The History of Money and Sport – The Collapse of Professionalism, and the Return to Amateurism

I have been planning to write this post for the last few years, but had put it on the long term back burner due to my belief that debt collapse was a few years in the future, however in the wake of the Covid19 “pandemic” and government created “crisis” which also very conveniently doubles up as the controlled demolition of the global debt based fiat currency system, I have decided that this post needed expediting

This post will discuss the origins and the history of sport in the United Kingdom, from its pre-industrial and amateur roots, through the industrial revolution, its road and railway infrastructure that facilitated travel and enabled the standardisation of rules and formation of Associations and Unions, of which I will be concentrating on Football and Rugby Football, the clashes that arose between the amateur ethos and the increasing professionalism within sport as a by-product of central banking and the Bank of England’s progressive debasement of Britain’s common currency, Pound Sterling… From the mid Nineteenth Century and the regionalisation of British sport, through the Twentieth Century and the nationalisation of British sport, to the end of the tenuous and bastardised Bretton Woods gold exchange standard in 1971, and the globalisation of sport…

This post will discuss the Covid19 “crisis” and its cataclysmic effects upon the creaking global financial system, that has already decimated the revenues of lower leagues and grass roots funded sport, which will work its self all the way up to the debt based Premier League, that is more dependent than ever now on the revenues from media broadcasting, before going on to discuss the future of Sport under a different monetary system…

This post will then move on to the coming Age of Deflation and the return of sound money, and how this will change the relationship between money and sport, reversing Professionalism and the gradual shift back toward Amateurism…

Origins of British Sport – Before 1750

The deadly game of Cnapan

There were no standardised Sports in Britain before industrialisation, which should come as no surprise, as the transport and communications infrastructure was pre-railway, pre-telecommunication, and with a barely developed national road network, sports tended to be local or regional to scale these limitations… For examples, in the 9th Century we have the first documented source of a group ball game in Wales, in more modern times the Welsh had Cnapan, the Scots had Jeddart Ba’, the Irish had Caig, and the English had Camping… And there are many medieval records of ball games which we could refer to as the antecedents of modern ball sports, especially in schools and universities

British Sport and Public Schools (From 1800)

And so to the English Schools System, which had for centuries developed differing versions of foot and hand ball games, and to Rugby School specifically, where contrary to popular belief, rules had been decided upon among the pupils rather than the masters, and where there were no standard rules at the time William Webb Ellis taught at Rugby School (1816-25), which renders the story of the boy “who with a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it” in 1823, as doubtful… It would be three boys at Rugby School who first wrote the rules of any form of football in 1845

The Football Association – 1863

For the first formal codification of the football game, we wind forward to the evening of the 26th October 1863 at Freemasons tavern, Great Queens Street, London, for the inaugural meeting of the Football Association, giving England the title of the mother of the beautiful game… The rule limitations subsequently thrashed out by the Football Association would largely follow the recently published Cambridge Rules, both prohibiting running with the ball in hand (hand ball) and hacking (shin kicking), leading to the withdrawal of Blackheath from the FA to create the world’s oldest rugby club, and the first major schism in codified ball sport, between Football and Rugby Football… With the establishment of the Rugby Football Union by 21 London clubs on 26th January 1871, the historic schism and division of Britain’s two main sports would be forged, that would extend broader than just the rules, to even culture and class, of which more later

Following in the footsteps of the original FA (1863), came the Scottish FA in 1873, the Welsh FA in 1876, and the Irish FA in 1880, which established for the first time International Football, with the British Home Championship founded in 1884… Following in the footsteps of the original RFU (1871), came the Scottish Rugby Union in 1873, the Irish Rugby Football Union in 1879, and the Welsh Rugby Union in 1881, with the Home Nations Championship founded in 1883…

With football associations and rugby unions established in all home nations, before I get to a chronological timeline of Professionalism and League Football, first I must take a historical detour further into the economic background of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, to provide further context for the rise of club rugby and especially league football…

Economy And Sport – The Industrial Revolution

While there is some disagreement on the beginning and end dates for the Industrial Revolution, throughout my blog posts I’ve pegged it as the Century between 1750 and 1850, and originates in England, which is a curiosity in itself… Indeed, if it is self evident that England and the British Isles is the home and mother of Modern Sport both amateur and later professional, that is as I’ve already indicated a by-product of the origination of a regional and later national railway network, then the most interesting question of all is why this industrial revolution originates at all?

You may think that it was only England that had knowledge of steam and engine technology, however this is far from true, in fact steam technology was known to the Greeks and Romans (with Heron of Alexandria’s Aeolipile), and steam turbines were being actively worked upon from the Sixteenth Century onwards in Ottoman Egypt (1551), and in Spain (1606), Italy (1629) and France (1679) during the Seventeenth Century… The first commercial steam powered machine was a water pump developed in 1698 by Thomas Savery, improved upon by Bento de Moura Portugal in 1742…

1750-1800 – Steam Engine

The piston steam engine would be developed by German Jacob Leopold in 1720, but the real breakthrough would come from Matthew Boulton and James Watt with the Watt Steam Engine in 1776, which condensed steam instead of the pressurised steam that was the prior standard… Watt developed this condensing steam engine further, with rotary motion that would enable driving machinery, which also allowed energy intensive factories to be sited away from rivers, lakes and sources of water, thus accelerating the pace of the nascent Industrial Revolution…

1800 – Steam Locomotion

There had been railways before the advent of steam with those being powered by horses, in 1774 Scotsman William Murdoch invented the first prototype for steam locomotion in Birmingham, and in 1802 Cornish mining engineer Richard Trevithick built the first steam locomotive for an ironworks in Shropshire… On 21st February 1804, the first recorded steam-hauled railway journey took place as another of Trevithick’s locomotives hauled a train along the 4 ft 4 in (1,321 mm) tramway from the Pen-y-darren ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil, to Abercynon in South Wales… On another visit to Newcastle in 1804 Trevithick would meet with many coal mine owners and engineers, and would thrust England’s North East into a centre of development for steam locomotion

George Stephenson, a former miner working as an engine-wright at Killingworth Colliery, developed up to sixteen Killingworth locomotives, including Blücher in 1814, another in 1815, and a (newly identified) Killingworth Billy in 1816… He also constructed The Duke in 1817 for the Kilmarnock and Troon Railway, which was the first steam locomotive to work in Scotland…

In 1825, George Stephenson built Locomotion No. 1 for the Stockton and Darlington Railway, north-east England, which was the first public steam railway in the world… In 1829, his son Robert built in Newcastle The Rocket, which was entered in and won the Rainhill TrialsThis success led to the company emerging as the pre-eminent builder of steam locomotives used on railways in the UK, US and much of Europe… The Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened a year later making exclusive use of steam power for passenger and goods trains

1840’s – Railway Mania

The Railway Mania of the 1840’s gets us closer to the answer of why the Industrial Revolution and Sport originated in Britain and not elsewhere, which deserves its own section in the next thread, and that is central banking and the nationalised control of currency and capital… For a backdrop the Liverpool and Manchester Railway had opened in 1830 as the first inter-city railway and had been successful in transporting both passengers and freight, but with the Bank of England running a “tight” monetary policy with relatively high interest rates throughout the late 1830’s and the early 1840’s, the British economy was “slowing”, in other words the capital base was growing… By 1845 the Bank of England had manipulated interest rates lower, which incentivised capital away from government bonds (and national markets) and into the more speculative private capital markets, much of which flowed into Railway Companies and stocks, which naturally created a demand for more railways and stock companies… This coupled with government repeal of the 1719 Bubble Act (and forming stock companies without Royal Assent) and the increased demography of population with savings to invest, and little to no regulation or supervision of this highly speculative market, led to boom time for the railways… While railway companies had to submit a bill to London’s Parliament to claim the land and agree the routes, the fact that most Members of Parliament were heavily invested themselves in rail companies and stocks, meant the vast majority of these bills were passed

The end of the Railway Mania came at the end of 1845 when the Bank of England raised interest rates and the capital flowed back out of the railways and into British Government bonds, revealing dozens of railway companies who had over invested in projects with little organic consumer demand to sustain them, thus began another collapse of a central bank fueled bubble with mass defaults and financial losses for those left holding the bag, in many cases the dumb investing public some of whom had gambled life savings and all the family silver on making a fortune out of trains… The collapse also allowed more sustainably financed competitors to buy failed rail lines and expand their own networks, such as the Great Western Railway and the Midland companies… Nevertheless even though a highly speculative bubble it was, it also left behind a vast amount of built infrastructure, such as the initial part of the Great Northern Railway (London to York) and trans-Pennine Woodhead route (Sheffield to Manchester), and large parts of freight lines like what would become the North Eastern Railway (Doncaster to Berwick-upon-Tweed), and which would become sustainable under different management… And just so we can put the Railway Mania into some kind of modern context, a total of 6,220 miles (10,000 km) of railway line were built as a result of projects authorised between 1844 and 1846 – by comparison, the total route mileage of the modern UK railway network is around 11,000 miles (18,000 km)

Which brings us directly to the answer of who created Britain’s Industrial Revolution, as has already been partly explained, Britain’s practically unique experiment (at that point in history) with a Central Bank and nationalized capital markets

The Bank of England and The Industrial Revolution

It is the Protestant Schism within Christianity created by the Reformation, and the birth of the Nation State and of International Law following the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), that would provide the breeding ground for National (Central) Banking, the first prototypical central bullion bank being the Amsterdamsche Wisselbank and the main financier of the rather remarkable Dutch Empire from 1600 to 1800, and which the British Empire would eclipse using exactly the same methodology from 1800 onwards… The first official Central Bank and still the world’s oldest, is the Sveriges Riksbank of Sweden, established in 1668 by a Protestant Monarch, twenty years before England would undergo its own Colour Revolution and a centrally financed state and economy, when the bankers of Amsterdam financed the Orange Revolution, also known to history as the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the removal of Catholic James Stewart II/VII, and the installation of William III of Orange, and a Protestant crown… Six years later the bankers of Amsterdam would see their bullion banking model enshrined in the heart of the dark square mile of the City of London, with the Old Whore Lady of Threadneedle Street, the Bank of England established in 1694

In fact when you look at the striking similarities between the Dutch Empire and the future British Empire, you could argue that the British Empire was merely the new and improved Dutch Empire, and ran from London… The Bank of England would finance the Acts of Union with Scotland in 1707 making Britain a major European power, it would finance armies and navies around the world, notably on behalf of the British East India Company which would colonise the Americas in the West and vast swathes of Asia in the East, it would finance Wars against Holland and France and its main colonial rivals during the Eighteenth Century, and it would finance the Wars in the American Colonies following the Declaration of Independence in 1776… By 1800, the Bank of England and the British State were intertwined, just in time for the Napoleonic Wars that would cement the British Empire as the main world power of the Nineteenth and first half of the Twentieth Century

So to answer the question I asked earlier about why the Industrial Revolution originated in England and Britain, it is when you look at what was unique to England and Britain at that time, and that was never steam technology nor ingenious engineers per se as these also existed in most of the rest of Europe too, it was the centralised and quasi-nationalised status of the British State with a self funding mechanism of a central bank that could control and manipulate and inflate and tax the public, to redistribute wealth and capital into its own coffers for the rapid militarisation for its colonies abroad, by industrialising the domestic economy to pay for it at home, and which brings us to the next thread for the Industrial Revolution, that of demography

The Industrial Revolution and Demography

The Hockey Stick – one of the most fascinating charts in world history

Thomas Malthus published his Essay On The Principle of Population in 1798, and his principle of the Malthusian Trap, that the scarcity of natural resources and human production, most importantly agriculture and food production, would keep a natural cap on population growth… Now this chart does seem to make a mockery of this principle and indeed has been leveraged by any and every Anti-Malthusian to proclaim the irrelevance of Malthusianism… But considering what has already been discussed in this post, and of Malthus’ possible or probable ignorance of the fledgling first fifty years of the industrial revolution and the Bank of England, then I don’t see how Malthus could have possibly foreseen the breaking of his trap…

Classical Liberals, Utilitarians and Whig Theorists of Historical Progress have always approached the above chart of population explosion as the organic breaking of the Malthusian Trap, the Industrial Revolution was an unleashing of free market capitalism from the chains of medieval and feudal labour, and the rise of mass machines to serve this surge in population growth the by-product of progress and the multiplying of the division of labour and wealth throughout Britain, and then the rest of the world… And yet as I have already demonstrated, this explosive population growth was predated by a Central Bank by over a Century, as was the Industrial Revolution predated by a Central Bank for over half a century, so as a Reactionary I will give my counter-take to the Liberal view of Britain’s population explosion… Bearing in mind that one of the more notorious aspects of the Industrial Revolution was child labour in a time before child labour laws, then it becomes clearer to me at least the underlying reason for Britain’s population explosion is not progress and wealth, but regress and povertyThe population explosion was the requirement for a rapid increase in fertility and larger families for the underclasses, exclusively for work and labour (to work the machines), to counteract the inflation and staggering loss of purchasing power of the currency and the crushing taxes to fund Britain’s domestic industrial machine, for its foreign Wars and World Empire

