Monday 7 July 2008

A cut above the rest

As Arseblogger points out this morning, footballers are routinely plumbing new depths with their mercenary like behaviour and the footballing media also plays its part in this rather unsavoury saga. It does leave a rather nasty taste in the mouth and I think it is turning a lot of people off the modern game. After all it is becoming harder and harder to make a connection with the modern footballer, the stereotypical arrogant blinging chav isn't too far from the truth in many cases. Maybe it's just me that is starting to feel a bit empty when it comes to the modern game.

Moving onwards and upwards, contrast the modern footballers' selfish behaviour this summer to the unbelievable demonstration of skills and sportsmanship from the best two tennis players in the world yesterday at Wimbledon, it is quite a contrast. Here we had two of the greatest players of all time providing arguably the finest ever Wimbledon final, neither losing their cool nor showing any sign of arrogance.

Both men have every reason to be both conceited and arrogant, but both are exemplary role models both on and off the court. It was fantastic to see such grace in defeat from Federer and such modesty in victory from Nadal. The tennis itself was breathtaking, the level of play rising as the important points came, resulting in the brilliant fourth set tie break and fifth set crescendo.

There was something very refreshing about yesterday's Wimbledon final and it put the pathetic behaviour of modern football's mercenaries very much into perspective. It is true that tennis is helped by more intelligent media coverage, but it seemed to me that the players were not just chasing the money, they had a healthy respect for each other and the sport itself. The likes of Ronaldo and Adebayor should have been watching and taking notes, however I suspect they lack the insight to realise what embarrassments they are.


Ted said...

Well said. There is something unique amongst sports like tennis and golf - namely that vast amounts of money doesn't seem to have made people behave like utter twats. You perhaps could add cricket to the list, but they have no money.

However, it may also have something to do with the wage system in football. A footballer is largely dependent on the performance of his team mates, but they are all paid different wages. Yet Adebayor says his "value", as part of a team, is now£120,000 a week whether he plays or not.

Contrast people like Federer and Woods, who only earn prize money depending on their performances. Yes, they may have big sponsorship deals with Nike, but their success and wealth is built on winning. Very few of these champions seem to be genuinely arrogant or conceited.

Two answers come to mind:

1. Stuff the "best player = best wages" mentality and operate on a pool of fixed value contracts. The entire "first xi" players, which will be about 16 names at a club like Arsenal, all get £50,000 per week, say, and thats it. If a player doesn't like it then they can leave.

2. Maybe you go for a low basic wage, maybe £30k per week, with massive performance related bonuses available based on the teams performance (not individual). A win is worth £10k extra, maybe more for a clean sheet, getting a result away from home etc.

Its never going to happen, but I don't see why it wouldn't work in principle.

Anonymous said...

So so so so true!!

1979gooner said...

I like the idea of performance related pay in football, they already have bonuses based on various things but making more of it result based would be no bad thing.

The problem is it would be very tricky to introduce as players and their agents have so much power these days, they want big fat contracts that reward them for any old performance.

It would be a kind of kick up the arse of some of the most lazy and arrogant who stop trying once they have secured their big contract, Kieran '50 G' Dyer for example.

It may be partly that golf and tennis are not as 'working class' as football. The lack of education and class displayed by both the and the fans has the knock on effect of dumbing down the media coverage.

If the majority of football fans were well educated and cultured then the media would target this audience instead of the one it currently targets which has a reading age of ten or so.

Ted said...

Is anyone else watching the countdown of Arsenal's 50 greatest players on It revealed Ljungberg at number 11, which I thought was a bit high.

With 10 spots to go, notable missing names are: Adams, Bould, Seamen, Limpar, Wright, Pires, Bergkamp, Vieira & Henry, which must account for 9 of them.

I'm guessing that current players were not included?

Garth Marenghi said...

no room for Adebayor and Hleb then?

I'd agree, Ljungberg is not good enough to have been number eleven.

It's pretty much pointless trying to compare different generations anyway.

How do you compare Brady with Fabregas for example?

The game is completely different now.

Anonymous said...

well, no use wishing away money from the game, it's a fixture, as are individual contracts. if we're talking about arsenal here, as vieira said 'the wage structure is too constrained'. we have to be a bit more competitive, it's a marketplace after all. but some players seem to just lose the plot, ade join anelska, billionaire groupies. some players will play anyway, literally, including dark alleyways with roman and his gang of brooding back door hokey pokeys.