Money, especially player’s salaries, is one of the main talking points in modern day football. Throughout time we have seen the likes of Winston Bogarde at Chelsea sit back and take the money. As he said himself “This world is about money, so when you are offered those millions you take them. Few people will ever earn so many. I am one of the few fortunate’s who do. I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership, but I don’t care.”
You then get others who are more vocal about being on the bench like former French International Vikash Dhorasoo, who made a film about being on the bench, aptly named Substitute. The size of the squads in the Premier League are starting to hit 50 players. Has this got out of control or is this the reality of a league where you could be playing in up to 4 cup competitions?
For example Niko Kranjcar scored his second Premier League goal in two matches for Spurs recently and has now given Redknapp a headache. A nice headache I’m sure Harry would admit, but a headache all the same. Last season the Croatian was an integral part to the Spurs side that finished fourth, but with Bale, Van der Vaart, Lennon, and Modric all playing out of their skins, and Spurs needing at least one defensive midfielder in the side every week, Kranjcar has spent most of the season sitting on the bench. Something he’s understandably not happy with.
This scenario is played out in every club up and down the country and I wonder how long this can continue. How can players be happy just sitting on the bench and not being involved? Take Kranjcar for example, if he decides to move on for first team football every week, who could blame him?
There are those who are desperate to play every week, and would rather play at mid-table clubs than be squad players at a higher placed club. But then you get some that are just happy to sit on the bench and pocket their £50k plus a week wages, retire at 32 and sit on their arses for the rest of their lives.
Why do they do it? Surely if they love the game they will want to play every week? Don’t they get frustrated watching their team mates take on the best players in the world while they’re sitting there in big coats playing Angry Birds on their phones?
So why don’t some players have more drive to move on? Do they just take their lives for granted, knowing they will be paid no matter what and therefore it’s easier than taking a gamble and moving to a different club? Or do they truly believe in their ability as a player and that they will break in to the team if they keep working hard?
Why do some players prefer their warm down to be picking splinters out of their derriere’s rather than running round the pitch?
Let’s face it, they’re being paid for not actually doing their job. Their job is, yes to train, but also to play football matches, and preferably win. If I turned up at work one day a week, sat at my computer and did bugger all I’m pretty sure my P45 would land on my desk quicker than I could say Football Rascal. But these footballers are doing just that – turning up on match day and sitting on their backside doing sweet F.A.
Now it is of course a two-way thing. Part of the problem are the managers and football clubs themselves who seem to enjoy throwing money away every week on players that are giving the club nothing. Football clubs are businesses like any other industry, so why don’t they cut out the crap and save the cash to buy better players that actually will play? Again my boss would get fired if he allowed his team to not actually do what they’re being paid for.
So whose fault is it? Is it the players for having no drive or motivation to play the beautiful game every week? Or is it the clubs for letting the players get complacent and not driving them harder and faster to improve their game? In any other industry, if you’re not performing you’re fired. So why should it be any different for footballers?
I think the clubs need to crack down on this. In the long run it makes good business sense for them. Yes you need a good squad, but if we are to go along with the twenty five man squad then I am of the belief that this should consist of three goalkeepers and twenty two outfield players allowing for two in every position – and be law. Of course some of these players should have the ability to fulfill a variety of positional roles but each player has their number and this will stop managers buying 10 midfielders, 6 of which get a handful of games all season.
Players will get more games, competition will stay fierce, clubs will stop throwing away money, it will give more emphasis on the ‘complete player’ i.e ones that can pass, shoot and, shock horror, also tackle – and most importantly these players will get their drive back and push the standard of the game to another level, meaning that the Premier League remains the best league in the world.