Football is Becoming a Rich Man’s Game

Posted: June 9, 2011 by GaryCRobertson in English Premier League, Guest, Transfers

There are a few problems in football. The corruption surrounding the game’s governing body, FIFA, for example. But another that has come to the fore lately has been inflation.

And not just transfer fees like Jordan Henderson’s – as the world goes through inflation, football as a whole does. That means shirt prices, food prices and, most importantly, ticket prices.

A key example of this would be Arsenal. Despite a sixth successive season without a trophy, the club made the decision that, in keeping with the global and footballing price rises, they would increase season ticket prices by 6.5%.

Considering the club’s recent failure on the pitch, the fans didn’t take kindly to these increases. There was a walk engineered by supporters group “Black Scarf Movement”, who have asked the question: “Where has our Arsenal gone?”

We can, in the same way, ask: “Where has our football gone?” Without even getting started on the corruption in the game, if you take a look at the absurd transfer fees and wages being paid these days, it’s little wonder that some are feeling a little out of love with what was once known as the beautiful game.

Of course, on the field football is probably as enjoyable as ever. But those who used to be able to go to many games are now being priced out of it. “Club Levels” are being introduced to stadiums, where rich people can wine and dine, whilst occasionally glancing towards the game.

And the players that fans used to become attached to are jumping ship as soon as a better offer arises. Not just because it’s good for their careers – for the money too. Ashley Cole is a prime example. While Chelsea may have been on the up, when he left Arsenal, the Gunners had just reached the final of the Champions League.

He had claimed to be a lifelong Arsenal fan, having come up through the youth ranks, and the fans could themselves relate to that. One of the best things of being a football fan is those players who spend their entire career at their childhood club, and show the same passion as them.

But no. Cole went to rivals Chelsea, for a few extra thousand pounds. He said he “nearly crashed his car” in anger when he found out that Arsenal were offering him £5,000 less than he wanted. The fact that he was on his mobile in the car is an entirely different matter.

The point is that footballers and those involved are becoming increasingly greedy as the inflation hits football. When players see the insane amounts of money players like Yaya Toure are being paid, they feel that they deserve a similar amount.

A recent example would be Samir Nasri. After a fairly decent few years at Arsenal, without exactly setting the world on fire, he had a terrific half-season, before fading away for the remainder of the year. However, this seemed to give him reason to believe that he deserved to be on wage parity with the captain of the club, Cesc Fabregas.

Even worse was the way that he seemed to use the perceived interest from Manchester United to engineer him that wage parity. While it may have been agent influence (another source of money-grabbing) or paper talk, there’s never smoke without fire.

Gone is the day when a player would say something and actually mean it. Contracts mean nothing these days – Felipe Melo left just days after signing a new contract with Fiorentina. If anything, they’re just to ensure that the clubs get the maximum amount of money for their players.

In the end, it all comes back to that word which has polluted football. Money.


Written by Sam. You can follow him on Twitter @15yearoldgooner

  1. Ryan Keaney says:

    Seeing the Arsenal fans protesting about the ticket increase really got my goat.

    The increase is the first one in three years, I think. It might be four. For the last three seasons, the ticket prices have remained the same. And 2% of the increase is because of VAT. Therefore, it’s a 4.5% increase over three years… Not an unreasonable jump.

    Also, what is your problem with players seeing out their contracts? Football is a job; plain and simple. Players will have a desire to play for the team they supported as a child but utlimately, they’ll play and perform for whoever pays their wages.

    Look at Abou Diaby – the guy wears a Tottenham shirt around his home but still gives everything he has to on the football pitch. Players will go wherever they think they will get more money. Hell, I’ll happily go work for another company thats happy to give me a payrise. likewise I’ll turn around to my current employer and tell them how much I’ll need to be offered to stay. If it works, I wouldn’t expect them to think less of me… Likewise I don’t think any less of people that do the same.

