There’s loads in the media at the moment (and always) about the greed and general bad behaviour in football.
Abuse of the fans loyalty and lairy exploits by players are terrible but nothing new (sadly). There’s just huge amounts of money involved nowadays. It strikes me though that football clubs are one of the last institutions that still have the respect of their supporters.
They are one of the last agencies that can preach on the dangers of drugs and the importance of a good education without being sneered at or even questioned in a lot of cases.
Just think of the impact if say Man Utd invested the equivalent of a star player’s annual wage (ABOUT ?2M) in social inclusion projects. How many mentors/coaches clad in replica tracksuits would that pay for to go into schools, estates and youth clubs helping kids learn to read, stay off drugs, learn right from wrong and appreciate that staying dedicated to something for long enough in life pays off in the long term, just like it did for Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, Michael Carrick and all the rest of those players who slogged away for years before making it to the top of the tree.
And while we’re on the subject of Carrick, its absolutely none of my business how much he gets paid (for the record its ?50k a week) but I don’t think it would be overly onerous to insert a clause that demands two hours a month spent with the club in the community accompanying this army of outreach coaches, just to maintain some kid of glamour. There’s nothing wrong with being in the company with a crowd of young people who hang on your every word and remind you of where you came from before the fast cars and Cristal blur your focus, a kind of mutually beneficial relationship.
Just think of how much Roman Abramovich could do by donating 1% of his wealth to combatting London’s social ills, that’s around ?140m a year and would entirely change the Chelsea story of a team of mercenaries buying trophies into a 21st Century philanthropist that cares about its people. It may even make them stop asking questions about where his wealth came from to start with?