One of my uncles won a bit of money on the football pools in the mid 1950’s and used it to buy a television set. He wasn’t married and was living with his parents, my grandparents, so they watched it too.
Grandma was easily swayed by TV commercials so, whenever she asked me to buy a different brand for her, I would ask why. Her answer was always the same, “They say it’s very good.” The conversations would go something like this.
Me, “Why do you want to change to Stork margarine?”
Grandma, “They say it’s very good.”
Me, “Who says it’s very good?”
Grandma, “There was a nice young man on television last night who said it that it tastes like butter.”
Me, “That was a commercial; he was getting paid to say that.”
Grandma, “Yes, I know that, but he wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t true.”
At the time I thought her very foolish for not understanding commercials. No amount of money would have persuaded her to tell a lie and she assumed that everyone felt that way. Looking back, I wonder if it was I who was the fool, for accepting as normal a society where people would tell lies as long as they were paid enough.
A recent article1 mentions that it took about £2m for Zidane to forget about Qatar’s heat and serf labour system and to say it was a very good place to hold the World Cup. The Qatar 2022 bid spent millions to pay people to say it was very good.
Money does the talking in football and I think it does matter where that money comes from. In his post2 on Often Partisan, Daniel says that there may be some money invested in Birmingham City F C soon and he asks if people would be upset if that money came from China. I would much prefer to have investment come from someone who is interested in the club and its traditions than from someone who regards it just as an investment.
Whatever happens, anyone who invests in the club is going to say that his/their motivation is very good. Only time will tell whether that claim is true.