Gavan Reilly

thinking out loud

Archive for the ‘Real Madrid’ tag

Why football needs a salary cap

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My first piece for Back Page Football, a new football site edited by Kevin Coleman. Ch-ch-check it out.

The year is 2020. The UEFA Super Champions Europa League Cup final (second leg) is just about to kickoff, and fans all over the world are breathing a weary sigh as Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town kick off against Red Bull Salzburg, with an 8-1 win in the away leg rendering club football’s greatest fixture totally and utterly redundant. What’s the point of playing this competition, wonder the fans, if the big teams when the tournament was conceived aren’t even in existence any more? Why bother taking part when Real Madrid aren’t around to try and win a tenth title, or if there’s no Man United/AC Milan/Bayern Munich/Barcelona to light up the tournament?

Except, of course, the year is not 2020, and UEFA haven’t thrown all of their tournaments together into one giant money-spinning football orgy. (Yet.) But wild as it might seem, the notion of football’s leading lights universally folding and leaving expensive, empty stadia, waiting to be demolished into boutique apartment blocks, and destroying the worldwide heritage of the Beautiful Game isn’t all that fanciful. We, in the summer of 2009, are witnessing the beginning of the end. The devil is a Spaniard, and he’s elected.

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Written by Gav

August 5th, 2009 at 10:05 am

Living the Real Madrid way

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Easily exceeding the quality of my own analysis, The Guardian’s Simon Burnton pens a piece for the website’s Sportblog, attaching a real-life analogy to Florentino Pérez’s own peculiar brand of expenditure.

Burnton gives an incredible allegory of buying a newspaper, paying vastly over-the-odds for the sake of show, and wonders whether we’re really any richer as a result.

His hands didn’t stop shaking when they left my grasp, and they trembled as he put the transaction through the till. There was a strange kind of energy in the shop. We all felt it, even the bloke at the fridge deciding whether a pint of organic milk was really worth an extra 10p. They’d be talking about me today – at work, at the dinner table, to their wives, children, colleagues. They’d be talking about me all right, and it felt good. I turned to leave.

On the way out, another newspaper caught my eye. It was not the newspaper I had wanted, the one I already owned. It did not contain an award-winning Film & Music section, or a supplement detailing Britain’s Best Walks in a certain unusual category. It might have covered many of the same stories in a similar way but it was, it said, the Newspaper of the Year. It had to be mine. I picked it up, and turned to the shopkeeper. I was smiling as I opened my wallet. So was he.

The full article is over here and it’s compelling stuff. Kudos to Burnton and The Guardian for the sheer intelligence of the piece.

Written by Gav

June 15th, 2009 at 10:42 am