A Call From The Garrigue.

Today’s Football Results: Cash, 10 Football, 0.

A while back, I heard the then manager of the Scottish Football team Celtic, Gordon Strachan, when asked his feelings on Celtic having  just won the Scottish Premiership for the ninth time in the last eleven seasons, reply that he was elated with this result and he could announce that he had been promised more funds to strengthen his team.

I was amazed at this response, which was in fact an argument against the whole idea of fair competition as the aim of sport, in all of its facets. Back in the day, they at least had Rangers to contend with, but for some time there has been no real competition whatsoever in the Scottish Premier Division.

Once upon a time football was a sport which involved groups of men and boys from local villages with enthusiastic support for players whom were known to the spectators.

This system went through a gradual change as teams from larger towns poached the better players from the villages, giving the players a salary, which back in the day was ‘capped’ at twenty pounds a week, I believe.

This system worked very well for years, because as with Cricket, the players were from the same area, more or less, a system which maintained ‘real’ local support for the teams, with local ‘Derby’ matches between the likes of Bristol Rover against Bristol City or Man Utd against Man City, adding to the excitement. Not to forget the brutal local Derby’s between village sides like Shortwood United against Forest Green Rovers, or even Lydney Town.

This family sized spectacle has now been transformed into a psychopathic grudge ridden rich man’s effort to outspend his business rivals, which has completely unbalanced the whole exercise.

The Premiership in the UK has now become a matter of five possible winners, some say no more than three, while all of the rest fight it out amongst themselves, not to be relegated.

Surely the time has come to take a trick out of the horse-racing play-book by introducing a system of handicapping, in  order to give a fair chance to all competitors.

While there are already complaints about the number of top players who end up on the ‘bench’ of some team or other because there is no place for them in the first team, due to the surfeit of players whom have been ‘bought out’ of the game by rich owners, anxious to win at all cost.

There is a simple remedy to both problems, introduce a points reduction, according to the monetary value of the team.  This could also involve the ‘giving’ of additional points to the minnows at the bottom of the various divisions.

This simple act would immediately generate a sense of urgency and stress into the minds of the few major teams, whose soul aim at the moment is to finish in the ‘Top Four’ to guarantee a place in the Champions League.

I close my case.

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