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The Ruination of Football?

I've moaned before about the way football is going and no doubt I'll moan again!

Football is a massive part of many of our lives and is a passion for sure BUT when I read reports linking players like John Terry to Manchester City who a report this week said would be offered wages of around £300 000 a week, not to mention a transfer free in the region of £45million to Chelsea to tempt them to sell the England defender... well, I can only ponder at what point football in this country will go so far up it's own backside that it simply implodes?

Won't happen?

Well it did in Italy, that was always said to be the best league in the world, they paid the highest wages and attracted the biggest stars, now look at it, hooliganism, half empty stadiums and the world stars all going to England and Spain!

Would it be too much to say the sort of spending some are now embarking on could well prove to be the path to ruination for football? Time will tell. All I know is from when I was a lad (I'm 40, so not that long ago!) to now it is a totally different ball game (no pun intended) and it is very difficult to relate to the 'stars' of the game now as they are so distant, they are paid so much and they are no longer part of the 'gang' they are just the team that the 'gang' watches...?

There was a great report in the Guardian, nothing less than I'd expect when David Conn writes something to be honest.

This particular article centred around the need for a wages cap. How I wish!

In an interview with Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis the Gunner says the Premier League should look to get one in place in an attempt to bring some financial stability to the league and to hopefully even out the competition.

Lets face it, these days, it has become a four horse race and IF Manchester City do start throwing their money about the same way as Chelsea did when £oman Abramovich took the London club over, then they'll no doubt buy themselves success as well... possibly at the expense of Arsenal ... maybe hence they would like to see a wage cap?!

Then again, Arsenal have never been massive spenders, they have brought in talent and nurtured it, something that Villa have also tried to do with the excellent youth academy that we have.

Gazidis said:

'I think it is worth our while to investigate whether there are elements of the salary cap system, which they have in US NFL and baseball, which would benefit football. Clubs have a duty to provide more stability in our business models and some form of wage restraint is one element worth looking at. There are many different ways in which it could work.'

The PL have never agreed to this sort of regulation before. Would they now? Those that really have the power are the ones that have the large purse strings, or in some clubs cases, massive debts... another bug bear of mine... I digress!

Gazidis points to Germany's Bundesliga as 'the only profitable league,' due to the restrictions on the debt the clubs are allowed to have. Clubs have to work 'within their means'.

Now what would that mean? Maybe some of the big world stars would no longer want to come to England? Well ok then, that would be to the profit of the home nations International teams wouldn't it? It would also put more emphasis on developing and bringing through young players who at the moment are often blocked by the 'easy' route of buying foreign 'stars' to simply 'football manager' your way to the top.

Another report, this time in the News of the World by Andy Dunn has Real Madrid president Florentino Perez looking to create a super league.

Super = more greed by the way, not super as in super duper!

This the report argues would ruin the Premier League and result in the top four turning their back on us.

Disaster? Well, at the moment they have their own league, maybe if they were no longer in 'our' league we'd have proper competition again?!?!? But then, how would their fans feel? Truly gutted I'd imagine, you see, the English league is OUR league, it always has been and the tribes love going to 'war' each week. You mess too much with that and you'll find that fans will simply turn off.

He said: 'What we need to work out with UEFA is a European Super League that guarantees that all the top teams play each other all the time - something that does not happen in the current Champions League.'

I agree about the Champions League mind you. When Villa won it albeit named the European Cup in those days, it was a) a knock out competition b) for Champions only. How can 4th in the Premier League seriously be in contention in a Champions league when in effect all they are is 3rd loser?

If the FA Cup and League Cup winners, along with UEFA Cup winners were entered into it, then fine, you would have champions, you would resurrect interest and respect in the Cups and you could argue the Champions League is set up for Champions, not just for £££££'s.

According to the report The plan is to maximize TV revenue and sponsorship deals for Europe's big clubs and would threaten the future of the smallest sides in the Premier League. Asked if he would put his full weight behind a Super League he added: 'Yes, but without abandoning national leagues.'

Well, if it happened and those clubs chose to go - and I seriously can't see Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool fans allowing it - then let them, make it clear they'd never be allowed to get back into the Premier League... then maybe we can push through with proper and fair wage caps, reasonable money for the players who no doubt entertain us week in and week out, but none of this insane and distasteful money paid out at the moment.

Would all be so bad?

Probably not!

By JP Fear www.astonvilla.vitalfootball.co.uk.

