I am writing this rant shortly after reading an article in the Daily Mail that states “English football’s biggest rivals Liverpool and Manchester United have made an unofficial pact to stop Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney leaving for Premier League rivals in a fight to curtail player power. Anfield principal owner John W Henry and United’s Glazer family, who already know each other well from their connections in American sport, have been in regular contact throughout the transfer sagas, which alongside Real Madrid’s efforts to sign Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, have dominated the summer. They have agreed to stand resolute and not cave in to Suarez, Rooney or their representatives, who have agitated for moves. Liverpool will not sell Suarez at any price to Arsenal, and Rooney can forget a move to Chelsea. By pursuing this strategy, both sets of owners believe it could mark a turning point in the steady rise in player power.”
What a laugh……
They have got to be kidding, seriously? Sounds more like sour grapes coming from a couple of prime A1 hypocrites who don’t have the financial will and desire to compete at the highest level but are damned well jealous of others who can. You see both the Glazers and John Henry are loaded and they both make a ton of money from the licensing and branding of their respective clubs worldwide. Problem is they love the money they make due to the reputations and past success of their respective clubs, but they just don’t particularly care to spend any of that money on improving their clubs by buying high priced talent. So now they are desperate to halt the escalating transfer prices of blue chip talent as well as the manipulations of player agents who seem to be bent on getting the best price for their clients regardless of the contracts these players presently are bound to. They are also bent on letting any of their players break contracts and force a move elsewhere. Oh my!!!
Look here, I have no sympathy whatsoever for greedy players and agents who haven’t got the class to live up to and honour contracts that they agreed to in faith and that they signed and sealed thus, legally protecting both parties from any breach of that agreement. Any player who jumps a contract with more than a year left on it is nothing more than scum in my books. I don’t begrudge them their freedom to play wherever they wish but then they must choose their clubs wisely and not get tied down to greedy, long and complicated contractual arrangements, which are then too difficult to get out of. Discretion and foresight have never been traits that most footballers hold nor is honour, loyalty and intelligence. I really do not care if players want to leave for money, for Champions League glory, for guaranteed playing time or for more fun in the sun drinking Margaritas. When they sign a contract they are legally bound to honour it. So I have zero respect for the likes of Wayne Rooney or Luis Suarez.
The problem lies in the fact that both, the owners and the player/agents are wrong here. The players are wrong in wanting to renege on a contractual agreement and the owners are wrong to get them selves enslaved and manipulated by players and agents. Then you add the age-old hypocrisy that big clubs exercise when one of their own wants to jump ship.
Why were the Glazers not bitching when Fergie and United bullied Tottenham into letting go of Dimitar Berbatov or when they secured Robin van Persie from Arsenal? Even more hypocritical is the Glazers and David Moyes’ stance on Wayne Rooney. Does Moyes himself not remember how badly he got burned when Fergie stepped in and snatched a then very young Rooney from Everton? Jose Mourinho trying to get Rooney now and has United determined to stand resolute against Chelsea. Now United must know how it feels to be a middle of the road club or minnow with a fine asset. It must suck to know that you haven’t got enough in place to attract the best and you have even less in place to detract those who are being seduced by other clubs from wanting out.
United and Liverpool have burned many a club over the years when it comes to swooping in and taking their best players. They could because back in a day they had the financial muscle and the lofty ambitions to pray and poach on lesser clubs and entice targeted talent to choose Old Trafford and Anfield. My my how the mighty have fallen. Now United and Liverpool have become the pray and their greedy but cheap owners are feeling the brunt of some pretty massive body blows to their egos and to their worldwide brands.
The Glazers badly need to secure some big talent in order for their club’s success to continue on the pitch and thus assuring that their asset maintains it’s strong marketing position and purposes worldwide. They want big talent but they aren’t willing to pay for it. And even if all of a sudden they are willing to pay for it, the damage they have done and Sir Alex’s retirement has all but placed a nail in the club’s coffins. Hiring a manger with little or no international prestige is also not the best way to maintain your club’s reputation abroad. I mentioned in my previous article that five years ago the world had never heard of Juergen Klopp either. Yet he is now the number one target out there of semi available club managers. Perhaps Moyes can do the same and pull off the magic Klopp did with a younger and less experienced club and with less than high price talent? Maybe but the way this club operates in the transfer market and in the boardroom, I seriously have my doubts.
