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Has the Premier League finally gone mad?

Premier League Liverpool
by Epstein (U7302997) 02 September 2008
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The transfer window closed at midnight and brought an end to undoubtedly the strangest and most frantic transfer window since they were introduced. In amongst all of the high-profile signings, undisclosed fees and season long loans, a club was even bought out with enough time to break the British transfer record. I sat with intrigue yesterday evening, flicking between various channels and Sky Sports News, and as the night wore on I found myself growing more disappointed by the whole thing.

First of all, before any WUMs post comments, I am a Liverpool fan. I'm not bitter about any signings made by other clubs and I'm not jealous about Man City being bought out. My comments are made from a football perspective. I'd like to think that after reading my article you will be able to see where I'm coming from.

As yesterday evening due to a close, and Liverpool had made their customary 'unknown' signing (Flora) and their customary 'seen it coming for weeks' signing (Riera), the news of Manchester Cityís new utterly bottomless pit of money came to light. Rumours spread about bids for just about every player in the world, the Berbatov saga took its painstakingly obvious conclusion and finally Man City got their 'world class big name' player in Robinho.

So what left me feeling so disappointed?

Well the age-old problem of 'club loyalty vs money' for a start. I don't believe that either Berbatov or Robinho have moved for anything other than money, plain and simple. Ramon Calderon summed it up perfectly after selling Robinho - his move is not for sporting reasons. He spent all summer saying he wanted to join Chelsea. Just my opinion but Berbatov is the same. He moved to a club where he may well win trophies, but the associated bonuses are also a big draw.

My problem is that with Man City now (possibly) the richest club in the world, the stakes have been raised that much higher again. They can now afford to buy anyone and pay them anything they want. Their funds are limitless (potentially) and this, to me, suggests that you will see more big names joining them and no doubt using the phrase "I wanted to join the exciting times and changes happening at Man City". You can see it now - just like Liverpool only ever seem to buy players who are 'lifelong Liverpool fans'.

If City can now pay in excess of 20, 25, even 30 million on any player then where does that leave everyone else? As much as it pains me to say, Man Utd have at least built some of their fortune from continued success and therefore, with the Glazers money, can buy big names for big prices. Liverpool can't do that and I accept that. But with City now able to do it, just like Chelsea before them, it now means that they could potentially buy the title. That to me seems shallow, itís unrewarding. City fans deep down know that Robinho doesn't care one bit about the club, he is there to line his pockets. Liverpool are part of the problem, they have been spending big too but cannot compete with Man Utd, Chelsea or now Man City.

Then the Berbatov affair. Reports suggest Tottenham never actually gave permission for Man Utd to speak to him; the player engineered the move himself. It seems like greed on both parts, Berbatov for the obvious financial gain, and Tottenham for holding out for an extra few million pounds. Gareth Barry tried to manipulate his own move too, only for Villa to win that battle.

Barry stayed at Villa, stripped of the captaincy and booed by a section of some fans, but he stayed. He stayed because the club would not bow to his demands. Barry respected the club and did not talk to Liverpool, unlike Berbatov who seems to have taken it upon himself to speak to Ferguson etc. Why? Money money money.

Another problem I have is with Ferguson and the Man Utd fans that sing his praises for his ability in the transfer market. Once again Man Utd have splashed the cash on a player that they could have had years before for a much smaller price. If Ferguson is so good with his transfers then how come he missed signing Berbatov when Leverkusen put him up for sale? Baffling. Tough I know for some people to accept this is not a Liverpool - Man Utd hatred thing but I assure you - it's not. The big spenders, now including Man City, are seemingly not bothered about scouting for players anymore and will simply wait to buy them at any price once they have shown they have quality. That again is very shallow, it disappoints me.

In conclusion I can only say that yesterday reminded me of one thing, the only other time when money of that nature is splashed around on players, the best players, and buying them for huge amounts because cost is no option: Football Manager (a computer game for the uneducated out there). The time has finally come when the Premier League has lost the plot. Let's be honest, if Hull really were bidding 7 million for Frazier Campbell then you know something somewhere has gone wrong. Too much money, too little loyalty.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

I am sorry how much has Rafa spent in his time as Liverpool boss??
How can you say that you cannot compete??

