Football used to be the game of the working class, after a week down the mines or in the factories, Saturday at 3pm was the highlight of the week when grandad’s, son’s and grandsons made their way to the old stadiums with their scarfs and rosettes to watch their team play the beautiful game.
Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester, London, this was the game of the people, the beautiful game, In ’56 the European Cup was formed and became the greatest tournament in world football, only the league winners qualified, Madrid, Benfica, the two Milan’s, Celtic in ’67, Man U a year later, Liverpool in the 1970’s, Juve, Barca, it was wonderful football and the teams equal but then in the 1990’s along came Murdoch and Sky and the EPL and it became a game of the elite.
Russian, American and Arab hedge fund merchants arrived and the greed for wealth became paramount and the fans became clients or customers, clubs who were nobody suddenly became superpowers, Man City, Chelski, PSG, football was distorted as the old EC became the Champions League, then you didn’t need to win your league but could be as low as 4th, it was a farce but all driven by greed.
The past year has seen the virus and empty stadiums and the Oligarchs and billionaires have realised do we really need fans in the stadium at all? So we have arrived at plans for a new European Super League, you don’t qualify but get invited, no relegation or promotion, shown live midweek to a world wide audience on iPads, iPhones, Now TV and Sky, and the crucial point, it’s worth billions to the clubs involved and f**k the rest of football.
It’s an absolute sham! At the same time UEFA announced new plans for a revamped CL, admittedly it’s also driven by the big clubs and finance but at least it’s a fairer system where you qualify on ability, a meritocracy, it will be interesting to see how that pans out.
Hopefully FIFA throw these clubs out of football, see how happy they will be then when they can’t play in their own leagues and their players can’t play for their international teams, that will put the cat among the pigeons.
Football has become difficult in recent times with all the money involved, it’s not the game I fell in love with 60 years ago, this could be the final straw unless UEFA give these greed merchants the boot.
Paddy McMenamin was born in Belfast with Donegal and Tyrone parents. He spent the 70’s in Long Kesh. He has been going to Paradise since the Benfica game in Nov. 1969. He lived in Donegal for 30 years but now lives in Galway. He returned to University at 50 and became a secondary school teacher of history and English.
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