So Manchester United unfortunately have gone into a supposed silent pact with their bitter rivals only because they are becoming more and more like their bitter rivals. Two decommissioned battleships heading in the wrong direction that are under a constant threat to be scuttled by their owners once the cash cow starts to sputter. Sure by then somebody super rich may come out of the woodwork and save these great clubs. I mean why would rich cartels and or billionaires waste their money on previous minnows like Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG or Monaco and then ignore scooping up two legendary clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United. Eventually something has to give.
But for now at least, Liverpool and Manchester United have to put up with two American ownership groups that cannot understand why the business of football isn’t run with more rules and regulations protecting their teams from players and agents like it is back in the United States. In America players under contract have rarely had success demanding a transfer or a trade. They usually play out their contracts and become free agents.
Quite often they are traded to other clubs and, unless they have a no trade clause in their contracts, they are powerless to stop it. There is no Bosman ruling in America that makes the player the one with the power to choose when and where he goes. The idea of players being able to turn down a transfer in America is anathema to everything the American capitalist system is build around. Being Canadian I kind of understand where Henry and the Glazers are coming from. In North America the inmates do not rule the asylum despite the fact there are player unions. Today in football it seems that players and their agents seem to be wielding the majority of control thanks in big part to the Bosman rule and the right of refusal players have when it comes to a transfer. In Europe it seems contracts are meant to be broken. In America nothing like that could be farther from the truth.
Also, super rich clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and a few others have been very irresponsible by bowing to player and agent demands and dishing out incredible transfer fees and salaries. These clubs and their irresponsible greed have made it very difficult for leagues to operate in a fair manner where more than one or two clubs are in the hunt year in and year out. The Celtic, Rangers monopoly and disease has hit nearly every major league in Europe to slightly varying degrees.
I might despise the Glazer family due to their greed, extortion and slow but systematic destruction of my beloved club but I also understand their frustration when it comes to Wayne Rooney and the present financial climate in modern football. Rooney is a greedy punk who also happens to be dumber than Baldrick in the “Black Adder” series. His cunning plan is to force a sale to Chelsea by being a crybaby and a petulant child. He has no honour, no class, no integrity and no respect for the club, the past and present managers and most of all the millions of supporters that used to cheer him on. For he is part of the growing mercenary breed of players who are destroying the game as much or maybe even more than owners who use clubs as tax shelters and then extort millions from these assets without any regard for the club’s tradition and wishes of a loyal fan base. Both parties are misguided. Selfish and greedy pricks bent on destroying each other and in the end, what this continued conduct will do is destroy the clubs and leagues that are pawns in this sick charade, as well as dishearten and disenchant the supporters who like me are growing more and more sick and tired of this snobby elitist Ritchie Rich culture that acts and seems so far removed from all of us and our daily lives.
I for one can no longer relate or understand the depths of selfish greed that motivates these individuals, both players and owners to be the King Kong sized ultimate scumbags that they are. I am sick and tired of their game and by the rules they play with. I am sick and tired of the hypocrisy and manipulations that both offer their gullible supporters on a constant basis. Players only play for themselves but they love to kiss the badge like Wayne Rooney, David Luiz, Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez, until of course other more attractive clubs wink a seductive eye and wave a dollar at them. I hate hypocrites like the Glazer’s who have no problem poaching form those less powerful than them but when a bully bigger than them comes along to dish out some of their own medicine, they start screaming like stuck monkeys. Above all, I am pissed off with myself for also carrying a lot of that same hypocrisy in my heart and mind.
