My appointed football watcher tells me occasionally of a time when T.V. was only in black and white, how strange is that? They also say these were the days when football was cheap with little else to do in your spare time. So loads of people crammed into dilapidated stadiums for a regular fix of having their dreams and hopes crushed by the failings of their local team. Happiness is a strange concept in the minds of these sports enthusiasts. I hear that times have certainly changed, with this Premier League thing bringing in the big bucks. It reminds me of a song I keep hearing on the noise box inconveniently located near my favourite throne… It’s Only Money, which seems to be an anthem for all those ordinary people who can no longer afford the inflated prices charged for their regular torture sessions.
Whatever you happen to think about money-driven changes the reality is that the biggest recent spenders, Tottenham Hotspur, are parking their gold-plated limo’s in town this weekend. Oscar Wilde once said “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.” And just to prove a point, in terms of recent spending, today’s contest just happens to be a £33.5 million v. £107 million match. If there are a lot of boxes of Monopoly games around missing all the money, it might well have been syphoned off by a few of the Premier League teams, as the previously poor debt-burdened Cardiff City have a squad transfer cost of £46.8 million, against the mighty Spurs weighing in at £192.1 million.
Its kick-off, and it is customary in these games to name the respective line-ups of the teams facing each other:
Cardiff City Tottenham Hotspur
1. Free £8.0m
2. £2.2m Free
3. £8.0m £4.0m
4. £0.75m £12.0m
5. Free Free
6. £0.35m Free
7. Free £6.8m
8. £11.5m £17.3m
9. £2.0m £26.4m
10. Free £11.8m
11. £0.65m £15.0m
Spurs even had the luxury of selling-on a Cardiff-born player for a mere £86m to recoup some of their recent massive expenses. And I haven’t even started talking about the multi-millionaire status of some of these young folk… delicate thoroughbreds who quickly come to believe the hype that they get tired after a few weeks of playing two football matches a week. This is why teams now need big squads to cope with such incredible demands… just don’t tell that to the older guys who used to play 65 games a season for mere wages, rather than the instant wealth of today.
So, what does kicking off with £25.45m v £101.3m of ‘talent’ serve up for the punters… the majority who pay the riches of the few? Entertainment, passion and drama I am told by the deluded one representing me at the match. Isn’t that what all football supporters say? I wanted more detail, and being a cat for a stat I got more than I bargained for (all the following figures are in MILLIONS!):
The first real chance of the game falls to the home team as 0.65 breaks through on goal only to be thwarted by 8.0. Spurs dominate the half with strong runs by Free & Free (so much for all the dosh then). But it is Cardiff who get the ball in the net just before half-time as 0.35 takes a corner and 0.75 heads into the net, only the referee (usually the blindest person in the stadium) sees a foul by Cardiff’s Free on Spurs 8.0. Half-time arrives and the all-important stat is Cardiff City 0 Spurs 0.
The second half kicks off, and within the first minute Free for Cardiff requires a good save from Spurs goalkeeper 8.0. Within minutes 6.8 for Spurs hits the bar. This half sees a slightly more balanced game with both sides having chances. The usual substitutions take place for each team, with Cardiff replacing 0.65 and Free by 2.5 and Free. Meanwhile Spurs replace 6.8, Free and 11.8 by bringing on 26.4, Free and 1.5. Cardiff’s goalkeeper, Free, certainly earns his money with a string of outstanding saves throughout the match, only for 17.3 to back-heel the only goal passed him in the 93rd minute.
Final score is Bluebirds 0 Cockerels 1 (with the local parrots left feeling somewhat under the weather).
It’s only money, but Spike Milligan once said “All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.” Would he have retracted this request if he knew he might have to stroll around a field or even sit on a heated padded seat for 90 minutes to ‘earn’ his riches? As for me, I have been Juno, and no amount of money is going to shift me from another stressful 90 minutes on my favourite cushion…
… unless that bloody football comes on my colour T.V. yet again! See you again, before the next match.