Football fans might feel aggrieved that the Champions League is in mortal danger, but the obsession with money is nothing new in the game.
Gary Neville’s heartfelt rant about punishing the six Premier League clubs who look set to join the new Super League is well-meaning, but totally devoid of reality.
Having received millions throughout his career at Man Utd, and now being handsomely paid by Sky Sports to analyze matches, Neville isn’t alone among the slightly deluded crop of pundits and ex-footballers who are screaming for punishment to be handed down.
Their frustrations are understandable, that football fans are being robbed of something special as the game moves further from the grassroots, but those same ex-players were happy to see fans consistently overcharged by clubs for tickets and shirts in order to pay their exorbitant salaries.
If Neville & Co. are so concerned about the game slipping away from fans, why do they appear on TV channels that the public must pay to watch, thereby taking it further from the ordinary working man the ex-right-back purports to defend?
Where were all these erstwhile pundits when the biggest private networks were buying up rights to broadcast matches?
They were silently playing on, because they were and are part of the milking parlour that is professional sport.
And now six English clubs, along with other top European sides, have seen there’s more money to be had in a new, elite competition.
This may be a cartel of sorts, racketeering if you will, but Keane, Richards, Ferdinand and Gary shouldn’t pretend it’s anything shocking or surprising.
The horse bolted when some of these players were in their prime, and they were the chief beneficiaries. It seems a little rich and a little late to decry the commercialization of football now.
The proposed Super League could threaten the “football pyramid” (a new, trendy term), but forgive me for thinking the pyramid was only ever scaled by Big Money clubs anyway.