On Wednesday, SJ was joined by Will Greenwood, Ed Smith, Dave Kidd and Jenny Meadows to discuss the comings and goings during Transfer Window, Greg Dyke's vision for English football and the future of central contracts in cricket - plus plenty more.
Check out the videos below to listen to some of the debate and then download the podcast here.
Bale's big bucks
Who did the best business in the transfer window - and who were the biggest losers? Dave Kidd, chief sports writer for The Sunday People, and Sky Sports rugby expert Will Greenwood were impressed with Manchester City's market moves but what of Spurs and that transfer which saw Gareth Bale move from Spurs to Real Madrid for the not insignificant sum of £85.3m? Kidd wasn't convinced that it's overwhelmingly good news for Tottenham... "I rate Bale that highly that I'm not sure that six or seven players can have quite the same impact because you can still only put 11 players out on the pitch and Bale is the one that can do something extraordinary, but I think Spurs fans probably realise they couldn't hang onto Bale without Champions League football." Only time will tell if Bale can cope with the price tag...
The structure of County Cricket continues to be the subject of much debate even though it is now over a decade since former England captain Nasser Hussain oversaw the introduction of central contracts for international players in a bid to redress the power imbalance over players between club and country. Former England, Kent and Middlesex batsman Ed Smith, who now writes for The Times, explained how central contracts have benefitted the game but how now the shift in power has perhaps gone too far... prompting Greenwood to draw comparisons with how rugby union's salary cap works: "The salary cap looks after the financial stability of a relatively new sport and some great clubs, who used to supply the England players, have completely disappeared. It was brought in because they wanted it to be a competitive arena and the clubs get financial incentives to ensure there is an element of a quota system in terms of producing players for England."
Gareth Bale's £3,000-per-week wages certainly raised a few eyebrows, in particular when compared to earning potential in other sports. Jenny Meadows reflected: "It's crazy - absolutely crazy. I'm an Olympian, a Team GB athlete from Beijing, and I went to that Olympic Games on a salary from UK Sport of £2,000. That was the only money that I was guaranteed to earn that year - the rest of my money had to come from race money, I had to actually perform. It's absolutely unbelievable that this sort of money exists in sport." But Ed Smith made the point that at least in football money follows quality, in the sense that the best leagues generate the best money, whereas in cricket the money is in the IPL which the players don't generally regard as highly as they do international cricket.
Want to hear more from the What's The Story team? Then download the podcast here.