Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Come on Citeh...

When you consider sports, these days it all about TV and money... and not necessarily in that order.  The best description of the English Premier League (football) creation out of the old First Division that I have read was in Roy Keane's autobiography.  He was very matter of fact about it all saying that one season he left on summer holiday and returned on July 1st for pre-season training playing with and against the same players all earning 10 times as much as before.  How did this happen?  TV and money... in that order.

Then came the billionaires which changed things again.  Now its all about money and TV... in that order.

With just TV money it was the traditional big clubs that would do best.  This would be Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal and that would be about it.  They had the big fan base and they could then demand a greater share of the TV revenues than say Manchester City or Chelsea, at that time very up and down lower middle order clubs.  The TV money assured the continuance of the status quo which meant only those 3 clubs had any realistic chance of winning the league.

First was Abramovic at Chelsea, then came the take overs at both Man U and Liverpool by US major league club owners bringing the US' "know-how" to the beautiful game.  But Abramovic had billions not millions, even hundreds of millions, and he wanted to win the league and everything else.  So he bought it.  Even the big 3 could no longer compete.  Nor could Europe for that matter.

And then came Abu Dhabi and Manchester City (who?) were forever changed.

The early times were laughable.  City's attempts at trying to sign Kaka from Italy and Robinho from Brazil were met with dumbfounded astonishment.  Both thought the approaches were from Man U, so Kaka dropped out when he found out but Robinho signed and to his amazement discovered he'd signed for Manchester Who when he first put on the light blue jersey!  He didn't last though and is now plying his trade in Italy so he doesn't have to visit, say, Burnley on a cold, wet day in January when the rain is lashing down and the  mud is over your ankles.

That's in the past now and with success validating the ambitious move and a lot more money has come the desire to also build a global City franchise as well as build a spanking new city in the desert.  So included in the list are New York City and Melbourne City football teams.

But Citeh are BIG in Abu Dhabi of course to the point where at a sports store in one of the massive malls here, I spotted a training shirt for Chelsea costing the equivalent of $95, one for Arsenal costing $110 and one for Citeh retailing at a bargain basement $25!  Who's shirt will YOU buy?

The Citeh strore at the mall

Sponsorship runs deep here down to and including junior football camps where Viv's brother Anton's sons all play football on Saturday mornings and on two evenings a week.

Happily the chaos on the pitch is the same as in my coaching days at Saltus and BAA where the ball and all the players swirl around the pitch in a mass of kicking legs.  Every minute or so one team or the other bursts through on goal with 3 or 4 attackers facing the poor old sad and alone goalie.  Same at both ends, nobody wants to defend or pass.  Everyone wants the glory of scoring goals!

It made me wonder what benefit the City branded coaches brought to the proceedings.  Thankfully it wasn't diving or shirt pulling which was happily absent.  All it was about was the young uns having a great time running about like madmen for an hour or so.

The two little uns

And that's just how it should be.

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