Football needs to be careful. We all love the drama of a good transfer deadline day and that feeling when your club lands a great player is brilliant but the whole situation is becoming scary.
As I sit and write this, Fernando Torres is moving for nearly £50 million and Andy Carroll is the subject of a bid of nearly £40million. Not to mention the Darren Bent transfer last week.
The so called people’s game is moving closer to the edge by the month. The average fan can not help but feel that they are becoming less and less relevant to the running of their club. Actually, that is not quite true, their wallets are still very relevant but beyond that, one has to doubt. The influx of billionaire owners means that even the old reliance on ticket sales is lessening.
This is not an article moaning about the financial behaviour of clubs, there are enough of them already. This is an external processing of serious worry that I have for the future of the game. The success of football was built on a connection between clubs and fans and while this has almost entirely disappeared over the past twenty years or so, the situation is now becoming ridiculous.
How can fans still feel part of their club? How can they honestly believe that they are at the centre of the owner’s minds anymore? I honestly believe that radical changes are going to have to come in before the bubble bursts. A salary cap, greater financial equality and more investment in lower leagues are all needed.
Unfortunately all of the above are very unlikely. A salary cap would see many players leaving for Europe unless it was brought in there as well. The big clubs, which hold all the power, are not going to pass any rules which see their financial potency diluted. As for investment in the Football League, the chances of foreign owners suddenly embarking a round of philanthropy are very slim.
As fans we are faced with a difficult question, would we trade the big name, high wage players for a more equal, more sustainable league? Would we suffer a dip in the quality of play in the league for a league where we could see more clubs challenging for the top places? It is a dramatic suggestion and a choice that, in all honesty, nobody wants to make but it is one that could well be facing the game in years to come.
What do you all think? What, if anything, needs to be done to improve the future outlook of the Premier League?
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