Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Young Ones

So there seems to be alot out there in interweb land about footballing cradle snatching (for want of a better phrase)

I have just caught up with my RSS and and read an article on Red Rants regarding the recent acquisition of French Youth captain Paul Pogba, by United. For quite a few years now there has been this on going saga where "small club" produces "talented youngster". "Talented youngster" does really well. "Big Club" comes sniffing. "Small club" gets really pissed off. "Talented youngster's" parents get their heads turned. "Talented youngster" signs for "big club". Its not a new scenario. Its been going on in England and every other footballing nation for years.

The main difference now is that it is happening, like a pandemic, globally. So no more just 'Spurs offer Gazza's parents a house for him to move to London' or 'United nab promising youngster Beckham via Bobby Charlton's School of Excellence'. English clubs now plunder every corner of the globe, whether it be the backstreets of Rome to the beaches of Brazil.

And I see nothing wrong with any of this.

Now of course there's always the 'what if it were you??!!' argument. What if Madrid plundered all the talent in the UK? What if Le Harve tempted away an exciting United prospect?

To that I say 'so what?'

There are rules and guidelines for this sort of thing for Youth Football.(including the famous domestic rule that you must live within a two hour drive from the club that signs you...NOT in miles, and too bad for you if the club is two hours and five minutes from your home. Utter codswallop!) On one hand we bang the drum of democracy and ask for free trade in Europe, and on the other we put a driving time restriction on where you can play a game, kicking an old pigs bladder around, on a stretch of grass.

"But what about the child's education?" "What about what's fair for local clubs?" "What about honour and reputation?"

Oh please give us a break!

This is the truth.

As I have stated previously, football is now global. It is a commercial monster. It's run away with the tea money, and it ain't coming back. Getting used to your club signing a talent from Rio De Janeiro, or Tokyo, or Egypt, or Salford...will take some supporters a bit of time. Generally, it is all tied up in the old football fans mentality of "I would love it if 11 Mancs played for United"

Well those days now live with the dinosaurs

This is a free world (supposedly). We all have an amazing amount of CHOICE. In the First World, if you want to jump on a plane to the other side of the planet then you just have to buy a ticket. If you want to drive across a continent, you just have to fill the tank up with petrol. And if you get the opportunity to play football for a truly massive club then you can just sign on the dotted line...home will only ever be a few air miles away. The money that the giants of football put into youth academies, and the way these kids are looked after, is phenomenal. The likes of Pogba and co. will be given exemplary educations, and (certainly at United) be protected from the burning glare of the media's spotlight.

So I have no problem with which nations represent my club on the field as i have no problem with United opening up cafes for fans in India. I don't mind if the Far & South East Asia go Red Devils mad, and I do not even care if a fat American billionaire owns the keys to the club.

Because what i care about is that the team has the very best players it can possibly get, come hell or high water. As long as said 'American' financially backs the team, he can have his name over the door (Was The Edwards family not bothered about making cash when they owned us? hmm?) If United's Italian starlet Dan Petrucci makes it into the first team squad, is it so bad that United gave his father a job as well to get his signature? And if Paul Pogba turns out to be the best midfielder in the world in five years time, should any of us feel sorry for little Le Harve?

Football is supposed to be competitive. And being competitive means you take whatever edge you can get. So if Barcelona nab a promising 11 year old and he turns into Lionel Messi, I have no problem that Boca or Riverplate missed out. Just as I have little sympathy for the African nations that missed out on many great footballers that turned out for Mother Nation France during their World Cup winning years.

Football is ruthless. Its been happening for years...and it will continue to do so.

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