THE 1%……..Don McMahon
Many of us have recently heard of the 1% in society, representing the richest, most influential and powerful elites who, in their greedy benevolence, deign to provide us mere mortal commoners a marginalized living.
Since UA is definitely NOT a political forum but rather a democratic and highly specialized Football blog site, I will focus on the Football 1%, the elite, to whom everything is apparently mere means to their ends.
Who are these entities?
I use the word entities, because some of the actors in this Football pantomime are NOT people, but organizations. Here are a few names of the top 7 club owners in the EPL to remind you about who we are dealing with…
- Our own Stan Kroenke
- Our own Alistair Usmanov
- Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Man.city)
- John W. Henry (Liverpool FC)
- Roman Abramovich (Chelsea FC)
- Malcom Glazer (Manchester United)
- Joe Lewis (Tottenham Hotspurs FC)
- Robert Elstone (Everton FC)
Then we have these :
- FIFA—soon to be headless
- EUFA—Michel Platini
- The FA—Greg Dyke,chairman
- The EPL—Richard Scudmore, CEO
- The British Sports minister—Tracey Crouch
- PGMOL – Mike Riley
What is at issue here?
My basic premise is that a great deal of power in a few hands is always a dangerous proposition no matter in which field it occurs or in whose hands this power rests, but in Football it has lead to a deteriorating situation and one that menaces the very integrity and health of the Beautiful Game.
Take for an example the long established behaviour of some “BIG” clubs like Madrid, Bayern, Barcelona, and closer to home Chelsea and City. I am NOT in any way impugning their motives but it is well known and a proven fact that these club have in the past, and even now, stockpiled top players, who they had little or no intention of actually playing regularly. They did this in order to prevent their potential competitors from strengthening their sides and threatening the aforementioned clubs’ prospects for ongoing success.
How has the presence of the 1% permitted Football to suffer?
These entities pump vast sums of money (in some cases billions of pounds/Euros) into their respective clubs thus ensuring that the administration can usually buy whoever they want. Once bought, the targeted player may or may not actually get a place in the first team but because they were enticed away from their original team, that team suffers the loss of a potentially top-class player, even IF they make a wad of cash in the process.
In the case of the Arsenal, we were fortunate to have a manager who could make do with what he was given but not all clubs have been so fortunate.
This vision of the rich and powerful manipulating the Game and using clubs for their own purposes (money-laundering, gambling, monopoly-like megalomania in some cases) or legitimate investments in the case of Kroenke, Henry, the Glazers, Lewis, etc has still had a negative effect on Football.
What model do I propose?
It is unrealistic and rather Utopian to hope that majority ownership of a club could devolve to the supporters. Yet we are the lifeblood of these clubs and without us, they would rapidly disappear, as would the Beautiful Game itself.
That said, we CANNOT bide our time while the 1% muck about with the Game. We have only to look at the mess FIFA is in right now and the absolute lack of accountability, respect for their stakeholders (people like us) and arrogant ignorance to see what can and does happen when the 1% control it all.
Therefore, as eccentric as it may seem, I am calling for a revolution in thinking and a new paradigm for Football which would involve the following as a start:
- A draft system be created and administered by Fifa in which the best young players would be drafted by the weakest clubs in their division. (Already very successfully used by the NHL and NFL)
- A salary cap, enforced by Fifa, which would ensure that insane amounts from a clubs budget don’t go to just one or two individuals. (Already used by the NHL and NFL and NBA)
- A requirement that a majority owner provides up to 25% of shares in the Club to its supporters.
- A requirement that every professional Club provide a minimum of FA certified coaches and 2 referee candidates to their local amateur league(s).
- 5% of the annual net profits for EPL teams be set aside for the development of local football clubs, coaches and referees, including infrastructure and development needs.
- The FA be disbanded and replaced by a democratically elected Football Development corporation whose principal objective would be to promote and develop the Game in England. Candidates would be nominated from a pool of currentprofessional Football managers, retired players and former administrators, as well as a few from among the supporters of professional Clubs and administrators of amateur football leagues.
- An independent “ dubious” calls review Board be created and administered by the sports minister with the express objective of reviewing suspicious or poor Football officiating at all levels. Its aegis would extend to amateur and professional levels and would NOT be punitive (unless illegal activity was detected) but rather remedial and educational.
- Finally that the FFP implementation and authority be invested directly in the EU and that their legal departments be mandated with the task of overseeing all transactions in professional, both at the youth and adult level.
I may be crazy and wearing rose-coloured glasses but surely it is time we began to take back our Game from the greed merchants and corrupt sycophants that currently dominate our beloved Football?
Two of today’s anniversaries
- 16 July 1962 Joe Baker was Billy Wright’s first marquee signing and Arsenal’s record signing at the time. He had been Hibernian’s top scorer for four years getting 102 goals in just 117 league games before moving to Torino.
- 16 July 1963: Bob Wilson signed as an amateur, having been playing reserve games for Wolverhampton while studying at Loughborough College (now Loughborough University) to train as a teacher.