Monday, February 11, 2008

Football And The Pursuit Of Money

First off, this will be a rant in a series of rants. So if you don't like rants, look away now. If you do like rants but don't like football, you might actually enjoy this one.

For those who don't know, I am a Newcastle United fan by birth. In that I have no choice; I was raised there. I was (and still am to a lesser extent) a fan of Tottenham Hotspur, and this was due to how they played football when I was a kid - exciting attacking stuff.

But that is about to end. I shall be giving up the support. I shall no longer be caring what the results are and where "we" are in the table. My mood at weekends will no longer determined by 11 people on a football pitch. The enjoyment I get from the game has waned over recent times. Last week however it impossible to continue.

Last Thursday, Premier League chief Richard Scudamore announced a plan which would make teams play one more game each in a foreign venue. All 20 clubs of the Premier League agreed to explore a proposal to extend the season to 39 games.

Those 10 extra games would be played at five different venues, with cities bidding for the right to stage the game, but not guaranteeing which teams would play. It is understood the fixtures would be determined by a draw and that the top-five teams could be seeded to avoid playing each other.

Scudamore is reported by The Telegraph as saying on Friday "Never on my watch will it go to a 40th game" yet by Monday this had changed to "You can't sit here in the job I have and say 'never'." An expansion beyond 39 games is now under consideration.

Scudamore claims that this move is necessary: "We've seen how sport's globalising, we compete in the entertainment industry." He tries to argue that this is about positioning football as the world's number one sport and to encourage the leagues in "developing countries".

This is bullshit: it's all about the Benjamins.

As has become the norm in the Premier League, money has become the driving motivation for all decisions. There is no regard whatsoever for the loyal UK based supporter of limited means: the traditional football fan.

With the average Premiership footballer now receiving (correct to April 2006) £13,000 per week, the gap between football player and football fan is enormous. In the Championship the average wage is £3,700 per week and in League One it's £1,300. League Two players on average bring home £950 per week.

The average wage across the whole of the UK is around £500 per week. In two weeks the average Premiership footballer earns the same as the average worker does in an entire year. There are, of course, well known examples of footballers who earn in excess of £100,000 a week. It’s a long, long way from 1881 when Blackburn Rovers were the first club to pay their players. The wage then? £1 a week.

Dan Jones, partner of Deloitte's sports business group, said "We do expect the average annual earnings for a Premier League player next season will be in the region of £1.1m and that over the next three years we will see English football's first player to earn £10m per annum from a club, equivalent to £200,000 per week"

The pursuit of money is the driving force for the Premier League's decision. It is my view that the pursuit of money is destroying football. Further, it is my view that the pursuit of money is destroying society, and it is to this subject that I shall return in my next post.

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Anonymous The devil said...

Does this mean that I now rate higher than NUFC? I don't believe it!

Blogger silas said...

You do indeed rate higher than NUFC. Even with the return of the Messiah (who supports the Premier League plan!) I cannot justify supporting a sport that has such little regard for its own fans.

Anonymous The devil said...

How can you call him the Messiah when he hasn't won you a game yet, and who supports the farce that is the new Premier league set up??? Still, it won't affect you, as you will be joining CPFC in the Championship next season!

Blogger jamesh said...

It's all a little odd since the managers are always moaning about Internationals, the League Cup, and to a lesser extent with some of them, the FA Cup, getting in the way of their ability to compete in the league...oh, and all this in the week that AFCB go into administration with debts of over £4m - all leftover from a older era that we've tried in vain to pay off to 10 years.

I haven't quite worked out what I'll do on a Saturday afternoon if we go to the wall.


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