Contrary to the perennial grumblings from many football supporters, there never was a halcyon age in which the game was run as some sort of workers' cooperative. The development & growing popularity of the professional game in the late 19th century went hand-in-hand with the most frenetic & burgeoning period of the Industrial Revolution.
However, the level of expenditure on transfer fees yesterday, as the deadline came to a close, has prompted at least some who normally shrug their shoulders & accept its free market nature to question its sense of priorities. Those Liverpool fans who bemoan Fernando Torres' departure make the right points about the malaise affecting the modern game, but they should also see the bigger picture. David Conn certainly does that in a piece for the Guardian's Comment is Free pages today (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/01/football-cant-kick-big-spending-habit ).
Drawing together the wanton excesses of the current professional game with the economic reality affecting those who watch it, Conn concludes:
"[Tory] Sports minister Hugh Robertson has described football as 'the worst governed sport in the country'. Its story is of an obsession with money, and great inequality between millionaire superstars paid by plutocrat owners and fans paying fortunes to watch -- while the masses who play the sport prepare for years of underinvestment by Robertson's 'austerity' government."