Ligue 1

Arteta was wrong says Premier League creator

Arteta was wrong says Premier League creator

In his fortnightly exclusive column for CaughtOffside, Jon Smith, one of football’s first-ever agents and a man who was an integral figure in the forming of the Premier League, discusses Everton’s 10-point deduction, why VAR has to stay, why Mikel Arteta was wrong – and more! 

£1.2m for a 15-year-old is vulgar but if all teams can choose from the same selection pool, what’s the problem?

Finley Gorman’s purchase by Man City has seen some real pushback given that he’s only 15 and £1.2m in transfer fees is a little excessive, but do I think there should be a cap on transfer fees? 

I am one of the people that helped to start the Premier League. It’s all about the competition, and it has been enormously successful because it’s the best footballing competition in the world.

I mean, people around the world didn’t know what Reading was, they thought it was a book you read. They never knew where Wigan was until it was in the Premier League. There were even people arriving on trips from Asia to see Wigan.


So, rather than stymie transfer fees as such and tell clubs what they can and cannot spend their money on, I am in favour of there being an overall cap on money spent.

Not necessarily on money spent aligning to your turnover, although, obviously that has to have some bearing on it because Manchester United’s overheads are bigger than Luton’s, but but you can’t have Manchester City, United, Liverpool or whoever being able to outbid the Burnley’s of this world just because they can.

Otherwise you end up like La Liga when there’s probably three, maybe four teams at the very top and 16 others that can only really compete at a certain level at any given time. 

I think there has to be a mechanism whereby the great and the good are pretty equal in terms of their ability to sign players. 

However, after signing young players, then their wellbeing has to be supported.

Some of the biggest, saddest moments in my 40 years in football have come when that lovely young kid who’s an Arsenal fan actually gets signed by Arsenal and he’s a hero at school because he’s an Arsenal lad… but he gets to 15 and he’s just not what they want or he’s not good enough…

There’s no real mental support for kids who suddenly find that their life has been devastated. It’s scary. You’re grappling with coming to terms with exams, your own sexuality, and suddenly you’re a failure at 15.

You’re not of course, because you did really brilliantly by…

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