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Friday, 9 December 2011

Topping's Tantrum: Footballers Only Care About The Money

By Bill Topping

I once read an article in the Guardian in which Spurs’ left back Benoit Assou – Ekotto admitted he played football for the money rather than for the love of the game.

While it is of course preferable for those players who wear the colours of our team to want to win because of their love for the club, it was refreshing to hear someone not beat about the bush and be honest.

Assou-Ekotto, or “Benny” to Spurs’ fans, is one of an enormous range of footballers for whom the lucrative aspect of the game is too alluring and comes before anything else.

An example that comes to mind is Emmanuel Adebayor, also of Spurs, who in 2009 moved from Arsenal to Manchester City.  There was no hiding place for Adebayor. He was moving from a club that was challenging for the title where he was playing every week to another that had not had success in decades and where he would not be granted game time.

There was no way that Adebayor could disguise his intentions for moving. He was willing to take a step down in quality of team (in 2009 that is undoubtedly what it was although perhaps not now) just because he would earn more money.

Recently, the popular Asamoah Gyan, who was going great guns in the Premier League moved to Dubai to ply his trade, a change undoubtedly motivated by money. 

His reputation which had become so strong thanks to his World Cup performances was totally undone by this move and he is now seen by many, including myself, as money hungry and selfish.

Only this week there have been rumours that Nicholas Anelka is negotiating a move to Shanghai. It is clear this will not be done in order to further his career but rather for one more substantial cash injection before he retires.

With these examples, Adebayor and Gyan in particular, one must look at their background to understand their motivation for money.

As young boys on the streets of Togo and Ghana they would not have been subject to much affluence and prosperity.

Having experienced nothing, it is somewhat understandable to expect a desire for more when they have experiment some.

Nevertheless it is disappointing to see the game which we have all come to love marred by it’s financial side.

In the 1800’s the game was known as mob football. In this there were no rules and it could be very violent. Despite this the game was incredibly popular because of the enjoyment got from playing it.

There were working class professionals but they were paid such a measly wage that luxuries could never be afforded.

Nowadays the story is totally different. Money is being pumped into the game left right and centre and as a consequence the desire is being syringed out.

The wages are ridiculous, the ticket prices extortionate but we accept it because it is football.

It is time to take a step back and look at the state of our game. If not then all intrinsic value will have dissolved to be replaced by a business.

In any case, is there not a European monetary crises at the moment? Maybe the footballers should help out.

Fat chance.

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