...and without it, would the game be the same?

In today’s economic climate the world of football would seemingly be falling into a depression of spiralling cost. However, as the song, ‘Money, money, money’ by Abba hints at, the ‘Credit Crunch’ is very much a far off thought to the deluded city men that have no relationship to the business of football. The topical issue over the years has been the amount of money in football and to the ‘outside world’ away from football, the greed and unequalled quantities of money spent to lure the greatest football players on the planet to clubs with astronomical amounts of money to spend is a vital talking point across UK football terraces.

Since 2009, this issue of the money in football has been ignited by the absurd amount of money involved in one certain player, Ronaldo. This man, whose job is to kick a synthetic leather ball between a pair of sticks, moved on a reported £80 million and taken up wages of £250,000 week, that’s close to £13 million a year without extras to an English club. The mind-blowing numbers involved has highlighted issues with the number of players who actually deserve their money, the complete disregard of the millions around the world with no jobs, let alone money and the obscene idea of one man getting 150 times the amount of money a top NHS doctor will receive in a year.

In the aftermath of this monumental move many issues have been raised both for and against the money involved in football. To start with millions of people across the world would say, that not one football player deserves their money, all being overpaid pre-Madonna’s who do and give nothing for what they earn. The average premier league wage is pushing £25,000 a week, that’s £1.3 million a year, the money they earn, argue some, is obscene and should go into healthcare, education and out to not so well off people not some foolish entertainers. The recent economic downturn and recession has led to numerous accusations of disregard for the world state and how the business of football is blindly ignoring the problems of other people; however the FA say that football is a ‘business’ and money is power within the world today. Among many peers and colleagues of mine the issue of salaries of the mega rich among football has brought up problems with the merit of the money and if a human being who saves lives as a doctor is on nearly 10 times less than the average ‘entertainer’ on a football pitch, clearly something is wrong!

However among all these scathing attacks on the billionaire football club owners, the lack of heart seen in top level players proposed and the undeniable ‘need’ for a shining light in such ‘dark’ times. Their may be some reconciliation for the players and the money they own as well the way they live their lives. In most cases of huge money changing hands it takes place in only a few people in the football world and only isolated cases will exceed the far reaching quantities of money in football. However, money is football, football is a business and football has its own economy; extraordinary sums of money can pass hands, but it does have its benefits; even if at first these are not so clear.

Wihtin all the controversy and I being a great believer in the wonders of football it is slowly becoming obvious the amount of money in the English football Premier League has corrupted the game of football.  Everything now revolves around money.

Not a statement by Karl Marx but the prophetic words of those Swedish pop legends, Abba; and after the shenanigans of the English Premier League over the past few weeks, it’s as if Benny & Bjorn were giving a prophetic warning to all English football fans. First, there was money from Sky TV that helped promote the idea of the English Premiership and has helped to make it the richest football league in the world; and now the Premier League has become the playground for foreign owners, many of whom have no knowledge or interest in football as entertainment, but see the ownership of an English Premier League team as a prize medal or worse still, simply a way of making money.

As far as I’m concerned there are positives and negatives to consider, but what is for sure even over the past decade of my passion for the beautiful game,  football ain’t what it used to be!

Sky TV money has certainly helped attract some of the best players in the world.  Now teams can compete with other leagues by offering outrageous wages to the most wanted. This is nothing new. The Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga leagues have been attracting world class players from all over the world for decades by offering players more money. The negatives of the Premier League now relying on television companies for money includes the ridiculous nature of kick-off times that now start Saturday lunchtime and finish on Monday evening.  It may be a small thing, but it has taken the edge off a traditional Saturday afternoon when all teams would kick off at 3pm and lead to an exciting “Final Score” at the end of Granstand.

Bobby Charlton had this to say on Cristiano Ronaldo the Manchester United number 7 £80 million deal to Real Madrid:

Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton feels the fee for Cristiano Ronaldo’s proposed £80m move from Old Trafford to Real Madrid is “vulgar”. Charlton, who scored 249 goals in 758 appearances for United, and is also a director on the club’s board, admits the world-record offer shocked him.

“It’s a lot of money, its crazy really,” said Charlton.

“If you want to be in the race, you have to pay the price, it seems sometimes a little bit vulgar.”

Real have been courting Ronaldo for several seasons and, after several attempts to prize him away from Old Trafford, finally got their man. The two clubs agreed a deal to take Ronaldo to the Bernabeu, and the European player of the year passed his medical and agreed personal terms and became an absolute Globally Renowned superstar overnight.

The economic climate of football runs around sponsorship and TV rights sold across the world. The multi billion pound business that is football needs this “vulgar” attitude to allow progression in the competitive football world and sets the foundations for a world obsession. Yet the football world and others have to remember the professional nature of the football world and the business it brings. However, where there’s money there is also greed and the lack of loyalty shown by a majority of the pro players today have given them to the public eye where many argue the players play for money and not the genuine love of the game. Yet, the numerous hours and near full time job that is as a pro football player including Christmas day training gives some insight to the sacrifices made and the rewards given dually match.

Here is a small extract I have “borrowed” to successfully sum up the argument of money in football:

Football With Money: England Players are more committed to their clubs than country, so we don’t win major tournaments

Football Without Money: We went through the 70′s and 80′s hardly qualifying so that argument is deluded

Football With Money: “Ordinary” fans priced out of the games, half empty stadiums in the premiership

Football Without Money: there were loads of half empty stadiums  in the 60′s 70′s and (in particular) the 80′s

Football With Money:  it’s impossible for little clubs to rise up through the league, not true

Football without Money: the difference was that in the past little clubs like Swansea and Oxford were able to go from fourth division to 1st, but because they were little badly run clubs; they went back the other way just as quickly. The opportunity is still there for “small” well run clubs to move up through the divisions look at Hull, sound business plan, right level of investment, right manager at the right time hey presto premiership

Football With Money: players overpaid no they’re not they are entertainers displaying their talents and taking their slice of the action just in the same way as movie stars, and rock stars…difference is now the best in the world can move from club to club and showcase there talents all over the globe

Football Without Money: Fans paid at the turnstile, players were given just above the average working mans wage, and the chairman and directors pocketed the rest.( at least now clubs are more accountable for where the cash goes)

Football With Money: clubs cash in on poor fans with over the top merchandising

Football Without Money: you couldn’t get decent merchandise for love nor money…we like replica shirts, and the rest of it…we wouldn’t buy it if we didn’t!

Football With Money: over hyped over exposed

Football Without Money: you could only see half of your teams game on the TV, now you can get every game every week..

So even though much of money spent is blown out of proportion and people therefore have to remember its entertainment; like any actor or musician making vast sums more than many football payers. The misconception towards many football players is the selfish and lack of human decency about them and their easy lives as a waste of time. However a professional footballer is a profession and a job and without this love for the game most of the footballers of this planet would be any ‘other’ human except for football, no football means no fun and no fun, well…not worth thinking about eh…the divide in ability of kicking a ball. Fanatical? Yes. Obscene? Maybe. Pointless waste? No. Such extreme views of the common public could be seen as derogatory by many and in some cases fair, however it’s a job, its money and without money there is nothing to make the World go round….