Friday, January 16, 2009

Man City's wealth, the death of Football

With City and Chelsea being bought by oil magnates, and other clubs being owned by somewhat-less rich billionaires and millionaires, football has become more than a sport, and has become wholely commercial. Kaka's transfer from Milan to City will hopefully be seen as a rarity, but with the possible transfer of CR7 to Real also being of that value, it may become commonplace to spend 100's of millions of dollars on players. 10years ago, a 20-30mil fee was seen as huge, and even now, people wonder whether Tevez and Berba are worth 30mil each. When Rio, Veron and Rooney were bought, 30mil was alot of money, but with inflationary pressures, tax rises and other costs involved with playing and running a club, the amount of money coming in has also increased, and deservedly or not, players and their agents have sought, and consequently been given, higher sums. These are being sourced from higher TV rights deals, and higher ticket prices, ( just imagine what the big-four would do if half their stadium were empty each week for a season. )

These creates commercial tiers inside the BPL, with City up there on their own at the top, Chelsea, United, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Tottenham, and Arsenal forming the rich clubs, of which Newcastle and Everton are hoping to become. This has formed gradually over the years, with only United, Arsenal & Liverpool , really deserving of their current financial stature, having won something significant before coming into wealth.This leaves the "rich" clubs in such a position so as to use the "poor" clubs as feeders. for example, if West Ham had had the resources to have kept Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson and Frank Lampard, there is no doubt in my mind that they would be dominating the BPL. Just as United are once again looking to raid a smaller club for their talent, this time Wigan for Palciaos and Valencia, other smaller clubs have been forced to sell up and coming talent to stay in the black. Another club comes to mind in Southampton, if they were able to build a squad around Bale and Walcott, they may be progressing up the BPL instead of struggling in the Championship.

The problem with City's, and now to a lesser extent Chelsea's, large influx of spending money, is that it has forced the rest of the "rich" clubs to spend more on transfers and consequently drive up the asking price for any player. No doubt, Tottenham would have sold Dimi to us for 25mil if City weren't interested. Now that the world knows of City's spending power, any club can simply raise the price on any player by saying that City can pay more and hold a "hoax auction". Of course, City can't buy everyone, and some clubs will obviously realise that some players aren't wanted by City, but there is no doubt that City and Chelsea have been ripped off by smart sellers including United ( the sale of Veron to Chelsea), who made some money by inflating their asking price. remember these names? Shevschenko, Elano, Jo, all are signs of the bad business that top clubs engage in.Even United isn't foolproof, we bought Veron to england in the first place for 28.1mil and sold him to chelsea in 2 years for 15mil.

This leads to another problem, being the lack of pitchtime available to up and coming youngsters. Gone are the days of seeing a flock of up and coming, fresh-faced youngsters, playing for the super-rich sides. Middlesborough once fielded a side totally from its academy, and United have for a long time given time and space for their own academy graduates to flourish on the biggest of stages. However, recent history hasn't provided Old Trafford with young, home-grown talent, with the exception of Danny Welbeck and Jonny Evans, and before them Wes Brown, our home-grown players have increasingly been loaned out, then sold off, populating the 1st Division and Championship, as United have focused on winning and retaining trophies without the cyclical downturn. We have seen ex UNited players playing very well: Eagles doing very well for Burnley against Arsenal and Chelsea, rating as 7.8 and 8.3 respectively from Skysports, Danny Pugh against UNited for Stoke, McShane left after not featuring in 3 years. Simpson is making his precesnce felt at Blackburn, Campbell likewise at Tottenham and now Manucho is out on loan to Hull, along with Martin, Cathcart, Gray, Heaton and Brandy out to various other clubs. If this can happen to a club that utilises its academy to such an extent that it produced the Class of 92( Giggs, Scholes Neville, Beckham, Butt etc ) imagine the fear such riches has struck into the hearts of City's youth system.

I'm hoping, Richard Scudamore realises his "product" is killing football,or that the FA or FIFA introduces some tighter reigns on wages( club salary cap at 35mil per year) or at least on transfer fees,( capping them at 50mil per club per year) and forces clubs to operate in the black, instead of having clubs, including united, massively in debt to the banks, instead of allowing them to run on operating profit.

Finally, i think Kaka would flop at City, i really don't rate Kaka, and actually think he would flop everywhere in the world but Italy, such is the lack of defensive pressure in Serie A ( no wonder Italian teams need such good keepers, their defenders are so shiiite). Sparky will deliver City a great team if he realises that second rate Brazilians don't play well against top-rank defenders. How would Robinho and Kaka fit together without some seriously awesome central defensive midfielders? Already Hughes' side scores lots of goals and leaks just as many, so he needs to stem the flow at one end without effecting the other. Ireland plays similarly to Kaka, obviously not as good, but potentially better suited to BPL than Kaka ever will be.