Mails: Prem should follow SPL’s lead with mid-season split

Date published: Friday 26th January 2018 2:50

Keep your emails coming:

The kids do have a choice
In response to David
I would suggest that kids do have a choice, which I will come to later, but lets look at why it is difficult for a kid to afford a ticket at Liverpool as this is the club you’ve discussed.

Clubs with global fan bases such as the Liverpool’s of this world are an expensive day out. But this is really down to supply and demand. Taking Liverpool as an example, every week there are several thousand fans that fly in from Ireland, Scandinavia and from across the globe. Then you have fans travelling from across Britain for their chance to see the reds. You also have the issue of what I believe is a 7 year waiting list for a season ticket at Anfield. In short, a ticket to Anfield is a highly desirable commodity and even if it was a 200K seater stadium they would not have a problem filling it.

Unfortunately our society is built on capitalism and as much as many of us would like that to be different it is unfortunately the way of the world. My girlfriend always goes on about wanting a pair of Louboutins but I’m never going to give £500 for a bloody pair of shoes! Instead she has to make do with £30 shoes from Next or Topshop. She’s still happy with these and she gets the odd compliment about how her shoes look lovely.

How is this relevant to football you may ask? Well put simply, in every walk of life we shop in alignment with our finances. We shop at Lidl rather than M&S, Primark rather than Gucci, Ford rather than Ferrari etc… But when it comes to football we all want to shop at the Harrods equivalents in Anfield, Old Trafford, The Emirates etc… while we won’t step into Primark equivalents such as the Prenton Parks of the footballing world.

Now I use Prenton Park as an example as Tranmere are only a ferry across the Mersey so to speak, and at £3.00 for a an under-18 home ticket that represents a cheap day out to watch the football! It may not be as glorious as a day at Anfield but it would still be a cracking day out where a kid may learn a bit more about football and life than they ever can from the Instagram generation of players with their own hashtags!

I’m a Liverpool fan having been born in Liverpool to red parents, but having moved to Bournemouth as a nipper I started going to watch the Cherries as a 9 year old with my dad. We’d always enjoy the Reds on TV and the Cherries at Dean Court. Occasionally as a treat we’d get to Anfield for a game. I loved this balance of lower league scraps massive Premiership games. My only issues is that 25 years on both my teams are in the same league which makes for 2 awkward games per season!
Mike (never happy as most weekends have at least 1 bad result!) LFC/AFCB, Bournemouth


Planet Sport recommends: Roger Federer tips Hyeon Chung for the top (Tennis365)

…David’s letter this morning struck a chord with me. Given the huge expense of football (Sky, BT, tickets, merch etc), it is little wonder that the younger generation resort to piracy to get their fix. With dwindling viewing figures from Sky and BT, I’d like to see the Premier League, the FA and broadcasters to take a modern approach to solve this issue.

A more affordable pricing structure — although unlikely — would be one solution, but also opening up a 3PM fixture (one, not all) to the television audience would present a better value package than that currently on offer. It seems ridiculous that all fixtures are available to foreign markets, yet those already feeling the pinch on home soil are forced to pirate or not watching at all.

Sides in the lower divisions could stream games as some have already made available abroad, with a season pass or by game deal would provide value. This would obviously be more expensive in the UK, but the revenue would go directly into the clubs pockets — beneficial for both clubs and fans.

This is obviously not a foolproof idea and the argument for protecting attendances would rage on, but in a world where some sports failure to modernise and engage with fans (F1) has seen shrinking viewing figures, there is an opportunity to strike whilst the iron is hot and make a proper 21st century viewing experience.


Deciding on goal difference
If league points were awarded for goals scored irrespective of the result, it would set up a perverse incentive where teams could “nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more” their way into 10-10 draws every game. In effect there is hardly any more incentive to stop the opponent scoring, only to score yourself, as 3 points for a win are dwarfed by the number of points that can be gained by scoring massive amount of goals. It would completely ruin the spectacle.And if you award points for goal difference not only goals scored, it’s simply further incentive to defend more for the smaller teams, as the way they can improve goal difference is by not conceding as much.

A more sensible suggestion in that direction might be awarding a tenth of a point for each goal scored. Winning and drawing remain the prime way of gathering points, but teams can get typically 2-4 points extra, which given sometimes tight margins could make a big difference especially at the bottom. I still think that would be open to abuse, especially in dead rubber games towards the end of the season, for teams to set up 2-2 or 3-3 draws.In the end, better keep the current points system.

