From my Birmingham Mail column Nov 21st - Not a lot stirs my emotions about the great and beautiful game as I have become so used to all that goes on, outside of the 90 minutes, in the financial bubble that this money mad and money driven game lives. However I was angrier than I have been for a long time on hearing the news that the Premier Leagues Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore was being handed a five million pound golden handshake when he leaves his post at the end of the year.
To make matters worse the Premier League clubs were each asked to contribute £250,000 each towards this obscene payment with only five clubs including Wolves who rightly, in my opinion, said they would not pay.
To the delight of the Premier League and all Premier League owners Scudamore has negotiated a massive rise in TV revenues for the game during his tenure as Executive Chairman however isn’t that his job? The job he was paid handsomely to do. He was paid around 2.5 million pounds last year and that included bonuses, presumably, for the work he has done in increasing revenues. So why another bonus?
So many smaller clubs are struggling financially and the reason that can be traced partly back to the Premier League. At one time small clubs survived by developing players and selling them on. However with the top PL academies now able to walk in and take players from non-tier one academies for a pittance this source of revenue has all but dried up.
The 5 million pounds paid to Richard Scudamore would make a massive difference to all League two clubs and possibly League one clubs as well. For sure it isn’t going to happen. However you can see the point I am making about how out of balance the game is financially and why teams are fighting and over-stretching themselves to reach the Bank of Football that is the Premier League while most of those in it are overstretching themselves to stay in it. As for the rest well “tough” seems to be the attitude.
What would 5 million pounds do for ex-players who have fallen on hard times or need medical treatment? People like the family of Jeff Astle whose death was directly related to heading the ball while a professional player. There are many similar cases throughout the country where families of ex-players need help to care for their loved ones. That help could be either financial or practical.
That is why so many of us are angry at Richard Scudamore getting his five Million pounds golden handshake. So many men over decades served the game as players and became heroes and legends the supporters without the financial rewards that are available today. They played a massive part in the growth of the game, helping it to become a staple part of everyday life for millions of fans. In short they contributed to the success that makes it so attractive and why TV pay billions to show it.
They should not be ignored or forgotten and never will be by the supporters and ex-players associations but they are by the mainstream game today.
Would I turn down a Golden Handshake of Five Million pounds? Absolutely not and not would any of us. Richard Scudamore accepting the offer is not really the issue despite him earning over 20 million pounds from the Premier League while doing the job.
The problem is with those who decided it would be a good idea to pay him the extra five million pounds without any justifiable reason other than it would be a good idea? They are obviously very wealthy people who see it, in my opinion, just like they would if they tipping a waiter in a restaurant but with a lot more money.