Football is just something that I grew up with, something that has always been a constant in my life, something that has brought me hours of entertainment and enjoyment, and something that has taken me to the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, all in the space of a minute.
To me, football is summed up by emotions and that is why I feel the need to highlight some of the issues that are majorly wrong in ‘The Beautiful Game’.
The most obvious of all but it defiles so many levels of the game, from the multibillionaire oil rich owners to the diamanté encrusted car driving sulks is the levels of money around the sport nowadays. Football always was and always should be ‘the working mans game’ but it is drawing further and further away from that as each season passes. On the foreign ownership front, I just can’t fathom how the governing bodies allow such people to purchase, run and own football clubs. Yes, football is primarily a business but very few of these people actually give a damn about the football side; it’s all about buying the club at cost and selling at profit a few years down the line. In any other business, to process such huge takeovers of companies, you would really need certain qualifications in business administration and subjects of that ilk but the majority of these owners either live off their family wealth or strike it lucky.
When large amounts of money are changing hands, FIFA and UEFA, without fail, turn a blind eye to the credentials of said owners. Too many clubs I have seen in the past 10 years get new money from some far flung corner of the planet, purchase players that they cannot afford and eventually end up crippled and in financial ruin. Portsmouth, I’m looking at you. But it’s not just Pompey as in reality, there are too many clubs to mention.
Wages get a massive spotlight these days and with good reason. Growing up with football in the 90s, I was gobsmacked to learn that somebody was earning 20k a week. In todays game I would say most top players from the top clubs in the top leagues earn that and upwards per DAY. Top players generally earn upwards of 200k a week as basic! I know the economies of now and the 90s are polarizing but doesn’t it just make you question? Who, in any walk of life, is worth that kind of money?
What really irks me is ticket prices and I know how clichéd that can come across as. Everything is expensive these days but football really doesn’t need to be. A ticket to my beloved Southampton this season will cost me £30-40, dependant on level of opposition and season tickets are pure extortion. Compare that to clubs in Germany’s Bundesliga and it will show you how clubs can be run correctly. The Bundesliga is probably the 3rd best league in Europe in terms of fanbase, money and level of football but from what I have read, their owners actually respect the fans! Most boardrooms have a liaison with members of supporters groups and guess what? Bundesliga season tickets are far cheaper than even some Championship clubs back in the UK. I have just purchased a ticket to watch Berlin’s local team in a few weeks, a team that is doing fairly well in 8th and it cost me no more that €20! Incredible, it shows you fair pricing can be done and I guess there’s a little bit of hope for the future.
This really is a ramble with no real direction but these are things I needed to get off my chest. I guess the realisation of disillusionment at something that you love is hard to come to terms with but there comes a time when you have to look at it and see it as it is.
I sincerely hope there is some sort of sea of change in football’s future because the way it is going, there won’t be a fanbase to pander to the bright lights of modern day football with its whorish facade, billion dollar TV deals and £50+ replica shirts made by some of the poorest people on the planet. The juxtaposition is really sick.
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