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Scudamore’s terrible legacy

Comments Off on Scudamore’s terrible legacy 08 June 2018

One of the main criticisms of politicians is that they are hopelessly out of touch with the lives of ordinary working people, as working class people are known to people who aren’t working class. They live in their ivory towers and gated communities with no idea of the stresses and strains which are faced by the lumpen proletariat who have to put bread on the table. And, time after time, politicians prove to us that that they are hopelessly out of touch.

It is not just the likes of Theresa May or Boris Johnson who live in another galaxy. It’s also more minor ministers. Take – please – the minister of sport Tracey Crouch, tweeting about the departure of Richard Scudamore as executive chair of the Premier League:

“Very sorry to hear Richard Scudamore will be leaving @premierleague at end of year. He has transformed the league into one that is passionately followed & watched here and across the world & I’ve enjoyed working with him for the past 3 years

I would humbly suggest that her opinion of Scudamore bears little resemblance to how mere terrace dwellers feel. Other than those of Tracey Crouch, there will be very few tears, apart from the fat cats who own and play what used to be our national game.

Scudamore had but one motive with the Premier League, which was to make it the richest in the world. There is no doubt that in this he succeeded. Even the most average players in the Premier League are millionaires several times over and the big stars, few of whom are English, earn an extra million every month, sometimes less than that.

One terrible legacy has been the gentrification of the game at the top level. Scudamore has turned supporters into customers. Kick off times are arranged not for the benefit of supporters to but to fit in with Sky TV’s demands, in exchange for the billions paid by viewers through ever increasing subscriptions.

The depth of English players has been almost killed, as we send to the world cup a group of mainly young players, many of whom cannot get a game at their clubs, the clubs which are owned by rich foreign men, foreign companies and even foreign countries. The colourful foreign coaches outnumber English coaches manifold and the current national manager couldn’t even get a job anywhere in the professional game, except with the Under 21s.

Ultimately, what Scudamore and his wretched Premier League have done is to kill the dream that your club could one day reach the promised land without the need to acquire foreign ‘investment’. In fact, even within the Premier League itself, the gap between rich and poor is becoming unbridgeable. Take away the top six or seven and you have virtually no mid table, just a large gaggle of clubs with no ambition beyond surviving and keeping the money taps flowing. Leicester broke the mould a couple of years ago. Now it seems that this was a blip, not some brave new world.

Scudamore has been described as the devil you know, who at least tried to keep some element of financial equality in the Premier League. I don’t buy that. It was the clubs themselves who decided that each club should be relatively equal. With football the way it is, how long before the top clubs do what the Premier League itself did back in the early 1990s and break away again?

In reality, Scudamore was the Gordon Gekko of football, embracing greed is good into the mainstream. In terms of English football, his legacy is terrible. And no amount of bleating from the idiotic minister of sport can alter that simple fact.

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