Friday, 16 January 2009

City Have Destroyed Football.... Again.... Apparently

Hold the back page – a £107m bid for Kaká by Manchester City is out of order because it is just ‘ridiculous’. Just as their £32.5m capture of Robinho was. And just how Chelsea’s £30.8m Shevchenko deal and Manchester United’s £30.75m transfer of Berbatov wasn’t. You know, I can understand that people think £107m is a bit much, but certainly not £32.5m, when others have paid slightly less – and one of them was for a total flop.

But, first off, the transfer fee for Kaká (and he’s not even signed a contract yet, so it may never go through) is coming out of Sheikh Mansour’s pocket. It is his money and his right to spend it how he wishes, so if he decides he wants to allow Mark Hughes to spend a nine-figure sum on a Brazilian player – who’s not half bad, in fairness – then he can do, just as you have the right to spend your own money on football shirts, items on eBay, newspapers, DVDs that you never take out of the cellophane, Sky TV or internet porn.

Saying that you could build x number of hospitals or y number of schools is irrelevant. It’s privately owned money – your savings don’t go towards local amenities and so neither does Sheikh Mansour’s. Your tax does. And so does Sheik Mansour’s.

The fact that he has decided to do it in such a crunchy credit world seems to have upset a lot of people. But I don’t see their problem – he’s spending his money how he chooses, just as everybody else is. He’s just got the good fortune to have more money than most of the people on the planet. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t buy who or what he wants for a price he deems to be reasonable.

The real question is, why should City curb their spending, when no such limits have been placed on any other football club? The top four have been spending what they have liked for years, but now it’s somebody else’s turn, they don’t seem to like it.

Moving on to Kaká’s proposed wage: Reports have estimated it to be either £100,000 p/w or £500,000 p/w, depending on who you believe. And this has sent the majority of non-City supporting members of the public into outrage – how can he earn such a wage while people who do much more important jobs and save lives earn less? It’s a sentiment I agree with, but it’s the way of football. It’s not City’s fault football as a whole spends so much on wages and it’s certainly not Kaká’s fault, either. If you want to stop City paying him up to £500,000 p/w, then you have to stop Manchester United paying Ronaldo £119,000 p/w – unless it’s ok for them to do that because they’re in the top four?

The problem is that every footballer earns too much, just as film stars and pop singers do. Actors generally get paid more than footballers and they just pretend to be a character doing something else. But they’re only human, and if somebody offered you £500,000 p/w to do a job you loved doing, would you turn it down? Did anybody complain when it was reported David Beckham would be earning something in the region of £500,000 p/w at LA Galaxy?

And bear in mind here that if Kaká does sign for such a weekly wage, he would have to live in England to play for City. He would, therefore, have to pay tax on his earnings. Lewis Hamilton has earned a hell of a lot of money from his Formula One career thus far, yet there’s been no criticism of him for moving to Switzerland – where he claimed he’d be less hounded by the press, but, oddly, he’d be able to reap numerous tax benefits (to the tune of roughly £4m p/a). Kaká would pay up to £10.3m tax p/a, just to put that into perspective.

And that’s on money that currently isn’t being taxed.

Keanu Reaves earned roughly £22.3m for the final Matrix film (15% of the gross plus $12m). That film will have been less work for him that it would be for Kaká (assuming he’s not facing any long injuries and plays most, if not all, of City’s matches for 2009), who would earn roughly £16m for the year, minus tax.

Blaming City for the current state of footballers’ wages is wrong. If the owner has the money, he can offer those wages; if he doesn’t, he can’t – it’s as simple as that. It’s the way football was working before City and the way it will work after City. All they have done is raise the bar, that so many others, mainly the top four as far as Britain is concerned, had dominated.

And now they can’t have their own way, they’ve gone for a little sulk.

David Mooney


  1. Well said. The wages that we are all paid are what the market, and to a lesser extent our negotiating skills, will bear. Television revenues have bumped up the amount of money in football and other sports and the athletes involved are only reaping their share of that money. In the end it is you and I who support the teams and in doing so are willing to pay the television fees and, most importantly, watch the advertising, that support the economics that have caused these incredible wages.

    I have been a city supporter since I was a kid (thirty odd years ago). I am delighted that we are making an effort to step to the next level of football. I would love it to have happened with a team made up of academy boys and some hard working journeymen. The truth is that this won't elevate us to that next level.

    It's easy for everyone (non-supporters) to have a soft spot for a team that always manages to get it wrong (typical City) but when suddenly we COULD really be a STRONG team with SOLID backing and a DESIRE to win, we are everyone's reason for what is wrong with football. It takes money to do that in today's world and we now have it.

