Posted tagged ‘Manchester City FC’

The Tevez anguish

December 7, 2011

Argentine footballer Carlos Tevez is out of favour with his manager in Manchester City FC and wants to move. He is deeply unhappy, perhaps depressed, and is desperate to get away from Manchester. ‘Oh dry the starting tear’, as WS Gilbert once wrote in a poem, because a solution is in view: Italian club AC Milan is prepared to take him on loan and pay him his salary of, wait for it, £200,000 per week. That’s £10.4 million per annum.

So let’s see where that places him in the general league table of millionaires. It is, as it happens, almost exactly the same pay as is earned (and I’m using the word with a straight face) by the chief executive of Barclays Bank, Robert Diamond. But it is much more than the paltry £2.2 million earned by the chief executive of Ireland’s largest company, the Smurfit Kappa group, Gary McGann. Furthermore it is three times what Tevez’s manager at Manchester City, Roberto Mancini, earns, and 20 times the pay of Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew.

It may seem that highly paid university heads should stay clear of this subject, but I’ll venture forth anyway. Football is becoming crazy, and we are setting up conditions in which over-hyped prima donnas (even when talented, as Tevez is) destroy themselves and others around them while burning an amount of money that they do not, in any objective sense, actually earn. This in turn feeds from an over-priced system of television rights and season tickets, and it is turning a people’s sport into something that is as much soap opera as it is football.

I do not object to high salaries for footballers. They only have so much time in which to earn it. But £10 million p.a. is way beyond what is needed to set them up for life. In the meantime, this extraordinary business model is subverting the ideals of the game.

I know I’m not saying anything new here. But I’m saying it anyway. This cannot go on, or at any rate it shouldn’t.

Football wars

October 12, 2010

Readers of this blog may know that I am a supporter of English premiership club Newcastle United. Just over a week ago the club experienced a major blow when one of its new star players, Hatem Ben Arfa, suffered a major injury when his leg was broken twice as a result of a tackle by Manchester City and Netherlands player Nigel de Jong. Ben Arfa will now be out of action for several months, perhaps for the rest of the season. If you have a strong stomach, you can see the incident here.

The extraordinary thing about the tackle and its result is that the referee didn’t even see a foul, never mind something suggesting a harsher judgement. Indeed de Jong, as crime parlance might put it, was ‘known to the police’. In the World Cup finals in South Africa he was seen doing a similarly outrageous tackle, here.

Soccer, like many team sports, can be a fairly rugged game, and injuries happen. However there must be limits, and where these are exceeded there should be consequences. In that context, the reported decision by the Football Association to take no action over the tackle on Ben Arfa seems to me at least to be hard to understand. If such over-the-top conduct on the field is completely unpunished, then it suggests a type and style of football, and perhaps a kind of conduct off the football pitch, that is aggressive and violent is acceptable. It should not be.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 743 other followers