To illustrate further, I offer the Napoleonic Wars against post Revolution and Republican France with Napoleon Emperor… The war spanned twelve years (1803-1815), financed by the Bank of England by bleeding the British population dry, and left Britain deeply in debt to Nathan Mayer Rothschild… But perhaps most interesting of all, what precedes the Napoleonic Wars and Britain’s population explosion is another Bank of England sleight of fraud hand, the Bank Restriction Act of 1797

Satirical cartoonist James Gillray lampooning the criminal syndicate between Parliament and the Bank of England, in printing their World Empire…

The “restriction” in the Parliamentary Act of 1797 was set by the British Government upon the Bank of England, that they no longer had to convert their banknotes into gold, and was the culmination of every other bank run due to fractional reserve banking and fraud among the ruling elites, that of effective default by closing the Gold Window… As BoE banknotes were no longer redeemable for gold, this allowed the British Government to print the wars to both defend against and attack the Republican Menace that had taken over France… By 1814, there were £28.4 million worth of banknotes in circulation while there was only £2.2 million in gold reserves to back them, and a criminal 8% reserve ratio… The other 92% of the pounds purchasing power, unchained from gold had vanished into thin air, which chimes perfectly with my interpretation of the catastrophic loss of purchasing power from 1800 that drives the British population boom, that drives the agricultural revolution, the mass machine and factory revolution, the child labour revolution, the energy revolution, the steam locomotive revolution, the railway mania, which directly leads to the birth of British Sport… The convertibility of banknotes into gold would remain restricted until the 1st of May 1821, and a 24 year period (a generation) unpegged from sound money, and which would have the greatest of consequences for the future of the world

Wiki quote for above cartoon: “After the passing of the [Bank Restriction] act [1797], Richard Brinsley Sheridan publicly bemoaned the way in which the Bank of England had fallen under the influence of William Pitt the Younger by describing the institution as “An elderly lady in the City, of great credit and long standing who had unfortunately fallen into bad company“. This in turn led to James Gillray’s famous cartoon entitled Political Ravishment; or the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street in Danger, which depicts Pitt seducing the Bank of England, personified as an old lady attired in £1 and £2 notes, for her fortune.[7] This cartoon is the origin of the Bank’s nickname of “The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street“, still in use today.”

The Industrial Revolution And Class

This question of class will become all the more relevant as we further travel on, as this is at the heart of the schism within all sports, and will answer the question of why Rugby Union stayed an Amateur sport until the 1990’s, while Football and Rugby League were Professional over a century earlier… From what has already been discussed there was a massive population boom in England from 7.75 million people in the 1800 Census, to 30 million people by the 1900 Census, and as I have already explained the population boom was for child labour and therefore concentrated among the lower (and poorer) classes, while the upper classes suffered the same from the Bank of England’s unprecedented serial debauchery of the value of Pound Sterling during the 19th Century, had enough of a financial cushion to enable smaller families… While the upper classes were traditional landowners, landlords and rentiers with established inter-generational family hedge funds of appreciating land and property, the lower classes were crammed like sardines in the slums of the newly created industrial towns and cities of England, and had practically nothing in value except for their labour, and their children’s labour… And while the upper classes played sport, indeed invented modern Football and Rugby in the South of England’s Public Schools, sport was for exercise, physical and mental testing and spiritual growth, and a hobby or passtime, the Amateur ethos of a class that could afford to do this; among the exploding lower classes working all of God’s given hours in the industrial towns and cities of England’s North and Midlands, sport began to develop beyond a hobby into a business, where money was scarce and therefore ripe for Professionalism and the payment of players, and where playing would become a vocation more than a hobby

While both the Football Association (1863) and Rugby Football Union (1871) had been established in London, and among the upper classes, sport would also spread to the Midlands and North, and among the lower classes… The world’s second oldest Football Association was the Sheffield FA founded in 1867, and would serve Yorkshire as a parallel Association under different rules from the FA, until 1878 when they would merge with the FA and rules were standardised… The oldest cup competition in the world, the FA Cup would be established in 1871

The FA Cup was initially contested by mostly Southern and amateur teams, but very soon began being dominated by superior organised and professional Northern clubs during the early 1880’s, Blackburn Olympic defeating Old Etonians in the 1883 FA Cup Final… Olympic neighbours Blackburn Rovers had begun paying their players, and would win the FA Cup three years on the spin, in 1884, 1885, and 1886… While the FA initially tried to ban Professionalism and the amalgamation of money and sport, under the threat of The British Football Association and a breakaway body, in 1885 the FA was forced to permit the payment of players… Three years later, in 1888, the Football League was established, formed by six professional clubs from Northwest England, and six from the Midlands…

1888 – The Football League

The Football League: founded at Anderton’s Hotel, London

Having forced the FA to capitulate to Professionalism, The Football League would be formulated to guarantee a more organised and professional fixture list and therefore more sustainable streams of revenue, outside of the chaotic and ad-hoc fixture list that dominated the amateur nature of the ordinary, inter-county, and FA cup matches of the Football AssociationIt would also birth a persistent tension and conflict between the FA and the FL over the governance and control of English Football, and the fight for supremacy between club football and national football

The first season of the Football League began on the 8th of September 1888, consisting of twelve founder member clubs: Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke (City), West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers

With the absorption of the Football Alliance in 1892, from season 1892-93 the Football League would add clubs such as Nottingham Forest, Wednesday (later renamed Sheffield Wednesday) Newton Heath (later renamed Manchester United) to the First Division, and a new Second Division of 12 clubs, including names such as Northwich Victoria, Port Vale, and Sheffield United

For Season 1893-94 further clubs would be added to the Second Division, including Liverpool, Newcastle United, Rotherham Town, and Woolwich Arsenal (later renamed Arsenal), which would be the first southern club to compete in the Leagues

The progression of English Football from amateur and un-organised division, to professional and organised leagues of division, happens pretty rapidly from 1885 to 1895 and largely driven I might add from England’s North and Midland industrial heartlands, as was the progression of the footballer to profession over passtime, for both good and ill… The Rugby Football Union however, would *never* stoop so low as to tarnish or debase the game of rugby with anything as common as money, and in that light what comes next should perhaps come as no surprise

1895 – The Great Schism: Rugby Football Union And Rugby Football League

The Rugby Rumpus

Rugby like football had originated as a London-centric upper class sport that had very quickly spread and been adopted far outside London, particularly in the North of England and South Wales, and so the Rugby Football Union would find the same threat of loss of control that the London-centric Football Association had suffered a decade earlier, however the Rugby Football Union would turn out to be a completely different animal

In 1892, charges of Professionalism were laid against two Rugby Football Clubs in Yorkshire, Bradford and Leeds, that players had been compensated for missing work due to their sporting commitments… In 1893 Yorkshire clubs jabbed back that the Rugby Football Union was too London-centric and that going down to London for meetings was too time consuming for people who had to work for a living, and because of this under-representation on the Committee Board, there were few to advocate for “broken-time” payments, at a detriment to the North and the working classes, which by now were a majority of English rugby clubsWhat these Northern clubs were also seeing was the success of the formation of the Football League for the last five years, who made no bones about paying their players for participation, it would suit the rugby clubs of the North to leave behind London’s amateur Union, and forge ahead with their own Professional Rugby League

On 27th August 1895, as a result of an emergency meeting in Manchester, prominent Lancashire clubs Broughton RangersLeighOldhamRochdale HornetsSt. HelensTyldesleyWarringtonWidnes and Wigan declared that they would support their Yorkshire colleagues in their proposal to form a Northern Union… Two days later 21 clubs gathered at the George Hotel, Huddersfield to form the Northern Rugby Football Union, but was effectively the birth of Rugby League (and would be renamed Rugby League in 1922)… The RFU would retaliate and issue sanctions against the professionals, and even against amateurs that played against the professionals, but it should be clear that a game based on monetary revenue would out compete and out organise a purely amateur union, by 1904 the NRFU would have more affiliate clubs than the RFU

For the next century tensions would continue between the rugby codes, with the financial incentives of Northern League Clubs, especially to the working classes of South Wales’ towns and valleys, would see the persistent drain of the best amateur talent that money could buy, away from the Welsh and English Rugby Unions… Once a player had turned Professional there was no way back to the Union, and so many of the players that went North would never come back, neither would they be welcomed back, in South Wales where the link of rugby and community had always been strong, running away to League was considered by many as turncoat and treachery

To put this dichotomy in some final context, the RFU wouldn’t even develop Leagues until 1987, and Rugby Union would not succumb to the temptations of money and professionalism until 1995, a full one hundred years after the original schism that began it all

The 20th Century – Central Banking, Globalism and World Wars

The central bank-cum-governmental spending machine unleashed by England’s “Glorious Revolution” that had created England and Britain’s population boom, industrial revolution, and The Empire, would be exported to other Western Powers so that they could also “keep up with the Jones’s” on the world stage; the Central Banque du France after all had been established in 1800 to finance Napoleon’s Wars and Empire, the Reichsbank had been established in Germany in 1876 following Bismarck’s founding of the German Empire in 1871, and the Federal Reserve System was established in the US in the dying days of December 1913, just in time for the ultimate expression of the industrialisation spawned during the Nineteenth Century, the industrial wars of the Twentieth Century

This monetary inflation, industrialism and population booms created record inequality between rich and poor, between appreciating capital and depreciating labour, and had largely diluted the powers of the aristocracy and of the landowners, in a time when financiers and capitalists became wealthier than kings, the Monarchical system of national government that had governed the riven and highly volatile European and Russian populations since the Reformation, followed in the footsteps of the Dutch, British, French and American mode of Parliamentary Democracy and Republicanism

With the First World War would come the latest “Restriction Act” on the gold standard that would afford the Western Powers the industrial development of machine guns and tanks and bombs and mustard gas, the mass conscription and genocide of a generation of Europe’s finest men, traumatising a generation of mothers, fathers, wives and children, to fracture the family unit, and to reject religion and embrace nihilismThe First World War was not an “accident”, less than an organised and co-ordinated Western population reduction and impoverishment experiment by financial elites and powers, and a warmongering liability in Winston Churchill that was as much an architect of the First World War as he was of the Second… By the end of the War, Britain was reeling, the German Empire would be reduced to the hyperinflating Weimar Republic to pay the Allied war debts (denominated in gold), the Austro-Hungarian Empire would be literally Balkanized and softened up for the arrival of Communism, and the Romanov’s would be executed in the Bolshevik Revolution engineered and financed by Wall Street and the City of London’s hidden hand of finance…

Time to foreclose on the Churchill Cult

1904 – The Globalization of Football

It would be remiss not to mention that football and rugby would spread outside the British Isles, while Rugby would be adopted largely by Britain’s Empire and Commonwealth (most notably Australia, New Zealand and South Africa), Football would be spread to the rest of the English and non-English speaking world… While the FA had chaired many discussions on setting up an international body, their perceived lack of progress would embolden other countries to establish an international body, and on the 21st of May 1904 in Paris, the Football Associations of France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, would establish FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association

1914-1918 – Sport and The War

If it hadn’t become clear already, the First World War would decimate sport in the British Isles, the Football Leagues would be put on hiatus for four whole seasons, many of the players had been conscripted into trench warfare, and for those “lucky” enough to return home in one piece, would suffer the affliction of mental torture of the atrocities they had witnessed, and would suffer with “Shell Shock” and PTSD the rest of their lives…

1919 – Post War Football

The League would resume in 1919 with an expanded 22 clubs spanning the two divisions… As Professionalism had hereto lagged in the South as compared to the North and Midlands, in 1920 the Southern Football League joined the Football League to create a new Third Division, and while members of the Southern League had previously been admitted into the Second Division of the Football League (most notably Tottenham Hotspur), the Third Division would expand the Professionalism of the North and Midlands, to the South and London

Founder members of the Third Division included Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace, Millwall, Luton Town, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers, and Southampton… From Season 1921-1922 the Football League Third Division South would be joined by the Football League Third Division North, consisting of an additional 20 clubs including such names as Crewe Alexandra, Wrexham, and Tranmere Rovers, and this dichotomy between North and South Third Division would remain until 1958, when the geographic division would be abolished with the creation of the Fourth Division

