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"In A Rich Man's World" - One Man's View On Footballs Millions

Tuesday 10th January 2012

The majority of football fans find it hard to swallow that the stars of their game earn the outrageous amounts they do. However, has anybody ever thought in depth as to why?

If anything, we as fans are responsible for the players we pay money to watch earning such a share of the plunder.

Football as a commercial entity is as far reaching as they come. Most European, South American and African nations consider it their number one national game whilst it is growing rapidly in North America, Asia and Australasia.

Any ‘business' which operates at a national level in almost every country on the planet would turn over billions per annum. Is it really such a shock that the priority employees of the biggest branches take home such mega bucks?


Take the example of the much maligned Fernando Torres after his incredible £50 million transfer deal from Liverpool to Chelsea last January. Torres was bought to score goals and lots of them.


In reality, El Nino has netted twice meaning that Chairman Roman Abramovich has effectively paid £25 million for two goals. The problem with the business of football is that the outcomes are very difficult to forecast – meaning such huge investments cause controversy.


Let's turn the tables a little. If one giant company purchases a service from another for £50 million there is an accurate, detailed plan as to how and when the benefits will be wreaked.


You can't do that in football. But exchanges of this scale are still bound to take place because football is a global brand, perhaps the biggest of them all. The difference is the products are human and results are impossible to forecast.


Footballers are indeed human but they often make a rod for their own back. Given the profitability of the service they provide the amounts they are paid and traded for are defensible. However, when they fail to provide satisfactory returns they are open to attack.


Furthermore, value is a very subjective concept and one man's astute business deal is another man's distorted reality. Should we expect more than goals from £50 million strikers? With football attendances dwindling, perhaps the problems are really off the pitch.


We love or hate footballers for the job they do, and as pointed out recently by one honest Spurs full back. Benoit Assou-Ekotto, it is a job. In that case, I feel that the job description of footballers and their clubs should extend beyond their performance on the pitch.


This isn't a rant about how footballers should make good role models. They are after all human. But you can't be human when you make mistakes and a commodity when you get paid.


Footballers should give more back to the people who make them rich. If every Premiership footballer put 1% of his wages into a grass-roots hedge fund it would be easier for young people to keep fit, develop their skills and wreak the social benefits of sporting competition.


Maybe that way, when Fernando misses a sitter at Old Trafford the fans would see a man who pays for their kids to play football; not just a product who has cost their revered club £50 million.
Joe McNamara

Total articles: 12

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