Rumours of José “The Special One” Mourinho leaving Real Madrid this summer continue to circulate throughout the media.
On the eve of Real’s derby against rivals Atlético Madrid, José announced that at exactly 9:20, he walk out of the tunnel and allow any disgruntled fans to boo and/or whistle at him if they so choose. 9:20 pm rolls around and Mourinho, true to his word, walks out of the tunnel, looks around for about 10 minutes, then heads back. There wasn’t a very big turnout for the appearance, the stadium being practically empty aside from the battalion of cameramen. This was 40 minutes before kick-off, he did it then because he did not want any booing or jeering to affect the players although the Real Madrid manager did say that he was mostly watching goalkeeper Iker Casillas warm up. Mourinho stated that there is “no story” when it comes to his future at Real. But, there is.
The Spanish media is having a hay-day with this (as they usually do with Mourinho) and as per usual, can be vicious at times. Newspapers have been all spouting that the relationship between Mourinho and Real’s president Florentino Pérez, has fallen into a pile of shit. His comment on the relationship between the two was “Ask the president.” And “I have no problem. I don’t have to say when I speak to the president or what we speak about. The only thing I can do is pay for the meal, which I will not even attend.” (Sounds like speaking football a-la Cantona a bit, yea?) When asked about his future at the club, he stated “My future is that tomorrow I will take charge of my 101st game in the Champions League.”
I’m sure we’re all eager to see how this pans out, but that’s what we’ve got so far. Now, onto another topic of growing questions of mine and some others; Is the current ownership regulations, or lack thereof, completely fucking the English Premier League? Is the one, sometimes all-powerful owner along with a small board of practical do-nothings as bad as it sounds? Let’s have a glance at how the German Bundesliga handles club ownership.
Hans-Joachim Watzke, the chief executive of Borussia Dortmund, has openly attacked how they handle club ownership in the EPL and defended the German way. He has questioned the ethos and sustainability of Premier League Clubs’ ownership, most notably Manchester City, being owned and funded by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi. The Bundesliga has a “50% plus one” rule which requires the clubs to be owned by their members which can help prevent:
“Over”-investment relying on future sports success to finance
Capital injections by ‘rich hobby owners’ – and by private equity
companies, (reputable) football management companies, etc.
It also helps with:
Promoting sustainable business models (instead of debt accumulation until
Sustainable league product (no midseason insolvencies; revenue-based
expenditures: restriction of revenue / capital-inflow substitution)
Better opportunities for home-grown talent.
You can view the entire regulations here.
Watzke has described German football as being “romantic” especially for keeping the rule intact. He also went on to say “I am a little bit romantic, and that is not romantic. In England people seem not to be interested in this – at Liverpool they are fine for the club to belong to an American. But the German is romantic: when there is a club, he wants to have the feeling it is my club, not the club of Qatar or Abu Dhabi.” Also stating: “Germans want to have that sense of belonging. When you give [the supporters] the feeling that they are your customers, you have lost. In Germany, we want everybody to feel it is their club, and that is really important.” Later stating: “Our people come to the stadium like they are going to their family. Here, the supporters say: it’s ours, it’s my club.”
To put it into perspective, a Borussia Dortmund fan can get a season ticket for about £154 while a Chelsea supporter pays anywhere from £595 to £1250. “Here, it is our way to have cheap tickets, so young people can come,” Watzke said. “We would make €5m more a season if we had seats, but there was no question to do it, because it is our culture. In England it is a lot more expensive. Football is more than a business.”
Now of course there are flaws but nothing’s perfect. This is more of a long-term thing and I think the Premier League should get on board with something like it.
With all that said, I’m presenting this Barton Award to the Glazer family for their part in creating massive debt for Manchester United and attempting to use the club as a finance pool for other debts. Congratulations, you sons a’ bitches.