The Jonathan Jackson Column

Sunday 19 May, 2002

PFA attitude stuck in the seventies

As a 25 year season ticket holder at Bradford City, I am as distressed as most fans about the club's move into administration.

However one thing distresses me more than most and this is the 1970's "Trade Union" attitude being displayed by the PFA.

Never before has a club gone into administration wearing such a financial straight jacket as the contracts owned by messrs Carbone and Ward. These are players that earn more in a week than the average worker and frankly have no requirement or need to work for a living.

Your attitude of threatening to seek the expulsion of Bradford City if the Administrators (and note here that it is the legally appointed Administrators NOT the club itself that are considering this action) tear up contracts sickens me.

Yes it will result in certain selected players being thrown on the dole. However these are, as previously stated the grossly overpaid ones who are unlikely to have mortgages, (perhaps because they move clubs so often that buying a house doesn't make sense, or have banked so much in signing on/ signing off fees that they have paid cash for their mansions) and with a few adjustments to their inflated salary demands would probably find another club easily enough.

The true victims of your action would be us the fans (I personally stand to lose £2,000 in the cost of my season ticket if you enforce your threats - approximately 2 hours pay for Carbone, but money that I can not afford to lose) and the younger players on maybe £1,000 per week maximum who would struggle to find other clubs.

Your actions, if followed through, would mean the death of this club as buyers are not going to queue up to take on such hideous liabilities. Yes the club were wrong to sign the deal, but hindsight is wonderful and no one (not even the PFA) foresaw the Monkey Digital deal collapsing.

The PFA were very quick to encourage its members to break their contracts when it looked like you were in danger of getting your 20 pieces of silver out of the TV deal. What is different now?

One fact is that when the next Premiership/ Sky deals are made your precious members are going to have no option but to take massive pay cuts, and your "share" will also be slashed.

I appreciate that your concerns are that this move would encourage similar ones to be taken by other clubs, but in the end what is the better scenario - a handful of players on the scrap heap at 20 clubs or 20 clubs out of business.

It is time you took a step back from your dated "one out, all out" philosophy and looked at the bigger picture, namely hundreds of thousands of supporters having no club to support and many hundreds of players on the dole.

Stick by your guns and you will be as culpable as ITV Digital for the downfall of English football.

The PFA should stick to its primary role which, as you seemed keen to point out when asking players to strike, is to retrain out of work professionals, provide assistance to injured ones and help football at grassroots.

The days of Trade Unions are gone. Did you lot not notice that the Conservatives killed a whole industry after the miner's strike and took away all of the powers of its Unions. Get real and realise that football can not go on paying such inflated transfer fees and gross wages, and the alarm clock on its wake up has just gone off.

Then again perhaps you don't need to worry do you, as your executives seem to draw Benito Carbone size wages anyway.

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