“I’m no’ a Dobbies man and I’m no’ a fisherman,” said Arbroath manager Dick Campbell in the wake of his side’s 2019 League 1 success. “Saturday’s fitba’ day.”
As the elder statesman of Scottish football, Campbell has been in the game for 51 years. He has masterminded two of Arbroath’s three titles in their 143-year history and is revered across the country for his ‘no-nonsense’ approach.
However, the game he has known and loved for the last 67 years is being ripped to shreds by the money men who are proposing a European Super League.
Arbroath may be light years away from the kind of world where a player like Neymar moves for £198 million and one where Lionel Messi collects a £67 million annual wage at Barcelona.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 18, 2021
However, the Angus side represents everything he LOVES about football and The Super League proposals are symptomatic of everything he HATES.
“I’ve been in the game for 50 years and I’ve never known anything like what I’ve seen over the last few days,” said Campbell.
“The level of greed and total disdain shown for the people who are the lifeblood of football – the fans – is staggering.
When I was a boy we’d get one football between four of us on Christmas Day and we were in our element.”
“My wife’s reaction sums it up. She normally takes it all in her stride and isn’t fussed about football but she’s absolutely furious.
“What these money men are doing is appalling. It’s disgusting and anyone involved should be utterly ashamed of themselves. They are nothing but a shower of greedy b*******.
Arbroath boss Dick Campbell has seen it all in 34 years of management – many of which beside his twin-brother Ian – the legend of Scottish football has ten promotions and shows no signs of slowing up! pic.twitter.com/Mzl2EeX67u
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) February 27, 2021
“The game used to be a way out of the poverty trap. It was a game that could be played and enjoyed by all and it offered light, hope of better times.
“When I was a boy we’d get one football between four of us on Christmas Day and we were in our element.
“We’d chuck our schoolbags down on the ground after school and use them as goalposts until it got dark.
“I still believe there are people out there who love the game the way I do.
“There are people like me, who, if there is a kick-about on across the road will go out of their house and watch it.
“The game could and should still be about that. People like me still get a kick out of watching the game they know and love.
You can't BUY Love
You can't BUY Passion
You can't BUY Heart
You can't BUY Loyalty
You can't BUY Memories
We have been without YOU for far too long, we can't wait to see YOU all again!
This IS Football! pic.twitter.com/DDpXY819Pm
— Arbroath FC (@ArbroathFC) April 19, 2021
“I guarantee 90 per cent of the fans will find it hard to get the money together to pay for the astronomical ticket or TV prices to watch any of these games in The Super League.
“Players are already on £500,000-a-week and more. Where does the greed end?”
In a statement yesterday, Anas Laghari, the Secretary General of the ESL said: “The idea of a Super League is not new.
“The younger generations are less interested in football, focus on their consoles or something else and only log in for big games but these big games rarely happen.”
Campbell begs to differ.
He believes the big-money TV deals with the likes of SKY, BT, Premier Sports have saturated the game to the point where, even he, reaches for the off button on his remote control.
“TV has dominated the game for years,” said Campbell. “But during the pandemic it has become even more obvious. We’re now seeing games all the way from 11.30 in the morning until 10 or 11 at night.
🎥 “And We Won The League At Stark’s Park: @ArbroathFC @spfl League 1 Champions 2019: A film by Ewan Smith. Watch, enjoy & share. @Boabskin @Mikey_211991 @Robert__Douglas @davidgold93 @deejay150291 @Swanks_10 @OmarKader_ pic.twitter.com/OZleGjt5oa
— Ewan Smith (@ewansmithpr) April 13, 2019
“I love my football but it’s too much. There are too many dull games. Half of the time I feel like I’m watching a game of Subbuteo. I’d be better off doing that.
“Get along to watch a game at our level. At Arbroath I know every single player I put out on the pitch will give their all for me and for the club.
“The players don’t do it for the money, they do it for the love of the game.
“They aren’t getting paid colossal sums of cash and I think your ordinary punter can relate a lot more to an Arbroath player than they can to one of these £500,000-a-week superstars in ‘The Super League.’”