Off the pitch, it’s been a really poor few weeks for English football. People wanting to renegotiate TV deals, and now suggestions that relegation should be scrapped. How long before the Premier League gains a backbone and stops being the Far East’s cheap hooker?
I’m not even a Bolton fan, yet I was left angry by Ian Ayre’s comments. What right does he have to belittle any club? Bolton have played in Europe. They gave England the great Nat Lofthouse. And they have earned their thread in English football’s tapestry just like Liverpool. As so many have rightly said, Bill Shankly would be far from impressed, and thankfully this view is shared by so many of the club’s fans.
Greed is a discernible trait. Greed for titles and cups I could understand, but not for the dollar. Not because it makes spreadsheets look better in eight month’s time. With this league beginning to suffer from claims of little competition, why anyone would want to further enhance that by redistributing money leads me to instantly question why they’re involved in the game.
If you want more money why not look at improving your own media? Liverpool have their own TV channel and website. Why not hire more staff and produce more original content for your fans abroad to watch? Why must they try to steal money from those around them?
We admire so much of the Spanish game, but we should look at their system of negotiation to see why it just doesn’t work. Racing Santander are given one tenth the TV revenue of Barcelona. How are you to even try and compete with such gulfs in wealth? I enjoy La Liga, but outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid I could not truly see any team taking the league crown.
To make it even worse, now certain foreign investors want us to modify the league structure. Get rid of relegation? Why don’t we just hold glorified training sessions and play out fixtures using dice and math paper like when I was a child? Soccer in England is about relegation- the juxtaposition of survival and defeat. Fans in the stand crying because they know they have to go to Barnsley in December.
Yet it’s also about promotion. I enjoyed watching Blackpool last year, and I even found myself supporting them on the final day as they so nearly reached the supposed impossible dream. You’re now trying to convince me that it would be better to scrap all of that and just self contain our leagues, meaning no team can grow and no team can shrink? If you want Premier League football, then pick one of these lucky 20 — like t-shirts in a shop window.
I say all this as the fan of a Premier League club. I’m all for foreign investment, but not at the cost of my domestic game. If you want to pay Carlos Tevez the equivalent of a three bedroom semi detached house a week that’s fine. After all it’s your money. But don’t play the game and then ask to change the rules.
Otherwise where do we stop? How defined and self contained does our league become? How long before the top half of the Premier League looks like a disinterested lover, turns and says “This isn’t working for us, we want to form a new league with the other top teams in Europe.’ I guess it’s a shame ‘The Champions League’ is already taken. It would make the transition all that smoother.
Even now this isn’t the first instance of the Premier League’s questionable approach. Let’s add one game to the season and play it abroad, like a traveling circus — not so fans can connect with players, but so shirts can be printed and sold by the box load.
Football will always have its questionable characters, people interested in quick money for little work. It is vital that we blindside these people, and show them the coldest of shoulders. After all, the Premier League’s logo incorporates a lion at it’s core, but I’m beginning to think a large pussycat might be more appropriate.