a few years ago, there was this football club in london. the club wasn't very big, powerful, successful or even popular. it came as quite a shock you can thus imagine when this mangy, grumpy old hound dog of a club caught the eye of a certain russian. this russian was mr. roman abramovich, roman to his friends, that guy who had mom and dad killed to his enemies. roman has lots of money, good for roman. roman wants to spend all his money on a football team, good for roman. roman spent all his money on chelsea and ruined football for everyone else, bad roman. naughty.
the problem with huge investment in football is that it starts a trend that is basically impossible to break. in this scenario, chelsea were the trendsetters, soon other clubs jumped on the bandwagon, but for the purpose of this rant, chelsea are the villains we will focus on. roman came into football with the same ruthlessness that made him his millions in russia, simply put, what roman wants, roman gets. as a result, whatever chelsea wanted, chelsea got. the winds of change started blowing through the mediocre club when roman sacked his first manager, claudio ranierie and appointed the mercenary manager that is jose mourinho.
mourinho is without doubt a very talented manager, but his talent is only utilized best when he has a number of blank cheques to fill out to build his squad. the same argument can be made for many clubs and managers, but chelsea's underhanded approach to illegally approaching players and offering the biggest wage packages in football, clubs and players found them hard to turn down.
essentially, chelsea changed the way footballers looked at potential employers, they were no longer solely focused on success or regular first team football, instead they became focused on who will pay me the most regardless of my performance, the answer was always chelsea. chelsea broke the mould and the gentleman's agreement that existed between players, managers and owners. this new concept of huge investment demanded results and when the results don't reflect the huge payouts to players, the managers are often the first to be shown the door and often after only a few games in charge.
since roman took over chelsea, they have gone through roughly a manager a season, and that is only because mourinho stayed for 3 seasons. if we remove jose from the equation, they have sacked a manger just about every 7-8 months for "under performing". this is a debate that has been talked to death in recent years and there isn't really a right answer to it all. should clubs have followed chelseas lead? no. should chelsea have been allowed to carry on the way they did? no. but the clubs did, and chelsea got away with it all and the game is no forever changed. there is no going back. the only question that remains is whether or not you want your club to follow their lead forever. there is no avoiding it, either you spend big (but as wisely as possible), or you fight the good fight and be frugal. only bear in mind that if you do choose the more cautious, modest path, the best you can hope for is a top 10 finish. that mindset simply can't compete with the deep pockets of chelsea and the monsters they have created.
clubs like man city have now taken up the torch from chelsea and have even more money. they can without exaggerating, buy any player they want, and seem to know it. the game has changed and fight as you might, you can't change it back. some clubs seem to believe that they can however, spurs for example have spent wisely, sold wisely and developed their youth players wisely, and to their credit, they are currently in third place, challenging for the title against the juggernauts that are man utd and man city. good for them. but their stubbornness to spend isn't going to last long term. their big names will be lured away, and their wage structure will need to be compromised to keep the likes of bale and modric, or they will have to be sold. and if they're sold, and the money isn't reinvested (which i don't think it would be), we will see spurs slip back down in to the 7-10 places that will be easier for them to maintain. the likes of roman and man city are like small children, they want the toys the other kids are playing with and they don't like to share. just look at the fernando torres saga, liverpool had a shiny new toy, he was too good for chelsea when the sides met, and roman wanted the toy at any cost. the cost turned out to be 50 000 000 quid, and the toy turned out to be broken. his greed and arrogance cost him all that dough and has netted him about 5 goals in a year. unfortunately not all his purchases have been so rubbish, he has bought himself a number of shiny trophies. so i guess its money well spent. i am clearly not alone in thinking this, chelsea and man city have loads of shiny new fans who agree with me, funny thing is that non of theses new "fans" seem to remember much of the club before the money arrived.
fact is, you gotta spend to score and greed equals goals. thats the game now, and the big boys don't fight fair.
the chunky hipster