    I don't know how long it will last and I don't really care. I am going to enjoy it while I can but I'll still be there when the money goes. It will be nice to see the sky blue raising a trophy or two in the next few years.

    So I say bugger the rest. We have our chance at last to do something.

  2. This was all started in prehistoric times when the first fancy hand axe was traded for a night with the girls, (or boys). I.e. a sizable amount of labour for something purely ephemeral. Sounds to me as though the rags and the rest have been reading too many tabloid back pages. When it crashes... it'll crash.. and the next thing will spring up.. and eventually crash. Meanwhile, just for the moment; (probably upwards of 50 years according to the 'business plan'), a very rich young man has decided to dump some of his loose change into the European economy. Not a lot of it will reach the British exchequer because most of the 'business' will be done 'off-shore', but significant amounts of employment will be created on the east side of Manchester for at least the next decade. The tabloids always did drag stuff from doggies' bottys across the carpet without wiping their feet. Without thinking. Actually, without thinking that anyone out here can think. That's a big part of their game. Kaka may or may not arrive, but it's all a bit confusing for me in any case. After all, I've been 'dogged' by someone who looks and sounds like Cliff Richard all my life!

  3. Probably the most sensible piece of writing on the current situation that I have read to date.

    you've wrote exactly what I've been thinking since this whole Kaka saga hit the headlines, as City fans we are priviliged at the moment and all we are hearing is sour grapes from all quarters.
    What were going through now is something I thought I'd never see in my lifetime and I'd like to thank Sheikh Mansour for putting City back on the map in a way thats totally unbelievable.

    As immoral as this transfer may seem were not going to look a gift horse in the mouth and as David Mooney mentions its all relative and if anything the British and European economys are benefitting from money that would otherwise be stashed away in some middle eastern tax free haven.

    What we have here is a huge statement of intent of how Sheikh Mansour wants to put Abu Dhabi on the map, he's succeeded allready as the Kaka transfer like the Robinho one has gone global with lots more to come, luckily for us he has decided to do it on the back of Man City which is another twist in our never ending roller coaster ride of a history.

    It could all end in tears but not for City fans as we expect the unexpected , we'll just take it as another chapter and wait for the next one to begin its how it always has been.

    I'm living for the moment and just forever grateful that we have the chance to actually win a major trophy or even a premiership or two before an earthquake flattens eastlands or they find Sheikh Mansour has been diluting his oil with water, somethings bound to happen but please God lets see a little silverware first.

    Its fantasy football time at the moment and I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

  4. It makes me laugh that everyone is having a go at City spending so much money on one player.

    Wenger brings up the morality of it within the current economic climate. What have Arsenal done to help the economic climate? How much do you charge your fans to watch a match. Has your Chairman bailed out any Banks?

    Ferguson, remind us all who started all of this ridiculous spending off. How much did you pay for Ferdinand, Rooney, Veron... I could go on.. What has United done to help the current economic climate? I know quite a few die hard Utd fans will agree that they get ripped off with the prices you charge.

    Gordon Taylor (head of the PFA) disapproves of Citys interest in KAKA saying that such an high amount of money is bad for the game particularly in the current climate. Again Mr Taylor, you name me another Club owner in the football world who has bailed out a bank. Nothing positive was said about Citys illustrious Owner was when he did that was there?

  5. There are many reasons for disliking Manchester United, but one thing that has always impressed me is the solidarity of their fans. Even when they're totally in the wrong, they always sing from the same songsheet.
    A good example is the attendance for the Old Trafford derby in 1990.
    We all remember the headlines and the reasons for the diappointing crowd of 40,000, yet almost twenty years later, all of their supporters blame it on a reduced capacity, due to ground improvements. Priceless!
    Similarly, their latest response to the accusation that all Clubs buy success, is to suggest that all their spending has been based on the profits from continual success.
    Rewind to the summer of 1989 and United's purchasing of Bruce, Pallister, Ince, Phelan, Webb and Wallace.
    There was no Champions League or Sky TV money and they had just finished the 1988-89 season with an average of 37,000. Liverpool were the best supported team and United were drifting in a sea of mediocrity.
    So what happened next?
    Martin Edwards sanctioned a huge spending spree as United gambled on the future. Of course Ferguson spent wisely, but that's not the point.
    At that particular moment in time, Manchester United had won three trophies in twenty years. There only response was to spend, spend, spend.
    Which funnily enough is what we're doing.