Pub landlady could impact football screening

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WILL Portsmouth pub landlady Karen Murphy become as significant to the future of football as former footballer Jean Marc Bosman was?

Her legal victory in the courts against her previously imposed £8,000 fine for showing Premiership football via a Greek satellite decoder could have far-reaching consequences for the future of football.

While Mrs Murphy’s success is, in some quarters, being hailed as a giant-killing victory, perhaps when people take a step back and look at the bigger picture, victory might not be the word necessarily used.

However you dress it up, Sky have changed the face of our domestic football with their football coverage.

The money the clubs received dwarfs anything they got in the old days of the Football League, a lot of this has clearly been passed on to the players via their wages.

If you consider that on the opening weekend of the Premiership in 1992, the highest-paid player in this country was Manchester United captain Bryan Robson, who was on £8,000 a week,.

Within four years, Middlesbrough signed Italian Fabrizio Ravanelli paying him a reputed £44,000 a week at a time when Alan Shearer was then, according to club accounts, the highest paid player in the league on £18,000 a week.

Clearly, the arrival at the Riverside of the “White Feather” galvanised Shearer, his agent and the rest of the top players in this country to the point that now the highest-paid player in this country allegedly earns something approaching £200,000.

I know all figures can be juggled to paint various pictures, but just think about this, using the UK government inflation calculator Robson’s eight grand a week 19 years ago, now equates to just under £12,000 which really indicates how football has changed.

But, Mrs Murphy’s “victory” and a potential decrease in revenue for Sky will clearly mean that the TV company will in turn cut the money they give to the football clubs.

And will the problems go right down the football pyramid?

How many smaller clubs will suffer with gate revenue if Premiership games are shown live in pubs and clubs at 3pm every Saturday afternoon?

How ironic that Mrs Murphy’s pub is in the city whose football club ultimately paid the price of chasing the Premiership dream, how many other clubs will suffer the same potential fate as Pompey if Sky drastically cut the TV money?

Mr Bosman clearly thought he was in the right when he took his case to court, as did Mrs Murphy, but at what price for the long-term future of our 92 clubs?