It’s all about the money

by Martin

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

The financial elite

Watching the aftermath of the dire game at Old Trafford on Saturday night, suddenly one man, and an unlikely one for such wisdom, put into a nutshell exactly what is wrong with the current state of football. That man was Edward Sheringham, and what he said was ‘footballers want to win things, they don’t want to just stay up’ (pardon the fact that this is not an exact quote!). And he was dead right. Fans also want to win things, I would argue more than they want to stay up. And in a league where only a small handful of teams have any genuine chance of taking the title that leaves the domestic cups for the other 15 Premier League clubs, and their lower league counterparts, to chase after.

Which it is why it is so insulting to players and fans alike when managers field weak sides in the cup and then say the league is more important. Redknapp’s attitude prior to the game on Saturday, suggesting that he would throw up a ‘mish mash’ of players because the cup is a pain was appalling, and whilst he relented and played a strong team, those players clearly felt no obligation to try and win the game, just sail through without injury. United weren’t much better in their attitude leaving 70 odd thousand ticket holders and millions in their front rooms to sit through a waste of time. Ask Bolton fans when Allardyce was sending out reserves in the cups if they would rather finish 17th or win a cup. Most would take the day in the sun every time. People may cream over the Arsenal youth team Wenger sends out in the League cup every year, but deep down wouldn’t you rather have trophies in the cabinet than another cobweb there?

The fact is people remember cup winners – Southampton, Coventry, Sunderland, West Ham and last year Portsmouth to name but a few. No-one remembers the teams that finished bottom half but didn’t compete. And the fans all love a trip to Wembley, its a once in a lifetime experience fopr many of them when it happens, and faced with the choice a lot would take a season down a division to get there. My team Leicester went to 3 league cup finals in 4 seasons. These are the games I remember with the most pride, yet a lot of managers would rob their fans of this. And don’t talk to me about relegation. I was gutted when we went down, but this season it is a joy to support the club, and the punters are coming through the gates to prove it. Yes we have a rich owner, but relegation is not the end of it all….

We know the problem, its money. Many clubs can’t afford to be relegated, such is the debt they are in. And that is so wrong. When financial concerns take over from the winning of things, football ceases to be a sport and becomes a business. Sport should be played on a level playing field. Yes some stadia are bigger than others, and some clubs richer, but it is the role of television to evenly distribute their wealth. The Premiership as it once was called was a bad thing from the start because it created a financial elite. I opposed its creation then and I oppose its existence now, though the horse has obviously bolted. Someone somehow needs to bring some sanity back to the game before we have nothing left.

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  • Darren

    you say it’s about money which we all know, but do u honestly think the likes of Ronaldo, Torres and co would be playing the Premier League if it wasnt?

  • dexylongshot

    bang on the money there son, you are so right,
    “No-one remembers the teams that finished bottom half but didn’t compete. And the fans all love a trip to Wembley”

    Not wrong, i too was fortunate enough to have been to a few days out with The Hammers:

    FA Cup 80,
    Milk Cup 81,
    2004 playoffs Cardiff,
    2005 playoffs Cardiff (I was in Asia at the time so missed out but my hair
    was dyed claret and blue and Bangkok had never heard screaming like it)
    FA Cup 06 Cardiff

    They are without doubt the best days of my life. I would be gutted if Zola fielded a weakened team next week against Middlesborough in the FA Cup in the hope (be it a big hope) we could sneak intor Europe. I don’t think I would think differently either if i was stone cold bottom but then again, i’m not the one holding the purse strings at Upton Park.

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