Saturday, October 4, 2008

The clubs were no better – they thought only money too. By the end of the 1960s the idea of international league came about. The culprits? The same clubs, which now are called G-14 and want the same: a big league of big clubs. It looked a bit more exciting years ago – the domestic championships were not yet deflated and with still scarce television coverage, one more tournament was not so bad. But it was – the idea was opposed, because it was going to affect immediately both domestic and international tournaments: the same fear as today. Television was not seen as a blessing even then: even big clubs opposed television coverage, because they still depended largely on ticket sales. Smaller championships felt particularly threatened – live coverage of the English championship took away from stadiums many fans in Holland. It was felt that big clubs were getting richer at the expense of smaller ones and the game in general – they started buying players for larger and larger sums, thus forcing smaller clubs to spend more, if wanting to compete, spending went out of control as a result and bankruptcy was coming. Almost every club was running big deficits. The situation was particularly bad in South America, where financial troubles were common feature already in the 1960s – most clubs had to sell and sell player after player in the hope just to exist. Good players were concentrating in the big clubs, which decreased competitiveness. In a increasing downfall, the small clubs were losing supporters, therefore, money, and had no hopes. The big clubs increasingly did not see any reason to play against small clubs, because such matches were sinking funds instead of increasing revenue. Players were more and more expensive in the same time – if Bosman Rule was not a good news, it was only a replay of the late 1960s. Jimmy Hill was the Chairman of the Professional Footballers Association since 1957 and in 1961 he successfully campaigned to have the Football League scrap the 20-pounds maximum wage. After that wages steadily increased and affected transfer fees as well. After 1970 transfer fees became ‘insane’ and raising. The scrap of the cap of wages was blamed for that and many clubs cried murder – transfers were leading clubs into bankruptcy. It was one thing to buy and sell stars, but quite another to pay 6-numbers fees for ordinary players. But who was to say what is a ‘real price tag’?
Jimmy Hill – he played for Brentford, Fulham, and Doncaster Rovers. Not much of a footballer, but he was influential and strong chairman of PFA and later – a legendary TV commentator. Like Bosman, he was blamed for opening the floodgates of commercial insanity, killing football. Wages soared and transfer fees soared, and clubs went bankrupt.
Jean-Marc Bosman – the virtually unknown Belgian football player, who changed the transfer system. A saint or a devil?