Ian Hart: Football has changed and not always for the better

Aaron Ramsey will join Juventus in the summer. Picture: Getty Images
Aaron Ramsey will join Juventus in the summer. Picture: Getty Images

In the week when British football lost another one of its legends, Gordon Banks, there were another two examples of how times have changed and not for the better. Ultimately, where’s it going to all end up?

Aaron Ramsey, Welsh international, 11 years at Arsenal, quality player in today’s sometimes manic market and probably worth £30-40million.

But due to contract regulations, he walks out of North London at the end of his contract for nothing and has already signed a pre-contract with new club Juventus, for a reported £400,000 a week (£20.8million a year) making him the highest paid British footballer in history.

Just to give an indication, in August 1992, the first weekend of the newly-formed Premier League, the highest paid player in the UK was Manchester United skipper Bryan Robson on £8,000 a week. That if my calculator is correct is an inflation rise of 500 per cent!

The ugly side of the beautiful game?

I don’t for one minute attach any blame to Ramsey himself. He has a skill and through his agent has found a club prepared to pay this astronomical sum, it’s the highest ever, until another club wants to pay someone more.

I would question how Juve have managed to circumnavigate the much trumpeted Financial Fair Play Rules, and as I write this a news item flashes up on my phone stating that Juventus are now looking at making a €200million bid for Liverpool’s Mo Salah.

I doubt he will come much cheaper than Ramsey on the weekly wage front? And I thought the Italian economy was in trouble?

But if you think that’s crazy, then what about this lunacy?

Manchester United weren’t allowed to wear black armbands in respect of Gordon Banks at Old Trafford on Tuesday night because it’s reportedly against Champions League competition rules!

I would imagine Sir Bobby Charlton had something to say when that was explained to him.

Away from Italian giants throwing Euros around like water, a timely reminder that some facets of the beautiful game will always remain just that.

Barry Lloyd’s Worthing side of the early 1980s was arguably the most successful in the club’s history.

As well as Isthmian league success, they had that memorable FA Cup run in 1982-83 which saw the Rebels get to the second round before going out at Sir Robert Maxwell’s (remember him) Oxford United.

This Saturday that squad reunite for their now annual get together at the Worthing home game to Harlow.

With the Albion kicking off against Derby at the Amex early, 12.30pm in the FA Cup, local football fans subject to reliable transport links have an great opportunity for a footballing double bill.

Going back all those years, I know of one fan, Cliff Allen, who will be at Woodside Road on Saturday. He attended every round of the 1982-83 FA Cup competition, starting with the preliminary round in August right through to the Albion Wembley appearance against Manchester United in the final in May.

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