The Blog that's not always wrong.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Wake up Grandad and smell the coffee

Another day another bank collapse. As billionaires become millionaires overnight and mere millionaires queue up at the soup kitchen on Wall Street I return with renewed hope to one of my concerns: can football escape the seemingly inevitable slide into the world of big business.

Some argue that its too late ; its already happened and reply to my threads with the words, 'Wake up granddad and smell the coffee'. I'm not entirely sure what this means but take it that they think I'm out of touch and swimming against the tide.

But Iceland's banks are disappearing faster than the polar ice caps with serious repercussions for West Ham. AIG and many other shirt sponsors are going down the tubes with possible adverse effects on a number of Premiership clubs, and who knows how many rich sponsors and owners are caught up with our very own Joe Lewis in the financial meltdown.

Take another sniff my friends, is that coffee or what. Uefa are threatening to exclude clubs who have large debts from the Champions League possibly in as little as two years time. Talk of wage caps hangs in the air like, well like the lingering aroma of Nescafe. Transfer cap talk drifts up from the Fairtrade African Rich Roast Special Blend I have just poured from the pot. Greater scrutiny is promised of would be investors and more intrusive investigation of both foreign and home grown benefactors.

Clubs expenditure will be related to their assets and apparently their debt ratios will be capped. Clubs wont be able to buy up players as Chelsea did with Shaun Wright Phillips for ridiculous sums and bank them for future use like gold bars in a safe deposit vault. It could be the end of 'to the richest shall be given and from the poorest it shall be taken away' culture in football.

As the recession bites and unemployment increases more and more Sky and Setanta subscribers will
cancel their subscriptions or not renew their contracts. As advertising revenue falls commercial television will be unable to maintain the dizzying sums poured into sport. Players shirts will read 'Sponsored by Barclay's: on loan from HM Government.

The Premiership will be one of the first and one of the largest victims. Wages will not just be capped they will fall to reflect the new financial realities. Soon there may be no need for restrictions on foreign players imposed from above or rules about 'home-grown' players. The free market that got us in this mess may, as it collapses, get us out.

Most objectors to my wish for a level playing field in these matters were not because others didn't want it too but that it was not possible in the current climate. Well people climate change is not just a distant threat: it just became an imminent promise. Those who are praying for this alleged Asian billionaire to save us from ourselves may get their wish just in time to be too late. The reception and the honeymoon could well be over; pass the Yellow pages, now let me see 'Divorce Lawyers'.

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