Over the past 40 years of my life I have been fortunate to support two clubs (to the chagrin of a few on this blog who do not get that), Manchester United and Bayern Munich who between them own 44 league titles and 8 European Clubs amongst other awards and trophies. I have been spoilt rotten with the continued success of both of these dynastic franchises and my greed and lust for success only grows from one year onto the next. Last year was positively utopian as both clubs easily won their respective league titles and Bayern went on to dominate Europe as well with what perhaps they will go down as one of the top two or three clubs in all of history. United had with Sir Alex a 26-year run that is unprecedented. My God we won 13 of the last 21 Premier League titles. That is unprecedented dominance and I for one couldn’t and can’t get enough of it. I’m a greedy SOB and I want, no I demand more.
I am wrong however to feel that it is alright for my club to go rape Tottenham of Gareth Bale when I am livid and pissed off beyond belief when Chelsea wants Wayne Rooney or when Real Madrid pursued and seduced Cristiano Ronaldo to jump ship. And believe it or not I was not happy when Bayern raped Borussia Dortmund of Mario Gotze and will also soon benefit more by getting Robert Lewandowski in a year’s time. It’s somehow not right and no club should feel that because of their big wallets and large fan base they are anointed special and deserve to have success more than all the other clubs. Yes we live in a capitalist world but I have always believed in the notion that professional sports needs to by design act and run much more like a socialist enterprise.
Let the best teams be determined by their development of young players and the quality of their coaching and less because of their economic muscle or the freedom and greed players and agents have to dictate where they will play. I like to know that I have the freedom to go work wherever I like and whenever I please but I still feel pro sports needs to be immune to those same socio-economic rules for the continued health and good of the game. These are spectator sports much like the old gladiatorial battles back in Ancient Rome. And back then the “Mob” (aka plebs or supporters) ruled by a thumbs up or down. I want control to go back to the real people who make these club’s successful and who make these greedy players the millionaires they are, the paying fan.
I end this long rant with the promise that I as a fan am no longer going to support the bully tactics of big clubs over small ones and I will no longer have any sympathy or understanding for players who will not and cannot honour their contracts and their allegiance to a team. I yearn for those old days when players were not that much different than the common fan and that many even worked second jobs in the off-season to make ends meet. No I do not wish hardship on players but I do remember that back then these lads were members of the community like a Paddy Crerand who you could meet at a pub and share ale and some great stories with. Now the players are lavish millionaires living in mansions with security fences and pools and they are shut off from the rest of us except when a Wayne Rooney pays a call to an escort service that is.
When I was a young child my father owned a restaurant and tavern in a small town in Saskatchewan. Back then the best football (the US variety) in Canada was Sskatchewan’s George Reed. My father and George actually became good friends because George Reed met my dad, not at some expensive yacht party or billionaire swaray, but because he worked for a food distributor part time and thus he met my dad through his job which was selling to restaurants. I also remember George showing up at my dad’s restaurant every two weeks and when he did, he would always give me $5.00 and a poster or a collectible of some kind. Good luck today having a player offer your kid $5.00 and a collectible like an autograph without asking for payment. The times they are a changing as Bob Dylan once wrote.
I long for the day when buying tickets to games was the single biggest money maker for teams and there were no corporate boxes, brands and licensing contracts with multi-national corporations that have nothing to do with the wishes and desires of the average fan and his or hers ability to go to match or watch it on the tele. Clubs are treating us like garbage. We no longer matter. Recently United played a friendly before an empty stadium. That’s how little the average fan and attendance matters to corporate savvy clubs these days. The money is coming in from other means. Even worse is the promise by the Glazers to move their clubs matches to exclusive pay-tv territory.
The game is lost to most of us and especially to old school purists like myself. I am not a fan of the modern era and along with that I hate how society is desensitizing itself and losing it’s social fabric with childish and moronic apps like Facebook and Twitter. Our sports teams are also becoming more removed from us. They want our money but they don’t care about what it is we want from them. It’s a shame but the modern game is going to Hell in a hand basket and I for one am not sure how much longer I can tolerate it, whether my clubs continue to win or not. The greed and hypocrisy is more than I can stomach. At the end of the day only one group has the God given right to be greedy and selfish, the paying fan. So to all greedy and hypocritical owners and players out there I simply say SOD OFF.
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Tags: Opinion Piece