    So what if footballers’ wages are massive? Who’s fault is that? Not theirs. Like any industry they’re out to get as much as can be afforded. Should those that refuse to exploit this be honoured and praise? No; they’re idiots for not trying to make the most of a very short career.

  2. Considering what the price already was for the tickets, plus the failure on the pitch, I was surprised they were increased – a lot more fans are being priced out.

    It’s a job yes, but the wages are so high that at a certain level they barely need to squeeze as much money out of the club that they can.

    Players like Cole kiss the badge and express loyalty, only to completely contradict that by leaving if they don’t get the extra £5,000 a week that isn’t exactly a necessity. In other walks of life money is important because it’s nowhere near as high in football. Players like Cole barely need more money – they should be happy to be able to play the game they love without having to worry one bit about money. Instead he and others exploit their employers and try to squeeze as much money out of them that they can.

    As for Diaby, I can assure you he rarely gives 100% on the pitch. Not saying this is related to monetary reasons, but since you brought it up, I have to tell you he usually puts in a lot less effort than he should.

  3. Ryan Keaney says:

    Because you haven’t won anything on the pitch you think ticket prices should stay the same? The price rise had to come and I imagine there was probably a plan to bring them in in the wake of a trophy but you can’t actually expect things to stay the same because you didn’t win anything. That would be a business disaster.
    The inflation in the economy since 2008 has been calculated to be 4%. So the actual rise in price is 0.5%. Not an unreasonable jump at all and to think otherwise is ridiculous.

    Why shouldn’t footballers get as much money as they could? At a certain level? What does that even mean?
    If the player doesn’t look after themselves and get the best deal for them; who will? The club aren’t going to give them a perfect contract straight away. What is your problem with the players maximising their earnings as much as possible?

    If the money wasn’t available to players, everyone would be earning £30,000 per year and be happy with it because they wouldn’t know any better. The money is available, such is the glorious game of football and the incredible earnings made possible, thanks to the Champions League and so it’s only natural for them to want to be rewarded as such.

    If someone offered you an obscene amount of money to do whatever it is you do… You wouldn’t accept because you owed it to your employers? And you wouldn’t think about joining a rival company if they offered you more money for doing the same thing as you are currently doing?

    Don’t get me wrong; I really enjoyed the piece and if I hadn’t of thought so I wouldn’t have commented. But don’t blame the players for prices rising… Blame the success of the Champions League. Blame Sky Sports and their vast amounts of money. It’s unfair to blame the players for that.

  4. It wasn’t just the lack of a trophy, but also perhaps the lack of ambition – we didn’t spend much of the money we received from sales or high prices, while selling some of our best performers each season. I suppose you could put that down to the stadium move, but it was supposed to help us compete at the highest financial level instead of stopping us from doing that.

    I mean when you’re a player like Nasri and you’ve been playing in the Premier League for a few years at something like £50,000 a week, you don’t need an extra £50,000 on top of that because you’d have more money than you’d know what to do with. I just think that players shouldn’t screw over clubs for as much money as they can get when that club showed belief in them and gave them the chance on the highest level (even if Nasri was destined to play somewhere like Arsenal anyway), especially for money that in reality, they could quite easily live without.

    I’m sure they would be happy with £30,000 a year because I’m sure they could quite easily get by on that too. That’s my main point, a player can get by on £50,000 a week without needing another £50,000 on top.

    I guess in the grand scheme of things, the wages and transfer fees can be justified by how much money is made in footbnall as a whole, I just think if I was a footballer on the wages that Cole, Nasri, Adebayor were on, the money wouldn’t be the most important thing – that would already be taken care of, and more money would just not be a necessity. Instead I’d care more about enjoying myself and giving something back to the fans and coaches who had supported me. At least I think so – it’s difficult to hypothetically discuss a situation you know you’d never be in, as it’s impossible to know what you genuinely would do in that situation. Still.

  5. […] my article on Freestyle Football World about money in football, hope you enjoy. There are a few problems in football. The corruption […]

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