A few days ago I finished reading David Conn’s excellent new book: Richer Than God: Manchester City, Modern Football and Growing Up. It is the best football book I have read for a long time . Like Nick Hornby turned Investigative reporter. You should read it.
Anyhow, this one sentence in the book lingered in my mind for days.
“We had forgotten that football was a sport with a social purpose and collective benefit, not just ‘a business’ in which fans’ wide-eyed loyalty should now be considered a ‘captive market’, as some of the money men explicitly described it, from which ‘owners’ of ‘clubs’ could make a fat personal profits.”
This got me thinking: Clubs, which are now nothing more than “companies”, don’t want to have “social purpose”. That’s why less than 1% of their massive income goes to grassroots football. And that’s why the government must step in and through legislation get the clubs invest more in their communities.
In a prefect world every Premier League will HAVE to invest 5%-10% of its turnover on building local playing pitches and fund local amateur teams under the club’s name – all ages, all sexes. It’s the only way to make a club invest in its community . The Premier League should then erect local amateur leagues for these teams to play in. Make them competitive like the Under 21 Premier League and The NextGen series.
Like in Germany, every club should promote sporting activities for all ages by subsidizing them. It’s the right thing to do and It is also the only thing that will remind “the football industry” that it is only here because it used to have a social purpose.
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