Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Al Jazeera's Inside Story: Football in an age of austerity

Here's Jonny's appearance on Al Jazeera's Inside Story the day Gareth Bale was unveiled as Real Madrid's latest 'Galactico'.

Jonny comments on Bale's chances of succeeding at the Bernabeu plus UEFA's Financial Fairplay, an attempt to quell overspending clubs. Can it be stopped and if not, will football end up in financial ruin?

1 comment:

  1. In 2006, I was a young man, not long out of uni, and I took a job at a barman at a local British Legion club to make a few quid while I tried to establish myself as a journalist. It wasn't a great place to work and I was glad to move on after just a few months.

    On May 27 that year, I served an older man, who told me that his grandson was going to make his Wales début that day, in a friendly match against Trinidad & Tobago, and that one day, he was going to be great.

    I took it with a pinch of salt. I'd heard of this talented 16-year-old, who went to the secondary school opposite my old house, and was by this stage on Southampton's books. I'd been told he was a a nice, ordinary lad but our paths had never crossed.

    I was cynical because also in the bar that day was the grandfather of Ryan Green. That name will mean absolutely nothing to most people reading this. He was a Wolves defender who made his senior football début as a 17-year-old for Wales in a match against Malta in 1998, during the Bobby Gould era. For a week or so, the Welsh football media raved about him as the next great player.

    Things didn't work out for Green at that level (he only ever played eight games for Wolves) and by this stage he was playing for Hereford United (he now plays for Port Talbot Town).

    I don't begrudge Gareth Bale a penny, but my advice would be to tread carefully. He will now be in a foreign country, with few people around him he knows well. Lots of people will want to be his best friend - there will be hangers on and people waiting to take advantage.

    London is only a few hours away from Cardiff. It's easy to go back for a few days if you're missing your family and friends. Madrid will present him with a very different culture. He will have to learn the language and adapt to a very different way of life.

    I wish him every success. I'd advise people to be patient with him. A period of adjustment may be needed and his role in his new team will most likely be largely confined to a quarter of the pitch.

    I hope he's given the time and space he needs to adjust.


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