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The Journalist

Writer: JP Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 7 2009

Time: 7:00PM

Your Comments

talking about 4th in the CL, didn't Liverpool get in when they were holders but didn't even finish in the top four?
merlin
It has all got a bit silly but I wonder if its a case of you cant put the genie back in the bottle. Surely a wages cap, whilst a great idea would just send all the best players over to the continent (OK more so than they are already) unless it was Europe-wide, and I can't see that happening. I like the Bundesliga idea of living within your means with a cap on debt levels - that would be a good thing on many levels. As for the big 4 moving off, I guess I could live with it, it is almost as though they are a separate league from the rest of the prem already - as long as we still get to compete for some kind of euro competition, first time last season and loved it!
tracyc
If you put a wage cap on players wouldn't teams just pay astronomical signing on bonuses? Also if Perez makes a league for champions he is going to be bitterly disapointed when real are told their name aint on the guest list so they're not coming in. wasn't it going to be teams opting out of domestic cups so they had the time to play in the league? What would happen to the champions league dont alot of people have alot of money invested in the CL with sponsorship and tv rights who might be a little bit *****ed that the best teams that they have paid to see and show off their goods are no longer their? Also other than our big four and barca, most other champions of europe would stuggle to get top half of the table in the prem, quality wise, so who would be in it as they certainly wouldnt be the best. why not just let real and barca join the prem. job done and then they can join the actual super league of the world anyway.
zzz
Good article by the way, jolly good read.
zzz
good article ! would like to see the fa cup winners carling cup winners in champions leauge it would make the big 4 go for them moe. but what if utd won them all no one else would be allowed in champions leauge! NO WAY THEY WILL HAVE A WAGE CAP. will just give them goal bonus or cleen sheet bonus. AND WHO WOULD U CHOOSE TO GO IN THE super leauge !? it would just be the big name teams ! on their reputation , so why not benfica or ajax as they were once a big name. they want to do this leauge because they want some of what ENGLAND has !! SKY money ... ac milan juventus and inter just dont have the spending power utd , liverpool , city , chelsea has.. SO U LOT CAN ***** OFF and make your own super leauge without any english teams init..
pompeyhussler
A salary cap is brilliant, but it must be enforced to Europe as a whole, otherwise players will just go to the countries that dont have the cap in place. However, the main problem is that it conflicts with EU Laws.
nodster
I do wonder what Jimmy Hill would make of it all, he was the catalyst of it all in when he got the £100 cap abolished, but he must feel like the Noble peace prize winner who invented the A bomb
paultsmouth
I fear it is just a matter of time before people realise it's too late (if that makes sense)
UKTony
a salaray cap would need to be introduced over a long period of time. You couldn't just rip apart everyones contracts, then expect them all to resign for less. Although having said that, that is exactly what happened in Formula one, and - begrudgingly - the players all joined. I think the problem is, the salary cap would have to be put in by UEFA, but based on the highest paying league. (so it would only affect us, and maybe spain - but no other league could just come along and say "here you go, have your money here"). And also, you wouldn't want players to blaim the premiership for introducing the cap. Oh, and the cap would ALSO have to be on after-tax income, or it would leave the english league dead and buried with the new 50% tax...
pompeycarpet
Something must be done by FIFA, they surely must have the power to put into to place some form of capping. It can't be right that teams like Citeh and Real can spend the obscene amounts on wages and transfer fees. I will take for one of theses big clubs to go bankrupt before people take note. Look at Leeds who spent beyond their means and nearly went out of business. Massive team yet still not in the PL. The real danger looms ahead when the likes of Abramovich pull out as they surley will do one day and then Cheatsky will crash and with others following and our PL would start to crumble.
blarmy
Very thought provoking article. We only have to look at our own recent dalliance with highly paid players for a very short term gain. We all enjoyed the high, it was incredible, but we also know that if Dr SAF hadn't come in we'd be facing a serious debt crisis of our own. And we're relative minnows in this "Money Game" And that's what it's about at the end of the day "Money", because having lot's of it gives you power. In the real world banks are more powerful than governments and it's the same in the world of football. The elite clubs use enormous lobbying power to get their own way, and the likes of FIFA end up doing their bidding while paying lip service to fairness and competition. It will take a body/leadership of enormous courage to stand in front of the juggernaut, and at this moment in time I can't see where that leadership/courage is going to come from.
cornypomp
A great article Fear, thanks for putting it onto our site to discuss. A salary cap is what is needed, but as others have said I can't see it happening.
It seems, at the moment anyway that the Spanish league is where all the players want to be heading again. Maybe the time of the Premiership being the best league in Europe is passing, and the German or Italian leagues can rise back up again.
sneakay
Great article mate. Well a Super league may well happen but I feel it will annialate those clubs from the rest of their repsective countries. If Man Utd want to play in a Super league, then they can fck off out of the prem. One or the other.
storagematt
 

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