Rarely do I feel the need or desire to comment on the English Premier League unless it impacts on our local game over here.
l much prefer to deal with the bread and butter issues affecting our own domestic scene.
But sometimes it’s impossible to ignore what’s happening on the big stage over in England and the week just gone past was certainly one to remember.
The sacking of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was one major talking point.
Alas, the ‘Special One’ as he likes to be known, was this season found out to be maybe ‘Not So Special’ after all.
Despite his team being the reigning league champions, this season their form has been poor to say the least, and with them sitting just one point above the relegation zone last week the club decided enough was enough and Jose was given the bullet.
Don’t get me wrong, I love characters in sport, in fact in my opinion we currently don’t have anywhere near enough, but for me this season I felt Jose had lost the plot (and perhaps the dressing room).
His post-match interviews had become so complex, even bordering on bizarre, and he didn’t exactly cover himself in glory with his extraordinary rant at the female team physio when she decided to enter the field of play to treat an injured Chelsea player, that for me was the beginning of the end.
Yes, a character for sure but one who had outgrown even his own massive ego, and I for one must admit I wasn’t in the slightest bit surprised when the news broke that Chelsea had called time on his role as manager, and that the housewives’ heartthrob had been given the boot.
To be honest it was only then that I really began to sit up and take note of just how much money it takes to get rid of a top football manager who’s just been deemed a failure.
In Jose Mourinho’s case it’s not thousands, or even a few hundred thousand, it’s millions and just how many is anybody’s guess.
I’ve read and heard reports in Jose’s case ranging anywhere from £10m up to £40m compensation for the sack, so you can take your pick, sure what’s a few million here or there among friends?
Has the world gone crazy?
Of course it has, but as far as football administration is concerned no one seems to give a damn.
These crazy sums of money being paid out to people who are deemed failures has to stop, but sadly football is right up there when we look for examples of sending out all the wrong messages to the other 99.9 per cent℅ of ordinary human beings who struggle week in week out just to make ends meet and put a loaf of bread on the table.
I’ve said it countless times in the past, surely if large sums of money are to be paid out to people then it must only be done to reward success, not failure.
But again, don’t get me wrong, Jose Mourinho is good – one of the best.
But his fall from hero to zero should never be rewarded with a multi-million pounds pay-off.
It’s outrageous, it’s obscene and it is wrong.
Money, and for all the wrong reasons, has become a cancer in our sport , and instead of people putting a stop to these incredible sums being paid out to various individuals , the problem it would seem is actually getting worse.
The wealthy clubs, not only in England but all over Europe are currently throwing hundreds of millions of pounds around just like confetti at a wedding.
In fact only a couple of weeks ago it was rumoured that three of the best footballers in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) plus Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Neymar were possibly considering moving to the wealthy English Premier League, with Messi in particular rumoured to be considering a staggering weekly wage of £800,000 per week from one of the league’s giants.
Now just how crazy is that?
Yes, by all means I agree professional football can be a short career, and the old body does take a pounding, but even when you study the longevity of a top professional footballer’s playing career , the money being offered to them nowadays is insulting to the working class and for me removes the very core values of our sport.
A few years ago when I was doing one of my coaching badges ( which I hated every minute of), I was at an mid-table Premier League club early morning training session.
It was pointed out to us that all of the first team squad players who hadn’t made the starting XI for their game the previous evening, including those on the bench, would be appearing on the training pitch, and we were also informed they were all millionaires and some even multi-millionaires.
Ironically, some of this squad I had never heard their names before, and would you believe it, I have never heard their names since either.
So what does that tell you?
Well, it tells me that in many young footballers and managers the hunger and the desire to succeed has been replaced by incredible wealth long before they have realised their true potential, and mostly at a relatively young age.
Therefore even failure can and does more often than not in top professional football, bring massive financial rewards.
But just hold back those tears for a moment and ponder, even Jose, who has just been sacked for being a failure, and is about to receive a multi-million pound pay-off to ease his pain and financial hardship, will simply jump back on the managerial merry-go-round and jump back off at another club where he will no doubt be hailed the saviour.
And, oh yes, you’ve guessed already, pick up another multi-million pound contract in the process.
In times of extreme hardship and deprivation how the hell can this be right? Legally, of course it’s okay, but morally, well I don’t think so.
It also amazes me just how even the wealthiest of clubs can justify handing out such outrageous contracts, let alone sustain them. Yes, its true, and I’ve said it many times, football has become a numbers game and that’s both on and off the pitch.
The business side of football , particularly in England and in Europe, has reached new unprecedented and dizzy heights, but some of them would do well to remember that old saying: The bigger you are the harder you fall.
Someone somewhere has to get a grip of this salary madness being offered to football people before the whole lot doesn’t come crashing down around our ears and leaving a mountain of debt in the process.
And no point asking FIFA to sort it out, because as I said months ago in this very column, and events ever since have proved me 100 per cent right, there are elements within that organisation that are rotten to the core.
But I also don’t subscribe to the idea that Mourinho is finished, far from it. He is still in my opinion one of the best coaches in European football, but he sure needs to take a reality check.
He needs to realise that he is not always the ‘chosen one’ nor does he have the right to treat staff or people like second class citizens.
Has he got too big for his boots? Yes, of course he has. But he’s good, very good.
However, when I study his overall behaviour and how he has conducted himself this season, it’s clear to me that perhaps a short break and a change of club is exactly what he needs, a fresh start and no doubt with it a new multi-million pound contract, win, lose, or draw.
That’s why I always find it so refreshing to have our own Irish League football scene to return to for a more accurate check on normality and reality.
It’s nice to know that locally we have footballers and managers who by in large give their all every week for a modest return in terms of financial reward.
And believe me, those who unfortunately do fail will not require a new Swiss Bank account set up to deposit their multi-million pound pay-off . Ah, there’s a lot to be said for the Irish League...