If we want more goals, the obvious rule change is the dimensions of the goals, which are still identical to when the rules were first drawn up 150 years ago. In the meantime the average population are at least 5cm taller, and I’m sure the average goalkeeper is even taller still.
James, Zug


…What would stop teams from letting each other score 3+ goals each early on, so they both get extra points, then effectively starting a competitive game at (eg) 3-3 after 10 minutes?
Peter, Edinburgh


…The inherent problem with all these suggestions to give teams more points for scoring more goals is that you’d surely have the ludicrous start to a game where both team lets the other score 1/2/10 goals.

There is already an incentive for better goal difference and that’s being higher up the table when you’re on the same points. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

3rd paragraph.
Rick Sherman (first appearance on F365 since the terrible Lucas Radebe/Ludacris lookalike from c.1998)


…I have read with interest people’s speculation about how to make football “more exciting” and “more competitive” by using goals scored and goal difference and I can’t help but think that people are missing the point and that all these changes will just make the game less competitive.

The thing that makes football different from a lot of games is that scoring a goal is quite difficult and that means a “smaller” team can hold out, keep a clean sheet and earn a point – they might even nick a goal and win. The smaller teams can be rewarded for playing good defensive football well. If you start rewarding attacking football more than defensive football then you are disproportionately going to reward the bigger teams. If you were to put (for arguments sake) Man City against Swansea and say that the only thing that matters is goals scored then Man City will benefit far more than Swansea. There is nothing to be gained by Swansea shutting up shop, but everything to be lost if they start playing more openly. It will make very little difference to how Man City approach the game, but nullifies the best strategy for Swansea

It is bad enough that 3 points for a win was introduced, devaluing a hard fought draw – every game should have an equal number of points available regardless of outcome. Making a win disproportionately valuable when compared to a draw rewards the team most likely to win i.e. the bigger teams


Follow the SPL’s lead
Love the idea of splitting the league, but giving a CL spot to whoever finishes 11th is barmy and would result in teams aplenty throwing matches desperate to not finish 9/10th.

Instead I’d split it 8/12. The 8 is “the finals” containing any teams that are in Europe and then top it up with highest placed league teams. So this year, the 5 CL teams, plus Arsenal, then topped up with Leicester and Burnley. The rest. Get to fight it out in a league for some winnable silverware. Probably chuck them the Europa League place from the League Cup, seems fair.

Now everyone has something to play for, no players get over killed, teams fighting in Europe lose 5 games a year, whilst those outside Europe gain 3, so everyone’s playing similar matches, scheduling is easier and maybe we could throw a two week break in at Christmas too.

Top 4/champions works the same way still, and you retain points from the first half of the season. Imagine the excitement of 3 months of super Sunday’s!

Maybe the downside is that anyone in the bottom 12 gets a bit forgotten about and becomes and expensive championship, but by having games on when the “finals” teams aren’t playing, you keep people interested.
KC (and then we put those bonus points on top too!)


Arsenal shambles
I see the highly skilled Arsenal player acquisition team is in the process of messing up another transfer of a world class player over sake of a few million pounds. Who could see that coming eh?

Seriously, for an organisation that keeps spouting on (or lying, take your pick) about wanting to compete against the best, and charges more for tickets than any other club in England, this lot are comically bad at running a football club.

If they are waiting till the last minute to save a few pennies, maybe they should think back to the summer and the fact that Man City lost out on Sanchez because they waited too long to make an acceptable bid, meaning we didn’t have time to find a replacement.
Adonis (I for one am not surprised since I predicted this in the mailbox last week) Stevenson, AFC


Neville row
I feel like the same people defending Phil Neville’s credentials to be manager of the England Women’s team would be writing furious articles about a lack of experience if the FA decided to hire the assistant manager of, say, the Euro 2017 winning Dutch women’s team rather than a person whose only credentials are a string of disastrous tenures as the assistant manager of men’s teams.

Also, there’s something slightly frustrating about appointing someone as head of the England Women’s team when his most notable experience seems to be his 11 years as a player and one year as an assistant manager for the only big six club who don’t currently have a women’s team.

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