Football has always been about money, but the stakes are now much higher

THERE were around six main football stories in the sports section of the newspaper I was reading as I grabbed an espresso at my favourite coffee bar in my home town. All six had a big emphasis on the financial side of the game: transfers (Gareth Bale), clubs in trouble (Bury), sponsorship and, more modestly, cash support for anti-racism groups. Admittedly, it was the last … Continue reading Football has always been about money, but the stakes are now much higher

When will fans realise football is just an incredibly well-paid job?

IT HAS been interesting to hear the criticism of players who left their club in order to move elsewhere. Some clubs and their fans take it worse than others, but ultimately, in the free market that is football, players are like you and me, they have a choice to earn their income from whom they choose to work for. Football is not a vocation, a … Continue reading When will fans realise football is just an incredibly well-paid job?

The football condition: Devotion, delusion, distraction… deserving?

A CHIN-STROKING professor, trying to explain the typical extra-curricular activities of British people, once remarked that in any group of 100 men, around 50% spent much of their free time watching “association” football.  He went on to explain that for many of these people, the game of football was, to a certain degree, the replacement for some of the conventional life-defining moments that people go … Continue reading The football condition: Devotion, delusion, distraction… deserving?

Manchester United, the religious argument

ACADEMICS somewhere in the world are probably debating right now whether football has replaced religion as a defining element of society. To some people, football is the prominent feature of their life, the opium that drags them away from the mundane. The importance of the game, to those who have little else to lift their lives, was highlighted in the press a year or so … Continue reading Manchester United, the religious argument

Envy drives football rivalry – if only we would admit it

WHEN Liverpool won the Champions League for the sixth time, there were as many bricks thrown at the club as bouquets. Supporters of Liverpool’s closest rivals, notably Manchester United and Chelsea, begrudged the success of the Reds, using all sorts of excuses for why they had won the competition and, unable to be over negative about the team, turned to criticising the fans and their … Continue reading Envy drives football rivalry – if only we would admit it

UEFA Europa League: Together to Baku – almost

IF Arsenal or Chelsea were not up against a local rival, Baku and the Europa League might not mean as much as it probably does to the fans of both clubs – those that decide to make the journey to Azerbaijan. The fact that the clubs have returned tickets to UEFA says a lot about the appeal of Baku as the stage for a major … Continue reading UEFA Europa League: Together to Baku – almost

Devotion, delusion, distraction… deserving?

AN English academic, trying to explain the typical extra-curricular activities of British people, once remarked that in any group of 100 men, around 50% spent much of their free time watching association football.  He went on to explain that for many of these people, the game of football was, to a certain degree, the replacement for some of the conventional life-defining moments that people go … Continue reading Devotion, delusion, distraction… deserving?

Manchester United, the religious argument

ACADEMICS somewhere in the world are probably debating right now whether football has replaced religion as a defining element of society. To some people, football is the prominent feature of their life, the opium that drags them away from the mundane. The importance of the game, to those who have little else to lift their lives, was highlighted in the press a year or so … Continue reading Manchester United, the religious argument

Hankering for those mythical “good old days”

ACROSS social media, people yearn for a return to a time they can more easily understand when it comes to football. A year ago, Emirates Stadium regulars wanted “our Arsenal back” and this season, Chelsea and Manchester United supporters are playing a similar tune. A certain age group longs for a return to “the good old days”, but sometimes, it is a misguided belief that … Continue reading Hankering for those mythical “good old days”

Football Media Watch: Fall of the Roman Empire?

SPECULATION is rife that Roman Abramovich is ready to sell part with his stake in Chelsea, ending a summer of rumours that the club’s glorious era might be about to end. Matthew Syed of The Times said Abramovich’s arrival in 2003 represented a watershed in the game. It was the moment that clubs became “strategic rather than community or commercial assets.” Syed describes the Russian’s … Continue reading Football Media Watch: Fall of the Roman Empire?

Non-League Survey: More transparency and fan-owned clubs

GAME OF THE PEOPLE conducted an online survey via Twitter this past week and the results hinted that non-league fans are less than happy with club structures or the amount of transparency around finance at this level of the game. The survey attracted more than 1,300 votes, with emphasis on the subject of governance, finance, admission prices and wages. The most damning statement was concerning … Continue reading Non-League Survey: More transparency and fan-owned clubs