There is a saying that goes: “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” If you are a football club owner with the biggest budget in the market, you can buy the best players. It can make you happy. If these players didn’t give you good profits, wouldn’t that make you happy? Not if you’re a billionaire. What are millions compared to billions?
With a net worth of $10, $20, or $30 billion, should you invest money and a lot of your time in something that can give you profits over the years of no more than several hundred million or losses of the same value? How could you spend a billion in the first place?
You buy the most expensive cars, houses, yachts, planes. All that luxury is still not allowed to exceed $1 billion. Fun among machines, butlers and staff can make you feel like a sad king from a fairy tale. There must be more human joy.
You buy a media spotlight, stand in the spotlight where everyone is watching, you move crowds of tens of thousands of people around the stadium as if they were puppets and you are a string puller. You build your own fantasy world.
You make headlines by being a super user in the most watched sports league in the world. Yes, you can buy yourself a top football club and it won’t cost you more than a billion or so! You will become a real-time fantasy football manager.
Fantasy Football Manager is a football management simulation computer game first released in the 1980s where you are the general manager of your own fantasy football team. Today, most of the popular sports websites offer visitors a chance to play the Fantasy Football League Management game.
In the real-time world, Chelsea FC was bought by a billionaire in June 2003. Since then, the club has witnessed record losses. The billionaire’s involvement with Chelsea is described by Wikipedia as “having disrupted the football transfer market across Europe”. His wealth often enables the club to buy players almost at will (often at exorbitant prices) without regard to the club’s financial performance.
How does this affect the reality of football?
Football becomes a sub-real simulation of its own reality. With an unlimited budget, a club owner’s football knowledge, work and skills will not affect his/her business success; the billionaire can continue to bring in expensive players and fire head coaches as he/she wants.
Although the club suffers the biggest financial losses in the history of football, the club will not go bankrupt as the billionaire will add hundreds of millions more as the football club’s budget is not dependent on the football performance.
How does this affect the football game?
There doesn’t seem to be much sportsmanship for a club to buy world class players (so much so that half will be reserve players) while many other clubs can’t afford to pay one or two such players for their first team.
The beauty of the game also suffers. In two and a half years, José Mourinho won two league titles with Portuguese FC Porto coach Jose Mourinho, including the European Champions League title in May 2004 by eliminating clubs with much bigger budgets. Mourinho, named the best coach in the world in 2004, was brought to Chelsea a few months later.
In just 3 years he managed to win 2 league titles including the first club championship in 50 years, 1 FA Cup and 2 Carling Cups while setting several Premier League records. At Chelsea, Mourinho did more than just buy world football superstars as Real Madrid CF did at the time; he offered contracts to players who would develop into some of the world’s best team players playing for Chelsea.
Chelsea as the supreme ruler of the English football pitches and a perfect football team was as if that did not provide enough excitement for the billionaire owner of the club. After winning consecutive titles, Chelsea signed two major football superstars, Shevchenko (for a British record transfer fee) and Ballack, both of whom did not match Mourinho’s concept of team play.
It was the start of a major footballing mindset at Chelsea, with Mourinho being sacked as the most successful head coach in the club’s history during the years of success. As a spectator, player or head coach, welcome to Fantasy Football Manager in real time!