The clubs with the biggest cheque books will once again dominate the English Premier League...

This weekend marks the beginning of the English Premier League season and, for me, another season of contradictions.

 I support Newcastle United - I have done since I was a boy -  and I will say here and now that the Magpies have no chance of winning the premiership but I'm hoping that they don't find themselves in a desperate battle to avoid relegation as they were last season. I can't go through another nightmare like that again.

I'm rather hoping that they might emulate the 2011 season when they came fifth and beat Manchester United 3-0 at home into the bargain. Happy days. We live in hope that they will return.

Of course football, like any other sport, does not exist in a vacuum and it is impacted by the political and economic forces that sweep around the world. My support for Newcastle United is contradictory in the sense that the club is owned by mega-capitalist Mike 'Fat Bastard' Ashley.

In the premier league, as in British society and everywhere else , the rich are getting richer and everyone else just has to make do.

Money talks and it'll be the clubs who have the most money who'll be talking the loudest. That will be Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. One of these three clubs will win the premiership. I'm predicting Manchester City myself.

These clubs buy all the best players and win all the time. The statistics are ugly. Since 1992 when the Premier League was established, only five teams have won the title; Manchester United alone have won the title thirteen times.

Long gone are the days when someone like Brian Clough could take a club like Nottingham Forest to league glory. These days the clubs with the biggest cheque books always win. The sporting element to the game continues to diminish and has been replaced by the ugly face of rampant selfish greed, wrapped up in glossy television commercials and legitimised by uncritical sports journalists.

Although its not the perfect solution, the premiership could do with a good dose of wealth redistribution. This would make the game more competitive and less predictable. But, of course, such a solution is opposed by the clubs who benefit from the present structure.

Contributing substantially to the wealth of the big clubs is the television money they receive. Here in New Zealand if you want to buy into all that you will now have to fork out even more cash because Sky have lost the premiership screening rights to the internet company Coliseum Sports Media and Television. Football fans will have to fork out close some $150 to watch football not on television but on a computer screen or smartphone.

Many fans will simply be unable to afford this. And who wants to watch football on a laptop anyway? This is not couch friendly at all.

The fans get poorer and the Manchester United's of this world get richer and football moves another big step away from its working class origins.

None of this would of met the approval of the great Brazilian footballer Socrates who passed away two years ago.

In 1982 he captained Corinthians to the Brazilian title. Under his leadership the club became a democratic cooperative, with decisions made by player vote. Their shirts had no sponsors, just the world "Democracia" on their backs.

He founded an organisation called ‘Corinthians Democracy’ which encouraged fans to vote on all matters that affected the club.

It was never about the money. Socrates understood that football was a way to communicate to Brazilians on important political issues.

Said Socrates: "The best thing that football gave me was a chance to get to know human beings. I got to meet people who suffered a lot and those on the other side of society that had everything. People gave me power as a popular footballer. If people don’t have power to say things, then I can say it on their behalf. ''

Football today urgently needs the philosophy of Socrates and a whole lot less of the Flash Harry's with their trophy wives and sports cars.


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