1930 – The First World Cup

While international matches had been played since 1872 and the first England V Scotland competitive fixture, as had the inaugural British Home Championship since 1884, with the formation of FIFA at the start of the Twentieth Century and with the inclusion of Football first as a demonstrator sport (with no medals) in the 1900 and 1904 Summer Olympics and official sport (with medals) from 1908, FIFA would stage their own international tournament for the first time in 1930, in Uruguay and in which the hosts won the Final 4-2 in front of 93,000 spectators…

One missing member of the inaugural World Cup conspicuous by its absence was England, the British teams having withdrawn from FIFA in 1920 through a mixture of not wanting to compete against countries they had been at war with only a few years earlier, and a snub from the FA to FIFA over a sport that the English had invented, and from giving their tacit acknowledgement of a higher foreign power over their beautiful game… The British teams would not re-join FIFA until 1946…

1939-1946 – World War II – Seven Year Hiatus

The Second World War was in many ways the final conclusion of the carnage created in the First World War… The Communist threat that haunted the European Continent from Russia’s Bolsheviks in the East had led to the establishment of European Nationalism and anti-communism, first in Italy under Mussolini’s Fascism, the hyperinflation of the Democratic Weimar Republic of Germany had led to the rise of Hitler and National Socialism, and Spain’s Red Scare had led to the rise of Franco following the Spanish Civil War… Hitler’s rebuilding of the German economy would unleash industrialism and militarisation for the invasion of Poland and France to regain the territories and populations lost to the Allies in the First World War, while anticipating the future push that would come out of Stalin’s Soviet Union in their attempts to spread Communism to the whole of the European Continent… Both the Nazis and the Commies would invade and divide Poland and set up the Eastern Front in what was another Continental War, prior to the entrance of the British and the Americans and the creation of the Western Front to divide Hitler’s forces, and ensure that Stalin and the Reds would enslave the population and territory of Eastern Europe up to the (future) Berlin Wall

In terms of football, the Second World War would mirror the first… Seven years without the game, players conscripted and killed, rations and rampant inflation and destruction of purchasing power for the public, outside of the Nazi warplanes first on military infrastructure, and following Churchill and Harris’ targeted firebombing of German cities and civilians, Britain’s towns and cities would undergo the harrowing fear and destruction of the Blitz…

“Far Right Fascist” Sir Oswald Mosley

Economic Fallout of World War II

Winston Churchill’s obsession with interfering in the wars on Europe’s Continent over a thirty year period would have devastating impacts for Britain’s Empire, of which all the chickens came home to roost following the Second World War

In 1944 with the War already largely won, the Allied Powers convened at the Bretton Woods Conference for a global currency reset, and it would be decided that the role of global policeman and world reserve currency status would transfer from the bankrupt British Empire and the Bank of England, to the US Empire and The Federal Reserve System… British and European self sabotage and war economies had created massive trade deficits with the US, and by 1945 the US was the only remaining World Superpower, and held 75% of the world’s gold reserves, it really was a no-brainer that the US would take control of the world… The US Dollar (read Federal Reserve Note) would be (miraculously) pegged to gold at the 1933 ratio of $35.00 per ounce, and would allow British Pounds, French Francs, and German Marks (not backed by anything) to be exchanged for this gold… The Bretton Woods Standard that could only be described as the most bastardised and unsustainable of gold standards, at least provided some stability for the European Countries that had destroyed themselves through war

Further ignominy would befall the British outside of the loss of world reserve currency status, in the loss of Empire… While the British Empire had peaked in territory and population following the First World War (and it’s influence in the Middle East and Africa following the destruction of the Ottoman Empire), by 1945 Britain had squandered its military and gold and could no longer keep a control of its colonies… India would gain independence (and the partition creating Pakistan) in 1947, Burma and Sri Lanka would gain independence in 1948, the British would also exit Palestine in 1948… The Suez Crisis of 1956 would fully expose Britain’s loss of power in the Middle East and Africa, would lose Egypt in 1952, Sudan in 1956, Kuwait in 1961, and Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in 1971… Most of Britain’s Caribbean colonies were granted independence by the mid 1960’s, and its remaining African Colonies by 1968…

The Controlled Demolition of the Empire on which the sun would never set – the twenty five years between 1945 and 1970

1950 – Football League Expanded to 92 Teams

1950 would be the year where the modern number of 92 clubs would be finally enshrined, and in 1958 as I explained earlier, the four divisions would be finally enshrined…

1950 – Britain’s First World Cup

England and Britain’s teams would finally be enveloped in FIFA governance for the 1950 World Cup, and at FIFA’s invitation… While Scotland would eventually withdraw from the competition hosted in Brazil, it would be England’s first World Cup, and with the Great Britain Team having recently trounced a rest of Europe XI, England were tournament favourites… Alas, after shock defeats to both the US and Spain, England would crash ignominiously out of its first World Cup, in the first round

1953-1954 – England Twice Humiliated By Communist Hungary

An existential crisis would grip England’s National team following two fixtures with now Communist Hungary, the world’s Number One team and Olympic Champions on a 24 unbeaten run of games, and the greatest national team of the early 50’s… England had only ever lost one home game in history (against the Republic of Ireland in 1949), but on 25th November 1953 it would suffer only its second, dubbed the Match of the Century by the British Press, and in front of 105,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium

England’s Right Back was one Alf Ramsey – at age 33, he would never play for England again…

Communist Hungary’s superior methods of coaching, tactical nous and especially fitness would be a wake up call for a complacent FA, who had believed that merely by being the inventors of the game, that English players had superior skills and technique to others, and had long ignored developments happening in national football outside England… However England still had the return fixture to play in Hungary, and as the FA (whose Selection Committee picked the England side) insisted the crushing defeat was a “one-off”, on the 23rd of May 1954 England had the chance to demonstrate just how much of an aberration the original result had been…

The 7-1 thrashing would be England’s heaviest ever, and would confirm to all of England and especially the FA, that it wasn’t a “one-off”, and how the game had developed on the Continent… Even more than the original defeat, this even heavier and comprehensive defeat would send a shockwave through English Football, with British managers and coaches scrambling to the Continent for tactical and training advances… It would also spur English Football League clubs and managers to start competing in the nascent European Club Football scene, and the European Cup (established in 1955) despite the initial objection from the FA and the Football League in participating… The European Cup would not be won by a British Team until 1967 with Jock Stein’s Glasgow Celtic, and for England with Matt Busby’s Manchester United triumph of 1968…

1958 – The Munich Disaster

Matt Busby had taken over Manchester United in 1945, and perhaps can be called the earliest prototype of a modern manager, in the influence he demanded upon training, match day team and tactics, and player transfers, and would turn United into one of England’s premier clubs during the Fifties and Sixties, winning three League titles and an FA Cup by 1957, and cultivated an in-house ecosystem of talent in their early twenties, what became to be called the Busby Babes… Busby was also one of the most perturbed at the English National Team’s humiliation at the hands of Hungary, and was the main advocate for participation in the newly formed European Cup, against the wishes of the FA and the Football League… While Chelsea were denied entry to the first European Cup in 1955 explicitly by the FA, 1956 would see United, and English Football, enter the European Cup… Having won the League again in season 56-57, United would enter the European Cup of season 57-58, and on 6th February 1958 on a flight home from a Red Star Belgrade tie, Busby and his Babes would crash into the ground at Munich airport in heavy weather, in the early days of commercial aviation… Seven Babes would perish, along with three club officials and twenty souls in total, including Duncan Edwards, regarded as the greatest lost talent of his generation… Busby would receive his final rites twice, and would lie in a hospital bed for the next two months, before returning to manage a decimated team and club, and would spend the next decade rebuilding what had been destroyed, with United’s second epoch with the Leagues of seasons 65-66 and 66-67, and the first English winners of the 1968 European Cup, ten years after Munich, and the end of a 13 year quest… Matt Busby would create United’s first managerial dynasty spanning a quarter of a century, and following his retirement United would sink during the 70’s and 80’s, until another product of Glasgow would eclipse Manchester United’s previously greatest manager…

1960 – European Championship Football (UEFA)

With FIFA having set up the World Cup from 1930, it would take until 1958 for the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to be founded, and in 1960 it set up its own competition, the European Championship originally consisting of four teams, not including England… The Championship would be extended to 8 teams by 1980, and to 16 teams with England’s Euro 96… Notably, while Germany and Spain have both won the Delaunay Trophy three times, England have yet to lift the trophy

1966 – Football Comes Home

On home soil, England would vanquish all the ghosts and football failures of the past by winning for the first (and only time so far) the World Cup of 1966, managed by Alf Ramsey, and including the greatest of the greats for English football fans all these years later, brothers Bobby and Jack Charlton, West Ham trinity Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, Gordon Banks in goal, Nobby Stiles, et al… With Alf Ramsay himself having played in the 1953 humiliation against Hungary (and never being selected for England again), it would be the crowning hour for manager, players, the FA and naturally the whole of England’s football fans and public in generalThe Final against West Germany would be watched at Wembley by 97,000 spectators, but was also broadcast on television by the BBC, making the 1966 World Cup the last final to be played in black and white, the British television audience peaked at 32.3 million viewers, making it the United Kingdom’s most-watched television event ever

The Advent Of Television – A Control Shift Away From Localism

The radio was the first mass communications medium deployed following the First World War, television would become the main communications medium following the Second World War… I have heard the stories of my parents and family and their first glimpse of the television, the costly (hire) purchase of the family’s first television, and of what was considered in those more sheltered and innocent days, to be technological wonder and magic… It transported images recorded anywhere else in the world, into the eyes of others, which when you take the time to think about it, is incredibly powerful… Television changes the game, and morphs localism into regionalism, nationalism, and even globalism… Now apply this thinking to broadcasting the game of football

Football had been established fundamentally at the local level… Local teams of local players, with local owners, supporters, and revenues… The professional game developed in working class England, and was a redistribution of wealth and resources from a combination of paying spectators and subsidies by capitalist owners, to pay players at first just for missing work, but soon enough as work in itself… This localism of the football ecosystem is then multiplied in towns and cities all over England, connected by infrastructure (the railways), and from whence derbies, rivalries, home games and away days could flourish… While I would certainly pinpoint 1958 and the Four Divisions of English League Football as the effective nationalisation of English Football with the abolishing of all geographic boundaries (southern and northern leagues), in my mind the advent of “affordable” and therefore mass dissemination of television among the working class of England during the 1960’s and 1970’s, and flowing from England’s televised World Cup win of 1966 of course, would lead to the nationalisation of English Football in another way, and a way far more threatening to localism

The broadcasting of television matches fundamentally changes this local support and revenue model… From the late Sixties onwards you start to see this nationalisation of English Club teams, when “Big teams” start to emerge in England, as you did no longer have to be local to watch or support a football team… As television would naturally become concentrated on the best football teams in the highest football leagues, clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea, become teams supported over England, because television now allows the nation to watch these “big teams”, which would have deleterious consequences and loss of support and revenues for the more “unfashionable teams”

Television would have massive effects on the consumption habits of English Football during the Sixties, but would be magnified by the economic background that would emerge in the Seventies, when gold and sound money would suffer the latest “Restriction Act” that has now lasted 50 years, and from whence derives the Petrodollar and Globalism that has since hollowed out the beautiful games

1971 The Nixon Shock – The End Of The Gold Standard

The US had spent the Fifties and Sixties hemorrhaging the gold reserves built up from the rest of the world during the first half of the Twentieth Century, as trade surpluses had morphed into trade deficits (and Triffin’s Dilemma) and the Vietnam War and Guns and Butter spending had led to an “Allied” run on U.S. gold reserves… Instead of explicitly defaulting on the horrendously thought out and constructed Bretton Woods Gold Standard, the US just defaulted implicitly on the gold part, so Nixon closed the gold window and the US Dollar (read Federal Reserve Note) would become unchained from gold as would the British Pound, and this following decade would become notorious in Britain for its social unrest

The Stagflation of the Nineteen Seventies would be remembered by all who lived it, in Union Strikes, food shortages, energy shortages, Three Day Weeks, and Winters of Discontent, as Conservatives and Labour fought harder each day in trying to debase Britain… There were catastrophic drops in purchasing power and consumer inflation of over 20% per annum, Britain had defaulted and went cap in hand to the IMF in 1976, as a once mighty Empire headed for the dustbin of history… With Labour’s nationalisation of the coal industry, the steel industry, gas, electricity, and transport (trains and roads) following the Second World War, thirty years of this communistic and chronically mismanaged method of government had brought British Infra-structure, and by extension, the British People, to their knees… There are so many examples that I could point to illustrate the collapsing value of the Bank of England’s Pound Sterling during the Seventies, and I will express it from now on through the lens of sport and professional football, and through the progression of the British Transfer Fee Record

