Back in January 1964 the Beatles released a track called “can’t buy me love” which considering the money they have made since then and the fame they have enjoyed, probably wasn’t strictly true. Certainly they have enjoyed a kind of loving, revered by millions of people in countless countries worldwide.
The same can be said for a select few football clubs, whose names are for ever lodged in the hearts of lovers of the game, even those football fans too young or too far away to have seen them play, in those pre satellite days, knew of them by reputation.
So clubs like Real Madrid who dominated the emerging European cup for years, whilst introducing the world to a new breed of footballer, led by the legendary pair, De Stefano and Puskas. Herbert Chapman perhaps the first of the great managers assembled the Highbury heroes who elevated our club to greatness. The Manchester Utd of Busby babe’s fame, Cloughies Forest, Shankley’s Liverpool and even the Spurs in their push and run heyday. Our own invincible’s of recent times would be included as would Fergies Utd and their dominance of the Premier league since its inception, along with today’s European club champions the exhilarating and exciting Barcelona, who include every fans dream player the superbly gifted Messi goal poacher extraordinaire in their ranks.
All have earned their place in history by style, grit, skill and pure entertainment to be read, remembered and talked about by football fans of all hues and nationalities with admiration and respect wherever our beautiful game is played and studied.
How sad then that on Sunday, whilst watching the Chelsea and City millionaires perform, I felt no admiration or respect, just a kind of pity that these magnificent players had succumbed to the power of the oil buck. The very fact that Fergies finest had been done for 6 by his so-called noisy neighbours, after themselves doing us for 8 a few weeks ago didn’t cheer me up. Nor seeing Chelsea’s arrogant superstars have their nose put out of joint, by a combination of questionable refereeing, a bunch of hastily gathered journeymen pros and a manager who is reputably about as welcome in football circles as a fart in a space suit. None of these facts raised even a smile.
Rather it produced a degree of real sadness, especially for those loyal City fans including my own son who have been waiting a lifetime to win the league and here they are excitedly watching their newly purchased heroes showing the ability to do just that. Whilst the rest of the football world looks on with a kind of studied contempt, that the glories that others have earned by patience, hard work and natural progression, could well be short circuited, devalued and sullied by the excesses of individuals who possess the kind of wealth that many nations would give their eye teeth to have as their GDP.
How frightening therefore to realise that a significant number of our fans would gladly, see our own lurking Russian unceremoniously installed in a position of power in the boardroom at the Emirates. This, his reward for a promise to sign the cheques and superstars we supposedly need to compete, distributing his oily roubles across the football world. For the love of the club I wonder or with the sole purpose of basking in the reflected glory of the myriad trophies his supporters say we are guaranteed to win?
What these individuals who call for such change seem not to understand is, we like John, Paul, George and Ringo, don’t have to buy love, because we with our tradition and style have already earned it.
Written by dandan