development, stopping them from fulfilling their potential but picking up their pay check, preventing the football fans and the footballing world at large from witnessing a potentially good player subsequently giving the individual little opportunity to progress to the NT, hence causing even further distruction to the sport.
It’s ridiclous how people think money will win you success. It might do, for one season, for a while, but there is so much more to it. Surely, a world class manager who is tactically astute, excellent man manager and has real belief in his team is more beneficial than a manger with unlimited funds to purchase all the top players and end with a Plan B of bringing players of the bench to score goals, a ‘we will score more goals than you’ to win mentality. Is this really football? Can the fans relate?
I hope Manchester United never go down this path, we never rest on our laurels of blooding our youth, if they did, we wouldn’t see the likes of Cleverley and Welbeck. By buying the top internationals, offering them the best wages and not having a space for them in the team, you are preventing the development of your own youth, you have then priced out other teams from maybe even loaning these players because no one can match the wage. A wage structure is essential for a club to ensure it is stable, something Tottenham Hostpur have done brilliantly. Obviously, a wage cap is unlikely and not the answer as we’ll just prevent players from coming to the Premier League, but a solution is needed.
In addition, a discussion I had with a friend once who is an Arsenal supporter yet has a sense of appreciation for Man Utd but despises Man City. I initially thought it was because they had become somewhat of a feeder club for them, but it was somewhat more thought provoking. Manchester United, like many other clubs worked for their finances, they became a global brand, the money they spend on players is through finances within the club that have come from fans, sponsorships, television, merchandise…and endless other facets. Man City and other similar clubs, have come into their money through a sugar daddy. Almost like the billionaires went ‘ip dip doo’ across the Premiership table and picked a club and ploughed finances into it. There’s no development of funds, no history of success/silverware in the same way, This irks fans as well, and evidently UEFA too therefore have brought in a more stringet policy.
Whether or not finances and throwing these at players will win silverware is an answer we will find out over the course of the next several years, for now though, it is evident that a lot more is needed.