09 June 2009

Football - Summer of love

By Dr3

Sorry to disappoint, but YES I am a man, and I love sports; namely football. I’m not talking about “touchdown” and “timeout” football. I’m referring to the one that uses, you guessed it; FEET. My love for football cannot be understated. I can think of nothing else that unites and divides as many people all over the world with so much emotion as football. It is amazing that a sport can be a source of pride, agony, passion, and love, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Football provides for me the thrills and highs and lows of life minus the harsh reality that things have to end. Fame, women, wealth, and even love may come and go, but football never leaves you.

Football may have changed in rules, and style, but the beauty has never gone away. It has shifted powers, and strengths, and even financially has drastically changed, but the elements remain the same. The thrill of your favorite players, and famous showdowns, and famous rivalries, will never die. To get to the point, I am as excited as a child waiting on Santa, about the next change football is undertaking.

Due to what I view as the economic successes of English clubs, they have been able to steadily build an empire of “footballing” greatness. Hard as it is for me to accept they now have the four most consistently performing, “best” teams on the planet. That doesn’t mean that I think the league is superior though, the contrast in quality between the afore mentioned and the rest of that EPL is pretty disgusting in fact, but that’s another topic for another time. It’s hard to admit, but like everything else football has always been dictated by money. Every team that was able to purchase the quality needed at the time really excelled and are remembered as legendary. Of course there are exceptions; Mourinho’s Porto being the prime one, but aside from the few glitches, football has always followed a simple pattern, talent wins. Talent unequivocally costs money.

Of course the hopeless romantics of football will try to philosophize that money can’t buy success, but it can, and does, FACE it. Who was Chelsea pre-Abramovich? Real Madrid has ALWAYS been built around the strength and depth of their wallet. AC Milan always seems to be able to fork out whatever to get their desired man. The days of Maradona(s) joining Napoli(s) are gone.

In this day, big players need big salaries, and big salaries equal big clubs, period. This brings me to why I am really writing this (4 paragraphs in). The power of the top four of the English league is a direct reflection of the power of their pockets. Sure Arsenal is a young side, but how many teams can buy Adebayor, Van Persie, Arsharvin, or even Gallas, without economically “dying” in the process. Real Madrid, have made their bid to rekindle the old flame of success. The £56 million purchase of Kaka might be laughed at, scorned and condemned until death do us part, but it is a signal of intent. Purchasing Kaka who is an undoubted talent at such an asking price, signals that Real understand that in this time, in order to really be competitive, requires the spending of real money; money that makes people gasp, money that makes your lonely times, fashionably lonely. It sets a precedent that others not only should, but have to follow. If a team is really intent on vying for silverware, then the purchase of Bendtner or Poulsen, or Menez, or even Muntari for that matter, is not going to do it. Pedigree is pedigree, simple as that. Barcelona bought Ronaldinho and stood up, and got noticed. They bought Henry, and even though I too am a naysayer on the Henry buy, look at the results. Buying peripheral players might be a thing of the past.

The motto for this summer :Spend or be spent.

Photo credit to AlexSA @ oleole.com
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