by Tony Attwood
What to do with football?
The youngsters playing in under 14s leagues and the like are still struggling to find decent pitches to play on, largely due to FA mismanagement of Sport England funds.
The championship clubs are either keeping their books balanced and struggling to keep up, or are spending far more on wages than they actually earn in a desperate attempt to get a bit of the Premier League cake – and then eat it.
The top premier league clubs are spending more than ever in a desperate attempt to stay in the top six, get a place in Europe, get more money, and spend it on more players in a desperate attempt to…
The national teams are taking young players around Europe, finding the kiddies don’t know how to obey the rules and then punishing then – sometimes seeming to be punishing the wrong people, as it seems in the case of Tierney. As the Independent put it, “Tierney returned a negative result, as did every other member of Scotland’s squad and staff, but the defender was deemed to have come into contact with Armstrong, the Southampton midfielder and all have been told to isolate for two weeks.” And this at a time when 75% of people who test positive for the virus have and get no symptoms, following the last mutation of the virus.
The Premier League wants to charge us £14.95 to watch ghost games not already on TV. And then they are actually surprised that people like me who have, out of loyalty to our clubs not asked for a refund of last year’s unused season ticket money are now getting a bit upset.
Gunnersaurus has been made redundant and there is a massive outcry. Arsenal’s recruiting and scouting department lost much of his staff – another outcry.
Of course we are all caught out by this. There was a widespread excitement among Arsenal supporters when once again we spend an absolute fortune on players in the window just closed – just as we did at the start of the second (aborted) season of Emery’s reign. Remember that one…
- Gabriel Martinelli: Forward — from Ituano: 6m
- Dani Ceballos:Midfielder — from Real Mad: loan
- William Saliba: Defender — from Saint-Etienne: £27m
- Nicolas Pépé: Winger — from Lille: £72m
- Kieran Tierney: Defender — from Celtic: £25m
- David Luiz: Defender — from Chelsea: £8m
And here’s the problem. We’ll accept pretty much anything as long as it involves taking us up the league. Who would care about Gunnersaurus or all those guys made redundant if we won the league this year? Or even if we came fourth?
Of course it is not just in England there is a mess. In France The Spanish audiovisual group, led by Jaume Roures, wants to renegotiate the broadcasting rights for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, acquired in May 2018 from the long term football broadcaster Canal +. This is at the time when the French League itself has asked the government to compensate his losses due to the Covid.
Meanwhile the Premier League want to find a way to stop German teams signing up their best youngsters and playing them in the German League – and then either keeping them or flogging them back to Premier League clubs.
And want another? The Chinese are refusing to pay up on the biggest overseas TV deal for the Premier League of all time. They’ve cut the PL games from their main channels, and simply said the deal is off.
When looked at like this, the only comment left is, “what ever happened to planning?”
Even though pandemics happen quite regularly, no one seems to have had much planning for this pandemic at all. Even though it is patently obvious that you cannot go on and on living just on the edge, without expecting the concrete to crumble, that is what everyone in football has been doing.
Still we can be thankful for small mercies… for even though, with the current trajectory, we will soon be in a situation in the UK where a higher percentage of drivers are injured in motor accidents than people become ill with the virus, the government isn’t yet shutting down all the roads.
Looked at this way, football is run by a bunch of charlatans (and as it increasingly seems from what is being said in the Swiss courts by a bunch of crooks). Mind you, I rather think the same of politics, so perhaps I should not be surprised.
Of course it is all going wrong. It’s all been going wrong for years. We would need an enormous re-set in football for it to stop going wrong, and for someone to realise: it can’t go on like this forever.
My greatest fear in football is not that there won’t be an almighty collapse of the whole financial structure of the game, it is that when we finally come out of it, we’ll rebuild a new football edifice which looks remarkably like the one that we’ve let the administrators and owners just destroy.
And maybe that’s the clue. Football actually just reflects politics.
- Swiss prosecutors demand prison for beIN & PSG president and ex-Fifa No 2.
- IFAB vs PGMO vs Fifa… who is the most secret (and damaging) of them all?
- Our best start in seven years; our most confusing Europa League ever
- Did anyone predict this transfer window right?
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate