Tuesday, 16 August 2011

This isn't the game I remember.

I came to a horrifying conclusion recently. It hit me quite hard, and made me just a little depressed. I came to the devastating realisation that my beloved Gillingham Football Club will never play in the Premier League.

Now, I'm pretty sure that will come as a shock to precisely no-one, but what got me the most is that even if we had the players, ground, infrastructure, sponsors, training, management and chairman to get to the premiership, theres no way in hell that Gillingham FC can afford to compete in the premier league.

What brought it home was a line in Shortlist Magazine from Robbie Savage. He was talking about Fernando Torres' move to Chelsea and said "He looks more like a Fifteen Million pound player than a Fifty-Million pound player."

And I thought to myself "Holy hell, what has the world come to when being said you're worth fifteen million quid is meant to be a derogatory statement."

I'm pretty sure the Gills entire squad isn't valued at fifty million pounds. Hell, I'm not even sure they're valued at fifteen million pounds. Fifteen million quid goes a very long way in the third division.

And I'm still not entirely sure when football started becoming more about the money than it was about the game. Manchester City is currently having it's sponsors investigated by UEFA - the European Regulators - to see if theres any financial misconduct. In 1999, Gillingham lost to Manchester City in the division 2 playoff finals. I still find that slightly surreal given that they're now the richest club in the league.

It's like the premier league exists in another plane of existence. One where theres infinite money, and no-one bats an eyelid at players earning £200,000 a week. And everyone is asking the question "When will this bubble pop?"

A lot of the people I work with tell me that this money needs to be paid to keep the league competitive and attract talent. But I say that the world of football needs a wage cap - Let the talent come for the game, rather than the money. Let players play for the love of their club, not the size of their wallet.

Cesc Fabregas left Arsenal this week to play for Barcelona. When you read what he was saying, it was clear that he went to Barca for love of his hometown club. Back in the premier league, Wayne Rooney walked out on Everton, his hometown club, to take the big paycheck at Manchester United. Sadly, there are more players acting like Rooney than acting like Fabregas, and whilst the clubs bank balances swell and the players get bigger cars and bigger paychecks, I sit there watching the results on Saturday, knowing that my club will never be top of the top.

Because we can't afford it.

No comments: