Friday, 29 November 2013

Money and football

Money has increasingly been ruining football for forty years now. My Old Man was a died-in-the-wool Chelsea fan with a hatred of Tottenham Hotspur. It was because of what he saw as "cheque-book football." He despised them for always throwing money around buying players Chelsea couldn't or wouldn't pay for.

You didn't hear much of that in the 70's and even in the 80's a club like Charlton Athletic could afford to attract a former European Footballer of the Year. So what if we didn't actually give Barcelona any money for him, the fact is we could afford to buy him at the time (£300k) and pay his wages (even if we sometimes had to pay him in cash to get him on the coach to a game).

Things began to change in the 90's and the amount of money in football has multiplied astronomically. Local-boys-done-good can no longer cut it in the ownership stakes. At the top-end of the English game, not even leading UK businesses can compete. It's all Oligarchs, Multi-Nationals, Arabs and overseas Family dynasties. The telly money swilling around the game has also sky-rocketed as global demand to watch our best football has exploded.

And what's more, all this money has changed our game. No longer the traditional stadiums our ancestors were happy to stand in to watch games. Queues for inadequate urination facilities and snacks that included peanuts no-one else would buy (Percy Daltons) and horse chestnuts which smelt pleasant but tasted like a form of poison and were something readily available in the park free-of-charge and which you wouldn't consider eating under normal circumstances.

No, it's gone all seater and we can pee against a ceramic wall instead of a brick one and not be rained on as we do it. We can wash our hands in warm water and we join a small queue for hot food and cold lager. The players of yester-year are now the spectators of today. They are no longer good enough and have to watch the technical cream of the rest of the world don our ad-laden wicking fabrics which now sport our club colours. Indeed, some clubs are even abandoning their traditional colours in favour of those more closely identified with the nationality of their new owners. 

And they call this progress? I am glad that in some small corner of Britain's capital city, some things haven't changed that much. No sir. The Addicks remain  as unfashionable as ever. We may have flirted with the English elite and had a takeover brush with billionaire Arabs but if you ask me, we are better off with dodgy businessmen robbing Peter to pay Paul and playing Russian Roulette with the Tax Man. 

The Old Man would be turning in his grave, but Joshua Harris, please be real!


Anonymous said...

Come on Josh , you know it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

If you were eating 'horse chestnuts' you would have been poisoned. They were 'chestnuts' and are to this day one of my favourite treats. Though they can give rise to flatulence :(


Tony said...

This says it all for me. As for the final paragraph, well whatever will be, will be. Give me a decrepit old stand over a modern oval standardised seating arena any day.
Modern stadia just doesn't float my boat any more.
The odd game, maybe.
Sign up for a season, no thanks.
The valley holds great memories for me, as do away games. However, the excitement and atmosphere is now lacking.
People now want cleanliness and hygiene, which in turn creates a sterile atmosphere.
Bring back open air toilets with barbed wire on the top to prevent people bunking in...
If people wanted a sanitised environment, put em in the west stand. Failing that, get on with it and enjoy.
Bloody hell, I'm getting old. Aaaaaaaaaagghh

Dave said...


I think the current excitement levels re the billionaire takeover amongst what appears to be the majority expressing an opinion, probably has as much to do with the couple of years of uncertainty under Jiminez & Co. Like you, I don't want to contemplate leaving the Valley but if it's the only way to secure our future and possibly get back into the Premier League, then I would support it.

Good to hear from you.


Dave said...

Daggs - that will explain it then!