Is Greed In A Crisis Finally Turning The Fans Away
Friday, 18th Sep 2020 08:18
Throughout history football has always gone through a boom or bust period, but the current Covid 19 Pandemic could trigger the worst crisis it has known, with fans becoming disillusioned with the greed in the game.
Speaking to many friends both locally and across the country, I am seeing a large number not renewing season tickets and quite happy to turn their back on the game, even those who have stayed loyal and bought season tickets for a season that they do not have a clue if and when they will get in to actually see a game are disillusioned with the way that some clubs and the game in general is still consumed by greed.
In a week when at one end of the scale Macclesfield Town where wound up for debts a little over half a million were forced into liquidation, whilst at the other end Tottenham Hotspur who only a couple of months ago where pleading poverty and who went cap in hand to the Bank Of England for a £175 million loan to cover running costs from the government’s Covid corporate financing facility lending scheme, which has provided them with the unsecured loan. It is repayable in full next April at a rate of 0.5%, which is low in commercial terms, although Spurs could redraw it for another year.
Back in June they said they were “not going to spend rivers of money” in the next transfer window, whenever that opens, and the bank loan will not be used for new players – rather to provide flexibility and support during what will be a hugely testing time."
Yet here they are only weeks later on the verge of a deal to sign Gareth Bale a player who is report ably on weekly wage of half a million and who could have paid off Macclesfield's debt from less than two weeks wages.
Spurs will not be paying his full wages, but they are said to be paying around £20 million over the next 8 months in wages and loan fees.
Likewise in a move that will annoy Saints fans, after pleading poverty in signing Pierre Emile Hojbjerg they are suddenly trying to buy Danny Ings, this would cost them somewhere in the region of £40 million plus.
So why are Spurs suddenly willing to risk Government money, tax payers money to be precise, a debt which being unsecured would be hard to get back on some cosmetic signings that if made will have no great resale value in the case of Ings due to his age.
The answer is pure greed and desperation to be seen as a big club, they and others like them can't seem to see the current situation for what it is, that it is about survival at present not extravagance.
As unemployment rises so does the anger of football fans when they see spending like this.
I am finding that many fans are turning their backs on football, not being able to go to games has made it easier, many are getting out of the habit of going and it will be very easy to stay away once fans are allowed to return.
Clubs like Spurs believe that the money is not in the regular match going supporter but in football tourism, big TV revenues and also foreign supporters with money to burn who want to see a Premier League game.
But the attraction of the worldwide TV audience is not just the football, but the razzmatazz surrounding the Premier League, that means full stadiums and once the empty seats start to appear, the product is not so appealing, but La Liga ot the Bundesliga might well be.
So football is finally being consumed by it's greed and that will in turn destroy the game that we love and more sadly the culture surrounding it.
My experience is that Saints supporters and indeed some of other clubs who have been season ticket holders for years, decades even, have finally had enough, they are sick to death of the greed in the game and the type of fan who is attracted, social media is full of Spurs fans who have probably never seen their team play live but are salivating at the club spending money it didn't have and it borrowed on expensive trophy signings.
Most football fans are suffering some form of hardship, if it is not financial, there is still the worry of losing jobs and not being able to see friends and family, they are loyal to their clubs until they feel they are being exploited and milked for every penny they have, that time sadly seems to be here now.
But the tale of Macclesfield should ring a few alarm bells, on the list of creditors was HMRC for £188k they and indeed any Government department, do not stand on sentiment, the £175 million needs to be paid next summer, it can be deferred for a year, but then it has to be paid, if it isn't then the high court beckons, Spurs are taking a big gamble and they are not alone, I see other clubs doing likewise, Tottenham are just the club in the news at the moment so the most relevant.
Football clubs and the authorities need to start to look at the sustainability of the game rather than just the tip of the iceberg, if they don't then plenty more clubs will go to the wall both big and small and although the Premier League is at the top of the pyramid, any building needs strong foundations at the bottom, when those start to crumble the whole house can come crashing down.
Photo: Action Images
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