Roman Abramovich made his millions by effectively swindling Russians out of company shares and has since lavished some £700m on buying Chelsea the Premier League. The Blues were on the brink of bankruptcy before Abramovich came to the rescue and many Chelsea fans understandably love him for bringing them Champions League nights and footballing respect, but there are a lot who will privately admit that theirs have been hollow victories. Where is the pleasure in buying a title, rather than earning one.
The same thing is happening at Manchester City now, where Arabs have decided to spend obscene amounts of money on buying top drawer players at hiked-up prices, while back home their fellow countrymen struggle in poverty every day at the bottom of the feudal pyramid.
Of course you could argue that City fans couldn’t care less what’s happening in the United Arab Emirates when they’re more worried about is what’s happening down the road at United. Thanks to the sheikhs they might just end Manchester United’s domination and restore some pride to the blue half of Manchester. But, at what price? Let’s face it, it’s a sick state of affairs, when the destination of the Premier League is dependent on where the next minted megalomaniac decides to plough his squillions.
Redknapp said, “Football fans don’t care. The players don’t care. Saddam Hussein could own your football club and, if he’s putting millions into it, they’ll be quite happy. They’ll be singing, ‘there’s only one Saddam’.”
And he is right to a certain point. Many fans just want success, but, personally, I don’t agree. I support a team that hasn’t won anything for years but I would rather never win anything again on the back of blood money. Naturally, like anyone else, I want to see my team win, but not at any price.In fact, I would rather see my time lose 4-3 in a great game than win 1-0 in an awful one. Maybe I’m different to most people but ask yourself, why do football fans fall in love with the game in the first place? Is it because they like winning, which happens in any sport, or is it because when played the right way it’s the best sport in the world?
The Premier League needs to take action. Introduce a draft system like in NFL and cap summer spending so the team with the largest chequebook doesn’t win every time. It won’t work though because the Premier League is a successful ”product”; a marketing man’s wet dream. It would also have to win the approval of its clubs and turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.
So here we are, football has reached the point of no return, where the Premier League and its clubs are prepared to sell out to the highest bidder. And preferably one who owns a few oil fields.