Conventional wisdom has it that in terms of a means of employment, football is often considered the best case scenario. There’s a reason every boy dreams of scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final; the extortionate salary, the beautiful women, the company perks, and don’t forget the possibility of an early retirement.
Although, with such a lifestyle comes a catch. That catch being the moment you sign your life away to the ever gorging money spinning machine that is modern football’s transfer market.
The title of ‘athlete’ has always evaded the conflicts and complications of every day life. Never need they worry about taxes, bills or the thought of job security in the modern game. Yet this simple, if not patronising, pedestal that we pay our favourite sportsmen to live their lives upon is now in danger of excelling to a level that no longer deems them men at all.
Were the transfer market was once a mere tool to help clubs in a pickle or difficult situation; it now sits firmly in the minds of every manager/chairman/agents mind itching away at their sanity while they contemplate just how it will effect tomorrows day of work. The term ‘mercenary’ has been used extensively and appropriately so, but has anyone looked at the situation from any other point of view, than that of a jealous/vindictive mindset hell-bent on crucifying a footballer for trying to make more money?
The sorry truth of modern football isn’t the footballers themselves, but the way our beloved game treats them. Loyalty – a word often thrown in the face of any footballer moving away from a club half way round the globe from his birth place – is agonizingly absent throughout the sports biggest clubs. To the extent that with the exception of one specific Catalan club, football clubs no longer hold any empathy for local players, what so ever.
Even the once heralded strongholds of football’s good hearted spirit like Holland or Brazil, have become detached conveyor belts, built to profit from the talent of exploited athletes who were once bright eyed youngsters just looking to make a living off the beautiful game.
Take away the ability to buy success and you invert, if not reform, the nature of all that is wrong with the sport. Where football clubs would build dynasties upon their network of henchmen and ‘scouts’ forever probing for new stars to obtain, raise and eventually exploit. A new age would come to pass that represented an ecology of clubs that built themselves around the idea of self representation, local players, and effectively contributing to the community that created them.
Football would return to the golden era of cultural differentiation between leagues and competitions. The days of stagnated cock fights between two sides featuring the same tactics and formations would be replaced by teams unique to their region, with tactics that had evolved to make the most of their exclusive players.
Tell me you wouldn’t prefer a world were the best football clubs in the land weren’t simply based on the money that drove them or the marketing strategies that guided them, but the means by which they nurtured their own communities. A sport that promised a true European cup that displayed fifty separate countries and cultures through the wonder of our beautiful game.
Well, wouldn’t you?
Twitter – @stefan_gla
(This exert is the brain child of Neil, Callum or Ethan at Surreal Football. We simply stole it and did our best to profit from it. )