Keep your mails coming in to email@example.com…
Boycotting the Nasty 12 will only speed up Super League
Reading some of the mailbox suggestions regarding boycotting the clubs, cancelling season tickets, never buying merchandise, etc… are almost spectacularly missing the point. Doing those actions isn’t going to driver the owners out of the clubs, but it will move the clubs out of the cities they are in.
We are STILL going through a year where the stadiums are empty, with no income from season tickets (either they’ve banked the money now for next season’s season tickets, or the money for next season is being deferred to next year), the sales of shirts is down, the money from TV has also gone down. Clubs are making staff redundant, taking furlough money and in some cases, they are borrowing money from the Government just to stay afloat.
What’s happened this season is the reason the Super League was announced in the first place. If fans think that boycotting season tickets is going to hurt, for example, Man Utd, then they underestimate Man Utd. If the club isn’t getting season tickets from the people of Manchester (and London, arf!) then they will simply go to where the people who want to buy the season tickets are, and there are MILLIONS of these people. They live in China, Japan, India, the USA, Australia, Nigeria, South Africa. The demand for the likes of Man Utd, Liverpool and Barcelona is insatiable around the world.
If the Mancunians boycott Man Utd, then Man Utd doesn’t need Manchester.
Boycotting the Nasty 12 Clubs for being so crass as to spring this Super League upon us, will only exacerbate the Super League.
I mean, there’s a reason why the MLB now stages games in Japan, Mexico and London, and the NFL too, and I also think the NBA has staged a few games in London. There’s a reason why the 39th Game just won’t go away, or talk of a super league. It’s happening folks, and boycotting the clubs will only speed it up.
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite (suitably disgusted with Arsenal too)
Punishment for Super Six
Well, what a rollercoaster week– from banning the super six, to forgiving them. The key question is : what are we aiming to achieve by punishment/forgiveness? If punishing them will result in other teams thinking twice about something similar- it’s a great outcome.
If punishing them results in these six being seen as justified in exiting the league, then so be it; they would have gone if they could.
If punishing them would impact the revenue for the league, so be it. It would have happened if they left, and will happen again when they leave.
If punishing them results in other teams benefitting, it should be ok coz the remaining 14 didn’t threaten to leave.
Forgiving them would be pretending there are no consequences for attempting to bring the game to disrepute.
Now, what could be the punishment?
It has to be immediate to be effective and significant to be a lesson to the others.
1- 20pt deduction – this would bring an exciting finish to the season; with City still battling Leicester to the title; relegation battle gets interesting with arsenal and spurs in the mix
2- immediate ban from Europe for 2 years; this wd mean Psg win the current CL and EL final between Sevilla and Roma; the next 2 seasons these 6 teams have to only fight for the league title with no European places available for them, making the next 2 seasons better
While it makes it unfair for players and coaches, it has to be significant to make an example of these 6. Every other player going forward will then ensure a clause in the contract of being able to walk out of the club if the club create another league/competition etc. This will make sure that players and coaches are not kept in the dark on such things, thereby improving transparency of such future occurrences.
If the FA and Uefa fail to take action, can the remaining 14 forfeit league games against the super 6? This will reduce the tv spectacle and reduce revenue opportunities for these teams and will likely ensure the premier League act NOW! Potentially 4-6 games each week being forfeited. As an aside, maybe fans of the super 6 will then watch other teams and potentially the 6 teams could lose some fans too and so it will prevent them from doing something similar again!
To all the people calling for the dirty dozen to be kicked out of European competition for a few years, or even their domestic leagues, you’re no better than the executives who tried to bring about the demise of football. Your solution to ‘punishing’ the ones who made the decision is to punish everyone else who works in or is associated with those clubs JUST for being associated.
Let’s go along with this hypothetical scenario and kick the dirty dozen out of Europe for 3 seasons as Eoin (let them burn) Ireland suggests. What happens to all the players tied down to long-term contracts? They can’t simply leave as they are contract bound. Sure 1 or 2 might be sold off, but how many clubs could afford those sort of transfer fees let alone the wages. You’re condemning the best players from all over the world to pay the price of their owners. Not only that, but what happens to all the auxiliary staff at those clubs? How many more Gunnersauruses (Gunnersauri?) will lose their jobs? Because you can be sure as s**t that streamlining the workforce would be the first cost cutting action these clubs would make – as does every other company/business in the world when they are in tough financial situations.
