Has football changed into a consumerism?

What is it that we all love about football? Is it on and off field drama that encircles every club on a daily basis? Is it aesthetic appreciation people have for the spectacle that is the ‘beautiful game’? Everyone has their own particular outlook, from old fashioned robust challenges to tic tac football with barely any contact. However, the modern game is not what it used to be and many pundits and experts toy with the idea of if it has changed for the better or for worse.

People have become aware over the years of the billions of pounds being pumped into teams and the transfer market and some argue that it has ruined the sanctity of football. The case is that the sport is heavily dependent on mass finances to maintain its spectacle and rely on funding from sponsorship and commercialisation. The more successful the team, the more profit they make and the bigger they can get. Players on ridiculous wages and ticket prices soaring… football has become a business.

Maybe the use of the word ‘changed’ could be considered politically incorrect. A better word could be adapted or manufactured. To perhaps outline some of the changes football has undergone, the rate of technology is developing faster than anyone could of imagined and this is no different for football.

Playing surfaces are no utterly immaculate and the majority of teams have state of the art facilities at their training grounds with high quality equipment. The argument is that if teams have the financial prowess to fund these features, then why not purchase them just for the sake of sticking to tradition?

Teams set their goals and targets for the beginning of each campaign and they want to do everything they can to achieve them. Resources were always going to change for teams. Even a mere decade ago, all you could wear were black leather boots laced up around the foot. Now the variations are vast ranging with style and fitting. Even the colours have taken it too far. Why would any player in the right mind want to wear a pair of fluorescent bright pink boots?

But its not just the ‘pretty boots’ that are changing the face of football. The weekly wages players earn come to ridiculous sums of money and are far more than the average person needs to sustain a comfortable living situation. Its a frustrating thought that the rest of the population won’t even come close to earning anywhere near the figures for hard working jobs and all these grown men have to essentially do is run around a field and kick a ball for 90 minutes.

On the other hand, if someone were to offer you the chance to do that, you are hardly going to refuse bad on the fact that they do very little and earn so much. It seems that the bigger the player, the higher the wage they earn. And these superstars go on to become icons for their beloved home nation or become the face of some materialistic sham of a company that endorses some hideous product and shoves it in our faces. People will buy it of course because their face is beside it or something silly like that.

David Beckham being an example of this with estimations currently valuing his total worth to being around £140 million and of course Didier Drogba is the face of African football so he must earn a fair whack. In fairness to them both, they both run charities and foundations that oversee the under privileged so its good to see them offering something back.

However, not all players are the same. Take Carlos Tevez for example. During the whole Manchester United contract palaver of 2009, some interesting accusations emerged from sources. Reports said that Carlos Tevez had outlined particular stipulations to the Red Devils as part of his new contract.

He wanted to become, not only the highest paid player at Manchester United, but in the Premier League surpassing the weekly wage of all of his team mates when he wasn’t even guaranteed a place in the starting 11. Manchester United were obviously reluctant to offer this deal and instead offered him a contract that would have still seen him become one of United’s highest earners and the club would of had to shell out £25.5 million for his transfer fee.

However, representatives of Tevez advised the fiery Argentine to deny the deal and switch borders from the red to the blue of Manchester City, which is probably where he ended up getting all that money he so ‘desperately’ needs. It also emerged that he had denied signing for Liverpool because of the implications that would have arose from a Manchester United player signing for their north-west rivals. Yeah… because signing for Man City wouldn’t do any harm at all. Just seems like one big money grabbing scheme.

Its obvious that these substantial wages are a statement now for players in terms of status or how good they are as a football. Perhaps the same principle applies for every sport. The same goes for transfer fees as well with the implication being that the better the player, the higher their transfer fee will be. Pundits, experts and even fans buy into this by saying ‘I think this player is worth X amount’ or ‘they only have X amount to spend this summer’. The X normally equating to millions of pounds being spent on one person.

People say this person is worth this many millions but there is no reason they should be worth over a million pounds. A million pounds is a huge sum of money to be spending on just one person. Transfer fee values have gotten way too big over the years and there is no chance of it being downsized at all. Players are under the illusion of ‘shop window policy’ that showcases themselves to other teams with a price tag to their name.

As said before, if the teams have the financial power to buy players for that amount, then there is nothing to stop them from doing so. It may sound old fashioned but these millions are being thrown about like they are loose change to a team and its a frightening thought.

Is this what football has come to now? If it is then its a real shame. The sanctity of football is slowly etching away because of the money grabbers and players who compete for the materialistic gain and luxuries which is a real shame to the sport. This figures and sums have risen so quickly so who knows what amounts clubs will be using within the next decade. The beautiful game is still what it is, full of passion, drama, excitement and entertainment but the fact remains the game has become a business and its treated like one.

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