When I was a teenager, back in the 1970s, and was still going to football matches, when a team was winning their fans would chant, "We are the greatest!"
When Man City won the league this afternoon their fans all joined together and chanted, "We are the richest!"
Well, actually, they didn't. But they should have done.
I can understand why people would want to go to see a football match where the players on the pitch are of the highest standard and have been bought in from all over the world. It's like going to see the greatest ballet dancers or greatest opera singers. But I cannot for the life of me understand how you can get attached to such a team in the same way people used to when winning was not all down to which teams had the richest owners and the number of foreign players on a team was limited by the rules of the game. I mean, where is the connection?
Nowadays, when they interview football fans on the TV whose teams are having a poor season, instead of saying that the manager should try harder to inspire the players to victory they complain that not enough money is being spent on buying in better players.
Of course, all this means that we have the same teams in our premier league all the while as the successful clubs attract the most money and can then spend the most money and so remain successful. The only time a team can work its way up from the lower leagues is if some extremely rich person buys the club and pumps enough money into it to purchase players of a sufficient quality to climb up the leagues. This stupid situation is most stupid in Scotland where they only have two premier league quality football teams and the rest of the league is made up of teams that would be playing in the FA Vase in England. Of course, every year one of the two teams wins the league. How anybody can get excited about this is beyond me.
If I was in charge I would pass a law that would cap the salaries of all football players (at a reasonable but not obscene level) and would cap (at a very low figure) the cost of tickets for all football matches. I would also cap the amount of money that could be spent on new players and such money would have to come from ticket sales only. This would mean that good, but greedy, English football players would all go and play abroad. But that wouldn't really matter as all football clubs would suffer equally from the skill drain. The playing field would be level. Under my scheme, no player who isn't playing for an English club, would be allowed to play for the English national side. Therefore, players would have a choice - money or glory. And football fans would spend their hard earned cash on tickets to watch teams that they could support with integrity as silverware would be won through the skill of the players and the management rather than through the wealth of the club owners. Then the fans could go back to chanting, "We are the greatest," without having that niggling feeling at the back of their minds that the only reason their team won was because of the healthy state of some foreign, dodgy businessman's offshore bank account.
My name is MadPriest and I'm a socialist.