Finance or fun?

Prediction champ tableAccording to an article about stats geeks predicting the end-of-season Championship table, Birmingham City will be 5th with 86 points and a goal difference of +26. My prediction is that there will be some surprises. A team that’s not doing well now will surge up the table and one of the top teams will plunge down. It is too soon in the season for any fans to get too excited or to abandon all hope.

It’s also hard to make predictions about the FIFA mess and football governance in general. As long as people and money are involved, it is unlikely that corruption can be completely eliminated but surely it must be possible to rein in the most blatant expressions of it. And if football organisations can’t reform themselves then governments need to take action.

The British game has been transformed by the money that has flooded in since 1992, when the Premier League was formed so that the top clubs could keep most of the TV money. Some changes have been for the good but not all. I identify with the nostalgia expressed in an article reflecting on the death of Howard Kendall, in which the author says, “what comes across in the new Nottingham Forest film, I Believe in Miracles, and in obituaries of Kendall is how much fun was had, and how earnest and intense it all is now.”

Nowadays, there seems to be more fun at the lower levels than in the Premier League. Fans of Sporting Kalsa and FC United of Manchester, who I wrote about in my last post, certainly seem to be having fun. When I listen to football phone-ins, I hear some people expressing the view that teams have to be in the Premier League because that is where the money is. I agree that teams need to strive to reach the highest level possible but don’t think that money is the main point of football. For me, football is about identifying with my team and enjoying the game and the atmosphere. That’s why I feel relaxed about predictions of where we will end up at the end of the season. As long as Gary Rowett is in charge, I think that we are going to enjoy the ride.