Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks
Football or soccer, as it is called in the United States, is known as a working
class sport. In Britain, cricket and polo are seen as the sport of the upper class.
The fans who pack the stadiums on weekends are still very much the working
class of Britain but some soccer clubs have become the “play thing” of the rich
and the no-so-famous.
Clubs are divided between the haves and the have-nots. It has become
extremely difficult for the have-nots to compete on the same level of the richly
endowed clubs. In fact, the UEFA Champion’s League has become the playground
of the wealthy clubs.
As we enter the remaining stretch of the EPL, Manchester United is far in
front of their closest rival, Manchester City. Competing for the remaining two
places for the Champion’s League for 2013-2014, are Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal
and Everton. Everton is a club of modest means and if they fail to qualify for the
Champion’s League, it is likely that their top players will peel off and seek
contracts with the more richly endowed European clubs.
As the struggle for the top four becomes fiercer, in the waning days of the
season, the teams at the bottom, predominantly comprised of have-nots, are
struggling to remain in the Premier League where the television money for next
year will be more fulsome. Reading’s fate has already been sealed and Queens
Park Rangers despite the influx of new dollars is destined for relegation.
Interestingly, Aston Villa that has been experiencing tough financial times
jettisoned their expensive players and started a youth campaign with a reduced
payroll. They have played spectacular ball in recent matches and have slowly
climbed out of the relegation zone. Wigan and Sunderland are still battling to
avoid the pitfalls of relegation.
Newly promoted Southampton has performed well on their return to the
Premier League. Newcastle at times looked shaky but has done enough to
distance themselves from the precipice of relegation.
The influx of foreign capital in this age of globalization has rescued some
fledgling clubs but in a league of twenty competitors, there will be an ongoing
division between the haves and the have-nots.