An Open Letter To Craig Bellamy

Occasionally, I wonder what exactly goes on in the head of the modern footballer. Their experience of the game is unique – once upon a time, they were nothing more than employees of their club. They seldom earned more than the people that watched them play week in week out, and when they retired, they were suddenly left with a massive void to fill in their lives. It wasn’t merely a matter of finding a way to kill the days once they turned thirty-five. They had to make a living for the rest of their lives, and they’d often forsaken the benefits of a proper education in order to follow their sporting ambitions in the first place. Now, of course, everything has changed. A successful Premiership footballer can make enough money of five or six years to ensure that he never has to work again after he retires, and changes in the relationship between clubs and players brought about through court challenges such as The Bosman Ruling have meant that players are more powerful within the game than they have ever been. Combine this with wages swollen by the massive pouring of money into the game through increased sponsorship and lucrative television deals, and the modern player has the world at his feet. Bosman has had some positive benefits – players are no longer wage slaves, and the journeyman...

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