Luke Shaw - on £190,000 a week? A WEEK. Here’s your problem – when the pyramid turns into a Ponzi.

Published: Monday, 26 April 2021

What an extra-ordinary seven days. Jose Mourinho gets the sack and no-one noticed! That was until Spurs turned up at Wembley directionless, hopeless and with his immediate successor looking totally lost - like the Under-11’s coach in charge of the seniors. In any other week Mourinho’s sacking is front and back page for days. Not last week. He got lucky. What a demise.

We all know why it wasn’t front or back page news. I think we called it spot on here. I’m certain change will evolve, but not in the way the ‘denier in chief’ and widely-accepted lunatic Florentino Trump would have us believe. Listening to the President of Real Madrid trying to convince anyone that will listen, that the ESL is still ‘on’ is like Trump bellowing ‘Stop the Steal’ from The Capitol in his last desperate days. An insult to everyone and everything to do with football.

No. The ESL in this guise is finished. Three years in the making - dead in 48 hours. Why? Not because of all the noise - but because Paris and Munich stood firm and refused to join. Forget Perez’s midnight hour suggestion at one point that both clubs ‘weren’t being invited’. Not only were they and the documents prove it, but they were subjected to the most intense inferno of lobbying to buckle and join in the final hours on Sunday. Had they joined - then the project goes ahead – every single card in the pack (and, from what I’ve been reading, possibly Bojo and co. too – christ that man doesn’t have an honest bone in his body). Anyway, the fortitude of PSG and Bayern was one of the gravest mis-calculations Perez made.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi - President of Paris and newly elected chairman of the European Clubs Association - led the resistance. He was the king pin they needed – and he didn’t fall. What a six months he’s got ahead of him now.

Al-Khelaifi summed up his feelings in the statement he released last Tuesday morning (April 20 2021) - “Paris Saint-Germain holds the firm belief that football is a game for everyone. I have been consistent on this since the very beginning. As a football club, we are a family and a community; whose fabric is our fans - I believe we shouldn’t forget this. There is a clear need to advance the existing UEFA competition model, presented by UEFA yesterday and concluding 24 months’ of extensive and collaborative consultation across the whole European football landscape. We believe that any proposal without the support of UEFA - an organisation that has been working to progress the interests of European football for nearly 70 years - does not resolve the issues currently facing the football community, but is instead driven by self-interest. Paris Saint-Germain will continue to work with UEFA, the European Club Association and all stakeholders of the football family - based on the principles of good faith, dignity and respect for all.”

There we have it – particularly the last sentence.  Perez and the Dirty Dozen wouldn’t know dignity and good faith if it hit him in the face.  All these PR apologies of recent days – if these snakes could have got away with it, they’d have made statutes of themselves outside grounds and already be on their yachts in the Maldives.  

Now Al-Khelaifi has tough job of trying to fix the problem. But what is the problem? Is it simply that COVID has decimated football revenues? That the majority of the big clubs are teetering on the brink because of the pandemic? No. Of course it isn’t. They’re in big trouble because of their mis-guided belief that the gravy train would never run out of track. Well it has. The pandemic, mass piracy and the gross mismanagement of some clubs (Perez take note) are the cause of all this – and it’s turned the football pyramid into a quasi Ponzi.

Here’s the problem. In the same week that Manchester United wanted to be part of the ESL because they saw it as another way to draw down massive money (as I’ve said before – follow the money behind JP Morgan, I’m pretty sure it’s sandy) I turned a page of the Daily Mirror yesterday (Sunday) to read that they’re set to offer Luke Shaw a new deal - worth £190,000 a week. A WEEK. That’s right. Luke Shaw – an earnest but ordinary full-back - £190,000 a week. Are they mad? He’s still got two years left on his old deal - which is worth £150,000. This is out of control.

There isn’t another industry that has such blatant disregard for the rules of finance. Billions pour into the game. Billions. Clubs rip fans off every which way they turn, with replica kits, replica training kits, massively expensive season tickets, overpriced pies and pints - you name it - it’s a scam.

Premier League clubs alone paid agents fees of £272m last season. Why? There isn’t a player working for the big six that wouldn’t walk from the furthest point on the globe to do so. Why do clubs need to pay agents? Why don’t players pay agents?  Why do clubs pay exorbitant wages? Shaw would play for United for £50,000 a week - still far more than the annual average wage in the U.K.  

Last week the British govt got busy on the issue of the ESL. Why? Because they saw an opportunity. No-one understood what was happening - least of all Oliver Dowden - but it was a popular thing to do. What this space with BoJo – first, Cumming’s reveals that BoJo got an aide to try pressure the Premier League into a different Newcastle takeover position, all for his chums that we stealing all of UK sport. Now there’s more than a whiff in the air about his initial support for the breakaway Super League – you couldn’t make this stuff up.

I’ll tell you what also needs a clean up – other govts around Europe, in Spain and Italy especially - that give massive tax breaks to clubs and allow players to earn ‘netto’.  Ronaldo - the first footballer worth a billion dollars - isn’t in Italy for any other reason. It stinks. It’s wrong. Stop it.

That’s where I’d start I’d I were trying to fix a few things. I’d sit Europe’s top clubs down and lay it on the line. There HAS to be an agreement about this - and one that sticks. Can it be done? Don’t hold your breath.

Oh. And in finishing - it’s time to go time Harry. Your team were hopeless against City and it’s not going to get any better. In fact, it’s only going to get a whole lot worse as the bills for the stadium start piling up. Spurs’ 48 hours in the ESL are over - and so are their days in the top 4.