What’s really damaging football in England?

One of my Arsenal supporting friends recently claimed Chelsea were “spoiling football”. It set me thinking and the conclusions are set out below.

Newcastle United are close to being bought by another foreign consortium to add to Liverpool, Manchester United, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, West Ham United and, obviously, our beloved Blues, and yet it is Chelsea who are cast as the pantomime villains, slandered in the media, sniped at by certain rival managers and hated by the non-Chelsea supporting public at large.

So what is really wrong with our national game and why do the Fourth Estate ignore the real problem and focus their bile on the most charismatic and colourful manager in British football and his financial backers? Beyond jealousy it’s a question I don’t have an answer to but let’s examine the only member of the “big four” still in domestic ownership and ask ourselves why we tolerate a club who routinely field eleven foreign players and sport a manager who is contributing little or nothing to the future of domestic football.

The simple fact of Premiership football is it is the best product available in a crowded market and, as a result, has a global appeal in the same way that Formula 1 or the NFL (to a lesser extent) generate interest from armchair spectators around the world. The natural result of this global appeal will be to attract foreign investment and foreign owners who view English football as an investment opportunity.

Chelsea is arguably the exception amongst the foreign owned clubs as our backer has a different agenda from the private equity companies owning Manchester United, West Ham United, Liverpool and possibly Newcastle United. Our backer has invested in Chelsea partly as a hobby, partly as a tax write off and partly as a way of weaving himself in the fabric of our society but nevertheless with the objective of turning the club into the biggest in the world. We as supporters have benefited both in terms of success on the field and because we get to watch half the England team play for us week in, week out, and let’s hope that, going forward, the club’s academy will spawn more John Terrys and Joe Coles (Cole was originally involved with Chelsea’s youth programme before joining West Ham). You have to believe it will given the amount of money Roman Abramovich is pouring into the youth set-up.

But what of Arsenal, whose manager appears able to attack people on the touchline and the press seem to think he must have been provoked and examine the motivation for the attack by “such a thoughtful an articulate” man – imagine if it had been a certain Portuguese individual? This is the man who claims he sees his team as an “international club” allowing him to field no domestic players week after week (yet when Claudio Ranieri was the first manager to field an all foreign team Arsene Wenger was the first to state that it would damage the game in this country). Theo Walcott is their solitary domestic offering and a product of Saints’ youth academy. Which ever way you look at it, the real long term danger to football is in a system that allows clubs to be able to invest their money in multiple players from the Ivory Coast and other African banana republics at the expense of our home grown players.

I want to know why the press focus their bile on Mourinho and Chelsea and let this arrogant condescending tosspot get away with risking the future of our national game – no questions asked?

Contribution by Peter H. Visit the Publish page for more information about contributing.