By Paul Blazey
I don't want to write another "The world has gone mad" post about the 1 billion+ pounds spent in the summer 2016 transfer window.
Deep down I think most people know that is pretty crazy. According to a BBC article from the 2015 general election, that sort of money can buy you 26,000 Nurses, 27,000 teachers or build 16,000 new homes. Who knows what it would do to transform local council budgets if devolved down (not much other than build a new public toilet in Swaffham if you listen to the Nimmo Twins).
Anyway, back to the football.
As the usual mundane conversations unfolded over the airwaves in my kitchen, I kept an ear on whether Alex Neil would grab a bargain 10 million wunderkid from Legia Warsaw said to be the next Lewandowski.
A few ex pros trotted out the usual claptrap but then the conversation turned to the hoarding of players in "elite club" academies (Norwich included - Thompson, McGrandles, Maddison, etc), with one of the protagonists mentioning that many of their friends had stopped going to games ranging from National League level all the way through to the Championship. Why?
He suggested that because of the ever increasing numbers of loanees being farmed out to lower league clubs, those clubs were no longer able to compete, or kept from competing, by this merry go round which sucks all the talent up to the elite level before it has had chance to develop. As such the fans simply no longer knew who the players were.
Now the much vaunted days when you could watch a game Saturday afternoon and have a pint or two with your Carrow Road hero down the Kings Arms on the evening are dead and long buried. But back when we were shit, in the days when Port Vale would rock up at our Fortress on the Wensum and ride off with the spoils, everyone around me still knew each and every player on the team, even the De Waards, Scott's and Segura's because they were ours. The odd loan came in yes (6 in total across 98/99 and 99/00 – Pape Diop anyone?) but the majority were ours to keep, for better or worse.
Now with the game becoming ever more monetised and the revolving door of players and managers in overdrive many of our football league clubs risk losing even more of their affiliation to their local community and with it their identity.
This is demonstrated very neatly by the changes to the EFL Trophy which I know this site has boycotted due to unnecessary games for Norwich's reserves who get to humiliate teams like Peterborough for no good reason other than training up their overstocked academies.
What's my point?
Well during the international break with its seemingly pointless round of mismatched international games and gamut of dull friendlies we all have the opportunity to take part in "Non-league" day.
This has been going on for some time now and it encourages everyone to take the chance to watch a local amateur team play. You will be able pay a smaller fee, probably have a chat with players and even share a pint with them afterwards (if you so desire).
More importantly you will be supporting something much more important - a better distribution of wealth throughout the game. Why help pay £250k to the England captain for his latest trip to Aintree via your Sky subscription when you can get out and put some money back into your local community. You might even enjoy it so much that you decide to back.
People bemoan the national game but surely getting out, seeing your local team and taking the kids who might even then kick a ball for part of the time might just start to get us away from being Sky Sofa loafers.
So there you go, I've solved the NHS, the education system, the housing crisis and the English national football team all in one tenuous link to watching Wroxham or Norwich Utd or Long Stratton Reserves.
If anyone does agree and wants to support then take a look at the Non-league Day website or just pop down to your nearest club to see what’s going on.