Friday, 9 March 2012

Go, go poorer Rangers

Like it or loathe it, money makes the football world go round as fast as the wheels on the KONY 2012 bandwagon.

Don't worry about two things:
I won't be talking about Rangers too much in this blog
I won't make KONY jokes (KONY has the red squiggle under it, even Microsoft don't know who he is...he must be stopped)

I'm basically going to be talking about money in football, as the "have-notes" rule it over the "have-nots". If the title is misleading, I just wanted to showcase my brilliant pun skills some more.

A few weeks ago, me and a couple of mates were sat in the pub, having watched Manchester City play Arsenal, the original "cash vs. class" match. Of course, "cash" won the day, which is the problem. Later that night, a stranger - whose views on football we were so desperate to hear - came over and explained why fans should not blame those players who seek further financial reward. He offered us this awful comparison:
Would you quit your job for one which offered you twice as much?
Putting aside how terrible that is as justification for Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri being skid-marks, it doesn't cover the fact that players CAN leave their jobs for twice the money, mere pawns to the highest bidder.

It is to footballs great disservice that teams like Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool can pay Kings ransoms for average players, while Portsmouth, and particularly Rangers are in massive trouble. The latter have to find ways to cut £1million a month. When Scottish people have to cut their budgets by that much, you know there is trouble. As for Portsmouth, I haven't really researched them because I can't be arsed, but they're also in trouble.

So who's to blame?

Well, owner Craig Whyte is pretty near the head of the list. This guy is more out of place than Mitt Romney as the leader of 300 Spartans. If you don't get that joke, it's because you're not American. If you don't get that joke and you are American, you're the reason the Middle-East hates Americans. His irresponsible running of the club has left the clubs in dire straits, which is ironic, because the club could do with some Money for Nothing right now. Their administration has left the very real prospect of a boring Scottish Premier League with little competition for the league's top prize, imagine.

Capitalism? Yeah why not, maybe some kind of footballing communism could be implemented, where teams have a finite budget on which to compete. It can't be much worse than the current system, where clubs wait to be shit enough to be taken over by a crazy Arab billionaire, upon which they can do what they do every night, try to take over the world. But, like those in front of St Paul's, Rangers represent the 99%, while those at the top of the pile eat the juicy, juicy flesh on football's carcass. Unlike those in front of St Paul's, Rangers fans - being Scottish - are definitely not hippy vegans, but they do share the same ignorance of the UK tax system. And they'll also be kicked away under the gaze of those who can do so much, but do so little.

And it is this system which is allowing the rich to get richer and the poor to slip further into the greasy, sweaty arms of the tax man. Clubs at the top continue to accrue mountains of debt, free from reprisals due to their substantial assets (yes, I'm talking sense, bear with me). You give Manchester United's debt to Bristol Rovers and you see how far they get, unreliant as they are on hundreds of millions of Chinese, Beckham-shirt wearing fans. UEFA have tried to address the balance by introducing the "Financial fair Play" system, encouraging clubs to spend within their means. Yet somehow, you just know someone is going to make like a Greek, spend too much, wait to be rescued, and complain until they don't. Maybe a bit harsh, but I am secretly hoping Manchester City hold their own referendum where they vote for either financial suicide or execution.

As fans, we stay awake in those hot July nights, wondering who our clubs are going to buy with the money at their disposal. In the absence of actual football, we are forced to pretend to like other sports a little bit more. As for football, we have the transfer window - another abomination I will probably moan about at some point - to fret over. You know the drill, your club lines up the player they need, you start thinking how your team will benefit...and then City spend £30 million on him and you are left to buy Bebe, Charlie Adam or Yossi Benayoun. We are left with a football system with an oligopoly, where those trying to take a piece of the pie are shot down...or they go too far the other way and spend £20 million on Jordan Henderson, even City didn't outbid Liverpool on that one.

Until something is done, we continue with the situation which has blotted the current football landscape. Of course, some teams have benefited as they are forced to look within their own cities to uncover a gem. But for how long? How long until they get swept away into the vast, lucrative ocean of bench-warming? In a recession, many clubs are struggling to make ends meet while others remain unaffected. In a country where unemployment is reaching record highs, average players are making vast sums of money. Something has to be done. I am sorry to come over all serious, but if it has to be to the detriment of my team, then so be it. Let's make football fair again. The Financial Fair Play rules are a start, but teams will jump over potential shackling for their sins as easily as Madonna does for her crimes against music/humanity, provided the lawyers are smarmy enough, of the small print is fine enough.

So, to that crazy guy at the pub, I don't give a toss about that Masters degree you said you got, but didn't. Greed isn't good. While people (and clubs) are starving, those at the top take the delicious, filling biscuit.

Let's live within our means, let's not use a bail-out to rid parties of their massive debts, let's start over again and make football what it should be, a sport where us mortals are still shit but still aspire to be on the T.V, hoping to earn the millions are so called "heroes" are given.

In this week of mass bandwagons, I propose my own, let's make the beautiful game just so again.

Who's with me?

I actually have no plan to change things. I won't set up a 30 minute long video for your friends to fawn over and block your news feed with. I can't subtly indoctrinate you into believing you can change the world while those at the top still run the show. But I have an idea - and a blog available in 7 countries ;-) - and ideas are hard to kill.

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