From £200,000 in 1970, to £1,500,000 in 1979, if you want a glimpse of what the government has done to our money, you only need look at the Progression of the Transfer Fee Record during the Seventies… A Sixfold increase in a decade

In terms of domestic football during the inflationary Seventies, it would be illuminated by Brian Clough which many still consider the greatest English manager of all time, certainly the greatest English manager never to get the top job from the FA (I would include Bob Paisley alongside), in guiding first Derby County then East Midlands derby rivals Nottingham Forest to League and European Cup Champions, but the glory of the Seventies would belong to Liverpool, to Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley

In European football, the Seventies could be divided into three blocks, first Dutch, then German, then English under both Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, by the end of the Seventies English football clubs would be dominant in Europe

1978 – European Community opens Britain’s Borders

The architects of Britain’s entry into Europe – the Conservatives and Ted Heath

Within five years of the European Project after Britain joined in 1973, the European Community would rule that the Football Associations of its Members States could no longer deny access to players by Nationality, thereby leaving all European countries open to importing players… The FA, and the English football trade union established to protect English footballers and their labour, the Professional Footballers Association would buckle, and the Football League would lift its 47 year ban on non-British players

The same year Spurs would sign Argentinians Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa for the 1978-79 season, Sheffield United would sign fellow Argentine Alex Sabella, Ipswich Town would sign Dutch pair Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen in 1978 and 1979, masterminding Ipswich’s UEFA Cup Win in 1981… Many other foreign players would find their way to the English Football Leagues during the 1980’s

On the export side, lest we forget, Kevin Keegan would break the British Transfer Fee in 1977 in signing for Hamburg SV, Laurie Cunningham would become the first Englishman to play for Real Madrid in 1979, Liam Brady would sign for Juventus in 1980, Sampdoria would sign Trevor Francis in 1982 and Graeme Souness in 1984, AC Milan would sign Luther Blissett in 1983 and Ray Wilkins in 1984, and so on…

What the early 1980’s serves to highlight is the beginnings of the expansion of Professional Football, assisted by the Airline Industry and Air Travel, of Continental and Inter-Continental transfers of Professional Players, and the draining of footballers from lower paying football leagues to higher paying football leagues, which are all dependent on the central bank monetary policy that fund it allThe movement of English (and other nationalities) to Italian Football in the early 1980’s is only a mirror of the money printing of the Bank Of Italy that flowed into Italian Football during this time

Early 1980’s – Recession and Dwindling Attendances

The most notable event of 1981 for the Football Leagues, was for the first time the awarding of 3 points for a win, to incentivise more attacking football…

The early 1980’s would be an extension of the 1970’s with further Bank of England interest rate meddling creating the early 80’s recession, which almost led to the winding up of club sides Wolves, Swansea City and Middlesbrough… The financial problems that plagued Thatcher’s early years, even extended to British Football’s transfer fee, with the record being broken only five times in the 80’s compared to the nine records of the 70’s…

Tighter money in the 80’s, still a near fourfold collapse in the purchasing power of Sterling from 1981 to 1991, however

In terms of domestic football, like the Seventies, Liverpool would dominate the Eighties with six titles in ten seasons, transitioning from Bob Paisley, through Joe Fagan to player/manager Kenny Dalglish… It would be European football though, where English football would make the international headlines for the wrong reasons…

The last English manager to win the League, Howard Wilkinson with Leeds United in Season 1991-1992, in the last season of the Football League First Division

1985 – The Heysel Disaster and the English Club Ban

After winning the last four Cups of the Seventies, English teams had won three of the first four European Cups and Liverpool had reached the 1985 final for a possible four English wins in the first five years of the Eighties, when disaster struck at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, when a breach of segregation between Liverpool and Juventus fans killed 39 fans and injured 600… While there is much dispute of what instigated all the violence, as neither sets of fans could be called angels, UEFA would come down hardest on English Football with an indefinite ban from European Competition, that would last until the early Nineties… The Heysel Disaster would be described as the darkest hour in the history of UEFA competitions… English dominance of European football would also be over for the foreseeable future

1987 – The English Rugby Union League System

With Rugby Union having spent a century shunning any attempt at Professionalism and Leagues, they would only develop the first club competition, known as the R.F.U. Club Competition in 1972, renamed the John Player Cup from 1976… The Seventies would see the RFU allow merit Leagues with geographic limits, the most significant being the Northern, Midland, South West and London merit leagues…  In 1984 the RFU approved the creation of two national merit tables where clubs had to play a minimum of eight games against the clubs in their division, and 1985 saw the creation of a third national merit league, and in 1987 this was formed into a true national league system… The RFU and Rugby Union were inching ever closer, consciously or unconsciously, toward the ultimate taboo in Rugby Union, full blown Professionalism

1992 – The Death of the English Football League First Division, Long Live The Premier League

Just over a Centenary from the formation of the Football League (1888) and just over thirty years from the 92 teams of the Football League (1958), the Football League would lose its top twenty clubs who resigned en masse to create the Breakaway Premier League in 1992

The economic background and context of this earth shaking move has already been touched upon, during the Eighties Thatcherite Britain had largely deregulated its financial sector in the City of London, British infrastructure had largely been de-nationalised and privatised, and the whole foundations of the Century old Institutions of the Twentieth Century were crumbling… That this would apply to Professional Football too, is no surprise

English Football was contending with lowering interest and revenues from spectators, crumbling stadiums and infrastructure, hooliganism, the European footballing ban, and the Football League’s First Division was falling behind leagues such as Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga in attendances and revenues, and several of England’s top football players had moved abroad

1990 brought with it more optimism for the English game, England reached the Semi Finals of Italia 90, the European club football ban was lifted with Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United lifting the Cup Winners Cup in 1991, and the Taylor Report on stadium safety had been released proposing expensive upgrades to create all seater stadiums following the Hillsborough Disaster of 1989…

So in effect we have underfunded clubs, with a chronic need to upgrade stadiums and infrastructure, and a new breed of football chairman looking to commoditise and corporatise football in order to get the revenues flowing, which had already began at England’s top football clubs, with Martin Edwards at Man United, Irving Scholar at Spurs and David Dein at Arsenal, and by 1986 the First Division had already cornered 50% of the television revenues for the whole League… According to Irving Scholar, who had direct involvement in the negotiations with television companies, each of the First Division clubs received only around £25,000 per year from television rights before 1986, this increased to around £50,000 in the 1986 negotiation, then to £600,000 in 1988…

The perceived desperate need to increase revenues and power would be driven forward by these “top teams” and using television revenues rather than fan base revenues, it would become all to clear that England’s top clubs would begin to marginalise the towns and cities from where they sprang, for globalisation and eyeballs from all over the world

In 1990 Greg Dyke of London Weekend Television met with representatives of the “five big clubs” namely Manchester United, Liverpool, Spurs, Everton and Arsenal, to pave the way for the breakaway Premier League, with the plan to concentrate television revenues among these five teams, but ultimately dependent on the consent of the Football Association, who at the time was often in conflict with the Football League… The FA’s publishing of the June 1991 “Blueprint for the Future of Football” tacitly approved this Premier League, with the FA being the ultimate authority for it…

At the close of the 1990-1991 Season, the Founders Members Agreement was signed by the clubs, with this newly formed Premier Division to have commercial independence from both the Football Association and the Football League, giving the FA Premier League licence to negotiate its own broadcast and sponsorship agreements, as was argued to compete with the elite divisions of European rivals… While it was Greg Dyke of LWT (division of ITV) who schemed with the big clubs for a TV Centric elite division of football, ironically enough terrestrial television would become the first victim of the Premier League, as the recently established Satellite Subscription broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting would gazump ITV in securing a £304 million, five year deal for exclusive broadcasting rights to all live games, and the BBC’s Match of the Day being granted the Highlights package…

The First Division clubs resigned en-masse from the Football League in 1992, and on the 27th May the FA Premier League was formed, as a private limited company (LTD)… The 22 inaugural members of the Premier League were: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Coventry City, Crystal Palace, Everton, Ipswich Town, Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, Oldham Athletic, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, and Wimbledon…

So would begin the mass commercialisation of English Football through a new subscription service, not just throughout England and Britain, but also to the rest of the world… The days of the Football League of four divisions was over…

Football in the 1990’s – Manchester United and Alex Ferguson

From Matt Busby’s heroic achievements between 1945 and 1969, both in the League and with United being the first English European Cup Winners in 1968, under the tutelage of Shankly, Paisley, Fagan, and Dalglish, Liverpool would dominate English Football in the Seventies and Eighties, winning four European Cups, and leave United languishing in the shadows… When Alex Ferguson joined in 1986, Manchester’s premier club was an unfashionable giant, with little success, and a creaking stadium, and there were many times during those early years when Ferguson’s destiny as the greatest ever manager in English Football could have been cut short, but with the support of Martin Edwards as perhaps the greatest Chairman United have ever had alongside, by the early 90’s Manchester United would be resurgent, and would dominate England’s Premier League for the next twenty years

Following English Football’s return to the European Cup (rebranded as The Champions League from 1992), Ferguson’s United would win the Cup in 1999 for only the second time in the Club’s history, and the first English winner since Liverpool fifteen years earlier…

The British Transfer Fee would be broken 8 times in the Nineties, as the television and sponsorship revenues would start to feed into England’s Premier League, with a fourfold increase throughout the decade, and with half the transfers from England to Italy, France and Spain

1995 – Rugby Union Turns Professional

The RFU would develop its League Structure only at the end of the Eighties, and by the Mid Nineties it was becoming clear that Professionalism was knocking at the door of the game that had shunned payment of players, and is just one more reflection of the debasement of fiat currencies that turns everything from hobby into profession… Like the FA had been overpowered by FIFA on the world football scene, so the RFU had been gradually weakened and overpowered by the International Rugby Board (IRB) established since 1886, but which accepted Australia, South Africa and New Zealand from 1949…

And it would be pressures largely from the Southern Hemisphere that would drive the Professionalism of Rugby Union, the official remuneration of players, and to end once and for all what was known as Shamateurism, in unofficial gifts and bribes from rugby clubs and unions to get around the direct payment ban… New Zealand, South Africa and Australia had formed SANZAR in 1996, in order to organise against the bleed of players they were losing to Rugby League, with similar gripes in Wales as the Eighties had seen an exodus of its best and most talented amateur players enticed by the Northern Rugby League clubs, Rugby Union proponents fearing the game would be enveloped by the money of another sport, would have to capitulate to money in their own sport… On the 26th August 1995, the IRB declared Rugby Union an Open Sport, and removed all restrictions on payments or benefits to those connected with the game

In 1995 the Heineken Cup was formed as an European competition initially consisting of 12 teams, and by 2014 when it was renamed The European Champions Rugby Cup, it would have teams from all Six Nations countries participating… The Professionalisation of Rugby would benefit the emergence of Italy as a modern adopter of Rugby Union, but even more so for club Rugby, it would stem the loss of talent to its Rugby League counterpart, which has even reversed since as Rugby Union with television and sponsorship revenues attracted top Rugby League players to defectExactly 100 years after the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union and the schism over money, Rugby Union and Rugby League would be equally professional, and equally apart

Football in the 2000’s – Big Four Domination

No English Manager in the decade

Despite the very best efforts of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, and Chelsea and Jose Mourinho, Ferguson and United would remain top dogs in the Premier League in the first decade of the new millennium, United winning six titles out of ten, but in which four teams increasingly gained a stranglehold over English Football largely through television and sponsorship revenues… With the Champions League having opened up to four spots at the top of the Premier League and all the attendant prestige and revenues for attracting the top players (now increasingly outbidding foreign European Leagues for domestic and foreign players), Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool would come to dominate, indeed during the 2000’s, only four sides outside the Top Four would qualify for a Champions League place, Leeds United in 1999-2000, Newcastle United in 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, Everton in 2004-2005, and Spurs in 2009-2010

Big Four dominance in English Football would not translate to dominance in European Football as exploding revenues, transfer fees and wages also flowed into other Top Teams in German, French, Italian and Spanish Leagues, big club dominance would hardly be unique to England… Perhaps that makes Jose Mourinho’s Cup win with relatively underfunded FC Porto the most notable of that decade… The Top Four English teams would reach a combined six finals, including one all English Final, Liverpool would add a fifth European Cup to their name, and United a third

The British Transfer Fee is only broken five times in the 2000’s, but the sums are eye watering, Cristiano Ronaldo costing Real Madrid a ridonculous £80,000,000!

