Bolton Wanderers Push For Two Tier Premiership

Well interesting news has appeared this morning as Bolton chairman, Phil Gartside’s has put forward a proposal to increase the Premiership to two leagues of 18 teams with 14 clubs from the Championship and Rangers and Celtic. The proposal is to be put before the Premier League at their meeting this Thursday and it raises some interesting points.  Gartside cites a wider audience with the addition of Scottish clubs, fresher players as 4 games a season would be cut from the league campaign and the old chestnut of benefiting the England national side. You know, the reason that the Premiership was set up for in the first place. The amount of International trophies that England have won since 1992 is simply staggering isn’t it?

Firstly, the addition of Rangers and Celtic to the Premier League has long been mooted as a situation of when rather than how but to get there they need the permission of the Scottish FA, The Football League, The Premier League and the biggest obstacle, UEFA. Now UEFA, when they’re not attacking the Premier League in thinly veiled xenophobic attacks, claim that no club should be able to play in a league outside their own country. That would be fine if the precedent wasn’t already in place.

With Platini being a Frenchmen, you’d think he’d know that his arguement is flawed, or can he not remember where Monaco is? What about Cardiff City, Swansea City, Wrexham, Colwyn Bay, Newport County and Methyr Tydfil, all members of the English pyramid system but all Welsh clubs. Technically, Barcelona, Espanyol and Valencia play in the Spanish League but are based in Catalonia and  Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao represent the Basque region. UEFA may push the point but they’re argument is already flawed by the teams mentioned above.

To get the motion passed, 14 clubs need to vote in agreement on the proposal, which is where I think the issue may fall down. Can we honestly see The Premierships big four, plus Aston Villa, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City voting for less money? Whilst the games would reduce, so would the money, but then again, for teams that drop out of the Premiership or face the real possibility of relegation, would you rather get £30 million a year than the current two year parachute payments of £11.5 million that clubs currently get.

The other worrying issue is how would the remaining 14 places be decided? Would it be a straight situation of the top 14 sides out of the Championship? What if some of the larger sides miss out due to league position when the cut off is made. If it happened tomorrow there would be some famous names missing out again, but then again what about Leicester City and Leeds United?

When the Premier League began, way back in the 1992-1993 season, Notts County and Luton Town, both missed out due to relegation but had resigned their memberships from the Football League in 1991 when the plan was concluded. Ironically, neither has ever returned to the top tier since, Luton Town in fact have just been relegated out of the Football League, due to a draconian points deduction that didn’t penalise the perpetrators, just the club.

What would happen if clubs resigned their membership from the Football League, only to finish outside the 14 team cut off. Or worryingly, would the Premier League court the 14 biggest clubs not in the Premiership to make up the new league? What would happen to the Football League and the Football Conference? Why only have Rangers  and Celtic, when you could argue Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen could therotically add more to the mix than Burnley?

That would be a worrying event, which could lead to a dangerous precedent. Why not simply block clubs from promotion if they weren’t “big” enough? If they didn’t sell enough merchandise or their viewing figures deemed not large enough. Would the Premier League finally become the monster that some people always feared it would and simply banish relegation from it and have caveats for promotion.  When I first read about the proposal this morning, I was sure it would fail. Now, I’m not so sure, in football, nothing surprises me when money is involved.

7 thoughts on “Bolton Wanderers Push For Two Tier Premiership”

  1. thanks for this scotland oriented article. i thought for a long time now, that both rangers and scotland should be in the premier league, if swansea and cardiff are eligible for it.
    it would be interesting to know where they would finish in the table though. by my guess they have a large enough following to eventually adjust to the premier league and earn money that is comparable to the big clubs. this means they could spend enough money on transfers and youth to compete. i see them both finishing at least in the top 8 every season.

  2. The only way Rangers and Celtic join the EPL is for the Scottish FA to go out of business. It would end most of the sponsorship of the SPL and resign the remaining teams to being just like Ireland: irrelevant.

    While you do make a good point with all of the Welsh clubs in the English FA, and with Monaco playing in the French League, the Spanish teams all play in the same country, Spain. Yes, there are separatist movements and they are from different regions with different cultures, languages, etc, but they are still in the same country. You can think of Scotland, England, Wales, and N. Ireland as the same United Kingdom, but football has never, and will never think of those four as one country.

    How does eliminating four games from such a long season really benefit the English national team? Slightly less fixture congestion? I don’t believe that England’s problem since 1992 has been the fixture congestion of the EPL. I think most of it can be attributed to the fact that it’s really hard to win a World Cup.

    I believe money is the reason a major part of the proposal will not work. Who will be willing to give up two home games and two away games? The clubs need that revenue. Adding Scottish teams will not significantly increase viewership on television. Most of the games are watched by Scottish supporters anyway. As for the parachute payments: Where did 30 millon come from? Is that television revenue for this new second division? How do we know that someone would pay that amount? Parachute payments certainly do help, but will they remain at that level? Will they go up? Down? Who knows? I don’t think anyone knows right now.

