The January transfer window slammed shut last night and, in a mad last-minute scramble, several hundred millions of pounds changed hands as players flitted across the country and continent to find homes in pastures new. Whilst it was exciting to watch, is it actually good for the game?
This year saw a lot more business conducted compared to the previous January window, and apparently also saw some clubs completely lose any sense of reality. Huge sums of money were paid for players either without any real pedigree, or who are currently playing way below their best form. The English Premiership alone splashed out over £200million, including £50million for Fernando Torres and £35million for Andy Carroll. That’s the same Andy Carroll who has yet to complete a full Premiership season and who has played just once for England – in a friendly. Yes he may have great potential, but £35million is an awful lot of dosh to dole out in the hope that one day he will become the next Alan Shearer.
The current economic climate doesn’t appear to have filtered through to some football club chairmen, or should I say owners. Since the arrival of Roman Abramovich at Chelsea the gap between the EPL and the rest of English football, and even to some extent the rest of European football, has grown increasingly wide. And, a gap has also developed within the Premiership itself with just a handful of clubs in with any kind of shout of making it into Europe, and in reality just 4 teams with a realistic chance of taking the title. Can it really be good for the wider game to have so much power residing in the hands of so few clubs? And will the money men hang around forever? Only one club can be Premiership champions in a season – everyone else are losers. For how long will the owners put up with pouring millions of pounds into those clubs without any real silverware in return?
The economic bubble burst in 2008 with devastating worldwide effect. I can only hope that the football bubble doesn’t follow the same path. I have my fears.