What about the quality of the champions league and TV sponsors whose money gets redistributed to support teams lower in the pyramid? Sponsors didn’t pay hundreds of millions in rights to showcase a champions league knockout stage filled exclusively with teams finishing 5-8th domestically, that only qualified for Europe by default. Your solution to punishing clubs for trying to create a league that’s inclusion is not based on sporting merit, is to push for 3 seasons of Champions League football that is, wait for it, NOT based on sporting merit.
While we’re at it, let’s be real. If Leicester City, Everton or Sheffield United were offered the chance to join this super league and all the riches it promised, you’re deluded if you think those CEOs wouldn’t have jumped on it too. Football at the top 1-2 tiers of the pyramid is a business. If you think otherwise, you’re a hopeless romantic.
Sari (how about we start thinking of realistic and sensible ways to come out of this mess and ‘save’ football)
Maybe the ESL12 would quite like to be banned from Europe for a couple of seasons. They could play each other in a series of round robin friendlies, say home and away. Fans and journalists could even rank them based on results if they liked.
Less people watching the UCL so they could even charge to watch these friendlies, or not bother and just see who gets the bigger audience. UCL would be great once it gets to the Semi finals, with PSG, Dortmund, Bayern, and a wild card. Obviously there will be an asterisk applied to the record books.
Obviously UEFA wouldn’t like the Friendlies too much, they could ban them for longer and get a few more asterisks to the UCL.
It’s obvious where the power is and UEFA can do nothing other than frown and scorn and welcome them back next season.
UEFA has lost what little credibility it had, and the UCL is undermined.
A couple of thoughts to add to suggestions spouted in the mailbox and the media:
1. To those that are calling for the big 12 to be banned from European competition for 2 or 3 years. What would these clubs do now on a Tuesday/Wednesday evening? Maybe they could organise friendlies against each other and tally up the points and lead to a final of some sorts just to keep them competitive in Europe for when they’re generously allowed to return with their tails between their legs. Who knows, if it goes well they could just keep it going?
2. To all the chairman, owners and fans wanting consequences against those in the boardrooms of the big 6. Are we suggesting that the other 14 clubs hierarchy are all holier than though individuals? I’m sure they all would have jumped at the chance had they been in a position to do so. Jealously makes you nasty.
3. And more importantly, please can we just have our football back on the pitch and our mailbox back talking about football on the pitch. This is the business end of the season with still lots to play for and lots of banter for us fans to dish out on each other. Liverpool and Everton both fighting to get into Europe, cups still up for grabs, Utd the best of the rest ready to reclaim their rightful title next year, West Ham and Leicester going strong, what can a Jose-less Spurs do? Arsenal still crap but with the 3rd best manager in the league (LOL).
Have a great weekend folks!
Jon, Cape Town (4 day weekend coming up)
We need a revolution…
There’s been a lot of talk about how we deal with the fallout from the European Scumbag League but I fear we are missing the point. These international owners in their overseas ivory towers couldn’t give a monkeys if there’s a bit of kerfuffle outside the ground before kick off. The Glazers are used to it; they don’t care.
What we need isn’t a “fans’ revolution”, a “legislative bomb” or a few sponsors saying they don’t like it. We need a players’ revolution. The owners see this as a business. The product is fine, football sells. Who cares if local fans don’t like it? There’s a billion followers on Twitter that we can sell to. Companies that own tractors, face creams and crisps want a piece of this and will pay handsomely for it. They can find more fans and more sponsors. The money will keep rolling in after a few weeks or months of localised noise.
It’s those pesky players and their pesky agents that are the problem for the owners. The players are their biggest overhead, that’s why they were talking about / hinting at salary caps. Think about it, the Scumbag League’s worth £5bn (or some other figure that only an Austin Powers super-villain could dream up). The owners don’t want to share that cash; they don’t want the agents saying “we want salary increases because our players are the real product here, not the clubs”. If Messi refuse to play, why does a 12 year Tic-tok fan want to watch Barcelona?
It took the likes of Milner, Henderson, Shaw and Rashford to get these owners to listen. We need them to do it again. It also took the FA, UEFA and FIFA to threaten to kick the teams and players out of everything else that got most of the players to realise this was going to hurt them.
No one (other than proper fans) watches these Scumbags if they don’t have the best players. This is where the revolution has to start. With those that have the real power.
Sandip (are agents our saviours?!), Leeds.
Blaming the foreign owners
Any chance we can stop the casual racism in the British media regarding all the faults of the ESL being based on these foreign owners?
