Sunday, 17 February 2013

"Investment" be b*ll*cked!

On yesterday's Football Focus, renowned pundit Michael Owen glibly remarked that Leeds United were a club of sufficient size to be "ripe for investment."  The suggestion was that because Leeds cannot drag themselves out of the Championship by their own efforts, utilising the funds they generate on and off the pitch, that "someone" should come along and pump millions of pounds into the club.

For some reason I've never quite managed to fathom, the word "investment" means something entirely different when applied to football.  In the real world, people invest in something in hope that the entity you have invested in returns sufficient profits to make you your money, plus a bit extra back.  Whether one agrees with such obvious capitalism or not is not the issue - we can all see how the theory works.  However, when applied to football, "investment" changes somewhat. 

Another week, another set of dodgy owners.
Now it pretty much means, "Attention any and all dodgy middle eastern businessmen.  We don't care much as to how you've managed to assemble an eye-wateringly large fortune in a country with one camel and a palm tree, but we want you to bring it to our football club and spend it on getting us success.  We want you to pay over-inflated wages to buy in mercenary players and get us up into a division we probably aren't equipped to play in.  We then naturally assume you will continue to fund this investment out of your pocket until further notice...."

As we know all to well, reliance on such "investment" doesn't come without it's risks.  One day you are miserable and bored at your ground of a hundred years, watching football just below the Football League.  Just over a year later you hopful of seeing your team play in Burton Latimer in a division just slightly higher than a kick about with your mates!

One day football will come to it's senses and realise it can employ footballers without making them instant millionaires.  Until then our TV screens are continually going to show swarthy men, walking out onto pitches to take the eager applause of supporters.  They will be showing off gleaming smiles through stubbled faces, looking like they've just been squeezed into a business suit, with a brand new scarf draped over their flabby shoulders.

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