SOD THE NEEDY – FEED THE GREEDY
The annual feeding frenzy continued yesterday. A time when rational human beings leave their brains at the door and contribute to a collective madness. £835 million has been spent in the UK on summer transfer deals culminating in the dash for cash last night. We are told that Falcao, the latest saviour of the mighty reds, will be paid nearly £300,000 per week. Ex-pros and chicken-bone analysts debate whether his signing will be enough to restore United to their former glory. No-one – and this takes some believing – no-one has the bottle or nous to stand back and simply ask whether or not this is a wise use of money in an austerity strapped country. Grass-roots football is struggling as we become more and more a nation of watchers and drinkers.
Facilities at local level are so much poorer than their equivalent on the continent. As the base of the pyramid shrinks so the pinnacle gets smaller. We are told that fans in this country care much more for their club team than the national side. This contrasts with current world cup winners Germany, whose fans put the national team first. Fans here are also concerned at the price they are being asked to pay to watch a Premiership match. There have been marches and demonstrations complaining about being ripped off. Again, the comparison with Germany is instructive. Ticket prices are strictly controlled with attendances for the Bundesliga being on average significantly higher than the Premiership. Any suggestion of price rises in Germany are met with organised resistance. A boycott of two or three matches would quickly bring sense to the oligarchs and money-launderers who run big football.
The crazy money swilling about in the Premiership has produced a product based around greed. The days when Derby County, Aston Villa, Notts Forest could even dream of winning the title are long gone. Four teams have won the Premiership. City won the title last year with one regular England player in the team and another couple in the squad. Everything about our football is short-term. And nothing reflects that position better than the transfer deadline. Will Wenger buy a replacement for an injured star striker? Yes. Will Harry do his usual and bring in several old lags to boost his squad? Yes. Will Chelsea continue to farm out lots of players to other clubs on loan? Yes - 23 are out on loan to rival clubs. Think about that a while. Anyone for fairness or probity?
As the numbers using food banks continue to rise, will any more highly paid footballers follow in Steven Naismith’s footsteps? He is the Everton player who has paid for 4 season tickets to be used by unemployed supporters at Everton. Hats off to him.