When Chelsea wanted to join the Football League sometime around 1905 it didn’t do so on the basis of the football it had played so far – because there was none. No club, no team, no stats – just a ground on which the terraces were unsafe and crumbling even before the club opened. Chelsea were given a place in the second division just because of the ground – pushing aside those applicants from the then powerful Southern League who had good footballing reasons to be allowed in.
Having got used to such imperious behaviour, the club continued along similar lines, bypassing normal behaviour at each stage, until Abramovich came along and donated over £500 million in interest free loans so the club could buy success they had failed to achieve on the pitch.
Meanwhile down the M6 we have Sheik Yermoney at Manchester Money. To English supporters, bidding 100 million pounds or whatever it is for one player to play in a team near the relegation end of the EPL, is just everyday madness for our football. We’ve seen Abramovich – and before him we saw Ken Bates. And we watch Tottenham do it each year. That is English football.
But in Italy it is different. They have crazy times too – but there the crazies these days tend to be involved in match fixing. (We have that too of course, but we don’t like to talk about it).
Anyway, the papers in Italy are now totally bemused, if not downright alarmed at the Kaka bid, not because they don’t want their chap to join another club, but because of the insanity of the fee – which is called in La Gazzetta dello Sport, “an indecent proposal”. “Madness” is another word oft used today.
There was hope that the Prime Minister and owner of AC Milan Silvio Berlusconi, might stop the deal, but it is looking more likely that he’ll take the crazy money and stuff it in the vaults.
El Presidente’s brother (sorry I changed languages there but you know what I mean) Paolo Berlusconi runs the Milan paper Il Giornale and he said little about Kaka and instead stoked up speculation over the future of Cristiano Ronaldo. (Blimey, he must have been trained as a journalist in England. Incidentally I have heard that an ex KGB officer has put in a bid to buy the Evening Standard).
Back to football, and how does this help?
You don’t get people like Mr Absent Abramovich or Sheik Yermoney (or come to that Americans who use the clubs own money to buy the clubs) owning many football clubs outside England, so the lunatic activities of these owners still come as a surprise elsewhere.
Of course you still get big buyers in Italy (as when AC Milan took Flamini from Arsenal, and have since only started him in half the matches the first team has played – apparently he is not amused), but the sheer excessivenes of KGB Fulham and Mancheter Money is a surprise to them.
Which means that one can just about appreciate a rumbling in Europe – a rumbling that maybe it is not acceptable to have billionaires come in and take over clubs like this. It’s ok if they stick to England, but now they are starting to mess with Italian football, and that is a different matter.
The solution of course is that the club’s resources should be restricted to finances from football – so you spend what you get on match day and from marketing, not what that awfully nice man from an Icelandic bank turns up and donates.
That is what clubs in Italy and elsewhere might now demand of UEFA as a result of the Kaka bid, especially if they think that their own mega clubs are going to be under threat from the likes of Manchester Money.
Clearly the current situation cannot and indeed will not last. It is just a question of whether the clubs themselves implode, or UEFA acts.
Incidentally – final point while thinking about money – I have been picking up stories that Rangers from Glasgow are totally bust. I don’t really stay up with football from the frozen wastelands north of Watford, but if you can point me to an article about this, I’d be grateful.
- What the media doesn’t tell you, part 6. There’s a financial problem…
- The Big 7 clubs, how much they spent and what good is it doing?
- What the media won’t tell you about football 5: Fifa lends money to Switzerland
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal