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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Who Do We Dare Trust?

We all know the benefits of market driven capitalism and for creating wealth no better system has yet been invented. But stripped of state control, it is a relentless and unfeeling juggernaut, which will roll over everything in its path, in its pursuit of its amoral ends - ever more money.

Some things it can't do, when left to its own devices. Therefore, in times when other things matter more, it has to be checked and controlled by the state.

For example, for the duration of the WW2, America, the Mecca of the free market, became a command economy. There were no markets for liberty ships and tanks, we didn't have the money to buy, only a desperate need. In peace time, if left to do its worst, it tends to create the need for charity, for some, and the means to give it, for others. It is the engine of wealth-making, not social justice.

You don't have to be a communist, not to trust capitalism. You don't have to be Michael Moore or an unemployed resident of Flint, Michigan, to know that the means of production, can be moved elsewhere. You don't have to be a Brooklyn Dodgers fan to know that professional sports teams are sometimes relocate.

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In Germany, Japan and Scandinavia, (known as the Rhine-model) capitalism is more regulated, and they are better off as a result. From employment rights to pensions and health-care, the Rhine-model works better for the middle and lower strata of society than the Anglo-American model. In America, real income for the middle and lower classes has been falling since the Seventies. You don't have to read Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel And Dimed, to know that the American dream, for most Americans, is just to get by.

The failure of Northern Rock is a symptom of the lack of proper regulation in the British banking industry. This industry which demands less government interference and more freedom from regulation (neo-liberalism) is being propped up by the same government it would prefer not to regulate it.

In short, when capitalism is left to the vicissitudes of the free-market and fails, the rest of us are left to pick up the tab.

So the question remains, as to whether, in a country where regulation is seen as anathema, and where the dominant philosophy, as promulgated by the gate-keepers of the media, is to lessen control and regulation, should we trust unrestrained capitalism to pursue the best interests of football, when so often the interests of the game, conflict with the relentless pursuit of the bottom line?

Market capitalism has brought about a situation where the Premiership is the most marketable on the planet but where only a select few English players, can have any realistic expectations of playing for a club in the top division. If football serves a social or national function which goes beyond profit and loss, is this a good thing?

Do other values supersede the values of capitalism and the rights of shareholders?

Who can we trust to tell us what the dangers are, of taking the Premiership another step deeper into the global market?

Can we trust the football authorities, who as a matter of policy, suppress candid opinion and free-speech, to participate in a proper open debate?

Listening to Keegan declare, that a game lost in January would have no impact on the championship, I wonder if he has the intellectual capacity to understand the issues himself, let alone be a source of worthwhile opinion.

Can we trust Chairman, such as Gold, who are so mesmerized by the thought of the money and who owns a club geared towards lucrative failure?

And can we trust the media, who in all other areas, promulgate the creed of neo-liberal deregulation and have a vested-interest in the global media market?

In the Times today (Saturday) the editorial comment offers an all or nothing view of the marketing of the game. As is the habit of those who promote the creed of an unregulated market, Matthew Syed presents a typical take-it-or-leave-it analysis and suggests that by turning our backs on 5m (per club), we are somehow rejecting the benefits of all other forms of the global marketing of the game, enjoyed thus far. This is the standard ploy of those who wish to propagate the notion that to reject the worst that capitalism offers, is somehow to reject all its benefits too. It is the voice of a self-interested minority, inspired by the philosophy of the lock-out.

It just doesn't seem like an opinion that is worth trusting: what is good for Murdoch is not necessarily good for me.

To echo Wenger's words, I am not against innovation per se, but I do not trust the money men to modify their greed for the sake of the English game and I do not trust the football authorities, to regulate any
marketing innovation, in the interest of the English game or the English fans. I do not trust the government to step in and protect our sporting heritage, should market forces suggest that relocation is in the best interest of a billion fans on another continent.

Sometimes the only thing you can trust, is your own gut-instinct.