2003 – Abramovich Takes Over Chelsea

Chelsea is representative of many English Clubs, they were owned by a local and founding family (the Mears Family) from 1905 to 1982, and sold it for £1 to English businessman Ken Bates, who took it Public (PLC – Public Limited Company) as a method of financing improvements by allowing outside influences to invest, such as Matthew Harding who became a Director and loaned £26 million to the club for a new North Stand and players…

In 2003 Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich would buy out Ken Bates and the rest of the Public shareholders in a £140 million takeover, including the £100 million debt that Chelsea had at that time… Abramovich would take Chelsea back into private ownership and would plough in funds to modernise infrastructure and attract the best players and managers in order to compete in the Premier League… Now one can speculate why a Russian Billionaire would want to lose a lot of money buying a capital and labour intensive football club in London, which may include: a love of the game and Chelsea FC, a vanity project and hobby horse for a man with so much money he didn’t know what to do with it, to setting up shell corporations and money laundering/tax write-off tools, to gaining a foothold in London’s social and legal higher echelons in order to exert influence and secure second residences, and so on… For whatever reason, the takeover of increasingly indebted English Football Clubs by foreign Billionaires would accelerate from the Millennium onward, and would mirror the influx of foreign managers and players that came with the owners, which would increasingly rankle, dis-illusion and dis-associate the only remaining parts of the club that were English, the paying spectators increasingly hostage to external money and influences

2005 – Arsenal Field Squad With No English Players

Excerpt from an interesting read

2005 – The Glazer Takeover of Manchester United

With United having started as Newton Heath LYR in 1878 by carriage and wagon workers of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway’s Newton Heath Depot, were bought when facing bankruptcy in 1902 by local brewer John Henry Davies (who also re-branded the club as Manchester United), and after his death in 1927 again in financial troubles, businessman James W Gibson took over from 1931 to 1951, then his widow as director, and former player Harold Hardman… Upon Hardman’s death in 1965, Louis Edwards, a local businessman who had accrued shares in the club became Chairman, and it would be his son Martin Edwards that would consolidate the Club with the buyout of the son of James Gibson, and became majority shareholder in 1980… During Edwards’ tenure, the Club would be subject to a takeover bid from Robert Maxwell in 1984 for £10 million, and property magnate Michael Knighton in 1989 for £20 million… United went Public (PLC) in 1991, and received a ridonculous £623 million takeover bid from BSkyB’s Rupert Murdoch in 1998, which was accepted but later blocked by regulators on Monopolies and Mergers grounds… Martin Edwards would step down in 2000 with Peter Kenyon filling the seat, and Ferguson’s rather public spat with fellow horse racing partners John Magnier and J.P. McManus who were major shareholders in the football club, led to the attempted ouster of Ferguson and Manchester United’s most successful ever manager, and so it was decided by the board to protect Ferguson by divesting the Irishmen of their influence, by seeking alternative investors

From 2003 onward the Glazer Family, seeking the riches in the ballooning financialisation of European Football, began acquiring shares in the club, by February 2004 they owned 16%, by June over 19%, and 30% by October, when they would have to launch an official takeover, which they did by buying Magnier and McManus stake of 28.7% on 12th May 2005, and the next day were up to 74.81%, just shy of the 75% threshold to end United’s Public (PLC) status and de-list the club from the London Stock Exchange… On the 22nd of June 2005, they removed the club’s shares from the stock exchange for the first time in 14 years… A Statement was released on 28th June, that ownership had reached 98% prompting a squeeze out of all remaining investors, for a full takeover at £798 million

The era of the Glazers over what was now one of the most famous, iconic, and revenue generating clubs in world sport, would be welcomed with protests, death threats, and violence, over both the possible ouster of Ferguson and the method of ownership… While the Glazers had put up over half of the collateral underpinning the £660 million total debt, up to £275 million had been financed by Hedge Fund Loans, with Manchester United Football Club as the collateral and revenue generating asset, and with interest payments of £62 million per year… It also put the Club back into debt for the first time since the bad old days of 1931, and many considered an existential crisis and a premonition of future bankruptcy and the strip mining of club assetsThe Glazer take over would also open the eyes of many Football fans to how a club could so easily lose all control over its ownership by shady and unscrupulous financial merchants, and would even spawn F.C. United of Manchester, a breakaway Club for those disillusioned with what the original United had become, they would be accepted into the North West Counties Football League, six promotions away from the Football League

Fifteen years on from the Glazers

2010’s – Internet And Streaming

Having been the invention and plaything of the US Military Intelligence Complex, the internet had been developed and was eventually commercialised in the early 1990’s, it would take another fifteen to twenty years to become enmeshed and indispensable for the Western World… We began with e-mail, then web browsers, then websites and web stores, then audio, then video, and eventually streaming… Having been revolutionary in its time television and the elite monopoly of control over broadcasting and content would be disrupted, from the bottom up and which has barely started to play out yet… Sky and BT Sport have increasingly shifted from exclusive Television Broadcasting to also offering subscriptions through the internet, and desktop and mobile phone apps, which again changes the game

With opening up football to the internet and streaming, it has enabled piracy and cheap workarounds for watching live streams of football games without paying a subscription, that was practically impossible to do with a traditional television set, and which undermines long term in my opinion the viability of these massive corporate conglomerates, and will contribute to the debt collapse of Sky and BT Sport when economic crisis hits, subscriptions crater, and incentives grow to stream football matches without subsciptions…

In fact you could argue that in fully adopting the internet that these mega TV corporations are paving the way for their own destruction, and eventually for clubs to take back power by broadcasting these games themselves… Direct control over broadcasting will give clubs full power over live streaming home games, and would allow individual clubs to invest in camera equipment and operators, commentators, presenters and analysis, highlights packages, and websites and webstores for desktop, mobile and smart tv’s, and would allow clubs to negotiate the streaming of home and away games for their respective channels… This direct football club to internet streaming subscription package would give football clubs a global revenue model to add to their local revenue model, and the scope and complexity of what can be done in this area is practically unlimitedIn a decentralised future, it will be individual clubs that control their broadcasting infrastructure and revenues, rather than the centralised broadcasting corporations that ruled the 20th Century… This is a space to be watching in the future…

2010’s – Consolidation of The “Big Six”

No English Manager in two decades

Sir Alex Ferguson would retire at the end of the 2012-2013 season as the most successful English Football manager in history, after twenty six seasons and a quarter of a century, had resurrected an entire football club, and had taken United’s League Title winning number to 20, and 2 ahead of great rivals Liverpool, with 3 European Cups to Liverpool’s 5… Ferguson would anoint David Moyes as his successor, but the club and its fans would succumb to high time preference short-termism that would oust Moyes inside a year, apparently ignorant of the fact that it took Fergie four years to win his first trophy, and had the club and fans done the same with Ferguson, United would be still be a footballing backwater like it has since become… United have not won the League in the last eight years, and were soon overtaken by derby rivals Manchester City, heavily funded by the Qatari Royal Family and managed by Mancini, Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola, and a resurgent Liverpool who having given Jurgen Klopp the last five years to build up the team, squad and club, has now paid off, Liverpool winning their first League title in thirty years, since season 1989-90 under Dalglish, with the 2019-2020 League title… Had Moyes been given the same five years, things could be very different at Manchester United today

Man City in season 2011-2012 would be the first Premier League winner outside the Top Four since Blackburn Rovers in season 1994-1995, and the addition of Manchester City and Spurs to the previous Big Four, has increased competition somewhat from the 2000’s decade, now having morphed into the Top Six, not without criticism, as television and sponsorship revenues have spiralled, so have these club’s budgets to spend on managers and players to consolidate their positions

I could not discuss this last decade without mention and credit to Leicester City Football Club, who in season 2015-2016 pulled off perhaps one of the greatest feats in modern Professional Football, in winning the League with a massively underfunded club compared to the Top Six… Even though a one season wonder, under the tutelage of Claudio Ranieri, and with a core of English players such as Wes Morgan, Danny Simpson, Danny Drinkwater, Marc Albrighton and Jamie Vardy, Leicester shocked the footballing world and brought some romance back to the Premier League for the underdog and smaller club

Off the pitch in the last five years, even though the Premier League can claim a more egalitarian league in terms of revenues than most other European Leagues, the 2016-2017 Deloitte Football Money League Report showed the financial disparity between the Top Six Clubs and the rest, with all Top Six Clubs showing revenues of more than €350 million, United first having the largest revenue in the league at €676.3 million… Leicester City was the closest club to the “Big Six” in terms of revenue, recording a figure of €271.1 million for that season, helped by participation in the Champions League… The eighth-largest revenue generator, West Ham, who did not play in European competition, had revenues of €213.3 million, nearly half of those of the club with the fifth-largest revenue, Liverpool (€424.2 million)… A substantial part of the clubs’ revenue by then came from television broadcast deals, with the biggest clubs each taking from around £150 million to nearly £200 million in the 2016–17 season from such deals… In Deloitte‘s 2019 report, all the “Big Six” were in the top ten of the world’s richest clubs

In terms of European football five English clubs would reach the final including another all English final in 2019, Chelsea would claim their first European Cup in 2012 under Roberto Di Matteo, and Liverpool would claim their first European Cup since 2005 and their sixth in total in 2019, nevertheless the decade would be dominated by La Liga’s two giants, Barcelona winning twice and Real Madrid winning four times…

And to finish off, I will for the last time revisit the British Transfer Fee to bring us up to date, showing that the transfer fee has only been broken three times the last decade, and topping out at the £105 million Barcelona paid for Philippe Coutinho in January 2018… Please note that as well as no English Manager winning the League since Howard Wilkinson with Leeds in season 1991-1992 which is another way of saying that an English Manager has never won the Premier League, no English player has broken the British Transfer Fee since 2002 when United signed Rio Ferdinand from Leeds

Season 2019-2020 – Covid Crisis

The last football season started as usual, and then from the New Year 2020, things started to spiral out of control… It was America’s NBA that first decided to cancel their fixture list for 2020 on 12th March, and was swiftly followed by the cancelling of the Euro 2020, and on the 13th March English Football decided to cancel all football for the first time since 1939 and the Second World War

Since March the British economy has suffered full lockdowns, rolling lockdowns, and more lockdowns, small businesses and the private sector have been decimated while the public sector has been receiving their weekly wages working for home, it has become clear in the last year that any businesses reliant on people coming to their premises in a “New Normal” of mandatory muzzling and social distancing was doomed, and this applies to the spectator sports of football and rugby

By some mercy of our hysterical ruling elites, partly as the Covid Crisis was uncovered as a low mortality flu and partly to keep the bread and circuses flowing to stop the plebs from revolting, closed out season 2019-2020 ensuring Liverpool did win their first title in thirty years, but strictly on television only, with cardboard cutout spectators and piped in “crowd atmosphere” to obfuscate the obvious, that the stadiums were empty both of spectators and atmosphere

Season 2020-2021 – The Continuing Covid “Crisis” and Football Clubs in Crisis

The latest football season began on a delayed 12th September, again exclusively by broadcast, and in empty stadiums… While Sky Sports has pulled out all the stops in televising the new season, the elephant in the room is how the continuing “pandemic” of empty stadiums is destroying the revenues of football clubs… While Premier League clubs, especially the Top Six are cushioned by the gargantuan revenues from Television and Sponsorship with the new £4.46 Billion three year deal signed with Sky and BT Sport to cover 2019-2022, outside of the Top Six and more importantly outside the Premier League, The Championship, League One and League Two are to a much greater extent dependent upon revenues from spectators and fans to pay the bills, not to mention Non League and amateur football and rugby that is nearly entirely dependent on spectators and fans and local grass roots funding, that has been entirely cut off for the last year

Latest Developments – Back To “Normality”

Tentative signs of a return of fans after eight months

Covid “Crisis” – Ulterior Motives?

Now while you may want to believe every word that comes out of the British State and their “top” scientific and bureaucratic minds, there are numerous “Conspiracy Theories” that have inevitably grown the last year as the Covid Crisis has evolved… From its origins in Wuhan China and videos of people keeling over in the streets and welded shut into their apartments by Chinese Communist enforcers and dispersed throughout Social Media and Television through dodgy video clips, the World “Health” Organization declared this a “Global Pandemic”, and seized upon by the governments of the world as a “catastrophe” which has been used to suspend individual liberties across the world… And contrary to the utterances of “scientists”, mainstream media “journalists” and talking heads, and clueless and corrupt politicians and parliamentary members, the world has not been plunged into crisis by an actual virus at all, but by governmental decrees and laws in response to the perceived crisis of Covid 19… It was not the virus that emptied sick people from NHS hospitals into Care Homes to fuel the early stages of the death counts that justified the near unanimous approval of the 650 MP’s in the House of Commons to mandate lockdowns on the sick AND healthy, it was not Covid that unleashed mass unemployment and furlough schemes that has utterly bankrupted this Country (as if it wasn’t bust already!), and it was not Covid that mandated the wearing of masks, social distancing and the social isolation that is currently unleashing a worldwide mental health crisis…

In the intervening year since the above measures, Covid has been uncovered as just another low mortality influenza like virus, indeed the death rate has conveniently given way to the crisis of testing, and is only still dominating news headlines and public policy, due to the PCR and LFT testing scandal that fabricates all these false positives, that further enables the UK Government and its apparatus of scientists and media experts to continue flogging this Covid horse to death, while ignoring the mass destruction of the British economy that will NEVER recover from this

Do you still believe this is about just a virus?

