The truth: We have gained nothing from the Premier League

Date published: Monday 19th November 2018 9:24

Premier League logo

Five million quid for Richard Scudamore? Yeah that sounds about right. That sounds very Premier League; a typically sickening amount of money for sod all. Where is this going to end? Time to take sides, I think.

Many great points have been made about how this money could have been better spent but these have been effortlessly ignored by the Premier League, Bruce Buck and Scudamore himself. Of course they have. This is the Premier League. They’ve convinced enough people to believe it is the best league in the world and to pay accordingly year after year after year. No wonder it is littered with arrogant, tin-eared, selfish, mammon-loving amoral money hoovers. They’ve taken us for fools for 26 years and they won’t stop now when their audience is so drooling and pliant. But as their greed grows ever more appalling, how much longer are we prepared to tolerate it? I’m thoroughly sick of it, how about you?

It’s important we remember something about football.

It’s ours. We own it. Not them.

We should always be aware that WE made football what it is and WE continue to do so. It is nothing to do with the artificial marketing construct called the Premier League.

It was birthed by the industrial muscle of these lands. Birthed by factory workers, by the steel mills, the coal mines, the farm workers and the fishing fleets. It was the product of the working class. The product of the sweat, gristle and snot of the men and women who made Britain one of the biggest economies on earth, though too often benefited too little from their labours. It is Ours. It is our love, our history, our culture, our community and maybe more than anything else, our fun. It was a release from the hard work that paid too little for doing too much. It still is.

That’s why football was always very popular from top to bottom of the leagues. There were 30,000 people at the Stadium of Light to see Sunderland play Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday in the third tier. Football is in a league of its own in terms of popularity.

My point here is perhaps the most obvious one, but one that isn’t made explicit enough and it is that we, the people, have always loved football. The Premier League and Scudamore didn’t create that passion, it was already extant. But lord how they have exploited it for their own gain by selling it back to us like they invented and owned it.

This is a trick that has been perpetrated before. In 1989, water was privatised in England and Wales. That which nature provides freely and which was owned and paid for by everyone, for the benefit of everyone, was nonetheless nakedly stolen from us and then brazenly sold back to us. They stole our car, then knocked on the door and asked if we’d like to buy our car. That is exactly what happened. This happened many times in the 1980s and 90s.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The likes of Scudamore must have drank deep from the privatisation culture because they have pulled off a similar trick by selling that which we already loved back to us as a premium product which we have to pay far, far more for.

We didn’t ask them to do this. Nobody asked us if it was OK to create the Premier League. We were not consulted and let’s not forget, it’s OUR game. No, it was just imposed on us. They stole top-flight football and then sold it back to us at ever-increasing prices, never afraid to rub our noses in their consequent wealth, as last week so very clearly showed.

Since the inception of the Premier League we have seen the cost of everything in real terms escalate and especially ticket prices. In 1991, the year before the Premier League began, you could buy a ticket to see Manchester United play Liverpool at Old Trafford for £5.50. That’s £11.88 in today’s money.

And who has benefited from that? Not you. Not me. Not us.

Remember, we already loved football for over 100 years, generation after generation. Unless you consider sitting on a cheap plastic seat a massively upgraded lifestyle choice, we have gained nothing from the existence of the Premier League. But we all know who has.

Don’t try and tell us that all the money that Scudamore has drummed up for everyone, except us, has brought better players to the league. Whether it has or hasn’t is irrelevant to us as football fans. How do I know? Because 30,000 are still going to Sunderland, that’s how I know.

Because they’re crass and greedy, they’ve tried to make it ALL about money but football never was and really, at the core, it still isn’t.

For most of the lifetime of football, we went to games in massive numbers to see players many of whom we didn’t even recognise. That wasn’t important then and it’s not important now. We turn up to watch because we like the game in and of itself. And we simply cheer on whomever is in our colours.

Hand in hand with this ticket price inflation has come a glut of overpriced ‘official’ merchandise which was calculated in 2016 as having a typical mark up of 1000%. (Bought for £5, sold for £50) All part of the monetisation of our game. All part of the never-ending lust for money.

This is Scudamore’s 19-year legacy. He’s done a brilliantly wicked job, not in transforming football into a superior, more popular product, but in changing our psychology to such an extent that en masse we accept so many things which have actually been to our detriment. It ceased to be by the people, for the people and became from the many for the few. We’re the only ones who have been here all along and we have gained absolutely nothing.

The Scudamore mind wipe is so profound that he has even managed to convince many to refer statistically to ‘the Premier League era’ as though it is year zero for football and nothing before it. Titles like Best Premier League Goalscorer are all part of the propaganda to get us to forget there was ever anything else other than their artificial construct.

Now tickets can cost over £100 and a complete kit, likewise. There are multiple TV subscriptions to pay, where once there were none. Meanwhile, players’ wages continue to spiral upwards to the you-could-never-spend-it-all level. Sponsors logos cover almost every inch of football in order for clubs and league to drum up ever more money. Children are targeted by marketing to make them believe you’re not a proper football fan if you can’t buy merchandise to prove it. That is a terrible curse, not a blessing.

And yet, me and you, and those we stood alongside for years who are now but ghosts, none of us ever needed any of this pretension, money and marketing to enjoy football and we still don’t.

I stood watching a Fife Cup game between Pittenweem Rovers and Leven United on Saturday afternoon, with about 50 other hardy souls. As a stiff wind blew in off the North Sea and a tall, beefy forward nicknamed Rambo backed into a defender, turned him and laid the ball off for the second striker to score, in that brilliant, arms aloft moment, football was still the shimmering, perfect joy it always has been, divorced from and untainted by Scudamore and all the greedy corporate capitalist attack dogs that have polluted the pure sporting waters with their filthy lucre.

The day enough of us reject the Premier League con job anymore is the day we break free of the propaganda they have assiduously imposed on us for so long. If none of this makes sense to you, if you don’t think there’s a problem, if you can’t see what I’m talking about, that’s simply because their mind control is very, very good and relentless.

Like I said. It’s time to take a side. Are you with Scudamore and the £5million, or are you with the people? Which side are you on?

Remember, football is ours and they stole it from us and turned it into a greed machine.

One day soon, we should take it back.

John Nicholson

The FSF have shortlisted me for Writer of the Year and F365 for Online Media of the year. If you enjoy what I write and what F365 does, please vote for us. Today is the last voting day. Cheers. 

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