ANOTHER nail was struck in the coffin of the so-called beautiful game yesterday as Blackburn Rovers fan Phil Jones was about to complete his switch to Manchester United.

Rovers supporters vented their anger on internet forums and social networking sites but in truth the 19-year-old never had a long term future at Ewood Park.

Gone are the days when players like Bryan Douglas and Ronnie Clayton would commit their whole careers to one club. Seeing out just one contract is seen as an achievement.

You can’t blame Jones for moving on. He has the world at his feet and the prospect of constantly challenging for silverware on big, big money was always going to prove too big to resist.

But you also can’t blame Rovers fans for feeling cheated. Not by the club, not by the player but by football in general. Loyalty is stuck firmly in the past.

You can be assured Steve Kean and his bosses did everything they could to keep Jones for a little while longer but they were fighting a losing battle. Whether it was this summer or next, he was off.

This is a lad Rovers have developed. They took him on from school and gave him his big opportunity and what they do get in return? – less than a full season of service and £16million.

The money is no small fee and will go straight back into strengthening Kean’s squad for next summer. Will they be able to find another Phil Jones though? Probably not.

Jones is not the first young player to leave for fame and fortune and he won’t be the last. He has massive potential and could one day be captaining his country.

Just don’t expect Blackburn Rovers fans to get too excited about it all. How are they expected to feel any affinity with their ‘heroes’ when they know anyone could leave at any point.

Cult heroes are a thing of the past as why should a supporter idolise any of today’s players. After all they know they will be off at the drop of a hat if a better option comes along.

I’m sure all Rovers fans wish Jones the best deep down. It is not his fault, it is just the way the money-ugly world of the Premier League and Sky Sports has taken us.

In the old days a promising youngster would be allowed to develop at the club he was brought up at before moving on to bigger things, now the first glimpse of potential and the big guns are in.

Jones probably would have been better off staying at Rovers for a while longer but when the sharks come calling, few fail to get bitten.

A total of £71 million has been spent on Jones, Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll over the last few months. England caps between them: Three. Say no more.