Thursday, 2 May 2013

Blowing Whistles In The Wind

Among the various sectors of the economy and structures of our present lives there seem to be many that are not “sustainable” to use a word much in favour.  Why this is so will vary widely although there will be similarities and other connections in many.  Sometimes the radical change that occurs will be slow at other times fast.

Some cases are optional in that we can choose to take an interest in them or not or to buy them or not.  The degree to which they are however will be affected by the need of the providers or suppliers to persuade us to keep going or keep buying.

As the soccer seasons staggers on to its end this is a real question.  With games still to play the major issues have been largely settled.  The FA Cup now commands less interest and as the European one will now be a German affair.  How many of us care, if any, whether Dortmund or Munich win?

“Private Eye” this week has another item about the financial affairs of Rangers of Glasgow.  One of the two leading Scottish clubs it has been brought down not by lack of footballing skills nor of support from its fans.  The cause has been the way in which the money has been used. 

The consequence has been to make a travesty of the present Scottish League system this season and maybe for more.  This has become mixed up in a debate about how the Scottish leagues should organise themselves which resembles more the ancient football of medieval times rather than the more coherent game of today.

South of the Border, the League has become almost a three horse race for almost all the prizes.  There are a handful of other clubs that are “might be”, a group of others managing to survive at a higher level and then a whole lot of other teams many of whom are surviving from one month to the next.

This has been the product of market forces which have become distorted by major flows of money dictated from outside football.  The TV money is fairly clear.  But some of the other money flows raise a lot of questions.  Quite which club is being used for what other than football is a subject nobody wants to talk about.

Over in Europe what is clear is that as well as similar considerations in other countries there is often a major State involvement from either national or local government or both. 

This, along with other money flows, has attracted the interest of the European Union which claims to have ideas about “competition” as they define it.  Given the political balances what the EU might come up with to make the game more competitive we do not know, but it will not necessarily make it better or more interesting.

Is it possible that the whole lot could quite suddenly and unexpectedly implode?  Essentially, football in its modern guise has had about a fifty year run.  But now for the young it might seem from another age. 

The young also have more toys, but often less time and less money to be spending it on what one of my Aunt’s used to call twenty odd b….. fools kicking round leather about.  What might bring them round to agree with her?

One item is that the gross financial inequalities in the game become a turn off, especially if it becomes apparent that too much dirty work is involved.  Another is that if it more clearly becomes a branch of government media operations.  

Another is the predictability of a season and the limitations of the present structures take away the interest.  It is noticeable that among the crowds these days there seems to be an increasing age imbalance.

Looking at the history of the last couple of hundred years it is clear that the way people used to amuse themselves or be entertained has changed many times in many ways and that often the shift occurs between one generation and the next.

Could we begin to see the end of football as we know it or has it already begun to happen?

No comments:

Post a Comment