Last time I check Florentino Perez is Spanish and the Agnelli’s are Italian although to the British media they are probably all foreign owners.
While it is true that 5 of the 6 English teams have “foreign owners” the 6th club Spurs, are owned by ENIC or to give them their full name the English National Investment Company. Turns out English Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy still made the same decision, but they are Spurs so somehow don’t count. I’m sure Mike Ashely and West Ham’s David Sullivan and David Gold would not be interested in getting hundreds of millions of pounds up front to enter a competition that they were guaranteed to not get relegated from.
It’s all the foreigner’s fault, lucky we can those national owners at PSG to show us the way.
Foreign or national ownerships is not the problem here, yes the ESL was more in line with Franchises that the Americans are used to but from what I can gather this stems from Perez and Agnelli or at least they are the last ones left, yes a more collective “fan” ownership model (never going to happen) would make a difference but don’t tell me this is all down to the foreigners.
Paul K, London
Parlour vs AFTV
That Ray Parlour clash with Robbie Lyle is excellent.
I despise AFTV more than anything else about Arsenal, aside from the ownership. It’s basically poisoned a whole dimension of our club’s fan experience, perceptions from the outsider (100% of the time anyone neutral calls Arsenal fans wankers, they’ll always cite them) and any nuanced discussion about Arsenal’s problems.
Parlour, in comparison, is an absolute Arsenal legend; probably still in the top 5 most popular ex-Arsenal players amongst fans (with Wrighty, Henry, Bobby and Adams) and genuinely the best by a country mile of the ‘after dinner’ lot.
So if anything, he didn’t call them out enough.
And yeh, fair enough, that’s not to take away from the point that Parlour did look to be deflecting a bit from the Kroenke’s. But everyone is calling them out right now. I’d rather leave that to the AST and have Parlour knock those mugs down a peg, then everyone’s a winner.
Seriously welcoming a British Super League?
So F365 would welcome a British Super League?
Something that would be Celtic and Rangers leaving their league to join another newly formed one?
What would the reason be there? Money maybe….
And where would that leave the remaining clubs, without their major draws to play 4 times a season?
A touch of hypocrisy here?
The greatest misconception of Scottish Football
One of the greatest misconceptions of the Scottish game is that the rest of Scotland needs the Old Firm. Rob today referred to Rangers and Celtic as the ‘Cash Cow’, implying that Scottish football would seriously suffer as a result. I believe this is a complete misconception.
Back in 2012, when Rangers were demoted to division 3, many in Scottish football were worried. We were told that attendance would drop, and no one would be interested. We were told the smaller clubs would suffer. Except that’s not what happened. Take a look at Aberdeen’s average attendance. Attendance had been in decline for years, and in 2011/12 it fell below 10,000 for the first time since the First World War. Then Rangers were demoted and suddenly Aberdeen became competitive. There was a genuine title challenge and four years later, attendances had risen to an average of 17897, the highest they had been since the early 90’s. Since then, they have been on the decline again.
It is no coincidence that this coincides with Rangers demise and then reemergence. With Rangers out the picture, Aberdeen could compete. Now they’re back, it’s a battle for 3rd. I genuinely believe that the long term future of the Scottish game would be better served by the Old Firm leaving. The league would be open to all. It’s been over 30 years since a team not named Rangers or Celtic has won the Scottish title. That’s what is killing Scottish football.
Mike, LFC, London
FFP is still the answer
In all the justified anger over the Super League, not enough people are paying attention to ways in which the idea is justified. Don’t get me wrong, on the whole it isn’t, but the argument is more complex than just plain straight forward “greed”.
The fact is that aside from owners lining their own pockets, the costs for competing at the top of the game are spiralling. As Perez pointed out, it has become increasingly expensive to operate a top class team, what with ballooning transfer fees, wages, backroom technology, and so forth. Because of this, teams like Madrid do indeed need to continue to find ways of increasing revenue in order to remain viable.
Now the obvious response to this is simply for the clubs to live within their means. However they can’t do this for one very obvious reason: the “financially doped” clubs, primarily City and PSG.
People don’t talk enough about the way that these clubs, starting with Chelsea back in the early 2000s, have changed the game – but their existence is the single biggest factor contributing to ideas like the Super League.
In the pre-Abramovich era, some clubs were of course richer than others. That’s nothing new. However they weren’t *too much* richer. They were all in the same ballpark. Manchester United did indeed spend more money than, say, Villa – but not all the time. There were some seasons where Villa outspent United (can you imagine that today?!), as did other clubs.
