Jon Dunham - As usual, money is more important than anything else

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

It may just be me but the Barclays Premier League doesn’t seem to have had its usual sparkle this season.

As sides head for the finishing line at both ends of the table, the stakes have never been higher. And that, in part, is to blame for a lack of quality on too many occasions.

Perhaps the fact that the title race has been so one-sided has played a part. But, even by Manchester United’s standards, they have really only done what they have had to do.

They have been the best when they have needed to be. But, in general, they have been machine-like when it comes to consistency. After Manchester City’s incredible success on the last day of last season, you get the feeling that Sir Alex Ferguson wanted the title this season - no matter how it happened.

The race for the Champions League places is intriguing, especially with Tottenham Hotspur suffering a slight blip of late and opening the door for the likes of Arsenal and Everton. Chelsea will have enough quality to finish third, despite another season of upheaval at Stamford Bridge.

But the stakes, perhaps, are even higher further down the table and this is where the idea of money and greed really begins to annoy me, especially as my team seem to be more guilty than anyone.

Any other Norwich City fan like me probably couldn’t have believed their luck last season. Two promotions sent us back to the big time and, under Paul Lambert, the Canaries went head-on into every game, looking to attack, looking to win. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t.

But it has been a different tale this time around and they aren’t the only ones who are seemingly boring their way towards safety.

From next season, the amount of money from television in the top flight shoots up by some £2bn. It has never been more important for clubs who are in there to make sure they stay there.

And you get the feeling that those who control the money at Premier League clubs are having a word in the manager’s ear. ‘It really doesn’t matter how we stay in the division, as long as we do’.

Am I being pessimistic? Maybe. Different managers have different styles but, although there is still bitterness about Lambert leaving Carrow Road, at least he still has Aston Villa trying to play their way out of trouble with a bit of style.

Sides like Norwich and Stoke are the the prime examples of what I am getting at.

Time and again we hear people describing the Premier League as the ‘most entertaining league in the world’. Unfortunately, that really hasn’t been the case this season.

Whether it is just the way managers work or whether they have someone in their ear with a ‘by any means necessary’ attitude, they all still have a duty to provide entertainment to their fan bases.

They should never forget that those supporters who pay a serious amount of money are the ones who helped keep the clubs afloat long before the riches of the Premier League arrived.

It is a fine line. But, on the other hand, what would a football fan rather have. Staying in the Premier League the ugly way? Or going down despite playing some good football along the way?

Unfortunately (and I am not the first and won’t be the last to say it) money talks and it is probably speaking louder in this season than ever before.

Make no mistake, I want to see my team survive. But what if they don’t? What if they go down having served up an incredible amount of dross at times? I hope it is all worth it for them and others in the end.