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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

If footballers won't leave London the clubs might have to move south

You don't often get lateral thinking from footballers but Stan Collymore made an interesting suggestion on Talk Sport last night. Talking about the fact that northern clubs find it difficult to recruit overseas players because they all want to be based in London, he wondered why Liverpool, for instance, didn't invest in a training ground near the M-25. That way their players could live in London and just travel to Liverpool once a fortnight to play a home game.

It's not without precedent. FC Anzhi Makhachkala are based in Dagestan on the Caspian Sea. Because Dagestan is an unlovely spot with a terrible reputation for violence the players live in Moscow, which is almost two thousand kilometres away. The club's owner has suffered some financial reverses of late so Anzhi is running on a smaller budget right now but only a few years ago they could afford to make Samuel Eto'o the highest paid player in the world.

Every couple of weeks the players would board a chartered jet in Moscow, take the long flight down to Makhachkala, be conveyed to the stadium under armed guard, play the match and then be on the plane back to their Moscow penthouses before their fans had got home. And did those fans complain that the men wearing their shirt weren't rooted to the local area - or at least in some luxurious gated community an hour away - or did they just figure that as long as they were winning it was fine?  What do you think?