“I spent a lot of money on booze, money and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”
THE enduring words of the storied George Best encapsulate the mentality that Jeremy Peace this week took the first steps to guard against.
Enervated by trying to comprehend the astronomical wages that young footballers can demand, without too much being demanded of them, Peace stated there should be measures to curb just how these newcomers can spend their wages.
The chairman of West Bromwich Albion envisions a time when young stars aren’t smothered in cash, aren’t motivated by wealth, and don’t fritter away their gargantuan bank balances.
Considering his authority within the game and the reasoning behind his statement, it’s a message worth deliberating.
Paul Gascoigne, for example, has been a permanent fixture in the national tabloids, not just this year, but for about as long as one can recall.
Should Peace’s concept prevail, fiscal restrictions on the current crop of young talent may lead to another Gascoigne being prevented.
However, his proclamation is targeted at those just beginning to earn these immense wages – youngsters. in short – and with myself being fortunate enough to fall into this category, I can’t facilitate it without registering my derision for it.
Without disclosing my own personal financial circumstances – it doesn’t take a person of great intellect to imagine what my student loan facilitates – I must make the judgment that it is individual financial diligence which these players require.
Living away from home for the first time, I’m now responsible for bills, living costs and financing my own luxuries. Albeit my finances are microscopic in comparison with their fiscal arrangements, young footballers should pursue a parallel path of budgetary awareness.
It’s agreed that they shouldn’t be coming into such vast prosperity, but to state they should have their own economic dealings third-party managed, is in fact rather insulting.
Beyond the cusp of adolescence, young professional footballers are men, not to be treated as though they are primary school children.
It’s a little like going to a bar, ordering your beverage of choice, only for the barman to inform you that you cannot have it and instead you’ll have a less appealing, less intoxicating alternative: choice is never really in your own hands.
You can afford, you can justify the drink and it won’t be detrimental to you in any way. You, however, cannot have it.
As demoralising as that would be to a person of any age, it helps to emphasise just how it would be for a young footballer to have their assets out of their control.
Peace cited money being squandered as a reason for the scheme, saying youngsters have a tendency to blow whatever cash they come into.
But, by taking this monetary power out their hands, you are denying them the chance of developing their own means of economic control.
Everybody is capable of squandering money, but it’s better to develop your own resistance rather than relying on others controlling it for you. Otherwise you’ve joined the mollycoddling game.
You might argue that Paul Gascoigne and George Best perhaps could have benefited with this sort of scheme but, there again, it was their personal demons in conjunction with huge incomes that led to their downfall.
Learning how to handle your life is part of growing up. You learn to work with what you have and manage what you have in excess.
Leaving young players open to the possibility of financial ruin is a pessimistic attitude to take in this debate. Instead, you should allow them the chance to independently manage their own affairs.
It’s a placement that is more morally correct.
PICTURE COURTESY OF: Jeff Holmes Pix