I am sorry mate but give me a break. Not as old as yourself but still remember the days where we were always the top 2 spenders on players each year back in the late 70s / early 80s. Shyte how about the time we brought in Aldridge, Houghton, Beardsley & Barnes in one swoop, basically buying the best striker, support striker, winger and work dog in the league outside the top two clubs at the time. I dont see how you would drop your association with the club if & when a rich owner does come in as whatever he will do is what we have been doing since Day 1. Using our power & wealth to attract the best players to the club. Obviously the numbers have changed a bit where spending 8m-10m in one summer back in the 80s is now equivalent to 60m plus but just sign of the times. Share the wealth I say, let other teams have the chance to tap some Arab's wallet as I cannot see how we wont be in the same boat soon enough. We already are I guess with G&H but unfortunately for us we did not notice the words Titantic on their boat when they pulled in first to buy us.
Fair points but I do think this is substantially different. There have always been big clubs and there has never been a truly level playing field. But for many years the economic power and of a club was derived from its location. Big Cities around the world had big teams and the most powerful and populous cities economically tended to have the biggest. We were able to buy the best players because we were one of the biggest clubs in the country with the prestige and income to match.
I don't go with the whole "level playing field" thing. I see nothing wrong with a club in a major metropolis, with the ability to draw crowds in excess of 40 to 50,000 and a large number of potential corporate benefactors in the local population
, being more successful than a club in a small town who can't attract more than 20,000 or so. The only reason for evening things up is if you divorce the clubs from their location and distribute television and other income evenly along with the players through a draft or salary cap. In my opinion, "evening things up" creates clubs which take nothing from their surroundings. You might as well have franchises like the NFL in America.
The first break from location was the flotations in the nineties. Clubs tarted themselves around on the stock exchange and let anyone who thought they could make a buck out of football buy a piece of the action. The other big break was the unholy alliance of the Premier League (which was laughingly brought into being to reduce the number of clubs and improve England's performance on the world stage) and Sky TV which made TV money as important, if not more important than attendances. But even through all of those changes location was a key factor in the success and economic power of the biggest clubs. Even Blackburn's title win was on the back of a local businessman with a passion for the club.
The Manchester City takeover is clearly not about "leveling the playing field" but in the long term it could have the same effect of creating franchises instead of clubs grounded in their location. City's new wealth has nothing to do with who they are or where they come from. Apart from the desire to own a big club, they could just as easily have bought Carlisle, Southampton or Ipswich, and pumped the money in with no need to worry about breaking even.
I suppose it's what has been needling me all the way through Liverpool's search for new investors. I don't have any problem with investment to finance developments like the new stadium, which would allow us to make the most of our status as one of the major clubs in England. To allow more fans to watch the club and maximise our match day income, coroporate income and sponsorship. I can honestly say that I have never wished for a sugar daddy who'd throw money at players in the way Abramovich did.
So I agree that you could say we "bought" titles by buying the best players in the seventies and eighties, but it was the club's money - the fans' money if you want - generated through the crowds who turned up to support the team and local businessmen who identified with the club.
I think this could be worse for English football than Abramovich's takeover of Chelsea. At least he did it because he was passionate about football. He wanted to own a club and win things. Abu Dhabi want publicity and prestige - it's a marketing exercise with a club attached. If they win the League and/or a European Cup it could be the beginning of the end for local clubs and herald the introduction of franchises in the truest sense.
I hope to fuck I'm wrong.