While “Conspiracy Theories” rage about what the actual motives for this Covid Crisis are, from the destruction of the private sector, self employment and small businesses to the benefit of multi national corporations such as Amazon who have remained completely unaffected by the collapse of its high street competition, to another government power grab against the individual, family and community both in terms of employment and lockdowns of local institutions such as churches, pubs and yes sports clubs, to the “Great Reset” and “Build Back Better” that contrary to MSM branding as “baseless conspiracy theory”, is being openly advocated by World Economic Forum James Bond villains such as Klaus Schwab and vaccinator Billy Gates, and is the actual slogan being adopted by Boris Johnson’s Tories and Joe Biden’s Democrats in the US… Covid has also been speculated to be the Deep State’s insurance policy in sabotaging both Donald Trump’s re-election in America’s Election Year 2020, and to sabotage Brexit in the year that we finally exit the European Union, with or without a Deal…

I wish these “Conspiracy Theories” weren’t so transparently obvious

Covid Crisis Ulterior Motive – The Global Currency Reset

I have written in total 35 blogs since March 2015, and they have all been on money, credit and the history of money and credit, and since 2015 I have made it clear that another even greater financial crisis and calamity would soon befall us, which would confirm the 2008-2009 financial crisis as just the speed bump on the approach to the final catastrophic crisis of Globalism, and this 50 year period of “Restriction” we have spent unchained from sound money and an international gold standard that created this modern Clown World we all inhabit

I have discussed an epic battle that is playing out in the shadows between centralization and decentralization, and in which I have consistently argued is a triangular Mexican Standoff between central banks and fiat currencies, gold as the historic foundations of banking and central banking, and Bitcoin as the new upstart and eventual nemesis and destroyer of central bank fiat currencies, and at the beginning of 2021 with central banks flooding the world with unprecedented liquidity and gold and Bitcoin at near or at all time highs in fiat currencies, we are getting ever closer to the Global Currency Reset, and have already been in a Global Economic Reset for the last year

In my last post on Bitcoin’s 2021 Bull Market I predicted a $400,000 cycle high in December of 2021 based on past performance and Bitcoin’s 4 yearly cycles in supply schedules (Halvenings) and roughly eighteen months ahead of the cycle high price in fiat currencies, which means that Bitcoin will become an existential threat to the increasingly unhinged central banks and government of the world in 2021, and could as I also discussed in that post lead to the breaking of the historic and established Bitcoin stock 2 flow model… I predicted that this model could be broken to the upside in the case of catastrophic hyperinflation of fiat currencies which could very well include variants on Helicopter Money, Universal Basic Income (UBI) or Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) all of which include massive quantitative easing to fund government infrastructure projects and to give money directly to the public, to soothe discontent or to encourage dependence on the governments that over the last year have destroyed vast swathes of the private sector and jobs that are never coming back… I also predicted that this model could be broken to the downside, and which would severely impact upon the power and adoption of Bitcoin, by the governments of the world (read the US Government) returning to domestic and/or international gold standards, which I’ll be discussing next

Bitcoin goes up three years, down one… The third year is up big, which is this year in 2021…

In my post of October 2019 I extensively discussed the planned and co-ordinated collapse of Globalism, which at its essence is the US Centric post Bretton Woods Petrodollar/Eurodollar Reserve Currency System… This Controlled Demolition began with the Brexit Referendum vote of 23/06/2016 that fractured the UK and EU Ruling Establishments (who never thought the plebs would ever vote for Brexit), and was accelerated with the Election of Donald John Trump as the 45th President of The United States (POTUS) on 11/11/2016 to fracture the American Deep State Swamp (who never thought Hillary Clinton would lose either)… As I commented in my original post, do you consider the momentous elections in both Anglo-American countries (and primary seats of the Globalist Deep State) less than six months apart, to be just a co-incidence???

In the four years since, we have seen the Coup within Saudi Arabia and the shake up within the House of Saud in November 2017 and one half of the Petrodollar Alliance, and the other half in the Federal Reserve System and the US Treasury we have seen what many have called the effective nationalization of the Federal Reserve and the beginning of its absorption into the US Treasury, as a transitionary step between the Federal Reserve Note as World Reserve Currency, and a US led international gold backed standard, and we have seen continuing multi decade low oil prices and near all time high gold prices, as dollar weakness in crude translates to weakness in the World Reserve Currency based on crude

In the 2019 post I also discussed Trump’s trade wars and the dismantling of the Globalist trade system that has built up epic and chronic trade deficits between currency issuing countries (the US and the UK) and trade surpluses among goods producing countries (China, and the EU)… Brexit and Trumpism is principally about breaking this cycle of trade deficits and surpluses, Brexit will lead to the forced re-negotiation of the UK/EU trade deal, and the £70 Billion per annum trade deficit the UK runs with the EU… Just for what that means, see below…

Inner London is the richest spot in Northern Europe, and nine of the ten poorest regions in Northern Europe are also in the UK, faraway from London… A No Deal Brexit reverses this, which also gives you an inkling why London just happens to be Remainer Central…

Four years on from Brexit and Trump, we are at another historic crossroads, and the continuing break up of Globalism in 2020, as in 2016, is centred around the Anglo-American Axis, and is dependent on Brexit, but that has also suffered a huge setback with the defeat of Donald Trump through Biden’s blatant stealing of the 2020 Election… However I will still keep sticking to my prediction that national governments will voluntarily return to an international gold standard, ultimately because their only other choice is to lose all control of the financial system they have cornered over the last few centuries in a catastrophic hyperinflation, and that returning to gold and sound money (like they always have in the past) is the only method for them to maintain control over the world… Exactly 50 years following the closing of the Gold Window (1971), my gut feeling is that re-opening the Gold Window is imminent

Currency Reset – Global Debt Collapse

In my October 2019 post I discussed the Global Currency Reset that has been long predicted, indeed the end of the Petrodollar and this 50 year period unchained from gold has been predicted since the closing of the gold window, it was always a question of when and not if… However I would doubt that practically any macro-economist could have predicted it would last as long as it has, and that global trade and Globalism would have become so distorted and utterly broken as this… And in that post I made it clear that the Global Currency Reset could not come about without a huge amount of pain, as global supply chains would likely be severely affected or even collapse, as it would mean working out colossal imbalances it has taken the last FIFTY YEARS to build up, rather than an overnight event the Global Currency Reset would take months if not years, and would include economic collapse, the next great financial crisis, and gold revaluation/fiat currency and debt devaluation

Four months after I wrote of the above, the Covid “Crisis” was unleashed upon the world, first in China, then in Europe, then the US and the UK, and since March of 2020 we have witnessed government lockdowns and the economic collapse of the private sector, as furlough schemes and corporate bailouts are merely the postponing of the unemployment crisis that will commence as soon as government furlough schemes end… Meanwhile, the Public Sector has largely transitioned to working from home and on full pay which has allowed them to cheerlead for more lockdowns and economic destruction, apparently ignorant of the productive base that funds their wages and pensions, and which will be decimated now that government has flattened the private sector cash cow… The economic collapse and unemployment crisis in the next few quarters will feed into public sector budgets as it has already done in the private sector, the only question really left is how fast this economic collapse will feed into housing and financial markets, as it seems the British Government, Treasury and the Bank of England’s only remaining dual mandate is to levitate the British Housing market and FTSE 100 stock index as the last vestiges of the wealth mirage that is the modern British Economy

Debt Collapse and Professional Football – Lower Leagues First

It should be evident that government lockdowns of society would decimate the lower leagues of professional football first, as they are more dependent on matchday revenues from spectators and less broadcasting revenues, so empty stadiums and food stands and merchandise shops disproportionately hurt lower league clubs, which by extension hurts these more local community networks, from local managers, to players, to the club’s staff and local supply chains…

The English Football League get a temporary reprieve from bankruptcy, by the Premier League, courtesy of their broadcast revenues… In addition, another £200 million in debt facilities for Championship teams… It is now clear that the lower leagues are utterly dependent on more debt and on the far richer Premier League, so let us have a chat about the condition of the Premier League clubs

Debt Collapse and The Premier League – The Sky Bubble

Sky have been the principle driver behind the Premier League becoming the richest football league in world football

So how has Covid impacted upon the Premier League’s major cash cow, Sky TV?

15% revenue drop in the 2nd quarter of 2020…

A better 3rd Quarter for Sky, as restrictions eased, the decimated private sector economy started opening back up, and football came back on the telly…

Bad year all in all for Comcast owned Sky

2021 and Beyond – The Financial Asset Collapse

The British and world economies as discussed have been in collapse since the lockdowns in March, disquiet and discontent has been largely soothed by Furlough schemes to pay people for doing nothing, a stamp duty cut on property which has contributed to the all cash buyers panic driving house prices, and the Bank of England has flooded approaching £1 Trillion in liquidity to levitate stock markets and suppress interest rates on the gargantuan debt that underpins this colossal house of financial derivatives…

However, this effective nationalization of the british economy by the government, and of financial markets by the Bank of England, will not happen in a vacuum devoid of consequences, and will in fact only hasten the eventual collapse of this debt bubble, when the reality of the economic devastation wrought by politicians and scientists will manifest in reality for the public and the elites… The end of furlough schemes will unleash the unemployment crisis that will hammer the tax revenues of local and central governments which will print the money that will fuel the continuing rise in gold and Bitcoin as alternative currencies, and the collapse in purchasing power will also reflect in the prices of everyday consumer goods such as food, and thus will severely curtail the disposable income that floods into discretionary items such as football shirts, match tickets, season tickets and Sky Sports subscriptions… The ongoing economic collapse will hammer sports and broadcasting revenues, while I also argue that the financial asset collapse that is yet to take place will collapse the ability of corporations such as Sky, BT Sport, and indeed most modern football clubs to refinance their debts at the low interest rates that have kept them afloat for this long… A collapse in financial asset values would also severely damage the net worth of most if not all of the billionaires that now own English Premier League clubs, while a real estate crash or devaluation would devalue the infrastructure of football clubs in general, from stadiums to property to the collateral that underpins all of this modern debt

Where We Go From Here – The Collapse of Professional Football

First, and as a by-product of the Global Currency Reset, will be the debt collapse of first the Football League, then the Premier League, Sky Television, and the collapse of the fortunes of the billionaire oligarch class that has infested English football in the bonfire of vanities and sinking millions into a black hole that is owning a football club… And that gets to the heart of the conundrum of professional sports, in that they are nearly exclusively money losing operations, and therefore a burden to the owners

The early history of English Football, especially in the Professional North and Midlands, were clubs deriving from industry and from the railways, with either co-ownership or shared ownership or family ownership, but many of these clubs were financial black holes, and I would imagine that most if not all of today’s 92 football league clubs have been in financial troubles and facing bankruptcy some time in their over 120 years history… The Globalization of finance and the development of broadcasting has taken the burden of funding a football club, the stadium, the staff, the groundsmen, scouts, manager and coaching team, and the players earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a week, but this will also prove to be ultimately unsustainable, and once hard and sound money has replaced cheap and unsound money, professional sport and football will be planning the future within this new frugal paradigm

Club Infrastructure – Liquidation and downscaling

One of the biggest trends of the last thirty years of the Premier League, has been the upgrading of infrastructure, in some cases by selling off the previous stadiums (Highbury and Maine Road being two prime examples) and developing a new stadium at a different site, or by upgrading existing stadiums (Old Trafford and Anfield instantly spring to mind), all in the goal of increasing capacity, season ticket holders, corporate boxes for the prawn sandwich brigades, and broadcasting studios, catering and restaurants, bars, etc… What the massive mis-allocations of capital that have flowed into English Football since the Premier League have at least accomplished, much as the Railway Mania of the 1840’s did for England’s railways, is that all this infrastructure has already been built, and from now on only requires maintenance… However it is debatable if these new 60,000 all seater stadiums carry the atmosphere of the old 30,000 football stadiums (the Emirates Stadium and West Ham’s move to the London Stadium is where I’ve seen fans griping), and it is entirely possible in an austere future of professional football that these stadiums will become both impractical or even too costly to maintain, and that football clubs may even downscale and reduce stadium sizes and capacities closer to the traditional 30,000 stadium capacities before the 90’s… It is only in the unwind of the debt bubble that has pumped this last five decades, will it become clear the extent of mal-investment and downsizing that is necessary, just to maintain what has been an unprecedented last thirty years of debt spending and building by English Sport

