it's a funny old game

Just as my teenage son was about to get in the shower this morning, he shouted, "Have you heard what happened to Mason Greenwood?".

As it happens, I had. 

For those who don't know twenty-one-year-old Mr Greenwood plays for Manchester United and was arrested over a year ago and subsequently charged with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. 

The video and audio evidence against him was damning, and his club suspended him. Nike, one of his sponsors, immediately ditched him.

Yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service dropped all charges after key witnesses withdrew their involvement, essentially leaving the player free to go about his business.

Whether that is as a footballer for Manchester United or as a footballer for any team remains to be seen.

Many will be scared of the baggage that will almost certainly follow him, but it wouldn't be a surprise if a club took the player on and paid him handsomely. An asset lost by one club can be easily gained by another when there's no fee involved. 

After all, he was/is one of the finest young footballers of his generation and if he scores goals and leads a team to success, some fans may develop short memory loss. 

And that's because football, compared to any FTSE 100 business, is a little bit unique. 

For example - 

  • The tenure of managers can last a matter of months, and their salary can be significantly less than key employees (players). 
  • Teams are hated by many and obsessively loved by a few. 
  • The only currency is short-term success. 
  • To fans, they are clubs to follow but to investors and owners, they are brands to sell. 
  • Every manager is guaranteed to lose their job, even those that have been successful.
  • A club can be bottom of the league, having never won a trophy for years yet will still be attractive to investors (and loved by fans).
  • Great players become managers of big clubs with absolutely zero experience in the role.

Things that happen in the business of football just don't happen in the world of business per se. 

Greavsie was right. It's a funny old game