Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Home crowd? In the Far East

Fancy a bit of Derby County vs Newcastle? Brace yourself for a long, expensive flight - by Stan Moss

Less than two months ago, Sir Alex Ferguson hit out at the comatose state of Man Utd supporters, no passion, no commitment, just a new kind of audience looking for a lovely day out. This week the bigwigs from the Premier League called their bluff .

A 'genuine people's game'? Local roots and atmosphere? Well, in case you wondered, a meeting of the 20 top clubs agreed to explore staging an extra-match a season that would be played in a city in Asia, North America or the Middle East. It is not clear yet how the idea is to be finalised but the proposals on the table suggested each club playing 39 games (hands up those who can figure out how that would work), with a draw to pick out each side’s overseas match.

The aim? Raking up extra millions. The English football "market" (or its "brand value", that's how they refer to it now) is saturated so hail the 21st century version of English colonialism.

If you are one of those fans wishing the ‘bubble’ would burst and the people’s game would return, you'd be better off resting your case. Nothing can stop the lethal mix of football and big money.

Yes, the Premier League chief executive was keen to go on record with routine blather like "it is critical we retain our English character by improving our efforts to produce homegrown talent, deepening our commitment to community engagement and continuing our investment in the grassroots". But somehow there's a hollow ring to it; they haven't cared for the last fifteen years so why would they now?

Uefa boss Michel Platini cracked it: "In England, you already have no English coach, no English players and maybe now you will have no clubs playing in England. It's a joke", he said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

suprisingly it didnt go down well with the Asian chiefs. How arrogant are greedy can FA bosses be? They get up in the morning and decide set up camp in a foreign country. i know its just football - but it really is a caseof neo imperialsim