These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

THE DELUSIONAL GAME

To be printed in the Southern League Premier Divison game v Banbury United on Saturday 10th February 2018
Football Transfer Deadline Day makes me embarrassed to be a football fan. While the media turn the most inconsequential story into a moon landing in the hope of more click-bait, far too many supporters lose all sense of perspective. After one fan tweeted 'Imagine being 12 points clear at the top of the table and taking that as a sign that you need to buy another £100m worth of players while Hartlepool and Chester are going out of business for want of thousands' an angry Man City replied 'Is it your money that they’re spending? Sane out injured and we have 3 players fit for our preferred formation of a front 3. Sterling, Aguero and Silva. So yeah. If he signs it’s because we need it.' Others pointed out that it wasn't their fault that Hartlepool and Chester had been mismanaged, as if 'their' clubs were being run with any financial prudence and wouldn't go bust without dodgy Sheiks, gangsters and vulture capitalists pumping in the cash. And while the Premier League is rolling in it, grassroots football has to contend with mud-baths of pitches and terrible changing facilities.
As the authors of 'Jumpers for Goalposts' pointed out football fans are the marketing mans wet dream. It has become the most one sided relationship, tantamount to abuse' or as the authors put it being ‘trapped in a loveless marriage with little in common…Football supporters have become, first and foremost, revenue.’
While Man United made Alexis Sanchez the highest-paid player in Premier League history, the club can't quite bring themselves to pay all their workers the Living Wage. An open letter to the world’s richest football club, urged them to address the plight of stadium staff who are “struggling to make ends meet.” This despite a commitment in 2015 by Premier League clubs to pay the Living Wage to all permanent staff.
Meanwhile even FIFA have acknowledged how the agent free-for-all is 'intolerable' with President Infantino, establishing a working party to examine how the transfer system can be reformed. Infantino said that he was 'very concerned about the huge amount of money flowing out of the football industry.' Although knowing FIFA they're probably more upset they ain't getting a cut. Uefa calculated that more than €3bn was paid to agents by Europe’s top clubs between 2013 and 2017 with clubs telling them that agents are no longer working on behalf of players to negotiate the best salary but acting as intermediaries, who have to be paid by clubs for bringing the players to them. The approach of some agents is: “Look, you will pay me 50% of the transfer or the player goes somewhere else.” One agent Fernando Felicevich, declined to comment when asked if it was true he was asking for £15 million for himself for Sanchez to agree a move while another agent threatened legal action if people kept asking questions.
So it was heartening to see Newcastle United supporters protest against owner Mike Ashley at St James’ Park with an impressive display reading “Trust me, one day you will get your club back... He is only one man, we are a whole city, a whole population...” while West Ham fans are planning protests against the diamond-geezers that run their club and have relocated them to a soulless bowl of a stadium. But apart from the occasional boycott by supporters like Coventry, Charlton and Blackpool and Man United fans who set up a new club and built their own ground, most continue to support 'their' team no matter how badly they are treated or how dodgy their owners.
Maybe journalist Nick Cohen nailed it 'The fans do not care where the money came from. It is as miserablist to talk about Manchester City's owners on Match of the Day as to talk about the factory farming of turkeys at the Christmas lunch table.'
Yes I know our owners have just butchered political opponents and ripped off the poor, but without that new billion pound winger we don't really need, our season and my life will be ruined.





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