Will we see a response from the PFA in light of chief executive Gordon Taylor’s recent comments?
The Bolton Wanderers legend stated that English football is “in danger of losing its soul” because of devils in the game which he identified as selfish players, avaricious owners and managers obsessed with the short term.
Basically, representatives of the sport in various compartments are losing their dignity by prostituting themselves out to the highest bidders. There just isn’t any loyalty anymore.
The summer indiscretion of Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, Gareth Bale and Papiss Cisse hasn’t exactly helped in curtailing Taylor’s fears.
Now I’m no expert, and any proposals I’m about to suggest wouldn’t have the required background or substance to earn the support of the dexterous business minds in the Dragons’ Den, but it’s a concept with the potential to be cultivated.
It would require the Government and FA chairman Greg Dyke to work harmoniously in a bid to give back to communities, but it would also need elite Premier League clubs and players to be in acceptance.
While the nucleus of towns and cities are crippled with the recession, and businesses fall from the landscape, the time has come for those profiting to give something back. After all, the population is the lifeblood of football clubs.
The Premier League harbours five of the World’s top 10 richest clubs. Liverpool, at the foot of that financial hierarchy, has a purported value of $651m in Forbes’ rich list. Manchester City in ninth – living off the financial muscle of the Abu Dhabi United Group – is valued at approximately $689m and can afford to pay players lucrative wages such as Yaya Toure, who earns £180,000 per week, David Silva (£160,000) and Samir Nasri who earns a similar amount.
Then there’s Chelsea in seventh, flanked by Juventus and AC Milan, with a reported wealth of $901m which means that the payment scheme at Stamford Bridge can afford to lavish players such as Eden Hazard with £185,000 per week, Fernando Torres and John Terry £175,000 each week, and Frank Lampard £140,000.
When perusing the list further you’ll find Arsenal in fourth, with a valuation of $1.326bn and Manchester United in second – behind Real Madrid – with a wealth of $3.165bn. At Old Trafford, personnel such as want away striker Wayne Rooney and Golden Boot winner Robin Van Persie are paid £180,000 per working week.
Now you can imagine what an impact it would have on the country’s financial structure should clubs and players earning a certain level of payment, make a minimal but perceptible donation back in to local authorities.
For example, if Van Persie was to surrender a single percentage of his weekly wage then that would amount to a £1,800 contribution. And that’s just a solitary player. It would be magnified significantly if that scheme was rolled out across the Premier League.
It would be a Government led initiative where the money could be drip fed regionally. County Council’s would then be provided with a pot of money that could be applied for by community, sports or business groups.
With disruptive influences such as Rooney and Suarez causing turmoil at the hearts of clubs – despite being shown support time and time again by supporters – would this be a means to inherit something back from them?
Fans – and then Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish – backed the Anfield striker following Patrice Evra’s allegations of racism which was met by an eight game ban, and they did the same again under boss Brendan Rodgers when the controversial Uruguayan was penalised with another ban for biting the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. The same applies for Rooney following his transfer request at Manchester United.
Even if the imbecilic behaviour of players continues to undermine and disrespect fans of clubs, at least their riches would be pumping the soul back in to our communities, and maybe even clubs with a more delicate threshold.
Taylor said: “It’s my job to protect players but when you think what some players earn, I do feel we need to get them to embrace a lot more responsibility for leaving the game in a better place than when they joined it.
“It’s a time of trying to remember that football is a sport, an entertainment. Football has a real social responsibility for bringing people together in a world where there are a lot of tensions, whether economic, racist, religious or political.
“We have to show the best possible example as the Olympics did and a lot of other sports do. Football has to work really hard to put a smile on people’s faces and not just be so focused on money.”
He added: “Football has got its biggest job to keep the soul of the game. Supporters really are the lifeblood of the game. We need to make sure we don’t alienate supporters.”