furq - premiership football rip
Another Sunday and another scouring of the “Tales from the Tabs” columns reveals that Chelsea will be in for Vincent Kompany (brother of Bad?) come the January sales. I'm not surprised - Jose must have been very worried that he didn't have seething dissent and 3 outraged stars in the ranks for that position which clearly meant something was wrong and that his squad was dangerously light.
As far as I'm concerned Chelsea are now a cancer in football. The league appears to be over before it starts and not because of their carefully nurtured skills or youth academy players but simply because they can buy everyone and anyone and have no compunction about doing so.
I read on in the vain hope of finding a journalist who appears as deeply troubled as I am but without my inevitable stain of unhealthy bias but I have about as much chance as seeing Shaun Wright-Phillips play 90 minutes this season – for now it seems that the footballing media can only stand and applaud in wonderment as Chelsea amazingly manage to win game after game with a queue of international stars languishing on the bench for every position.
Yet most sports have some governance to keep things roughly equal - If Abramovich turned his fancy to Grand Prix motor racing he wouldn't be allowed to put three engines on his car and have a stable of Schumachers idling in the pits waiting for a drive -he'd have to play by the rules.
Watching les Bleughs is like bidding on Ebay against a multi millionaire who wants everything. You start out on an apparently even footing but you know in the end that you won't get it because sooner or later in he'll come and outbid you – whether he wants the item or more to the point whether he’ll ever use it, his main aim is to prove that he can afford it – and that you can’t
Falling gates and lower interest levels are now hitting nearly all the clubs – and they're even hitting Chelsea. It costs £45.00 per seat – any age – anywhere, to sit in Stamford Bridge and last Tuesday’s Champion’s League fixture saw a gate of well under 30,000.
Have Chelsea not worked this one out? If you buy yourself a team that are almost incapable of losing then who would want to go and watch? You can pencil in the result on your Shoot! wall chart six months in advance and save yourself the bother and more significantly, the expense. Why do the top games sell out? Because there is a very real chance that either side can take it – a sense of competition and danger that is gradually fading from the Premier league. What will motivate fans walking to the ground when that gnawing gut feeling of uncertainty and hope is taken away for good?
What is happening at Chelsea will slowly eat away at the fabric of the English game over the next 5 years as the fans, and then surely Sky, turn their back on the predictability of the inevitable served up each week as the element of competition and chance fades away.
Chelsea and some neutral fans will happily dismiss my view as the work of the green eyed monster or petulance that the so called “big two” are seeing the end of their monopoly.
I honestly wish that I could envy them – that they could stir my passion like Manchester United but they simply and truthfully don't – but I do despise everything they represent and the wholly unrealistic world that they have created.
The truth is that Manchester United and Arsenal have enjoyed consistent success based on differing reasons but all to do with their club and its status. For reasons that I’ll never understand United fill a huge ground every week – from their sixties European success and character players like George Best they have become a global brand and their riches have been based – no matter how much I may not like it – on their fan base. They have bought expensive players – Veron – Rooney – but never at the behest of an uncontrolled billionaire or at the rate of 5 a season. Arsenal have never been a poor club but our recent run of success and growth is based around the talent and acumen of our coach and the great players we have are predominantly bargains swept up by Arsene’s coaching network.
We now have Arsenal fans (and others if Red Café is anything to go by) intolerant of any loss – consumers who demand win after win because they see Chelsea do it and want the same and woe betide the manager who fails to deliver no matter how unreasonable the expectation.
As much as I love the Arsenal and want to see them lift as many trophies as possible I have always understood that a match is a contest of skill and fitness – luck and misfortune and where the support of the fans can, and does, make a real difference. I don’t want Arsenal, or any club for that matter, to dominate any competition for the next twenty years because if they did I for one would probably not be that interested.
Mourinho is a talented coach - no doubt about that - but can he really look at himself in the mirror (2 hours a day minimum I reckon) and think 'What a fabulous achievement?' No, he can’t. If he'd lifted them on their squad with some smart unknown purchases you could still hate him but admire him - a monkey with a pin could pick his team and it would still probably win.
If the FA don’t act soon then English Premiership football will be ruined and the rot will set in. It’s started at Chelsea where star players like Joe Cole are asking to leave because they're sick of getting 3 minutes a week.
You can't buy class or history - only overnight success which is the type that no one remembers but if some degree of reality isn’t imposed on Chelsea soon the real loser will be the long term future of a game that I have loved for a long, long time.