Boggs writes the longest article ever as he gets a little philisophical about a couple of Argies. Maybe soon someone will write about something other than West Ham? Hint, Hint.
It may have taken me 13 hours and about a dozen cans of Red Bull, but I did read through both articles about the only slightly terrifying trends emerging in football investment. And now I have thoughts… and opinions… and stuff.
After the first mention of MSI a couple of years ago there were supposed to be links with Abramovich. Last season there was a documentary on BBC2 on Boris Berezovsky (who has since been the subject of a real extradition request from Russia, rather than the one for Abramovich that has yet to materalize beyond the dreams of disgruntled rivals) where he confirmed his involvement with MSI. However, he also talked about how Abramovich convinced him he should sell his shares in a certain oil company because Putin was after him. Berezovsky did so, the Putin action didn’t emerge, and Berezovsky accused Abramovich of cheating him. As a result, they’ve gone from best friends and colleagues to adversaries. So it’s rather unlikely that Roman, and therefore Chelsea, has any involvement in MSI at all.
While on the surface this may seem like simply another case of a billionaire like Abramovich, Gaydamak or Lerner pouring money into a plaything – Tevezcherano creates a different problem for football altogether. Even West Ham supporters have accepted the players are at the club to gain Premiership experience and put themselves in the shop window. Before long they will be sold for enormous transfer fees that most, if not all, of which will go to MSI – not West Ham. The only reason that Chelsea is being thrown into any of this is that they will probably be the ones to match MSI’s asking price and quite asked MSI to set up the West Ham deal to prevent the likes of Arsenal or Manchester United getting their hands on either player. The promise of an inflated transfer fee awaits as a thank you.
Now, it’s one thing for a rich man to spend his money, at a loss, on a football club and football players. But it becomes much more problematic when companies like MSI start making massive profits from it. People have a hard enough time dealing with Abramovich’s investment even when the money goes to other clubs, the sport will suffer much more when the money leaves it altogether.
What’s more, if you thought that billionaires were coming out of the woodwork to copy Abramovich – despite the fact that he’s losing money – imagine how many MSI clones will spring up within a year when there is a shedload of profit to be made. The slope the Premiership is on is pretty much as slipperierest as it’s going to get. And that’s bloody slipperier than most.
The very dynamic of football and football support is also at risk. Why do we go on and on about who is a ‘Big Club’ and who isn’t? Why did Tottenham fans celebrate madly when Jurgen Klinnsman decided to grace their club? Why do we crave that ‘big name’ signing? Why do we think Chelsea’s trophies are empty? Why does loyalty and ‘badge kissing’ mean so much to us?
The intangible answer to these questions is what makes supporting a club and following football such a satisfying experience, and is also what the wheeling and dealing of companies like MSI will gradually kill off. If football’s governing bodies don’t regulate transfers like Tevezcherano, we’ll be looking at a very different sport before long.
Juvenile taunts aside, many clubs will actually become feeder clubs for those above them. Success will be fleeting as clubs will enjoy 6 months of success relying on a World Class star, and then have to compensate when they move to greener pastures. Will it be that easy to cheer a player knowing 100%, without a shadow of a doubt, he’s merely there for a few months holiday to learn the language until a better club comes in?
Maybe, and maybe football won’t be that bad when Wigan collect the next Maradona for 3 months until Arsenal can afford the transfer fee or Everton keep the next Ronaldinho warm until Manchester United need him. There is something to be said for competitive parity but, for me, there is a lot more to be said for the genuine, honest and true passion that most of us have for our football clubs and the players who really want to play for them.