I’ve got 4 grandsons who constantly make me incredibly proud of what they are achieving. You probably think I would say that but I am amazed by how socially conscious they are, with firm views about what they want to achieve and how dedicated they can be. I remember my youth and I was hard working but nothing like as dedicated to achieving something. That came far far later in my life. Continue reading
So last night was the final Match of the Day programme of this extraordinary football season. Although the Premiership title and relegation had already been decided there were enough final day issues to make this a really enjoyable show; Champions league places to resolve, players’ final matches, managers leaving, careers over and so on.
So the fiasco of that European Super league is over, for now. It was a hideous concept dreamt up by the billionaire owners of a dozen or so of the top teams in Europe or those faced with the biggest debts. Let’s face it these guys, be they Middle Eastern potentates, Asian oligarchs or American tycoons, made an investment in football – the world’s greatest sport – not because they had a love for the game but because at some point they wanted to make a serious return. And the American bunch convinced their counterparts to adopt the franchise example of American football; a closed group of teams protected from the threat of automatic relegation and promotion, able to soak their fans and maximise/share the incredible broadcast revenues whilst imposing a salary cap on the talent. Let’s face it, if you could afford to be in the club it must have looked liked a recipe for unbridled success with the share prices soaring along with the profits. 5 years of this model and the debts would be paid off and the asset put up for sale to the next batch of uber-entrepreneurs for huge profits. Bastards. Continue reading
Well I see that the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is having talks today with football administrators and medical experts over the possibility of allowing top class English football to return next month behind closed doors and at neutral venues. Now nobody would be happier than me to see football’s return – so long as it is safe for all concerned. Indeed yesterday the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, was gushing about how the Premier League’s return could ‘lift the spirits of the nation’. Wow it only seems a few days since Matt Hancock publicly pilloried top flight footballers for their wealthy lifestyles and shaming them into making a bigger contribution towards the cost of the NHS (that is in addition to the heavy tax they pay on their massive earnings) which many were already doing privately. It makes you laugh doesn’t it. The Government targets easy scapegoats but with 30,000 covid-19 deaths already on their watch (the largest in any country bar the USA which does have 4 times our population) they are suddenly in need of those overpaid footballers to take the attention and the pressure off them. And people accuse me of being cynical. Pah
I read an interesting article today in the i newspaper sports section. It posed the question, what have these names got in common…
Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes, Gelson Fernandes, Kalidou Kalibahy, Nicolas Pepe, Adrien Rabot, Saul Niguez, Christian Eriksen, Kieran Trippier, Jan Obiak, Matthijs de Ligt, Paulo Dybala, Daniel James, Idrissa Gueye, Philippe Coutinho, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Wilfried Zaha, Thomas Meunier, Mauro Icardi, Moussa Dembele, Ben Godfrey, Nikola Milenkovic, Harry Maguire, Aaron Was-Bissaka, Patrick van Aanholt, Jadon Sancho, Gareth Bale, Toby Alderweireld, Joao Felix, Declan Rice, David Neres Campos, Kostas Manolas, Hakim Ziyech, Joao Cancelo, Marcos Llorente, Toni Kroos, Raphael Varane, Youro Tielemans, Robert Lewandowski, James Rodriguez, Keylor Navas, Lika Jovic, Jordan Pickford, Juande Ramos, Jack Grealish, Giovani lo Celso, Gianluigi Donnarumma and no doubt several others?
So it’s not earth-shattering news to announce that the very top footballers earn fortunes these days. If it takes me say an hour to write this posting (for fun of course), in the same time Wayne Rooney will have earned about £1800 from Man Utd. That’s the rate at which a salary of £300,000 per week gets drawn down. And that’s just the club money. Add to this his endorsements, sponsorship deals, image rights earnings, online gaming fees, social media earnings and investments and the figures are multiplied several times. So he’s probably earning closer to £10,000 every 60 minutes of the day that passes.
I caught that documentary the other night on the 4-match spell Ryan Giggs had as interim player-manager following the late season sacking of David Moyes at Manchester United earlier this year. If you can recall there was a lot of media and pundit/player commentary at the time saying that the board at Man U should award the permanent job to Giggs and pass the club baton on ‘within house’ having seen the external candidate (and Sir Alex’s personal choice as his replacement) fail abysmally. After all he was the Premiership’s most decorated player, scorer of over 150 goals and a real one-club player having appeared for ManU almost 1000 times over the last 22 seasons. It’s hard to dispute the logic of the argument. Then I watched the film…
This isn’t a posting about football as such but I was amused to read some words this weekend from a Premiership manager who showed once again the ex-footballer truism; that his brains and modesty are distant cousins from his mouth. The manager is Alan Pardew who, in case you don’t know, was recently banned from all stadia for 3 matches for head-butting a player during a Premiership match. It sounds incredibly hot-headed and thuggish but it’s true. Then again he is employed by Newcastle United, a club which seems to have learned all about sound governance from Led Zeppelin’s management team in the 70’s, which pays Mr Pardew just the £1.5M per year to set a fine example to its playing staff and recently rewarded Alan with an 8 year virtually unbreakable contract. Anyway the manager was back in the dressing room for this week-end’s match against Southampton after seeing his side lose two games in his absence, although he will not actually be allowed on the touchline for another 4 games. At the pre-match briefings he told the listening journos that ‘It’s good to be back. You have that relationship with players. Put on top my personality, which we all know is a bit of a winning mentality (it’s true I swear) and I want to make sure we win’. Well no doubt inspired by the return of their smart silver-haired manager and his profound words, the Newcastle team ran out and received a proper gubbing, losing 4-0 and it could easily have been double that. Ahh Alan, you’re the Sultan of Self-Centredness and you just can’t stop yourself from saying things that give me real pleasure. It’s that winnning personality eh.