It’s time for football fans to say enough is enough and stay away
- Credit: PA
The beautiful game has turned so ugly, has it gone beyond the point of no return?
Avarice, greed, delusions of invincibility and a glaring detachment from the real world has ruined our national game and the people in it so much, football as we know it needs to be ripped up and started again.
The gulf that now stretches between the over-indulged, pampered, super-wealthy players and managers and the fans, who scrape and go without to buy their season tickets to watch their lacklustre let's-get-it-over-with scrappy matches week after week means the game is no longer sustainable.
As if the national team limping home from the Euros at the first post wasn't humiliating and pathetic enough for a team worth more than the national debt, yet with such a lack of self-awareness it truly believes it's world-class.
Then its manager, just 67 days and one game into a job he has worked more than a 40-year career to achieve, throws away his £3m a year salary (plus bonuses) for a sniff of an extra £400,000 on the side from a fictitious commercial organisation, acting like a loose cannon to total strangers in a Mayfair hotel, telling them he knows how to get round the rules of his employers.
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The strangers turn out to be journalists on a newspaper sting as part of a year-long investigation into corruption in football.
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English football has become the laughing stock of the world but the only people who can't see it are the people in it, creaming off millions while their fans – average salary £33,000 with families to keep – fork out for ever-increasing ticket prices.
The only people who can bring it down are the fans, calling time after this excruciating own goal, withdrawing their money and demanding change.
Pride in his post should have made England manager Sam Allardyce protect the integrity, principles and reputation of the game he purports to love.
But greed made him throw it away by fuelling astonishingly rank judgement.
His supporters claim naivety. Allardyce and naivety don't belong in the same sentence. The prospect is ludicrous.
Only greed made him engage in those 'talks' from the outset, tempted by a bit of moonlighting flying to Singapore and Hong Kong four times a year to address investors in a Far East firm that wanted to buy football players and proposing third party ownership of players, in contravention of Football Association and Fifa rules.
He clearly believed he would never be caught out. That's what greed does. The adulation and separation from the real world football brings, also makes people in it believe they are invincible, untouchable.
Football lost its integrity years ago. As footballers salaries rose, so did their expectations and their egos.
It's all about having the best, spending the most and accumulation. Their jobs feel secondary to their rewards.
It's become a monster so out of control it's eating itself, its reputation and its respect.
The business has killed the game, where everything has an extraordinary price tag to be worth anything. Values of decency have sunk.
Like overgrown toddlers who have never heard the word no, footballers and their managers have been ruined by money.
It has brought, in many cases, irresponsibility to young men revered by small boys and, sadly, grown-up ones too.
We've endured their antics on and off the pitch and on the pitch.
The game has become brash, vulgar, bigheaded, and vain. Quite simply, it stinks.
Greed is a vice that inevitably brings about a downfall, not distinguishing between the smart and the dumb.
On the same day as Allardyce stepped down, a wealthy barrister was struck off for being one of Britain's most prolific rail-fare dodgers.
Peter Barnett, an Oxford University graduate, was convicted of six charges of fraud by false representation after he failed to pay fares worth almost £20,000 during his daily commute to London from his £600,000 home in Oxfordshire. The deputy district judge, said: 'You had it all. It remains unclear why you acted so badly.' Greed is why – and a conceited belief they are too clever to get caught.
It's time for fans to say enough is enough and stay away until their game changes.