A SUPER LEAGUE OF ROTTEN SOULS
Saint Luke the Evangelist, that great physician who was a companion of Apostle Paul on several of his missionary journeys, recorded in his eponymous Gospel a parable Jesus once told his disciples about a rich man whom the Lord Jesus described as a fool.
According to the parable, a man from among the masses of people surrounding Jesus who came to hear His message of salvation asked Him to tell his brother to share their family inheritance with him. Now, it is not clear that the brother was amongst the crowd. But Jesus said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or an arbitrator over the two of you?”
Then Jesus warned His disciples, “Watch out and guard yourselves against every form of greed; for not even when one has an overflowing abundance does his life consist of nor is it derived from his possessions.”
The Lord proceeded to tell a parable, saying, “There was a rich man whose land was very fertile and productive. And he began thinking to himself, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place large enough in which to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my storehouses and build larger ones, and I will store all my grain and my goods there. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many good things stored up, enough for many years; rest and relax, eat, drink and be merry, celebrate continually.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own all the things you have prepared?’ So it is for the one who continues to store up and hoard possessions for himself, and is not rich in his relationship toward God” (Luke 12:13 – 21)
This parable is popularly known as the “Parable of the Rich Man”. It has also been poignantly called the “Doom of the Materialist”. It is a tragic tale of human greed and a sad saga of wantonness of the human heart. The real issue with the rich man, for those not familiar with the lesson the parable teaches, is not necessarily his abundance of possessions. Rather, his biggest problem is his attitude towards the things he possessed. Here was a man who has forgotten that whatever a man possess in this life is only for this life. There is nothing of this material world that a man is ever going to take beyond the material world. All the stuff we own belong to the earth and, like our physical body which is made of earth, will return to the earth. Our material possessions have no eternal value; nothing we own on earth has an enduring value. Their real value lasts only until the moment we take our last breath. The parable is about the kinds of choices that wealth creates for those who are wealthy. Unregenerate souls in similar situation as the rich fool in the parable always make the same choice as the foolish rich man. They always want to tear down their barns to build bigger ones to make room for more and more and more.
Such is the case with the rich owners of the 12 biggest football clubs in Europe who have decided to form a breakaway Super League comprised only of their fellow big clubs. The parable of the rich ruler comes to my mind as the news of the 12 renegade clubs reverberates across the global footballing communities. And the parable echoes in my ears as I watch the ripple effects of the Tsunami waves caused by the splinter clubs. The parallel between these rich football club owners and the rich man in Jesus’ parable is uncanny.
The owners of the 12 big European clubs – Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester United FC, Manchester City FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC of the English Premier League, Atletico Madrid FC, Barcelona FC, and Real Madrid FC of the Spanish La Liga, AC Milan FC, Inter Milan FC, and Juventus of Italian Serie A – who have formed what they call the European Super League (ESL) are quintessential materialists. They are the archetypical naturalists who are nothing but soulless capitalists who would trample upon anyone and crush anything that stands in their path to building bigger barns where they can store their ever-increasing riches. These are a handful of individuals who already enjoy staggering wealth and have stockpiles of possession. But what they want to do is tear down the barns and build an even bigger ones for themselves alone – smaller and poorer football clubs be damned. You only need to look at the English Premier League (EPL) to understand how much wealth these rich fools currently have under their control.
With more than 3 billion people in close to 200 countries around the world tuning in to watch football matches on a weekly basis, the EPL is the most watched and the most prestigious football league in the world. According to Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance 2020, the annual revenue of the EPL elite clubs is projected to fall from a pre-COVID £5.15 billion ($6.59 billion) in 2020 (for the 2018/19 season) to a £4.3 billion ($5.5 billion) in 12-months (2019/20 season) all due to the COVID-19.
In the 2018/19 football season alone, the 6 EPL clubs who have indicated they are part of the super league of the undesirables took to the bank the following pile of money: Liverpool – £152.4 million; Manchester City – £151 million; Chelsea – £146 million; Tottenham Hotspur – £145.2 million; Arsenal – £142.2 million; Manchester United – £142.5 million. Even with COVID and the lockdowns and economic hardship that followed, the revenue stream, which are mostly from broadcasting rights, for most of these EPL clubs will only be minimally impacted and will continue on an upward trajectory. There is no doubt that the EPL is an ever-breasty and an ever-flowing cash cow.
Paul in his letter to Timothy writes:
“But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God]. For we have brought nothing into the world, so [it is clear that] we cannot take anything out of it, either. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who [are not financially ethical and] crave to get rich [with a compulsive, greedy longing for wealth] fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction [leading to personal misery]. For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:6–10)
Of all the afflictions brought upon man as a result of our sinful nature, greed is perhaps the deadliest of them all. In the creation of the ESL, this deadly affliction rears its ugly head in form of unbridled capitalism which is the offspring of an unholy conjugal between the demon of mammon and reprobate minds; it is the product of the yoking of the human souls to demonic beings.
Filthy lucre is indeed the doom of those owned by the things they possess. The greed of a few insatiable powerful men is about to unravel hundreds of years of rich football tradition. Historic football clubs, powerhouses of the beautiful game, which were built by the grit, sweat and tears of a fanbase comprised of poor, hardworking, blue collar men and women, are about to be brought to ruin by covetous rich owners, whose only allegiance is to their bottom line, and who cannot see the bigger picture. These men have no loyalty to, or regards for, the fans who trooped to the stadia – rain, snow, or shine, far or near, and often paying exorbitant sum of money out of their meagre resources to buy the tickets – to watch the matches. All these greedy fools care about is just to have the goldmine all to themselves and their avaricious kind.
Without any doubt, the owners of these 12 big Europeans clubs must be suffering from a severe form of narcissism. Because what sort of person gets pleasure out of death? It takes a certain degree of deadness of the soul to embark on such brazen takeover of the football world. To piss on the head of football fans all over the world and then tell them it is merely raining requires a high level of crass ruthlessness. Only those with severe psychological disorder get their kicks from drinking from the goblet of schadenfreude. The minds of those who conceived the idea of the European Super League must be in a very dark place.
This derangement cannot be allowed to take off. The heads of these 12 egocentric maniacs ought to be hooked up to an electroconvulsive therapy machine to rid them of their lunacy. Football fans all over the world must resist these big clubs from ruining the game of football for all of us fans. For the sake of the beautiful game these rich fools must be stopped at all costs. The plan of these materialists must be doomed. The super league of rotten souls must not stand.