BBC BLOGS - Robbo Robson
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Sheikh ya money!

Robbo Robson | 15:08 UK time, Thursday, 15 January 2009

So it's started - the men in the desert are swapping round their Panini stickers and deciding which ones they want to buy.

Were I a sheikh in Abu Dhabi (and I'm glad I'm not 'cos I can't stand them sub-human temperatures or the freaky chill of air-conditioning) I'd be sending a little posse of henchmen off to Manchester United with the Securicor van loaded to the gills for the gelled tumbler.

Kaka's not a bad place to start though, eh? But when they start talking about 90 million quid and the lad being on half a million a week, you just think well let's forget it. The Blue Bell can cut its Sky subscription, and we can get the crib board and dominoes out of the dusty cupboard behind the bar and just relax.

Hell, let's go the whole hog and get the cheese skittles and the shove ha'penny out and indulge in some proper humble low-budget entertainment, 'cos I'm getting right racked off with contributing to WAG leopard-print scatter cushions and walnut flippin' dashes on the Mercs and Porsches.
No-one, NO-ONE, deserves to earn £100m * for kicking a chuffin' ball about the place. For that amount of money you should be curing cancer, inventing an even larger hadron collider thingamabob and single-handedly arresting the downturn. (*assuming he gets a four-year deal.)

Fact is, I've never particularly begrudged a lad like Rooney or Becks earning a shedload for being able to toe-poke a pig's-bladder creatively, but this has taken it onto a scale where even Rio 'eight-months-off-for-missing-a-drugs-test-but-I-still-want-a-pay-rise' Ferdinand might say: "Do you know what? I think it might be a tad too much per week, that."

There are people all over Europe chewing on bits of wood and wondering where their next job might come from, not to mention the people who scrape by every day regardless of credit being crunched, and this fella who's bought Man City is chucking his cash around with all the care of a cat de-feathering a sparrow. I tell you, it's vomit-inducing.

And the thing is, you wouldn't mind if these millionaires actually got better with each and every salary rise but you look at, say, Chelsea and it's the opposite. There are mercenaries out there on ageing legs whose performances have been so limp you'd almost think they carried their week's wages in their trim and sweaty jock-straps and it was weighing them down.

Some sportsmen'll tell you that the money is not important and I dare say Andy Murray couldn't give a fig about the cheque right now. But the BlueBells (unbeaten in three) all agree that were we to get, ooh I dunno the money Sheva gave his cleaning lady every week while he was in London, we'd all do a damn sight better and we might even stay out of the boozer till after the game out of respect for the dosh we'd be getting.

Then again if you're stupid - or should that be honest - enough to admit that money's the objective, as England's Alistair Cook did before the Stanford charade, then some pillock - a coach or a captain, maybe - will insist that every Englishman is there to represent his country and the million dollars is of secondary importance.

Ballacks. The Stanford match was all about the money. That was the blinking point!

It's the same with Kaka. Man City have been around a while but anyone thinking that the lustre of the sky blue greats that have gone before (Colin Bell, the chubby tumbler and bog-roll magnate Frannie Lee, Tony Book, ermm... Shaun Goater?...) will attract the big names to Eastlands is three strikers short of a starting XI (although that wouldn't worry David Moyes).

If Kaka arrives it'll be for the lolly. He's a devout Christian and gives a good chunk of all he earns to the Church, so he might be able to convince himself in that way. I dunno, though, I'm not sure the Church needs that money more than, say, Middlesbrough FC's transfer budget.
From the noises coming out of Kaka's corner it doesn't sound like he wants to go, but you can bet the Rossoneri are well-interested. It's been suggested that Berlusconi is too proud a man to let a prized asset go but he's not to proud to wear that strangely fixed smile or that spookily black lacquered hairdo that makes him look like a burnt-out mahogany matchstick.

But it's not what Kaka decides that's the problem - and you can hardly blame him if they lay a trail of fivers from his door all the way to some private country residence in Cheshire (not too close to Keano's mutts, mind).

It's the fact that with every passing wage-hike in Premier League land, your average footballer learns less and less about the reasons why we, the wage-payers, go and watch them fall on their sorry backsides every week.

'Cos they used to be like us. They'd fluff a chance and you'd buy 'em a pint after the game and tell them to do better next time. Now they wouldn't go to a pub, and even a lounge bar has its perils.

They live in a cotton-wool world where every step they take is monitored and managed by their clubs like they're poorly pigging kittens on Rolf's Animal Hospital. They're about as in touch with the real world as Blake Fielder-Civil. (And how ironic is that 'Civil' in his name, eh?)

I'm with Shearer on this one - if the Abu Dhabi lobby do handpick a clump of galacticos it'll last for five years max, they'll get bored, everyone'll scuttle off for their retirement jobs at somewhere less freaky and City fans will be left pining for the days of Big Mal and Peter Swales and paying heaps for Steve Daley and Kevin Reeves.

As we say to our grandson Wilfred when he's eyeing up the electric carving knife over Sunday lunch, so I say to Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan: "Put it down! It's not a toy!"


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