Remember back to the days when we could afford to be a season ticket holder, you know, the days of muddy pitches, terraces, and teams with no sponsors on their shirts?
They were they glory days of the past people so often harp on about. Players used to turn up on a Saturday morning, still hungover from the night before, cigarette in hand, and waiting for the pay packet almost comparable with the average working man.
What ever happened? Well money is the obvious answer. Suddenly people other than the average kid and Dad discovered that money could be made out of football. Suddenly, teams were offered vast amounts of money to carry the name of a company on the shirts of the teams, as opposed to just a little advert on a hoarding at pitchside. The football authorities around The Globe loved the idea, because more money for the clubs meant more money with which to line their own pockets. The players loved it, because more money in football meant higher wages, and let us face a fact, who is going to turn down money?
Players were now more important than the clubs they represented, transfer fees went through the roof, and suddenly a new route for money was needed by both the clubs, and football in general. Television companies suddenly became more involved in the game, and the fight for that prime slot on Saturday night began. From being a tradition of Match Of The Day on Saturday night, and The Big Match on a Sunday afternoon, the BBC and ITV were squabbling for the rights to host prime time slots, and the big winner was the football authorities. They owned all the rights to any footage shown, and must have rubbed their hands with glee as the “Big Two” fought it out, and bidded more and more money for the rights.
The point where it all became silly, was arguably the introduction of all-seater stadia, where despite the ready money available to the clubs and authorities on tap, prices were hiked to incorporate the new style of seeing the glorious game. Sky had come along and offered huge amounts of money for the rights, and BBC/ITV were fighting for the scraps. Players were demanding more and more money, sponsors were paying more and more money, terraces were being outlawed, seats brought in bigger revenue, and the greed continued.
So I bring myself to a point in time where to see my beloved Arsenal now costs a whopping fourtyfive English pounds, the players earn more a week than I do in years, and yet I see players demanding more and more, yet perfectly happy to turn their backs on the supporters by moving to rivals in the need for more cash. I think back only fifteen years, where a “Grade A” game was eight quid to see, and weep. Nowadays, I would be lucky to see a non-league encounter at that price, but I can…… Just!
Those “little” teams that used to supply the big teams with players are long gone, and in a desperate attempt to stay afloat financially, hammer the average supporter. Those little teams that used to be so prominent years ago giving us a proper cup upset in January on a filthy, dirty, freezing cold afternoon. Those little clubs that are so starved of money that they actually put buckets out for supporters to throw a few coppers into. Those little clubs that once were our near neighbours are now our forgotten relatives. All in the name of money.
Written by SE13 for more articles click here