    I hope this doesn’t happen. For starters, I don’t want to see Scottish football sink into the depths of irrelevancy like Ireland. I don’t want to see fewer club games. I don’t want to see the remaining Football League and Conference clubs hurt. This would take money away from them. It would take players away from them, even more so than the current EPL setup.

  3. There’s a point being missed here. Nationalism.
    If you looked at film in ’66 World Cup, it was mostly British flags flying (English end ), now you rarely see a Union Jack at football. A local L.G. office block on the docks, used to fly the UJ daily, but at St Georges day (week) they flew the St.Georges cross. 5 years ago, they put up the English flag, and haven’t changed it back. Would the English fan want them here??
    Also, the religion between the two is corrosive, not showing its head in England, however “excuses” are always leapt upon to needle the oposition.
    Would Everton Liverpool rekindle some lost Protestant-Catholic hatred? Would Birmingham Villa be some how find religion? Would Arsenal become Arab, and fight with Jewish Tottenham whose fans (section of) seem to think their team has a straight line connection to David? Do we really need this when we have been on the edge of of social upheaval, we do not. Keep them over the boarder where their fans want to be anyway, and let them persue other options like the Atlantic league etc.

  4. OK, good article but some errors.

    Firstly, Valencia is not in Catalonia, it is in the Comunitat (or Generalitat) Valenciana, which is another autonomous region with the same level or autonomy and devolution as Catalonia. Yes, they share a common language (Valencian is very similar to Catalan) but are autonomous from one another and devolved from Spain. Whilst Valencia and Catalonia and the Basques do all have (non-UEFA acknowledged) national football sides, the comparison is not the same because their national sides are not acknowledged, whilst England, Scotland, Wales etc are.

    Point number 2. Monaco is even less pertinent. Monaco doesn’t have a league of its own, and doesn’t have a national side. So the Monaco club team has no option BUT to play in France. Were Monaco to have any other option then there would certainly be grounds to accuse Platini of hypocrisy in this case. But there aren’t.

    However, worry not: there are two examples. All Liechtenstein clubs play in the Swiss league, and the main team, FC Vaduz, plays in the Swiss top division. There is no national league in Liechtenstein, but unlike Monaco there IS a national side. Interestingly, there is also a Liechtenstein cup, the winner of which gets a UEFA cup berth, and the B and C teams are eligible to enter (as used to happen in Spain years ago, but no longer happens in most places). So FC Vaduz can qualify for Europe both by winning the Liechtenstein cup and the Swiss cup/league. Murky waters indeed, a bit like Cardiff last summer, who were told by UEFA that they would be given a berth had they beaten Pompey, even though the English FA said they couldn’t because they were already knocked out from the Welsh cup (or something like that).

    Another factoid, one perhaps even more relevant. Andorra HAS a national team, HAS a national cup and a league and gets berths into European club competitions, yet has also a team, FC Andorra, in the Spanish regional leagues, and ironically a lot of the Andorran national team players play in FC Andorra (Spanish league), and not in many of the teams that play in Andorra itself and which can qualify for Europe by winning Andorran league and cup. Even more ironic is that FC Andorra shares the same ground with all the Andorra-based Andorran teams. It makes one wonder how poor the teams must be that play for Andorran league clubs like Constelació, Santa Coloma, FC Rànger’s, CE Principat etc. FC Andorra plays in Catalan Primera Territorial, which is in Level 7 of the Spanish pyramid. It would be the same as Wales fielding loads of Colwyn Bay players (Colwyn Bay plays in Level 8 of the English league, which is probably similar to Level 7 of the Spanish league). How bad must Andorran first division be! And yet they get UEFA and Champions league births. Anyone dreaming of playing in Europe one day should seriously consider moving to Andorra because their chances must be huge… In fact, Fernando Silva, Andorra’s second best striker and who has played in all the World Cup qualifiers including against England. plays for the lower Andorran leagues!

    More to the point is: were Celtic, or Cardiff for that matter, ever to play in Europe thanks to winning a trophy in a future English Premiership league, would they have the St George’s flag beside their name when UEFA pulls their country out of the big wine glass? Because technically, that’s the league they belong to! Now that would make an interesting title!!

  5. get your facts right.

    Catalonia and the basque region are part of spain!
    what a stupid idea, how far would standards drop once this as introduced? rangers?celtic?championship clubs?cmon….
    the premierhsip is fine the way it is, competing in all major tournaments and dominating most…i dont wanna know how fast the era of english clubs dominating the world of football would end if these refoms were to take place

  6. MK, As a someone of Catalonian descent, the last thing they feel they are is Spanish. Same goes for the Basque region. Which is why they are seeking independance from Spain. Trust me, they feel as part of Spain as Aberdeen is part of England.

  7. Western European Super league
    My idea for football is the western European Super league.
    So instead of the old firm joining the English premier league they could create a new league with countries in Western Europe outside of the big leagues in England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy.
    Have half the season as the Scottish league but cut it to 22 matches a year then have the second half as a European super league., with promotion and relegation.

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