FOOTBALL AND THE ESL

Well it certainly provoked a response! Every politician and body relying on public good will (Windsor) were countering away. The timing was strange, but may have been to do with the return of fans to matches.

I cannot help being rather cynical, the Premiership and the Championship rewrote the economic map of English football. Not only did they basically shaft lower league clubs, but clubs in smaller countries (Scotland where Rangers and Celtic cannot realistically compete in Europe; and even Holland and Portugal where clubs like Ajax and Porto struggle to maintain a challenge). The fans who bleat now were silent then!

Of course every politician and Windsor wants to express their horror (most of them are not sure what of, but crying in public about this supposed travesty is great for the opinion polls. Even Alexander Johnson is voicing an opinion, which will pronounce whatever needs to be heard. The seats of the new tories in the north will be dependant on their parties reaction.

My view is that change is inevitable (Like death and taxes). No longer do the fans meet the players on local streets. The fan base of many clubs is now relatively elderly and affluent. Their fan base may be considered to be worldwide, thus making sense of matches screened worldwide. The economics cannot be ignored. ManU might get £3 million in a home game (70000 x £35average). But if the game is attractive enough it could get 150 million on a pay to view channel at maybe £2 per head. With those sums it is no wonder that the financial manipulators behind the scenes are dribbling with anticipation.

However the scheme put forward seems to be very naive. The guaranteed place is best kept in the USA where it belongs mysteriously in the land of super risk capitalism?! Any gardener will tell you that looking after the roots is paramount. So I would get rid of the guarantee for starters. Maybe get rid of the big clubs from the League Cup (or ban players who have played in the ESL in the last 12 months). Wenger did this with Arsenal, actually in a successful way. There would definitely need to be promotion and relegation. If it became a mid-week competition, would there be enough spots for internationals ~although who really cares about these anymore – stars playing with mediocre side kicks in many countries).

There is no reason for the £100-300 million golden hello as they do not need any more investment (Imagine if this was diverted to sports grounds around the country? ).

So the 6 English clubs withdraw from the plan. What next? If the figures shown are anywhere near correct there is more than £1 billion to be potentially spread across the continents richest clubs. Already there are preliminary rounds to the UEFA Cup, surely the easiest way to go ahead would be to replace the early group stage with knockout rounds (2 games instead of 6) and then staggering the introduction of the top teams until a later group stage which could have 4 groups of 5 or 6. Qualification for this later round would be as at present – based on league position at the e nd of the previous season.

Then there is the whole financial situation. Should teams be able to conjure up a £billion to buy the best players. The fans and the clubs and the players themselves want and need to be at the top of their profession. A cap on players wages would seem to just fill the boots of the directors and share holders, which is the worst option. If Mrs.Coates can pay herself £450 million at Bet365, then why should Messi and co not reap as much? Should clubs have to reserve a certain % of voting rights to fan organisations? Should a % of tickets be offered at low prices? How would that work without corruption and fraud?

Should teams like Chelsea be able to sign up so many apprentices? Should they be allowed to have a feeder club with at least 7 players under 21? (and barred from promotion to Premiership?

So my response is – cut the bullshit crocodile tears of TV supporters and M.P.s. and accept that something is going to change whether we like it or not. So real fans and supporters will be working to a more acceptable plan. Of course it is immoral and unless the government has some balls (I think I might have wet myself laughing at this concept) to …. actually I have not, but have run out of steam here, I have no idea what the best way forward is. Football fans will continue to go to their clubs regardless (they need an outlet for their racism and bigotry!). Ok that was a bit OTT, but unfortunately basically true.

Are what a lovely day, although the garden could do with a sprinkle of H2O?

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