You don't have to tell anybody who follows football that money rules these days. It is common knowledge. Premier League football is bankrolled by the money awarded to sides via rich foreign investors, television rights and Premier league and cup competition finishes, meaning that many sides are prepared to spend beyond their means in order to achieve something, as success brings money.
In the past few days I've found myself wondering about what would happen if top level football just imploded, whether it would be a good thing if it did happen and whether it is a real possibility. What would happen if one of the so called 'top four' became so in debt that it was impossible to survive whilst still having to pay millions a week in wages to their players? This week we have seen a precident set.
Anzhi Makhachkala of the Russian League have just made Samuel Etoo the highest paid player in the world, earning 60p a second, £36.16 a minute, £2,170 an hour, £52,083 a day, ...£364,583 a week, which all together is £1,458,333 a month! In England, Samir Nasri has just moved from Arsenal to top four rivals Manchester City and had his wages doubled. It is just pure madness that sides can afford to pay that kind of money to their players, and that the owners of these sides are prepared to do so in order to guarentee success.
Further down the food chain, Joey Barton looks set to sign for QPR today for a massive £80,000 a week wages.
Then it begs the question - is Joey Barton really worth 80k a week? Sure, QPR have saved a fortune as they have not had to pay a fee to Newcastle for his services, but it is undoubtably a huge risk when you consider they could be relegated back to the Championship with an 80k per week player on their books.
QPR should have looked at the path Hull have gone down with Jimmy Bullard before commiting to sign Barton - they also offered silly wages to a player in the hope he could keep them up, and instead they have been stuck paying his wages for two seasons without him playing an awful lot of football for their side.
It is just as bad the further down the football league. Plymouth Argyle are struggling to even pay the bills and have spiralled down the leagues, going from Championship to league 2 in just two seasons. Bradford managed to stay in the premier league for two seasons around a decade ago, but were relegated, couldn't cope with the aftermath of the wages they had paid whilst a top flight club and now are a regular feature each season when the league two fixtures are released. If it happens to small clubs, leaving a trail of destruction, god knows what would happen if the Sheiks suddenly decided to stop paying the bills at Manchester City.
Some say the sooner it happens the better, as then clubs can start developing young, local talent rather than paying massive fees for players from other English sides and foreign clubs. Is it fair that Chelsea and Manchester City have spent year upon year on big foreign names in attempts to win the league? I believe not, and our national side has suffered as a consequence as there are very few top class talents coming through at the moment.
I agree with the notion that football at the top level needs to implode sooner rather than later - the most heartbreaking thing to happen is that since the Premier League was formed, football has well and truly lost it's soul. I'd do anything to experience a night game at Roker Park, or an away trip with the lads all piled into the back of a transit van. Instead I have to make do with this illusion, this money-driven machine we call a sport, played in 'plastic' arenas with shite atmospheres and inflated ticket prices. We have to make do with watching players who only want to be at the club because they offered more money than another side did, and not for the love.
Football may be an all around better product to the one which was around in the 1970's, but it is so disjointed from reality that is is becoming impossible to love it.