30 August 2007

Frenchman singles out and criticizes Americans? No way!

I realize the Platini-bashing is getting tiresome, but when he keeps inserting his foot directly into his mouth, I can’t help myself.

Platini slams foreign owners

Michael Platini has launched a surprising attack on the foreign ownership of English football clubs.

Platini, the president of Uefa, has revealed his dislike for the increasing foreign investment in the Premier League.

Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa are among a number of top flight clubs who have been taken over by owners from abroad and Platini insists that something must be done.

"I can't understand how so many English clubs are owned by foreign people," Platini told Sky Sports News.

"I think we can do something. I don't know why Americans come to buy some clubs. You need your identity.

"I can't understand why some English clubs are owned by Americans because they do not come for the beauty of the game, for the romance of the football in England.

"They come because they want to make money. We need to defend that.

"If you have Manchester against Liverpool it is part of the population of the cities.

"But now if you have an owner from America against an owner from Russia, I don't like it."

Granted, this is a touchy subject for me, being an American and all, but come on.

There’s truth to some of the talk of ‘identity,’ but foreign owners are a symptom, not a cause of football (and really all sports) becoming a business.

And I’d much rather have Gillett and Hicks own Liverpool, than, say, Steve Morgan, Doug Ellis, David Sullivan/David Gold, or Ken Bates, just to name a few. Actions are what matters, not nationality.

Let’s see, in the space of around 6 months, they’ve spent a ton of money, including 2 of Liverpool’s 3 costliest transfers (but more importantly, supporting Benitez in the purchases he wanted to make), all the key players have been resigned to new contracts, and the previous new stadium design was torn up to fit more seats and take fans' views into account.

Besides, the times may have changed, but Shankly’s quote still holds weight. “At a football club, there's a holy trinity - the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don't come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques.”

And despite my disgust at his naming clubs (even forgetting one of those clubs is Liverpool), and despite my much-discussed dislike of Platini, I’m infuriated at the fact he feels this falls under his brief, and that it’s something he should be commenting on.

How this guy became head of UEFA is beyond me. I can’t wait to see what he has to say about the details of his Champions League “plan” before the draw.

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