When Abramovich came, however, this dynamic changed: you had one club which was exponentially richer than the others. This put huge pressure on clubs like United, Arsenal, and Liverpool to catch up – and so we entered a period of intense “monetisation”, where the big clubs had to start squeezing more money out in order to keep up with the new standards that were being set.
On the whole they did this extremely well. After an adjustment period these clubs did manage to get themselves to a position where they could compete financially with Chelsea, but through this process the gap between the rich and the poor clubs grew, as the less powerful ones weren’t able to play the same game and gobble up so much of the pie. (Hence the “Big 4” era)
In the late 2000s then we had a period of relative stability, before the emergence of City and PSG, who have raised the bar once again just like Chelsea did ten years earlier. Cue another round of cost inflation, which has stretched the “traditional clubs” to their limits.
In such a situation they naturally need to find ways to remain competitive – and the Super League is just that. It would have given non-doped clubs their own form of doping, and thus allowed them to keep up with the competition. Perez is right in a way – a club like Madrid should be able to afford a striker from Dortmund. That’s not “entitlement” exactly; it’s more a statement of common sense. The reason they can’t is because of how warped the financial state of the game has become.
The only answer to this is *proper* FFP: which basically means preventing any clubs from moving the game into a new financial strata, thus provoking chaos below them. This doesn’t actually mean that you can’t have sugar daddies exactly… it just means that they shouldn’t be able to spend much more than the top “normally funded” clubs. The normally funded clubs (in the past anyway) set financial expectations in a manner which the clubs underneath them could compete with, since they were all playing the same game. For this reason their financial prowess should represent roughly the limit of acceptable spending.
This wouldn’t simply “keep the old guard in power”, because other clubs could come along with the same power. But it would protect the structural integrity of the game, and lessen the pressure for spiralling greed at the top of it.
So in conclusion yes, they want more money. But they also need more money. These things are not mutually exclusive. And proper FFP could deal with at least one side of that equation.
Snoozing under Solskjaer?
I don’t understand the line of reasoning by F365 in the “Julian Nagelsmann is a man in demand across Europe. Can Man Utd afford to snooze under Solskjaer?” piece. Nagelsman does appear to be a talented coach, but why in F365 making assumptions about his supposed ‘genius’. He went practically even against our PE teacher (1 win 1 loss which was a 5-0), and then failed spectacularly against the worst Liverpool team in ages, who were there for the taking. I thought RBL’s approach to both legs was just very flawed. Nagelsman seemed to be quite inflexible in changing his tactics to attack Liverpool’s weaknesses, and didn’t defend properly either. Doesn’t fill me with much confidence that he is ‘that’ good. But yeah, there is a lot of hype around him for having failed in the CL finals, sure.
Also, Man United’s results this season might reflect Jose’s best season, but the football is most certainly better. And besides, it wouldn’t be controversial to say that several players in the squad (Greenwood, Rashford, to name just a couple) can improve their game even more. So why sack the manager under whom these players and the football is actually improving? I don’t care if Nagelsman ‘might’ be better. What’s pretty obvious is that Ole ‘is’ making the team better. I would much rather wait until we know for sure that the team has peaked under Ole before we sack him.
MM, Man United, India
I wasn’t really surprised at seeing Jacque’s piece on Nagelsmann this morning. We’re a few years deep into articles about why Ole shouldn’t be United manager so at this point it only garners a eye roll and a rather disinterested skim read. However I want to take umbrage with how Jacque and other writers are creating a myth of Fergie’s United. The line “there was a time where so much as a draw for Manchester United against a mid table club would feel like a shock to the system” is just absolute bollocks.
As just a brief example the treble winning team registered draws against Leicester, West Ham, Derby, Newcastle, Villa, Spurs, Wimbledon, and Blackburn. Whilst Fergies team of 07/08 which boasted Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez, Rio, and Vidic all in their pomp only managed draws against the like of Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Newcastle, Everton, and Villa. Even losing against West Ham, Bolton, and Fulham! Believe me, I watched every season under Fergie, draws or even losses against lower or mid table teams were not a ‘shock to the system’, they were even expected to a degree.
Fergie too wasn’t a tactical genius, his teams played pretty much the same way for years at a time with a slow transition to new styles taking multiple season to happen and was driven primarily by whoever was assistant manager at the time. Ole may not be as good a tactical manager as Klopp or Pep or Tuchel or Nagelsmann but does he need to be. He is above two of those managers in the league by at least 10 points and has beaten the other two in individual games already this season.
