Football: Pay over pride?
by Miles Caston
Thu 30th Aug 2012
Robin Van Persie’s £24 million moveto Manchester United is the latest high-profile transfer in the Barclays Premier League. Van Persie, 29, has signed a four-your deal with United, long-time rivals with his former club, Arsenal.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has stated that with his other attacking players, he’s close to having a: “forward line like 1999…the best four strikers in Europe” (1).
Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp believes Van Persie’s prolific goal-scoring form may give United the edge in this season’s title race:“If he performs like he did last year then him and Rooney will just be an incredible partnership” (2).
Arsenal were reportedly prepared to make Van Persie the club’s highest paid player ever, but didn’t offer him a new contract (3). The Gunners have endured seven trophyless seasons, whereas United can boast being the most successful team in English football.
The Red Devils are said to have negotiated Van Persie’s salary in the region of £250,000 per week – the same as Wayne Rooney (4).
The transfer tempts the question on many sports fans minds – is contemporary football all about money?
Paul Tomkins’ Pay As You Play points to staunch evidence for this. In 2009/10, not only did the Premier League’s eight most expensive teams finish in the top eight positions, the three cheapest clubs in the division were all relegated (5).
Player-turned-pundit Robbie Savage was quick to defend his cohorts during a BBC Radio 5 Live 606 phone-in show: “It’s not so-and-so’s fault if he’s offered £100,000 a week. You’d take it if it was offered to you!” (5).
Savage may have a point. Arguably,the football world holds a microcosmic mentality of the wider western world. In today’s society, we’re all spoon fed adverts and marketing strategies that encourage us to consume. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but if you buy this right now (insert latest product, accessory, gadget, or garment), you will be transformed into a state of near-nirvana.
Subsequently, if you don’t buy the latest big thing, you’re actually inferior to those who do have it.
Nobody likes feeling left out, so the consumer club keeps growing – as do the big boy football clubs who shell out millions for a squad of superstars.
Football clubs and their supporters from the lower leagues may not: “be banging on about money”, perhaps this is because they’re not affected by the big bucks. Maybe they would if they could (5).
Top-flight football definitely appearsto be a rich man’s world – or according Piers Morgan – full of mercenaries, heartless, selfish little s***s. (6)