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posted Sep 2, 2008

too long a post for me too read. this forum doesnt lend itself well to article this size. i lost interest by 4th paragraph. Id rather read a managers etc... take on situation than a fans. Regarding your post. football in England has been this way for a few years now and I doubt wed be moaning if some oil rich concortaim from Dubia bought us out and we could buy 30 million players. Its the way football is. i agree with your annoyance at it but im pretty sure the traditional big clubs in England will be the ones who win the silverwear

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posted Sep 2, 2008

This from a liverpool fan!!!!!<winkeye>

No seriously I agree with everything you say. The only way to counteract this trend is to introduce a salary cap. Only trouble is the big clubs (including Liverpool) will not agree to it because it will level out the playing feild. Their monopoly on all the major honours would be broken and they could not buy there way out of trouble when the going got tough. The good thing is that the managers would have to think about every player they signed which would take us back to the days when managers could actually coach and had to rely to a certain degree on young players coming through their youth system.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

I couldn't agree more now. The whole thing is getting out of control. I wonder how many fans thought that the clubs spent money in the transfer window just for the sake of it.
The real thing about the Berbatov saga was the alleged rumor that Spurs didn't give Man Utd permission to talk to Berbatov. If and I say if this is true then how desperate were Man Utd to get their man at all cost. They clearly broke the rules and I don't care about the outcome, this needs investigating by the Premier League/FA. Am not a Man Utd hater but rules are for everyone not just lower leagues. Would a club like Wigan or Hull have got away with it!!!

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comment by Epstein (U7302997)

posted Sep 2, 2008

Toffee-Saint:

Agreed, some sort of cap would level the playing field but the so called 'big 4' would never agree to it.

In response to the other comment about Liverpool not being able to compete, I mean we cannot compete financially with Man Utd, Chelsea and now Man City. Our board, Rafa and the dithering Rick Parry will not sanction huge signing after huge signing. Our biggest signings have been offset by players being sold - a point perfectly illustrated by the purchase of Robbie Keane.

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comment by Oliver (U2440733)

posted Sep 2, 2008

Loyalty has gone out of the window I'm afraid. People move for money now and football professionals are no exception. As for the clubs themselves, one thing is becoming very clear. There are basically two kinds of buyers, those who are buying the business because they envisage making money on it eventually and those who are buying the club for prestige or fun. A kind of toy in fact.

The Glazers and G and H are in fact very similar because because both are struggling due to being underfunded. They bought their clubs at a bad moment. The debt at OT is bigger than ever and G and H can't even get a loan to finance the new stadium. Who do we blame? In both cases there were key people who sold their shares at the club for personal gain rather than for the long-term well-being of the clubs.

On the other hand RA is just having fun. He will never recover the 100s of millions he has spent on Chelsea and the Arabs who have moved into Man City will have the same experience.

Should we be so worried about this? Well, some people get lucky in life because they win the lottery etc. We can't change this. If you look at Chelsea, they've broken the bank to buy success and have only been partly successful. Still waiting for their first CL in fact. Now they've been outbidded by the Arabs and Robinho has gone there. I don't know how long the "toy" craze will go on but I'm confident that in the end clubs like Arsenal. Liverpool and Man Utd will come out on top.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

Epstein
...........
So when the yanks took over us it did`nt cross your mind that we could go out and buy big whenever we wanted to? Don`t make me laff.. another bigger club than us on the scene might be the kick in the ass Rafa needs to start doin what he`s paid for an that is manage a team to win the title first and foremost

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comment by Epstein (U7302997)

posted Sep 2, 2008

ihaterafa:

C'mon, firstly get behind the team.
Secondly, this isn't a discussion about whether Rafa is improving the squad or failing us as manager.

This is about the fact that there is too much money flying around for players (people!) who are simply not worth it - and the players' greed is one of the driving factors. When G&H bought LFC I accepted that we could potentially buy the title ourselves, but that disappointed me. It's not rewarding to just go buy the most expensive team and pay them all 100k a week. Wheres the skill in that?We can't buy it though can we? G&H can't compete financially and are trying to make a quick few bucks for themselves.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

Just sounds like a supporter from one of the "Big 4" who is now worried that Pool may only finish top 5 or 6... I'm sure you weren't concerned about spiralling transfer fees when you stole Robbie Keane from Spurs for 20m...

Get over yourself Epstein, you whinging Scouser.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

You claim that this article is about football in general (and you make a decent fist of that) but a lot of it just seems to be tired and lazy anti-united rhetoric.
1.With regards to the berbatov transfer i think its unfair to say its just 'money, money...' he supposedly had a higher offer from man city (don't players and agents get a % of the transfer fee) and higher wage offer from city but chose to join united and wanted to all along because of SAF and united's success. This doesn't strike me as just for the money.
2.The idea that the glaziers provided united with money isn't correct they just saddled the club with 100's of milions of pounds of debt -United would undoubtedly be in a better position now without the glaziers.
I don't understand why you criticise tottenham for 'holding out for' more money-surely they are just doing what they can in the current system rather than just rolling over for the big clubs. anyway good points in the article in general.

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