Will football feel the credit crunch?

by Mystical Mike

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Let the games begin!

£20 million pounds bought James Dyson (cleaning mogul) a house with 51 bedrooms, 40 bathrooms and 10 huge reception rooms in 2003. In 2008 £20.3 million pounds bought Liverpool Robbie Keane. Now tell me the credit crunch is not a load of baloney??

How can an only slightly above average striker cost the same as a vacuum cleaner man’s earnings (albeit a rather trendy and revolutionary cleaner). The ridiculous amount that bought Keane and the ludicrous offers still being bandied about for everyone from Kaka to Ronaldo show all is well at the top of the game. Or does it?


Drop down to the Blue Square Premier and a fan of My Football Club has just helped raise £20,000 to nab the team their very own Robbie Keane, Cambridge City striker Michael Gash on a two-year contract. So what’s the comparison?

Spin back five years to when Dyson was bagging himself Dodington Park in Gloucestershire, Gravesend and Northfleet (as they were then) wouldn’t have dared sneeze £2000 in the direction of a striker, let alone £20,000. The lesson? In 2008, the My FC experiment has given the Kent boys plenty of financial clout, and managed correctly, enough back-bone to ride out any financial crisis.

What the Liverpool and Ebbsfleet deals have in common is no one exactly knows if it will be money well spent until the moment a ball is kicked in anger. Difference being, there’s a whole queue of people willing to wager Tottenham have done the deal of the century and Rafa has once again “overspent”, while the transfer of Gash may have raised eyebrows, few nationals will be quick to flout across their backpages “what a waste of Gash”, perhaps a nib if you’re lucky.

The fact is, until you hit the heady heights of say League Two, spending and budgets go mainly unnoticed, players come and go, the local newspaper may give it a mention, the forums could be a buzz with a 6 person thread on what he’s like, and if you’re lucky you might turn to the person next to you and comment “I wonder how we’re paying for his sweet left foot?” But elsewhere cheques and balances on the whole remain un-checked.

Here’s my big concern with Non League football, the profile is being raised, TV revenue is forthcoming, and players are willing to drop to the Blue Square Prem in search of part-time football on full-time cash. It’s not sustainable, and someone is going to get badly hurt. The credit crunch may be here, but for the likes of Liverpool it may just mean only one Robbie Keane this season. For the likes of us it could be the difference between existence and not. Time therefore to pull in those purse strings and perhaps avoid the £20,000 players in favour of the tried and tested bag of nuts and a pint for their services. Me thinks we’re too far gone for that.

Non League Show

Caroline Barker presents The BBC Non League Football Show
Every Monday from 9pm via www.bbc.co.uk/nonleague
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  • Peter29

    Spurs must be laughing big time, 20 big ones for Robbie, he is one of the most under rated players but as Kaz says, he was 29, so 20m is a wicked price. I rate der man but he only scored 15 league goals last season.

    Darren Bent has scored 7 in 4 days, he is der man, he is a super star player!

    The Ebbslfeet experiment is an accident waiting to happen, what happens if they do make it the League two, will the team still be picked via a website? It’s madness, total madness.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    Darren Bent is on fire as is Nicholas Bentner, which is very amusing as they are are bent. Pre-season games are no indication of how players will perform when it comes to the Premier League. Anyone who does fantasy league will study pre-season (sados) looking for that next gem to win you big bucks. Bradley Wright Philips was sensational a few seasons ago for Man City yet hardly featured at all. So my advice is don’t go putting the two Benders in your team as we all know pre-season is nothing more than glorified training games.

    As for Ebbsfleet, I was one of those mugs who paid £35 to receive 6 e-mails per week asking for more donations, absolute rip off and an accident waiting to happen.

  • Dan Church

    Im not entirely convinced by the Ebbslfleet/My Football Club experiment. Story goes that the fans vote on their favorite starting 11, and injuries and availability allowing, those with the most votes in each position starts the game then its down to Liam Daish to work out the tactics and substitutions during the game, but wheres the evidence ?

    Was the team that won the FA Trophy last season picked by the fans ? If so, doesnt the website get a kickback from the £50’000 i believe was won, do the people who paid their £35 see their dividends rise ?

    Ive yet to see any major shake up at the club (Ebbsfleet, Dartford and Welling are my 3 local non-league clubs who i keep an eye on via websites and local papers) and as far as i can see the team on a whole is doing pretty well, FA Trophy winners and finishing just outside the play offs 2 seasons in a row due to a disasterous second half to the season.. All they need in my view is a couple of decent aquisitions and there in with a good shouting chance of the play offs if not automatic promotion. Granted the financial aspect of league 2 and the Blue Square Premier arnt a lot different, slightly larger crowds and a bit of TV cash, and should promotion come then at least 2 more players with league experience will be needed to maintain it. Will the punters see and improvement in their investments then ??

    As for Robbie Keane, slightly overpriced but i believe with Torres and Kuyt as foils, he will get more goals than he did at Spurs, you can only convert the chances your given and i would much rather be on the end of a Torres knock down than a wild Chimbonda high and aimless from just inside his own half.

  • rob pullinger

    i love it!!!!!!!!

  • Jackie Emu peggy

    I remember Robbie Keane being on the bench a few years back…The boro fans were singing sign him on because we realised he was a player of great quality being wasted and under used by Jol. He finally had a fullish season last year and Spurs have reaped the reward in selling him for above market value. But even with a great season and the bags of ability and class, a 20 million player he aint. That is not good value for a player of that age and on mammoth wages…unless of course Liverpool can finally win it, it being the big one that has eluded them for 18 years…
    anyway not exactly on topic but that’s my view on keane. Having said that if we had him and he and Alves were up front for boro we’d be top 7!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    I actually thought the Spuds made a big mistake selling him, but in hindsight he has 1 possibly 2 good seasons left, once he loses his pace he will be finished.

    As for Alves, stick him in your fantasy league team, he could be a real gem!!

    ps: Does anyone want to buy my shares in Ebbsfleet?

  • dexy longshot

    or mine. 1 careful owner etc.

    I was all for it at the start but agree with Church, does Liam Daish really count up all the emails before each friday and run the training patterns on that Friday arvo based on the fans votes???

    As for Keane, 20 is good for a 28 year old but I do think he will add another dimension for the scousers.
    I can see the top 4 seperated by less than 7 points this year.

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