I am sure someone long ago made the connection – the fact that the three countries which host the three, most lucrative football leagues in the world – England, Spain and Italy – all failed to make the second stage of this summer’s World Cup.
That, for me and I suspect many, is no coincidence.
Money does that.
Corrupts the brightest of young talents; breeds indolence and indifference – certainly when it comes to putting a big shift in for one’s country.
There are other factors at work, clearly. Most notably the lack of home grown players given the chance to shine on the Champions League stage by the influx of foreign talents at the highest levels of the club game, but essentially money remains the principal enemy of motivation. Amongst a whole generation of young and talented men.
Which is why Lewis Grabban is proving something of a breath of fresh air this summer.
The 26-year-old has a hunger to his game – something notable only by its absence in the final third last season.
Sure, he has the confidence that comes with five in five following this weekend’s confident header against his former employers. But the one-time Palace trainee has something else to his game that bodes well for the Class of 2014-15. He has rejection on his side.
He has yet to ‘make it’. As in really make it Premiership style.
He may be one move away from reaching said goal; or, indeed, no move and 12 months away from hitting the professional jack-pot of a four-year deal with a Premier League big spender. Of whom there are at least 16 who could make Grabban rich beyond his wildest teenage dreams and, finally, reward his recent years of toil in the league’s lower reaches with a deal of a lifetime.
Until then, of course, City boss Neil Adams and the Carrow Road faithful can reap their rewards; the former certainly deserves every credit for picking up a player with a clear point to prove.
A player very much ‘on the up’ after being in amongst so many goals with the Cherries last season.
Which is precisely the character and individual you need to dig yourself out of this division. One whose career trajectory is still curving upwards; someone unused to doubt and failure; someone that has not grown fat on Premier League riches already and for whom a move ‘back’ to a Norwich would have a sapping effect on his interest and hunger for the fray.
Nathan Redmond would be another one of that ilk. It is easy to forget his tender years; what is harder to overlook is the kind of pace and positive thinking that will get him back into the top flight – with or without Norwich as his employers.
But in many ways the joy that comes with having a Grabban in your midst only reinforces the argument re the corrosive effect o Premier League money on attitudes and appetites.
It requires a special type of character – a Ryan Giggs, for example – to perform at a level for year after Premier League year whilst awash with every material delight and indulgence that such a career inevitably brings.
Why do I need to put a shift in, when I have everything I could possibly need in my life?
And this will be the circle that a club of Norwich’s ilk will continually have to square if it is to avoid the yo-yo type existence that may come to be its lot.
How do you replicate Championship-style hunger in the golden feeding trough of the Premier League – without resorting to the kind of pay-days a Loic Remy would demand to travel up the A11 on a full-time basis?
Because as Mr Grabbam is fast reminding us all – it is goals that win games. Or draw them. And for that reason, it is the goal-scorers that command the biggest wages.
Pay ‘peanuts’ by Premier League standards and yet get what you paid for last season. And end up back in the Championship as a result.
I have no easy answers. If there were, the Championship and beyond would not be littered with financial basket cases; decent ‘little’ clubs hollowed out morally by the demands of Premier League ‘survival’.
It must be a wretched time to be a Fulham fan. What is left of Uncle Jack’s riches at Ewood Park? When will Fratton Park ever play host to an Arsenal or a Chelsea again? The list is endless.
For now, suck in great gulps of fresh air that Grabban and Co are bringing to Norfolk this summer; savour the smiles, the delight, the joy that comes with winning.
But it is still a short-term fix to the long-term madness that every second tier club has to contend with if they truly set their heart on a regular gig in the English Premier League.