Sorry. Buck this idea.

Published: Thursday, 15 November 2018

Has football finally lost the plot? Two hundred and fifty grand per club - totalling a good-bye gift of £5m for Richard Scudamore, the outgoing Chief Executive of the Premier League. You can not be serious.

Why? Somebody please tell me why? Look, I’ve known Richard for longer than he’s been at the Premier League. We’ve played a lot of golf together. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to birthday parties/drinks at his house. At different times he’s been a good mate - although I am still waiting for him to call and ask me how my heart surgery went! As I was about to go under the knife I was amazed to discover that Richard had previously been on the same operating table! I heard from many people during my period of recovery - Graeme Souness obviously, but also David Murray, the former Rangers owner and my long time mate, the late Ray Wilkins (I still miss you fella. You left a big hole).  But never Richard, although I had taken time to call him and tell him what was about to happen to me. I can’t pretend I wasn’t disappointed I never heard from him again. 

 

I was quickly on the phone when he found himself engulfed by similar issues to those which Andy and I had faced at Sky. He was in bigger trouble, but there was no appetite to bury him. I was pleased about that. 

Let it also be said that Scudamore has done a fantastic job steering the Premier League for the last 19 years. Almost single-handedly he’s made it the most financially stable and most watchable league in the world. I know both those things split opinions, with some believing that he’s done more than anyone else to take the game away from the man in the street. I can’t complain about that. At Sky we were at the forefront of that process, before Scudamore had even been heard of. 

It’s reported that Scudamore has earned £1.9m/year for his work - plus bonuses. Conservatively, let’s say he’s £20m better off than he was when he took the job. He worked hard for his money and I have no problem with someone being rewarded for being the best. Scudamore has been that. But a £5m going away present? £5m? £250,000 from each Premier League club. Stop and think for a moment what that kind of money would do for grass roots football within a 5 mile radius of those clubs. 

 

How many times down the years have we seen lower league clubs go bust - needing a million here or a million there? Did the Premier League ever lift a finger to help any of them? No. Never. 

The ‘present’ is the idea of the Chelsea Chairman, Bruce Buck. Has he completely lost the plot? Do Premier League clubs have so much money that they can throw it about like this? It’s madness. It’s an insult. 

If they want to buy Scudamore a present, have a word with somebody at Hublot and get him another fancy watch. A watch -  isn't that what retirees have generally received down the years? Rarely a Hublot, but he’s worth it! 

There are also calls today for Scudamore to receive a New Year’s honour. People with short memories are pushing for that. Fine. That won’t cost any money. 

Knowing Scudamore as I do I’m staggered that he hasn’t already said ‘no thanks’ to the idea of the ‘leaving present’. It’s obscene. 

 

Here’s an idea. Let every Premier League club let in real fans for nothing - to the tune of £250,000 - the next time they play a home game. If you’re one of those who believe the game has been taken away from the man in the street - let that be Scudamore’s legacy eh? A present. A ‘thank you’ for your tolerance. Sorry Bruce - you’ve got this one badly wrong and football should Buck the idea. 

And to think about the fuss that was made about honouring a modern day hero like Rooney with a match for charity. You couldn’t make it up.