Saturday, May 12, 2018

Football Crazy Football Mad

Having watched the first division football results over the past week or two with some intrepidation I was pleased that AFC Wimbledon manged to scrape over the line and remain in division one. 

Sadly the same could not be said for Northampton Town which was relegated despite being promoted as Division 2 champions in 2016 when AFC Wimbledon scraped through at the same time, as  a winner of one of the 4 teams below. 

Also relegated to Division 2 are MK Dons the team which originally claimed to succeed the former Wimbledon football club but which upon being refused FA permission to make their base in Dublin Ireland, eventually ended up in Milton Keynes some 82 miles north of Wimbledon. Locals who helped form AFC Wimbledon as a new club. regarded MK Dons as a franchise football club. 

However with the return to AFC Wimbledon of the FA Cup, won by the old Wimbledon FC in 1988, when they beat Liverpool FC in the final, attended by yours truly with maytrees max and many other local fathers and sons who hired a coach to make the journey together, the hatchet between the two clubs was largely buried. 

Currently Chelsea FC's ladies having recently purchased AFC Wimbledon's old ground in Kingston for a sum reputed to be well over £1m,  facilitated the return by AFC Wimbledon to SW19 by redeveloping the long since closed greyhound racing track into new housing and  a football stadium.

All the above is fascinating and commendable but the way in which the higher echelons of English football have developed in past years is in my view not. Years ago I recall attending Chelsea FC and standing on the terraces with my father to watch the team play say Arsenal FC. Of course terraces are far from ideal for watching football and  for large crowds are potentially dangerous so money was needed to update the stadium. However the price of the cheapest ticket to a Chelsea FC match exceeds £30 and the BBC reported some 4 years ago that:

The average price of the cheapest (football match) tickets across English football has risen at almost twice the rate of the cost of living since 2011.

My own view is that players are now paid far too much, transfer fees running into £10ms are ridiculous  and the pressure on clubs to play their main games for European leagues rather than domestic matches, risks ruining the sport for ordinary fans. 

The time has come for the FA to consider carefully, what financial limits should be placed on clubs and their players. The need arises for the game to be brought back to the ordinary supporter and of course dare I say it, for a level playing field to be created as between clubs.

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