The game of football was created as a working man’s game. For the first 100 odd years of its creation, that’s how it remained.
In recent years, however, the hyper-injection of money that has fuelled the success of the game in England, primarily the Premier League, the exorbitant ticket prices some clubs have employed and the vast financial divide between not just the top and the bottom of the Premier League but between the Premier League and the EFL has meant that statement becomes more vacuous by the day.
As fans, we are constantly given excuses about why ticket prices are what they are (thankfully not at our club). Some are more legitimate than others.
This week, the nonsensical “golden handshake” of £5m that outgoing Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore is reported to be receiving from the 20 clubs makes a mockery of fans investment in the game and destroys any justification they had for not providing things like free travel for away games, reduced ticket prices, and cheap food & drink on match-days.
The idea was concocted by Bruce Buck, Chairman of Chelsea and most recently argued as mentioned by us in a previous editorial that so-called smaller Premier League clubs are diluting the product of the Premier League, clearly a man in touch with the grassroots then.
There has been much speculation about whether the gift has actually been paid but 5 clubs were reported to be against the idea; Huddersfield Town, Wolves, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Leicester.
The stunning fact that it was only these five who were against it perhaps shouldn’t be surprising in and of itself.
It does, however, reveal the true characters of the remaining 15 Premier League Club chairmen who seem more willing to spend £250,000 of their own money on a man who has earned over £20m in wages since he took up the post than they do on their own fans.
Like Bruce Buck’s comments describing the smaller teams in the Premier League as “the great unwashed”, this golden handshake is another demonstration of the demonstrable difference between the views held by those running the game at the highest and those of the ordinary fan.
We don’t know for certain whether Town have been forced to pay the money but if they have, this whole story is an indictment of the greed and grandiose opulence that has engulfed the Premier League.
We at Talk of the Town condemn this narcissistic gesture and hope that regular football fans will stand up to their owners and the nonchalant way in which they have betrayed their own fan-bases.