The brilliance of Fergie was his consistency both in terms of form and point totals, 77-85 points every season with the odd +/- outlier. More often than not that was enough to take the title. Solskjaer’s team is on course for 80 points in what journalists keep describing as a hectic, compressed, and uniquely stressful season, so it isn’t that bad is it.
We’re well aware of Ole’s limitations and he may well come up short of bringing sustained success at United but suggesting he should be sacked given the current position, continued progress, and general good vibes around the squad is ridiculous. Further to that proposing to bin off a patient development strategy in favour of the ‘shiny new toy’ so we get to compete with the big boys again smacks as tone deaf given events of the last week.
Oh, and invoking Mourinho’s United in any respect is just low down and dirty. Shame on you.
Colonisers – really?
I opened the mailbox this morning, and the first letter there compared the Glazers, Kroenke and the rest to colonisers. Really? People actually think it is appropriate to compare businessmen buying businesses where lots of people get ludicrous earnings and people gladly pay money akin to colonisation? Where people literally took over countries, removed existing monarchs or feudal lords, and oppressed the local population?
Most of these clubs have been businesses for most of their existence. Here’s a history lesson:
In 1910 didn’t a businessman try and merge Arsenal and Fulham because he owned both of them?
Newton Heath have been a limited company since the 1890s, and were revived by wealthy businessmen in 1902 who changed the name.
From 1905 to 1982, the same family owned Chelsea who sold it to Ken Bates.
Manchester City have always been a limited company but have had various rich businessmen and benefactors on the board till Thaksin and then the Abu Dhabi monarchy bought them
Spurs have been a limited company since the 1890s but have always had various rich business and benefactors
In a piece of history that shocks me, Liverpool were founded by a brewery owning Tory. Who only founded the club because Everton got fed up with him bleeding them with high interest loans and rent for Anfield. So he founded a club to make use of his empty football ground
Every single Wikipedia article talks about idealistic ambitions while founding the club but then financial troubles and rescued by a benefactor. So lets really stop pretending that football has ever been the people’s game. Its literally the history of football in England. Trawl through Wikipedia for [insert club here], and you will find a similar story.
We have always been consumers. Just because a bunch of businesses were able to convince millions to turn into walking billboards advertising electronics or airlines or beer or gambling companies does not mean we own the clubs. Equally no one is forcing us to buy Sky Sports or BT Sport. No one ever forced us to spend £20/£30/£50/£100 for a ticket at a game. No one forced us to buy three replica kits a year, and no one forced us to buy a new FIFA game every year.
So go ahead enjoy the game of football. Play it in your local park, take your kids to practice when they are little. Watch the club you want, whether on TV or one day back in the stadium, or on an illegal internet stream. But remember its not slavery, you can stop.
Sure its emotionally manipulating people into spending money, but how is that any different to the baby photographers walking into maternity wards and offering to click pictures of newborns and parents with no obligation to buy, but then showing you photos of a baby looking adorable and then charging you £100+ to put 5 photos on a USB drive?
Nikhil, Indian in Cheshire (PS I’m still angry at the baby photographer from 3 years ago!)
One of the positive things to come from the whole ESL thing is the quality of the mailbox has been excellent this week. Over the last while I had begun to skim reading a lot of the mails. Anything over 2 paragraphs on Man U, Liverpool, et al, pass. Anything with VAR, skip completely, etc. But this week there have been some really excellent thoughtful emails.
I started to write a long mail to commend, respond, comment on various entries and express my disenchantment with all things football. When I got to the end of the mail I realised that I am a middle aged bloke who has lived around a few countries in Europe, gone to football grounds all over the place, loved every minute of it. The pandemic to be has been an inconvenience while to others it has been devastating, economically or otherwise. When the world opens up I will be back looking for a game in the German regional leagues or somewhere. So life ain’t bad.
The reason I am feeling a bit melancholic today is not the woes of football , it is that today it will be confirmed there will be no Euro games in Dublin this summer. I have 3 tickets to the England (or Croatia) v France / Germany / Portugal game. I will probably never in my life get a chance to take the DART (local train system) with the kids, from just down the road to right under the stadium to see a game of that stature ever again. Makes me a bit sad.
Mel – Dublin, Brussels, Berlin, Athlone Town
African Super League?
It’s interesting that FIFA came out in strong opposition to the proposed European Super League, but are pushing for an African Super League.
So are FIFA angry at the proposed format of the ESL, or that they are not getting a piece of the pie?
Dudley, Simba SC, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania