Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ashley Cole 'Boo' Brou-Ha All About Money ...

I don't watch many England football games these days (who can, when ticket prices are so sky-high and so many games are subscription-satellite only) but I did catch the England vs Kazachstan game last Saturday.

One incident during the game provoked a chorus of 'boos' from the England fans, when defender Ashley Cole provided possibly the worst back-pass in history to his keeper, only to see it snapped up by a Kazachstan striker (the name escapes me) who went on to score and reduce Kazachstans deficit to 2-1. After that, every time Cole touched the ball, he was greeted with derision by the 'fans.

I don't condone the behaviour of these fans, but in a way it is understandable - and in my view, it's down to money and materialism. The 'fans' who watch top premiership games and internationals in the UK are not true sports fans at all - they are just the elite few who can afford to pay the outrageous ticket prices, which have increased in real terms so drastically over the last ten years.

So if Cole and the rest of the over-paid, under-performing England stars seek real support at the games, then the game needs to attract the real fans back again, who currently cannot afford to see the games. And the main reason for the ticket price increase? Appaling wage demands placed upon the clubs by mercenary players, of which Ashley Cole is considered as one of the worst, or as The Times put it:
..it has been easy to paint a picture of him as, in his own words, “a gobby little shit” — the type that might tell Arsenal where to stick their contract offer and then go straight to tea with their arch-rivals.
The sage of Cole's borderline illegal transfer from his 'beloved' Arsenal to Chelsea in 2005, after Arsenal offered him a low salary, or as this ESPN article puts it:
... he almost crashed his $220,000 Bentley Continental GT when his agent called to say Arsenal would only offer him $104,000 a week rather then the $113,000 he was asking for. "I nearly swerved off the road," Cole writes. "I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger."
England's national team, despite being lauded as the 'Golden Generation' have consistently failed in the last 20 years, with players rather more interested in the luxury cars, high-profile wedding, C-list celeb magazines, bling jewels for the WAG, and endorsements. It is understandable that the fans voice their disapproval.

If you demand extraordinary money you darned well better play an extraordinary game. You want respect? It starts with your respect for those who pay your wages - the fans.