R.F.Wilson reports from London: Well, there you have it. As the transfer window closed on the English Premiership, we are told that this time round English football clubs have blown 640 million smackers on buying players. (Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur FC went for 85 million smackers to Spain’s Real.)
That’s more than ever before and football fans are expected, for some strange reason, to rejoice at the news. Even though there’s absolutely nothing to be happy about and the English Football Association, that cabal of overpaid, inept, politically correct freaks, is staying quiet about it. Even though it smacks of corruption, dodgy double-dealings, backhanders and basically brings the game into disrepute because it’s no longer about talent or strategy or tactics of good managers but about the battle of the wallets.
For the past several weeks football commentators have been reporting mostly about the transfer deals and the amounts paid for players. No one was really that interested in the games themselves or the overall lacklustre performances of top clubs in the opening matches. It was all about money and nothing else. And it looks pathetic, really, and the Premiership is actually digging its own grave. Because there will come a time when loads of people will start turning away from football, if only because it’s all stage-managed now, to accommodate the TV companies, but the quality is not going up in proportion with the money spent. In fact, more and more matches look bland and unremarkable. Because many of the players on huge contracts are too afraid to pick up an injury and lose out on the bonuses.
And just look at the sort of people who own the clubs and run them. Foreign billionaires with dubious fortunes and some very suspicious characters as well, with directors coming across as money grabbing weasels, who have no interest in football as such but only in the money side of things. Fans are ripped off with extortionate ticket prices and overpriced football kits, with the massage coming from the ‘beautiful game’ that it’s no longer about effort and determination and talent but all about snatching big stars from the football market and winning trophies the easy way.
Professional football and professional sport generally have lost their appeal. It’s all about business now or massaging the vanities of unremarkable people with obscene wealth, which wasn’t really earned but amassed, through all sorts of strange schemes and deals. These billionaires and multi-millionaires are not very bright or intelligent, otherwise they would not have been buying sports clubs. And they transfer the methods they used to make money into the running of their clubs, and that can only mean that sport generally will lose out and fans will be disappointed more often.