It's not often I read the Daily Star these days, or it's even rarer that I'd end up agreeing with it - but I do today.
The Ooh-Aah Daily Star has drawn a parallel between the enquiries by Lord Stevens into the football bung scandal and the death of Princess Diana.
Its point is simple – both reports find that nothing has been done wrong. Coincidence or a white wash? You can guess where the Star comes from on this.
On the Princess Di front, frankly I don’t care but I’m more inclined to believe it’s as Stevens says – a tragic accident.
As for bungs, well you don’t have to believe in conspiracy theories to know things must have gone on.
As friend of mine told of a work colleague of his who was offered £6000 in a brown envelope in notes to sign up his son to the academy of a Premiership side. The boy is only eight, so not only is he not allowed to sign any form of contract, the payment is clearly illegal.
That was the agent acting on his own, not acting on the club’s behalf.
You can see where it goes wrong, straight from an early age.
The issue is not does it go on, because it clearly does, but is it new and can anything be done about it?
It’s not new, it’s been going on in some form or another ever since the game went professional.
In the 1890s, when Preston was the Man Utd or Chelsea of the then newly-professionalised game, the club was owned by a local mill owner.
Not only did he ‘import’ players from Scotland but, because of the maximum wage for footballers, he ‘employed’ them in his mills to give them extra money.
Clearly they knew as much about looms as I do about physics.
The debate about bungs is naive. It’s always gone on, and if the money didn’t go to agents, it would not go to the fans either directly or indirectly.
The big clubs have always done, and always will, and there are probably other battles worth fighting more.
Like the salaries of players. Bungs wouldn’t exist if average ‘park’ footballers weren’t earning thousands each week. But that’s another debate.
Lawrence Gosling is group editorial director at Incisive Media (publisher of IFAonline).
The views expressed are those of the author and not those of the company he represents.IFAonline
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