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The Journalist

Writer: Steve Wade Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday February 10 2008

Time: 11:45AM

Your Comments

Thats a bit deep! You doing a thesis on this ore summat? I'm off to lie down for abit, my head hurts
krisvilla
It would help if I had spelt "mentality" correctly!
the_lergy
You would hope that the "State" here is FIFA and they have a lot of powerful vested interest in making sure this does not happen. FIFA'S power comes from the International scene, the world cup etc, and anything which looks like reducing thepower of FIFA will be resisted by them. Also although Scudamore says over 2 hundred cities want to take part I am not sure that those national associations will be very pleased that the premiership takes over for a weekend.
daveldvilla
This whole international round thing has caused quite a storm.I understand the scepticism around selling the soul of our game to the highest bidder.In my humble opinion looking at this from a benefit of Aston Villa point of view.We want to get to a stage where we have a larger global brand.Now unless we go on pre-season tours to Asia, etc..I am not sure how else to achieve this.Putting things into perspective the premiership is watched by over half a billion people in over 200 countries!! If the upshot of this tournament means when I travel to other continents I see more local people wearing and supporting Aston Villa, this can only be a good thing.If not how else will we ever get the foothold to elevate our club, to get a larger global status.Maybe by a pre-season tour which means nothing! Or by our players representing our club, the likes of Gabby setting a game alight and "Holte is in the sky" being sung by some hardcore villa fans, arm in arm with local singaporean's all proudly wearing claret and blue.....just playing devil's advocate.But where do we want to go, how big do we want to get, how large and global do we want our fanbase to be!!....I believe this will happen anyway, and if so let's make sure we use it to our full advantage.If any club should be up there with a fanbase all over the world, it sure as hell should the football club that gave league football to the WORLD....UTV
OneloveVilla
"Holte end is in the sky"...what a doughnut..!
OneloveVilla
one love, you can't have a 39th game, the maths don't work, it could make a massive difference to who wins the title and who gets relegated. The only sensible thing to do is send a game abroad within the 38 BUT THAT would also be unworkable as it is OUR GAME. I hope FIFA, the FA and all the other FA's of countries these chairman want to send clubs to say ***** off. If not I think they'll find a lot of fans will ***** off instead! It is GREAT to market abroad, friendlies abroad etc, BUT YOU CAN'T take an EPL team abroad for a league fixture. It is morally wrong and the PL is money rich and morally out of touch.
The Fear
I agree with the morality of it Fear, but as we all know money has no morals.Harry Redknapp said the same thing about the maths, but I think the money men will get their way, and if they do, all I am thinking is let's make sure we take full advantage to push ourselves on...only time will tell and I am sure this will rumble on for a long time.UTV
OneloveVilla
Tend to agree, greed will win out and fans as usual will lose out!
The Fear
I'm dead-set against this proposal in its current form, but just playing devil's advocate for a second....what if we made it an FA cup game? I know we'd have the potential for a lower-league side getting through, but hey....wouldn't that just add to the magic of the cup? What a payday that would be for any non-Premiership club! I know it's not an ideal solution either - but maybe if we ran the qtr finals over 2-legs and had either the first or second leg overseas? That would only be 16 teams, so maybe you have to split the games over only 4 cities, but it kind of works, no? At least that way we get part-way to achieving the global branding aims of this initiative, the fans don't lose out too badly, and we don't ruin the integrity of the league in the process?
YatesyVillain
A party political broadcast from the left side of politics there. Don't comment on Scandinavia before you live here, it's a lefties paradise and a nightmare for anyone who wants any real freedome. You can prove anything with statistics.
Villain Of The North
I cant see it getting the support of the top 4 managers, and for that reason I can't see it happening.
DeanoVilla
I can't read that. As soon as you bring up Northern Rock its over for me. Still I read a couple of the comments and they reckon its a good article, so well done.
PTP
As of right now, I certainly dont think that we can trust a word that comes out of Scudamore's mouth. All we can do is sit back and await the release of more information.
glensider
 

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