Money can’t buy you cups

Rich people are mean. That's how they got rich. Keeping an eye on the coppers. Doesn't mean they aren't also self-indulgent, wasteful, spendthrift, extravagant - throwing money around on their pleasures and hobbies and status. But while doing all that, they are still highly aware of two things: being ripped off, not getting value for money, and people sponging off them.

It's unusual to be like John Lennon. These chancers came to his door, spinning some phoney story. John found £100 and gave it to them. I said you'll never see it again, it's a total con, you've been done. He just laughed. Said he didn't care. In their position, he would probably have tried the same trick.

It's more normal for rich people to be like Paul, conscious that people might be taking liberties. So I did feel sorry for poor old Roman Abramovich.
I bet he was well pissed off when Inter dumped Chelsea out of the Euro Champs. All that money, up to £160,000 a week, plopping into the pockets of Terry and Lampard and Drogba, being feted and cosseted, but doing no real work in return, showing no fire or energy, just take take take.
It was said afterwards that Inter were brilliant, that Mourinho is a genius, but neither is true. Chelsea, from the second they took the field, were not up for it, were lumpen, nervous, distracted. I dunno why. I wouldn't be here, shifting words, if I knew the reason - and the cure. All I know is that it's
the manager's job to prepare them, get them ready like racehorses, so they spring from the traps. The only explanation I can think of is that Mourinho had got into their tiny, fragile minds, making them anxious, hesitant, beaten before they began.

Compare and contrast with Fulham, a day later, beating the mighty Juventus. From the off, despite a quick goal down, Fulham were fighting, eager, desperate to work hard. Yet I should think their average wage is about one-fifth of Chelsea's. Players such as Simon Davies, Bobby Zamora, Damien Duff are technically Premiership failures, didn't make it in the top teams. Or think about CSKA Moscow, a team whose most expensive player cost £5m. They have progressed to the last eight while Chelsea are onsigned to the wilderness, yet again.

Now, we don't know why on certain days, certain teams and certain players don't fancy it, don't perform, can't get their fat arses into gear. Or why certain highly paid managers, such as Ancelotti, or Sven, or Steve McClaren, stand there, silent and dumb, unable at vital moments to do anything meaningful, not even shout and scream at the players. Or at themselves. It's a mystery.

But bloody hell - all that money. If that is doing no good when it matters, what's the point of paying them so much, eh? Answer me that, my little babushka, my little cabbage, my little troll. Otherwise I'm taking my bat and ball and going to play another game, where I can get rewards and satisfaction and value for my money.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 29 March 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Hold on tight!