Is this the death of football?

by Martin

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

What does the future hold?

These are interesting times to be a football fan. Recent events at Manchester City, Newcastle and West Ham have led many people to look at the game in a new light. Talk is flying around on the chat rooms of a ‘fans rebellion’, the ‘death of football’ and so on. Is it real or is it bollocks? Sadly, and it breaks my heart it is the latter.

Mike Ashley, the fat beer swilling owner of Newcastle United, and his loathsome sidekick Dennis have just forced a popular manager, ‘the’ popular manager, out of St James’ Park. And he was right to go. No manager should be told who he can sign, that is a fundamental part of the job. The same has happened in East London, where a rich owner has done exactly the same and another good man has been forced to walk. The difference here is, despite a 5th place in the Premier League, the fans don’t really care as Curbs was uninspiring. So lets focus on Newcastle.

‘Boycott the Hull game’ is the shout, and I hope they do it. Though what impact that will have on Ashley, when virtually every ticket is already paid for is questionable. It is however a statement, and one that will resonate worldwide. But think it through. The plan works, more boycotts occur and Ashley sells. Who will he sell to? Well apparently more Abu Dhabi royals are showing an interest, or if not them I am sure there are more Russian billionaires interested. Frying pans and fires I am afraid.

After years of struggle, Manchester City are now a very rich club, and predicting great things. They are also contributing to the death of the game we love. But do the fans care? I think not. Gallagher senior spouts his usual drivel, gloating about oil money and excitement reigns. And there is the problem. Premiership football fans in general don’t care how many ways they are being screwed by the billionaires, as long as they are winning. Which is why the rollercoaster will continue, sponsored by Murdoch and destroying the sport.

What the Geordies should do is stop going to St James’ Park and start up a new club in the city, throw all their support behind that, and put their season ticket money in to it. Watch the game for the love of the game, build it up as part of the community and celebrate. But they won’t. They will force Ashley and his thug out, rightly, then welcome in a rich owner and worship the ground he walks on as he brings in Shearer and spends £100 million on Thierry Henry, gloating about how they are now going to win the league. They will pay the inflated turnstile prices, too much for shirts, burgers, watered down beer, online club TV, Sky Sports, credit cards, mobile phones and so on and continue to contribute to football’s death.

Its what happened in the red half of Manchester – mass protests had no effect, so all but a small handful renewed their season tickets and took their seats back in the stands, knowing that if they didn’t there were millions more who would.

All honesty, for me, the sooner the European breakaway League happens, and the big 4, 5 or whatever it is bugger off to play in it the better. Wouldn’t you all deep down rather see a football league on the BBC, with local players playing for local teams, that is genuinely competitive and run by chairfolk who love the clubs? I would.

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  • Parks numero uno

    I heartily agree, the money injection was great at first but now it has escalated to such a point that money is everything.

    Football will implode sooner or later.

  • Stevie

    I think we need to stop for a moment and stop panicking, yes the Arabs have 500 billion, yes they are talking the talk, but lets take a look at what happened to Real Madrid a few years back, armed with the biggest cheque book in the world they signed the worlds best players and won nothing for 5 years, the same could easily happen to City, money doesn’t buy success. Chelsea are still to win the Champions League and struggle to fill out their 40,000 stadium.

    Short term success is guaranteed but losing friends and gaining enemies is also guaranteed. Do you really want your team to be the most hated in the world?

    It’s only a matter of time before one of the clubs with a billionaire owner goes bust, I as an Arsenal fan I will be laughing when this day arrives.

  • Martin Tibbetts

    Fair point but I think you missed one of mine. I don’t think City will go on and win things, not immediately anyway. However, and here is the key, the fans think they now have a chance to, and that is more important to them than the fact that everything they hold dear is being ripped apart before their eyes….and the sad fact is that this will happen at every club that becomes a plaything to some playboy….

  • Darren

    City will become the new Newcastle, a semi big club with loyal fans but won’t win anything! Managers will come, managers will go.

    The Arabs will get bored and will end up buying Lego World, Lego World will then form Lego World FC and sponsor the Premier League, Lego World FC will then be allowed to enter the Premier League as they will be throwing 2 billion quid at the league each day. To spice things up, Lego World FC will play all their home games in Dubai at the under water Adus Adabi football ground.

