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Money can't buy Luck

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The financial roundabouts regularly occuring within and without the F.A. are alarming. A stadium costing £757 million pounds seems to be such a normal phrase in today's media, and although Wembley is a terrific sight, it doesn't exceed the sight presented by the Emirates Stadium, much less eclipse it like it does regarding cost. The new home of the Gunners cost a "mere" £390 million.

Recently, the F.A. were "delighted" to have sealed a deal worth £425 million, a total of about £300 million more than their previous TV deal, and ridiculously, this extra 300 million pounds will only garuntee ITV and Setanta Premiership football for 3 years. At best, the F.A. has made 100 million pounds a year out of Premiership football.

The recent debates about the self-proclaimed "best league in the World" actually being just that, seem to revolve heavily around two issues; that of "luck" (or fate as it is sometimes referred to) and "money".

There is no doubt that "Luck" has had a great influence on English football in recent seasons; witness Liverpool's miraculous come back in the CL final two seasons ago, and Arsenal's progress to the final last year. This year that luck has culminated in the presence of three English teams in the semi-finals of the CL, garunteeing an English finalist for the 3rd successive season. The product of the best league in Europe, or the combination of money and luck?

Perhaps that is all it has ever been. La Liga has been a dominant force in World Football for the last two decades, certainley witnessing their own fair share of luck. Also, Calcio has never been too far from the "best league in the world" title, clearly showing off their financial muscle in being able to secure the services of world-class players whose stars are finally fading (the Figo's, Maldini's, Del Piero's, Seedorf's and so on). There was a time when we were younger when the league to play in Champo was the Italian league.

But the financial side of the game is not due to luck. It is no coincidence that a dodgy billionaire from Russia chose to invest in a struggling West London club. Nor is it a coincidence that the purchase of Liverpool makes it the 3rd club to be owned by Americans. And as recently as last night, we witnessed the departure of a certain David Dein, a man who stood for everything that Arsenal represent, but whom reportedly fell out over the question of foreign (American too) ownership.

These foreign investors know how to make money, and how to keep making money and they have all identified a money making opportunity in English football, potentially garunteeing top class football for years to come. Abramovich could've invested his money in Spain, in an already proven league where the overseas attractions are there for all to see (shirt sales for Beckham reportedly paid off the cost of the player within weeks). He could've chosen to invest in coffins in Zimbabwe, or rape alarms in Ipswich, yet he chose Chelsea. The Glazier's made the obvious choice, however Randy Lerner seems to have walked into a blind alley, as as Magnusson. Yet they won't have done it without considerable investigation and a sound business model.

The point is, that these investors placed money in a league whose star is in ascendancy and as a result they will garuntee that that star shines brightly for many years to come. Money generates good football, and good football generates more money.

Money will not buy you a championship winning side, but with a bit of luck, you can get anywhere.

posted by teedoubleyou


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