The recent events at so called “big club” Newcastle United made me think the other day, who are the most important people in football?
Usually (and I’ve always taken this as lazy journalism to some extent) you read that it is the supporters who are the most important people. They come back week after week, year after year to support their club. Spending lots of money (tickets, food, travel, replica kits etc) usually going through far more bad times than good in the hope of the promised better days that are always just around the corner.
Sometimes it seems players must be the most important. Wage inflation doesn’t show any sign of slowing down and there is as much press interest and speculation about players now as at any time. As agents continue to manipulate, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole or Joey Barton continue to have clubs queuing up and willing to offer them long contracts and untold riches in the hope that they will bring success and glory with them.
Or is it really the owners, the chairmen, the CEOs or MDs running the clubs? Certainly in Newcastle’s case Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias don’t appear to care about anyone else after their on the surface baffling decision to replace manager Chris Hughton with a guy who can hardly claim to have a golden past, Alan Pardew. As has been well documented, Hughton had appeared to do well taking Newcastle into a respectable mid-table position following the promotion of last season despite the purse strings appearing to be far more tightly controlled this season.
Yet rumours of his demise have been around for a while and I suspect his days were always numbered. So despite being popular with the fans and reportedly with the players (and the media) he was out.
Yet despite the fan’s protests and the media’s teeth gnashing, guess what, Alan Pardew starts with a win against Liverpool. So does that mean everything forgotten now? Presumably it will now be back to normal now, as is the way of the Premier League.
What was it a former Newcastle Chairman Freddie Shepherd said about his own fans?
Another reason why I hate the Premier League (number 473). It’s a bit different in Non League – at least in most places.