‘IF history is a lesson, Rio Ferdinand’s move between the Uniteds of Leeds and Manchester will result in another glorious period for the Red Devils. Last time such a transfer was enacted, the player involved was a certain Monsieur Cantona, and we know what happened to United after he arrived.
|‘I wouldn’t put a deal to bed for anything less’|
But at least should Rio cross the Pennines, Leeds will have their fall from football’s top table cushioned by a huge mattress of cash. The Mirror looks at what could be a £35m transfer, the largest in British football history. And Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale wants the lot.
Speaking to the Mirror, Ridsdale states that the Old Trafford club’s initial offer of £20m for Rio was ‘derisory’, going on to say how he has a duty to his shareholders to ‘maximise the value of our assets’. In simple terms that should mean winning pots of silver. But, in football’s meat market, money can be made from trading in human flesh.
Not that the objects of desire are not well recompensed. And that goes for the game’s officials to. While Rio contemplates an increase in his personal fortune, players’ union supremo Gordon Taylor flicks though his extra £165,000 per year.
The Mail catches the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association talking on the phone to what must either be a) a happy wife; b) a delighted bank manager; or c) an ecstatic and willing mistress. The hike in Taylor’s salary takes his overall annual package to a not inconsiderable £623,227. That’s not bad for a man who doesn’t actually get to kick a ball, and at a time when the fallout from the ITV Digital debacle has led to players scraping around for any cash they can get.
‘650 players on the scapheap… Clubs are facing extinction… Television money is drying up… But Gordon Taylor gets a £165,000 pay rise,’ says a slack-jawed Mirror. And on this day of union action, there is something unsettling about a union representative earning such vast sums.
But sport is not all about money – really it isn’t. It’s about playing the game. And today’s game is golf. It’s the start of the 131st Open Championship, and the Times has positioned itself on the first tee, where early this morning Justin Rose turned to his playing partners, Shigeki Muruyama and Tiger Woods, and said: ‘Play well.’
It’s a custom that goes back to the first Open Championship and represents a gentle reminder that the pleasures of sports are chiefly in its playing. And when you’re playing with Tiger Woods, you take what success you can. ‘