Something that I’m often discussing with people down the pub or sat on a bus where I’ve got them pinned against the window, is money in football. Has money ruined football? With the new TV deal sending most Premier Leagues clubs accounts into the same bracket as a small country the question is now more pertinent than ever.
I run a left wing musical protest group so I’m not exactly enamoured with the upper reaches of society and wealth. But do I think the millions paid to footballers is wrong? No. Here’s why.
Although football is a sport it is probably more of an entertainment industry now than anything else. What other sport has programmes devoted to not only talking about the sport but talking about the people talking about the sport? None. Football programmes run throughout the quietest summers (ones without international football tournaments) and are fuelled on speculation, guesswork and rumour. Essentially people pay good money (in forms of TV licenses and subscriptions) to listen to people make exactly the same points you’ve just made in the pub two hours ago. The level of interest in the game is huge.
To put it in perspective the only people who give a damn about an amateur boxer are their friends and family. Thousands of people travelled down from East Yorkshire to London to support non league amateur football team North Ferriby United.
Like people who don’t vote, how can you complain against the action of something you don’t like if you do nothing to stop it? Don’t like the fact that Sky is paying the Premier League billions and that’s putting your price up? Cancel your sports package or even better get rid of your TV and have a fucking conversation. Think season tickets are too expensive? Don’t go. Think the beer is pricy? Don’t buy a beer. It’s dead simple.
To complain about money once you have paid it is absurd. It’s not like Richard Scudamore comes round to your house and threatens you into doing it. Even if he did he doesn’t seem like that much of a hard case I reckon you could take him.
I understand that people say “it’s what we’ve always done” and “it’s supporting your local team”, I get all of that. But you’re telling me if your “local shop” started charging a fiver for a pint of milk you wouldn’t shop somewhere else? Of course you would. Then the business would either have to reduce its prices or adjust its model to accept that it’s going to have fewer customers.
If you keep buying the burger you’re complaining about why would they change the taste? You keep buying it. You keep buying the shitty burger that tastes like it came from a cow who had grown up eating soiled nappies. You keep buying it, you keep complaining about it, but you keep buying it. Why would the burger seller change what they’ve got?
I don’t think footballers are overpaid. A footballer trains five times a week and then plays a high intensity sporting contest (possibly twice a week). He takes home a £100K a week. Is it worth it? Well if Cheryl Cole (I’m not writing her current name, woman’s been called more things than a international benefit cheat) can get a £500K rise for judging a karaoke contest, a dog can take home £250K for winning a talent show then be offered movie roles and Lewis Hamilton can trouser £100million for driving a car. Then yeah I think footballers are probably value for money.
The argument that “Doctors and nurses don’t earn what footballers earn” doesn’t hold any truck with me. People claim that soldiers, Doctors, nurses, teachers just about any profession should be earning more because their job is more vital. Let’s look at that for a second. Surely, by that logic, the man who empties the bins at the hospital should be earning what the Doctors and nurses are. Why? Well without him emptying the bins, the hospital would become unclean, unsanitary, infection would spread, people would die and the Doctors and nurses wouldn’t be able to do their job properly.
Then what about the guy who drives all the rubbish to the big tip, surely he should be paid what the bin men are being paid? Why? If he didn’t take the rubbish away then it would just build up and the patients wouldn’t be able to get into the hospital, then the Doctors and nurses wouldn’t be able to do their job. You see what I mean?
I don’t like the fact my team charges so much to watch them. It killed me the year I had stop going. But I didn’t agree with the way things were being priced. Me doing that made no difference to the football club and they didn’t think “oh shit we better make the prices reasonable”, however if 40K of us did the same thing they would change their tune, fairly fucking quickly I’d expect.
Incidentally I watch live football on a Sunday morning at a local park and I listen to my team on the radio. And I don’t pay a penny for either.