Villa fans protest against terrible owner, Randy Lerner!.

Is English football becoming too commercialised?

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English football has changed dramatically over the last ten to twenty years, with money becoming such a big factor in every decision made by every club, player and individual in the footballing world.

We have business tycoons running football clubs as though they are a business and it seems to me that the core of English football has all but rotted away. 

The most recent and dominating story in the media is the current situation at Aston Villa, where American businessman Randy Lerner has pretty much run the club into the ground, or at least, the Football League.


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Lerner took over at Villa Park in 2006, and since then, has pumped money into the club but at the same time he has made poor decision after poor decision. This has seen Aston Villa go from a club challenging for European football every season, to the second worst team in Premier League history. 

Why has this happened? It's because of the commercialisation of Aston Villa. Much like Newcastle United, the owner has treated his club as though it was a business. He has pumped money in but employed the wrong staff again and again. Aston Villa's board want to do nothing but save money at the moment because they wasted too much of their finances on players who have never played in England and know nothing of the English culture last summer.

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These players have struggled a lot this season and it surprised absolutely nobody but the Aston Villa board. So they are now officially relegated, and it isn't just them as Newcastle United have also joined them. Throughout the years they have spent money on trying to find a cheap player from overseas, only for the majority of them to fail.

Even if you look past the problems on the pitch, clubs are still letting money sway their decisions off it as well.

Stoke City have this week handed over their stadium naming rights to yet another company. As of next season, Stoke will play at the Bet 365 Stadium. This is not uncommon now as we see clubs like Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, and for a brief period, Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena. 

Arsenal v Watford - The Emirates FA Cup Sixth Round

It's not like it's just in the Premier League either though, just look at clubs like Oldham Athletic in the lower rungs of English football. They play at the Sports Park nowadays. Then even further down the leagues, we come to the Northern Division One where we find Witton Albion FC whose stadium has recently been renamed, The Bargain Booze Stadium.

So this for me shows that it doesn't matter how far up or down the football league system in the UK, money is a fiendish poison that is destroying the core of the English game.

Even our famous old trophy, The FA Cup, was renamed to the Emirates FA Cup this season. So it doesn't even matter how historic something is, the FA and the hierarchy of English football won't hesitate in destroying it's legacy to earn some extra cash.

Carlisle United v Everton - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round.

Sky Sports from next season have decided to pump an obscene amount of money into the Premier League in a huge deal that will see them broadcast over 120 live games over the season.

The reality is that this may just be the final nail in the coffin for the English game because the gap between prize money in the top division and the second division will be so high that clubs will do anything to get up there, even if it means selling the soul of your club to men like Massimo Cellino at Leeds United. 

It will see many more businessmen come into the English game with the hopes of taking cheap Championship clubs into the Premier League where they have the chance to earn upwards of £100 million.

The main issue is, it doesn't at all look like things are going to be getting any better for a long time yet. As long as lucrative television deals are being agreed and the prize money is rising, the English football clubs will continue to turn themselves and their facilities into giant adverts for companies that have no link to football. It's only going to get worse before it gets better, and to be honest, it might not ever get better. 

Is money ruining the English game? Have YOUR say on the debate in the comment section below!

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Newcastle United
Premier League
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Aston Villa
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