The real game

Football's star owners and star players should be reminded that the sport grew out of a need to improve the health of the poor and build community identity (Hunter Davies, Arts & Culture, 8 September). Those who founded the big clubs of today had a high purpose which, sadly, has evaporated. In today's era of super-rich owners and celebrity players, football's roots have largely been forgotten. Fair enough, clubs such as Manchester City and Arsenal have signed up to the principles of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. But, for a model, they can do no better than look to their roots and to the actions of those who created the clubs.

Football's unsustainable pursuit of money is a betrayal of its founding spirit. And its moneyman culture of success at any price has created an undercurrent of local supporters who will eventually want their clubs back.

Nick Reeves
London WC1

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This article first appeared in the 15 September 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Inside Iran