Club Staff – Streamlining

The bigger the infrastructure, the bigger the staff, and so any changes in infrastructure spending will naturally have a knock on club staff, which I’ll define as different from managers and players… While managers and players are pretty fungible and will tend to come and go, club staff are to a much larger degree permanent and local, and this ranges from the groundsmen, to academy and youth development, to catering staff, nutritionists, sport scientists, physiotherapists, barmen and waitresses, etc etc… The club payrolls will have to shrink in line with everything else to reflect a new monetary scarcity, and with this bonfire of the vanities will likely be the ending of numerous “administrators” and middle men who have thrived in an era of cheap money, and I would expect future clubs to make more with less, and I can see a purge in administrators, sport scientists, nutritionists, psychologists, and even cutbacks in physiotherapy as these jobs and payrolls will simply be unaffordable for the vast majority of professional football clubs

Club Managers – Less Turnover

One of the main downsides of the financialization of football, and especially the riches offered by the Premier League for Football League Clubs (and the £170 million EFL Championship Playoff) is to foster a high time preference and short term thinking, and this applies to owners, boards of directors, and the fans alike, which in my opinion disproportionately affects managers and coaches… As my example I will invoke Alex Ferguson, and his anointing of David Moyes as his successor… As I have already described Ferguson was for the first four years of his remarkable United career not a smash hit with the fans, and there were numerous times when Fergie was in peril and in serious danger of losing his job in the years when United were still in the wilderness… They squeaked the FA Cup win of 1990 in a replay, and lifted the Cup Winners Cup of 1991, but United’s future domination of the Premier League would not manifest until Season 92-93, in the SEVENTH year of Fergie’s reign… 13 Premier Leagues, four FA Cups and Two European Cups later and THE greatest manager in the history of English Football anoints David Moyes as his successor, and seemingly ignorant of history, Moyes was given ten months before being sacked, since then United have gone through Van Gaal, Mourinho and Solksjaer, and unsurprisingly, all are proving to be unsuccessful… Meanwhile over at their greatest rivals, who under the reign of Ferguson at United went from eleven League Titles ahead to two League Titles behind, having invested the last FIVE years in Jürgen Klopp, are now only one title behind, and it looks to me at least to be dominating English Football for the next few years (dependent on debt collapse obviously)… Possibly the most detrimental consequence of professionalism and the money driven success of modern football, is that a manager is increasingly hostage to owners and spectators who demand instant gratification and overnight success, which outside of one off cases (Mourinho and Conte at Chelsea instantly spring to mind) is practically impossible… Maybe the ultimate irony of United fans having to watch the resurgence of Liverpool thirty years after their last peak, is that Liverpool will overtake United by investing the last five years in Klopp irrespective of short term results and destiny, which was eighteen months after United sacked MoyesHad David Moyes been given the same time as Klopp, perhaps it would be United now building the latest dynasty as per Ferguson’s intuition, rather than Liverpool

In the new austere future of hard money, signing new managers up for five and six year contracts, before sacking them after six unsuccessful months, will carry severe financial penalties, which should hopefully benefit managers in getting some time to bed in and strive for success, with less demanding boards of directors and fans in a setting of finite finances, it essentially fosters a low turnover mindset, and where managers are given time… The more football clubs abuse this new economic reality, then the more the scarce resources and revenues of these football clubs will be drained in paying managers extortionate severance packages, while competing clubs whose owners and fans invest for the long term in managers will forego all these financial penalties and therefore have more resources to allocate to the next topic, players

Players – A Return To Localism

The history of professional football is more a story of the players, than anything… It was players that created the demand for managers, and the earliest football clubs were created and owned by the players that founded them, before the shift of ownership toward the capitalist class and local businessmen… The history of English football for its first sixty years was of nearly exclusively teams of local players, and transfers of players between local clubs that built up the original derbies and rivalries… From World War II onward and as football was nationalised by the Football League, then came the tendency for transfers of English players nationally, and from Scotland, Wales and Ireland, to become a minority of the player base… From the Seventies onward with the breakdown of the gold standard and the debt explosion of the system of modern global finance destroyed all these previous protective barriers of localism, with the increasing transfer fees and player salaries reflected by the collapsing purchasing power of Sterling, from our Entry into the EEC in 1973, and from 1978 with the FA and PFA lifting their bans on non British players, English football has progressively been flooded first with European players, then South American, and then African, and by today the Premier League player demographic has little to do with its local heritage and underpinnings… While football clubs during this last three decade infrastructure boom have spent vast sums on Academy Football and bringing young English players to the pinnacle of their profession, they have been competing with foreign players on massive wages for a place in the first team and squad, which has consequences not only for the development of English (and British) Professional footballers, but also effects upon the quantity and quality of the footballers produced for the British National Teams

With the collapse of the global finance debt bubble is the collapse of massive wages for foreign mercenaries, and the exodus of those players back to their own countries and their own leagues, leading to British players in British leagues, French players in French leagues, Dutch players in Dutch leagues, German players in German leagues, South American players in South American leagues and African players in African leagues, which equalises talent and excellence within all these countries, and reduces the extraction of perhaps the most precious resource of these countries, in the labour that will no longer be outbid by the “richest” (read the most debt driven) football leagues… The knock on effect of this re-localisation of player and squad base for the English National Team and by extension Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and Irish teams, is a bigger concentration of native professional players in the league from which national football selectors will be able to pick

While I think it would highly naive of me to say that a new sound money standard worldwide will eliminate international club player transfers, it will certainly clamp down upon player transfers as scarce resources will have to be directed first locally and to homegrown development, with even these wages and salaries far more in balance with the local economy than they have in recent decades… Where discretionary cash and revenues are available to clubs, then they will be able to pay transfer fees and wages for more exotic players whether nationally, or internationally, this dependent on revenues…

Club Revenues – Primary

Revenues for football clubs in the absence of global finance and debt will principally be local, in paying spectators at home stadiums either by season ticket or match day ticket, and as I have already discussed those clubs that can sustain the maintenance costs of the 60,000 all seater stadium boom of the last two decades, will have a revenue advantage over the clubs with 30,000 seater stadiums, in terms of attracting players and managers… Other primary revenues would include merchandise sales from football shirts and kits and club branded products, or other revenue generating operations at the club such as food, drink, hospitality, private and public functions, and so on… This streamlined revenue model that will have to reflect scaled down costs of infrastructure, manager salaries and player salaries, will take us backward and far closer to how football used to run before the age of global finance, and before the advent of secondary revenues

Club Revenues – Secondary

Secondary revenues basically boil down to broadcasting, which as I’ve argued is just a by-product of the globalization of finance, then with the collapse of global finance will come the collapse of global broadcast revenues and global broadcasting corporations, which shrinks what had become for the biggest clubs its primary source of revenue during the last three decades, and robs the bigger clubs of the revenue advantage they had over smaller clubsAs these global secondary revenues are far more speculative in nature than the more tangible and local primary revenues, then we can be far less sure of how clubs will generate these secondary revenues in the future, however I will try… With the technological progress in broadcasting having developed beyond television and its largely nationalised infrastructure and reach, satellites and the internet have globalised broadcasting and allows any club really on any level to invest in cameras and the technology that they could use to broadcast their football games to the rest of the world, and I envision with the collapse of large scale corporate and state broadcasters, then the broadcasting platforms that will support football games will be far more decentralised than today… For example, rather than the collective Sky/BT/Amazon bidding for broadcasting packages of games, and their virtual monopoly over broadcasting and monthly subscriptions, under a decentralised platform individual clubs could licence or sell broadcasts of their home football games, and tapping in to the market of billions of people globally who would be willing to pay a match subscription, or a monthly subscription, or season subscription to both home and away games of the teams they support, which the continuing advent of smart television and internet streaming of online content will only become stronger in the next few yearsSecondary revenues will still favour the most famous and successful clubs, however their away games will also contribute to the revenues of the smaller clubs broadcasting their home games, and brings revenues from outside the local or national level to the global level

Sound Money and Deflation – The Collapse of Professionalism and The Return of Amateurism

While this headline might sound bombastic and click baity, it is the total truth that Amateurism and Professionalism derive from monetary systems, amateurism will always be the base of national sport, with only a fraction ever being good enough to turn their hobby into a profession, it is the inflationary or deflationary monetary policy that will dictate the extent of Professionalism

With the inflationism of 19th Century England came the debasement of money and labour of the working classes, which forced Professionalism upon sport, and which exploded during the Twentieth Century, and which is just about to switch back to sound money and deflationism which reverses Professionalism and enables Amateurism, it’s all tied to the purchasing power of money and its effects upon capital and labour… As I spent a whole 10,000 word essay exploring back in 2018, the switch from the appreciation of capital (capitalism) at the expense of debasing labour to appreciating labour and the depreciation of capital, will have profound consequences for societal order

Deflation let me make this clear inflates the purchasing power and value of labour while devaluing or depreciating the value of capital… I will repeat this in the hope that it sinks in for any reader: deflationary money and currency is issued and circulated at a lower rate than the economic production (economy) that it is exchanged for, a scarcity of money or credit creating an abundance of resources and rewarding labour first by depreciating the value of capital priced in that labour… For example and as I have described in many past posts, a deflation rate of 5% per annum or otherwise stated an economy where private production of goods, services, labour, land and property would increase 5% above the increase in money or credit supply, would indicate the increasing purchasing power of labour produced and exchanged (and stored in money or credit) of 5% in the next year… So if you worked and stored a thousand pounds worth of production this year, next year that thousand pounds would purchase you 5% more (£1,050), a fifty pounds surplus value if you will for doing nothing (and not consuming)… The flipside of this 5% increase in saving power would be a 5% depreciation of property and asset values in the next year, or stated differently property valued at £1000 today will be valued at only £950 in one year… Labour appreciates as capital depreciates and at the polar opposite of inflationary capitalism where as capital appreciates as labour depreciates… Take a longer term view and extrapolate a ten year trend of an annual deflation rate of 5% (let’s say 50% or one half to save on the compound maths), producing and saving £1000 in year one would see a fifty percent increase in the value of purchasing power by year 10 (£1500) and conversely capital with a value of £1000 in year one would only be worth 50% or half (£500) by year 10… 

Having established this principle of monetary deflation as it pertains to labour and capital as a self evident and IRREFUTABLE economic logic and truth, I can now use this principle to discuss the future of Sport in this paradigm

Deflation And Labour – Breeding Independence

What we produce or exchange we usually convert into money, which is the vessel in which we store and measure our net worth over time… In an inflationary paradigm what we have produced and stored in money will be consistently devaluing against the costs of living and survival, as the values of the capital we need to live and produce become less affordable, so we are forced into debt and what was traditionally considered Serfdom… Inflation is a system which has been carefully evolved and cultivated to strip mine wealth and purchasing power from the masses toward the elites, forcing people to work harder and to increase productivity (which created the industrial revolution) to chase the bucks to pay back the credit and debt that bankers and financiers simply create out of thin air (credit is loaned into existence), which breeds dependence upon bankers and banking, and which brings us ever closer to the jaws of government and of the welfare state, that is state dependence

When we produce and save in deflationary currencies on the other hand, purchasing power increases against the cost of living and survival, and so the value of labour increases over time, which breeds individual independence from the necessity of production and productivity… In a world where purchasing power and savings are naturally increasing from year to year, then you have to work less to maintain the same living standards, and therefore chasing bucks to pay the bills is no longer such a pressing requirement, which translates as increasing time spent away from work and making money, and allows the individual more free time to spend on family and community

While inflation will by necessity weaken Amateurism and embolden Professionalism, deflation emboldens Amateurism and weakens Professionalism… The by-product of appreciating purchasing power and savings (of what you have already produced) is the devaluation of wages so that what you produce in the present becomes less of a worry or stress, in essence this de-professionalises all of society, and is the counter-movement away from work and vocation, to hobby and means of income… Another way of stating this is that deflation de-financialises society, as deflation implicitly means a scarcity of money and currency, then this creates a relative abundance of goods and services, and therefore eliminates price speculation of capital and bubbles in wages, such as the massive bubble in the wages of footballers we have witnessed for the last five decades… Footballers may well receive more wages or income in the future than the average “profession” in society, but it will not be so out of balance as it was during inflation, in fact deflation works to bring the wages of all professions more in line with the scarcity of the money… Under deflation, the era of hyper-competitiveness and hyper-professionalism will be over

