By Les Palmer

a matter of supply and demand

Successful football would appear to be the fashion of the day! Recognised for its commercial value, premiership teams are bursting to exploit this 90's phenomenon. It can be expected that those fortunate to be in the exclusive roles - Players, prices and pitches - are very much the order of the day. Recent speculation about a Europe-wide exclusive football league is hardly surprising but what interests are at stake and what is actually promoted?

Turf, football turf, commands a price but what price can it fetch in a market desperate to elevate its commercial status and bring the punters in. A recent investigation into football land has fuelled anger from allotment residents. Newcastle United wanted to move to a larger site only a matter of minutes away, they were prevented by allotments. The pressures to rid the shovel pushers of their historic, worked field, became a city council hot potato. The land still grows it spuds, but for how much longer?

On an amateur football basis, a mental hospital was shut down after government changes which brought in 'care in the community'. Fierce competition grew for the land, offers from a supermarket chain and a golf course. Now the owners, a member of the Community Trust Initiative, seem ready to sell to a football team. Is this the best solution or the best use of land?

In a bid to become one of Europe's most successful amateur football clubs, the land will be overtaken by the football bug. Indeed, football is a pastime with a history, an activity founded on the positive benefits of sport , bringing with it a relationship to competition, mirrored in the commercial field. The competition creates the irony. Perhaps the loss of this land from a community use will further British football or the football team could go somewhere else, it already has a home but competion always wants more.

photo-sam langford