    This may sound crazy, but this is the future of the Premier League! MMW!!!!!

  • Parks numero uno

    LEGO World FC???? An interesting concept, sign me up for a season ticket.

    This is the problem with having a billionaire owner,if they get bored (and im sure one will sooner or later) and walk away,would there be anyone willing to take over?

    Could someone come in and pay the wages at Chelsea each week? Im not sure.

    Look at what happened to Leeds, spent more than they were earning and had to sell all their best players and eventually went down.

  • Matt Quinn

    Disagree on two points…. firstly Keegan had to go. Yes, Wise is a little scrote but he made some good, interesting signings for Newcastle. Apparently Keegan had handed him a wishlist with Lampard, Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry on it…. not exactly talent-spotting or realistic.
    Secondly, football is a global business- so this idealised little world of local players playing for local clubs is quaint but not one that i would buy into. It does exist- mainly in the lower leagues and non-league…. but i wouldnt go watch that as the standard is rubbish. Might as well go to the local parks and watch a sunday league game.
    Ive supported Villa all my life- starting off in the lower leagues- but by far the best feeling is seeing them compete with the likes of Ronaldo and United. (compete may not be the best word in this example)- i dont want the best players taken away to some European league- only watching them on TV.
    The Man City takeover may be a good thing, it may be a bad thing… we dont know. It may attract more and more top class players to the premier-league- it may make the premier league a two horse race- but it will be interesting at least to see how it pans out.

    If people really feel that strongly about all this then start supporting a non-league team.

  • Darren

    So are you telling me Matt you’d rather see mercenaries like Robiniho in the Premier League than hard working raw English talent like Marlon Harwood and Marlon King?

    Bring on Lego FC, let them sign all the mercenaries then we can wait for them to spontaneously combust like Spinal Tap drummers!

    I’m supporting Wycliffe FC from now on, they have an excellent center forward who has been in the game for years. Rumor has it they are in the process of being bought out by Microsoft.

    Here’s my predictions By Year 2012

    Saudi Arabian Oil Company Premier League Champions

    Microsoft Wycliffe FC

    Runners up

    Lego FC sponsored by MacDonald’s

    World League Super cup sponsored by Google

    Google Liverpool FC

    Apple Everton FC

  • Jamie Farrier

    I really would have to say it cannot be the death of football. If we’re talking a global-marketed industry, then the point of the Premier League will have been fulfilled – the point of creating such a league was so that the FA could give up the marketing and profit side of things and concentrate on running the football. While many debate whether or not it can do that, it’s still the one safeguard left to protect the game from ruin.

    Like many have said, City cannot expect much success. The takeover just isn’t the same as the Chelsea revolution, and many don’t have the same trust in an enterprise where it really doesn’t matter whether they win trophies or not, as long as shirt sales are going well. At least Abramovich has some sense of the importance of making the team work.

    I think if things look like getting carried away, the Premier League will step in at some point. They were given a roasting for daring to suggest a 39th game – if they’re going to learn anything from that, it’ll be that the game will only bend and flex so far in favour of the rich and elite. Fans still have the deciding vote, and long may it remain so.

  • Martin Tibbetts

    I’m not sure there is anyone involved in the game at the top level more motivated by generating huge income from the fans than the Premier league, so if you are pinning your hops on them you may be disappointed. They are one of the roots of the problem. The game in the UK should be moderated by one League body, all the problems started when they split away. It has just worsened daily since that day. And the comment that if we aren’t happy we should support lower league clubs is obvious but avoiding the issue. The ripples from what goes on at the top go all the way down to non league, with clubs at that and football league level fighting increasing battles to survive as the sponges at the top take away fans, force the minnows to invest more and more and destroy what we love…

  • The Sloper

    Football is dying, particularly the top-flight in England. What some still don’t realise is the money Man City now have available is more than any other team has ever had, probably more than any other sporting club in the world has ever had (well, there’s no probably about it). Man City’s owners cannot physically spend money as such – as no matter how much they spend, they will be earning more back in interest. This isn’t even Roman Abramovic rich, this is as close to “infinite” cash as there can be. Of course, I’m biased, my blog is called Death of Football, but it’s going on. And it’s not just money, but that plays a huge part in it.

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