Deflation And Capital – Devaluing Capitalism

Whereas inflation and the debasement of purchasing power inflates the value of capital, deflation and the appreciation of purchasing power devalues the value of capital… Under the paradigm of deflation, all capital (land, houses, factories, etc) will be depreciating or becoming cheaper, which allows the property-less labouring population to own capital at a younger and younger age, and it devalues the value of having to work to chase money, as you de facto need less money to purchase capital…

This devaluing of capital has profound consequences for societal order… As property is constantly devaluing, it incentivises the rentier class (the top 1%) as hoarders of capital and property, to dishoard, as continuing to hoard capital is effectively a wealth tax on not hoarding currency… This coupled with the increasing purchasing power of money to consume devaluing capital leads to the distribution of property ownership throughout society, from the top to bottom… The devaluation of capital will also seek to minimise the concept of renting, as outright ownership replaces exploitation and parasitism in terms of rip off rent, interest rate usury on repayment terms, and the dependence of having to continually chase bucks and produce to pay banks and rentiers on currency printed from thin air to lend to you… Outright ownership also increases the incentive to conserve and maintain the standard of property rather than the indifference and neglect that is often a symptom of rented property (by both rentier and renter I might add), private property ownership incentivises skin in the game and maintenance of what is your own

For Sports in general, the appreciation of currency and devaluation of capital will bolster club finances and monetary reserves at the expense of the value of their capital and infrastructure, and so while maintenance and extension of the club’s infrastructure becomes cheaper in terms of currency and reserves, the value of the same capital will depreciate the value of the club, so that it incentivises building up of cash reserves and a purge in more speculative investments in club infrastructure spending… The most critical part of deflation in my opinion is the stabilisation of purchasing power of the club’s finances which inhibits the need for borrowing and taking on debt, which is the REAL history of 20th Century of Sport… As I have already discussed the reality of professional football in the 20th Century was borrowing and debt, that plagued many football clubs and led to the liquidation of many over the years, a black hole of money often propped up by local businessmen and benefactors oftern to their own financial detriment, under a regime of deflation clubs will get richer in finances, which de facto makes sports clubs far more sustainable, which protects club and community from financial depredation and unscrupulous financial merchants and loan sharks…

I also believe that the development of crypto-currencies and the decentralisation of finance and law, will probably effect upon the ownership of football clubs, in that the democratisation of finance would allow sports clubs to issue tokens or shares of ownership (see the latest Non Fungible Token craze) so that football fans could have an immutable record of ownership in the club, and therefore have direct voting rights and a say in how their club is owned… Crypto-currencies and crowdfunding in a deflationary environment will allow a far more community based and decentralised common share ownership of sports clubs, than the largely centralised ownership of sports clubs that evolved during the 20th Century… A thought provoking piece on Non Fungible Tokens, if you apply it to sports

Conclusion

Having hopefully tried to analyse the last two centuries of history and the development of Professional Sport as dispassionately as possible (outside of my interpretations of Britain’s greatest “statesmen” perhaps), I will take this conclusion to give my own biases on this question of Professionalism and of money within Sport… What initially developed as a physical exercise and a mental education in co-operation, competition and the fostering of character and temperament among the upper classes at England’s Public Schools, would be adopted and mainstreamed by England’s working classes, and a class which could not historically separate its sport from its money, the inflating and debasing Pound Sterling of the Bank of England that flowed out of London and that fuelled the industrialisation of Scotland, Wales, and the North and Midlands of England, that created the industrial revolution and the infrastructure that would facilitate England’s Professionalising of football, and indeed of the schism within rugby, between its working class north and its upper class south, that separated Rugby Union and Rugby League at the dawn of the twentieth century…

In my opinion the totalitarianism of the Rugby Football Union against any and all payments or inducements were patently absurd, and punishing Northern Clubs for developing broken time payments for poor men in poorly paid professions was the ignorance of the London upper classes who could afford to take the time off to play Rugby, and that this snobbishness that contributed to the schism that still now one hundred and twenty five years later, with Rugby Union itself having succumbed to professionalism for the last twenty five years, is still no closer to reunification… Rugby Union’s shunning of money made the divide between the classes into a divide within sport itself…

While being sympathetic to broken time payments and even to full time professionalism within a broader local economy of relatively equal paying professions, football was originally poorly paid and cleaning the star players muddy boots was the ladder up which any young and aspiring apprentice football player had to climb, I am also sympathetic to Rugby’s hostility to money for the very reasons that have become all to apparent over the last century and to today… When you combine money with sport it starts to move from a voluntary and bottom up enterprise to a top down profit driven business, increasingly susceptible to corruption and control by those who have the money, and therefore further away from the fans that also consider themselves owners of the club, and the history of the Twentieth Century is replete with owners who have destroyed the clubs under their control, and especially since the era of global finance when local owners have been outbid by billionaire oligarchs living on different continents…

Another by-product of profit driven professionalism is the chase for revenues, for incomings from paying spectators and sponsorships, to outgoings for players and managers, which shifts the incentive structure of the club away from long term organic development of local resources, to short term buying or importing of resources… Buying short term success at the expense of long term success has led many a club into ruin, while draining the pockets and loyalty of long suffering fans for season tickets, match tickets and merchandise, to fund ridiculous wages for foreign managers and players who are often no better than what can be produced locally or nationally… This is of course a consequence of inflationary monetary policy and is easily reversible by deflation, which inflates labour (and the individual) and debases capital (and the capitalist), making capital more affordable and therefore makes the club cheaper to run, and less dependent on outside investors (and takeover)…

But ultimately, and even outside of monetary policy that will always dictate the extent of professionalism in society, what will force a rethink of professionalism, is the impact on the most important and precious commodity in sport, the players… In and era of hyper-professionalism driven by finance and television, and to justify their extortionate wages, players have been elevated to the peak demands of professionalism and athleticism, that includes virtually daily training sessions and set piece drills, nearly forty league games per season, another few at least in the cups, and another half dozen at least if competing in European leagues, add to this international commitments in playing for country, and sixty to sixty five games have to be compressed into a ninth month season, and a gruelling physical and mental schedule to satisfy all the vested interests of the game they play… Which brings us to professionalism and injury

It was in American Football that the issue of injuries and especially brain injuries first came to prominence, as the hyper-professionalised and financialised NFL had dedicated resources into this area since 1994, and in 2009 commissioned a report which demonstrated increased incidence of memory loss and dementia among retired professional footballers compared to the general public… The NFL has also conceded that concussions that are endemic at the highest levels of the NFL were contributors to long term brain damage… It is only recently that Rugby Union, having just celebrated a quarter of a century of Professionalism, has also turned its spotlight upon concussions and injuries and especially head collisions, and is currently re-evaluating the transformation of eleven stone backs and fifteen stone forwards into fifteen stone backs and twenty stone forwards, and the hyper-competitive breakdowns and restarts (scrum and lineout), in what is fundamentally far more a contact sport than football, the bone crunching tackles and colossal hits of these products of professionalism, is affecting upon the long term health of its professionals… With horror stories from recently retired rugby players of blackouts and memory loss now turning from trickle into flood, head collisions are now ground zero for target and censor, as witnessed in this year’s Six Nations with multiple sending offs for head contact, will in my opinion inevitably lead to the de-escalation of rugby, especially at the breakdown that may initially be felt as the loss of intensity, but also in seeking to protect players may lead to the opening up of the game and favouring attack over defence, which may also in time reduce the weight of rugby players as speed gains at the expense of strength

Football is obviously to a far lesser extent a contact sport than Rugby Football or American Football, however as this most recently compressed Covid season has demonstrated, footballers are now under more physical and mental strain than ever, with increased game schedules and intensity that has contributed to the meltdown of Liverpool in the last few months, and with a possible Euro 2021 and international summer tournament, players will be heading into Season 2021-22 with barely a break in the last year… And while I’m not seeing the same alarm bells in football about repetitive strain injuries I’m seeing in rugby, I think it will become more prevalent in football and will be related to the fundamental football rule of heading… You could certainly argue that the balls today are far lighter and softer than they were on the players of yesterday and therefore less conducive to head injury, but on the other hand the intensity and frequency of heading by professionals today is far higher than back in the more primitive and amateurish days, the kickabout training sessions of yesteryear cannot be compared to the relentless set piece training drills and set piece heavy game of modern football… You are effectively getting punched in the head as a professional footballer today far more often than you were forty years ago, and combine near daily sessions of heading practice followed by up to two games a week of heading in matches, you are getting maybe a hundred head punches a week, that would be over five thousand a year, multiplied over a fifteen year career, and that becomes a repetitive strain injury maybe not today, but certainly in the futureAs American Football and Rugby have discovered, the curse of Professionalism and the relentless schedule of practising excellence, is repetitive strain injuries that contribute to the long term detriment of the players, and which I’m pretty sure will apply to Football as the retirees of the era of hyper-professionalism will start exhibiting the same symptomsMany fans will berate the modern football game for the extortionate wages of footballers and how the contact is increasingly being removed from a game which was more traditionally certainly a contact sport, but this is the trade off you have to make for professionalism, modern footballers are spent cartridges at thirty five and their wages accrued will have to maintain their living standards for the next fifty years, while the de-escalation of contact within football is due to the far more intense and hyper competitive athleticism of modern players

Thus I base my thesis on the collapse of professionalism both on monetary grounds and on player health grounds, and like everything else when it comes to the issue of money and monetarism, they are intrinsically linked… Inflation and monetary debasement that has gone into hyper drive since 1971 and the era of cheap money, which has driven professionalism that has driven massive wages for managers and sportsmen that has driven hyper-competitiveness and repetitive strain injuries that will prove to more detrimental for player health, as it is further discovered and studied… The Age of Deflation and sound and scarce money we are entering, will de-professionalise sport and devalue wages at the expense of savings that leads to a voluntary de-escalation of the intensity of sport that will prove beneficial to players, but also I argue to spectators and sporting fans… Another way of stating professionalism is organisation, which we witness in all modern sport be it rugby or football, of coaching and over coaching, of defensive lines and offensive lines, whether we are talking about the Blitz defence prevalent in modern rugby that has stifled attacking rugby and incentivised power over speed, or in football with the press, that is the organised chase and pressuring of the opposition defence to recover possession… And it is when we come to the set piece that organisation and professionalism obsesses, whether scrum or lineout in rugby, or free kicks and corners in football, organisation and drills have come to dominate which elevates the importance of these restarts compared to what it would be in an unorganised and amateur version, thus set pieces and turnover ball (transitions in football parlance) have become the premier method of counter-attack… The more professionalism and organisation is de-financialised and devalued under a sound and scarce money regime, the less organisation, coaching and management within sport, the less competitive and rigid the set piece and turnover, which allows more spontaneity and flourishing of skill and natural talent over structure and training

And for last, I leave the question of technology within Sport… American Football and Rugby since professionalism have been quick adopters of technology and TMO’s and television replays of contentious or controversial events within games, whether it be to check for the grounding of a try, a forward pass, a foot in touch or more recently illegal tackles and head contact… Football on the other hand, even though professional far earlier, had largely shunned technology until relatively recently, after much clamouring it only brought in goal line technology as the first and obvious test case for awarding or ruling out goals at the margins of the goal line, but has in the last two seasons introduced Video Assistant Referee (VAR), and an effective second referee off the pitch to oversee the officials on the pitch, for marginal decisions such as offsides, penalty claims, and dangerous tackles… But over the last two season VAR has been increasingly subject to criticism as the decisions have become increasingly marginal, where hands or feet rather than body lines are on or off side, the reviews of handball are morphing the handball rule to the consternation of fans and pundits, and likewise fouls and indiscipline have become a quagmire of micro-analysis and subjectivity, in short VAR is slowing down and muddling up the game it was invented to speed and clear up… You can debate whether all this is merely teething problems and that VAR will become in the next two or three seasons become as streamlined and effective as Rugby’s TMO, or whether VAR is fundamentally flawed and will be scrapped when the fans and pundits finally say enough is enough, but technology and painstaking reviews of marginal decisions is perhaps the ultimate by-product of Professionalism and financialisation of sport, where every decision impacts upon millions in revenues, and in the case of relegation from the Premier League, tens or hundreds of millions in lost revenuesUnder deflation, de-financialisation and de-prefessionalism, technology and the investing of millions for marginal decisions becomes uneconomic and unjustifiable, and therefore obsolete

We shall see in the years ahead…

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Postscript: Rumble Interviews for this post.

Part 1

Part 2

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