Euro Football

The Mailbox tells the Super League to go f*** itself…

Keep your reactions to the European Super League coming in to theeditor@football365.com then come back for more this afternoon. As you might have predicted, our Johnny has a lot to say

 

ESL, GTF
…So in news that will surprise nobody, the constant rumours around the creation of the European Super League are about to be confirmed. This has prompted swift and furious condemnations from UEFA and the rest of the Federations, with a threat that players and teams will be banned from competing anywhere else.

Of course, this plan is being funded by JP Morgan, which like pretty much every other global banking institution is known for its integrity, social conscience, and ethical practices, so we don’t seem to have anything to worry about here.

Now I don’t want to join in the clear overreactions by the footballing public overall and suggest this is actually a great opportunity. This is our chance to get rid of these F*CKING PARASITES from our game. Of course it was going to be funded by an American corporation, and lead by clubs with American owners. They don’t care about competition, the game, the history of our sport. All they see is dollar signs.

But the good news is there is an American sporting practice we can adopt to deal with this issue. When team owners in the NBA step out of line (racist comments etc) they are forced to sell their “franchises” because they are no longer considered respectable and responsible owners. The very conception of this idea proves that the Glazers, FSG, Kroenke and all are exactly that – irresponsible, greedy parasites. Force them to sell the clubs – don’t give them a choice.

I’m not sure how practical this is, but it is one issue I’m sure every United, Liverpool, and Arsenal fan will stand together for. If they can threaten a breakaway league, it’s only fair we treat them in a way they understand our game isn’t to be messed with. A warning for the future as well.

Also, how can you justify a team like Spurs being a part of a Super League anyway? They’ve played in the UCL like three or four times since it started, practically never win a trophy – in what world are they a big club?
IP (Absolutely disgusted but hardly surprised)

 

…About two years ago, I sat in an economics class and once I came across the law of diminishing marginal returns I was intrigued. Basically the law of diminishing marginal returns is a theory in economics that predicts that after some optimal level of capacity is reached, adding an additional factor of production will actually result in smaller increases in output, and I feel the super league fails to realise this.
The intrigue that comes in viewing the game between Real Madrid vs Liverpool or Barcelona vs Bayern is that it does not happen regularly competitively and this brings about the high demand that it elicits. In the proposed super league we will be supplied with “el classicos” on a regularity making the fixtures lose their lustre.
This proposal though stinks of an ulterior motive especially on the premier league clubs part; the big six wish to have the same money distribution as that of La Liga or Serie A where the clubs with bigger followings garner most of the revenues and this proposal seems to be a means to strong arm the league into such an arrangement.
Vashow.

…The theory of HyperNormalisation seems be relevant to the current crisis in top flight football. HyperNormalisation, in short, is the idea that the real world is too complex for individuals in a society to comprehend so an artificial world is created by the institutions of the state and corporate bodies to maintain structure to the world. An example of this is the idea of UFOs being an illusion to conceal the truth about classified aircraft and weapons system.

In a football sense, we were told by the established media and the football fans who masquerade as journalists around clubs like Liverpool that everything has been fine. Even when we know that it is a world built on obscene greed. If you believe a football player deserves to earn the average industrial wage every 3 hours, you are a turkey and you have been voting for Christmas. Perhaps the journalists who have been fawning over Liverpool and refusing to ask hard questions of the club should have held to the club to account on this super league project. But I guess your chances of pictures with Salah reduce if you do.

I believe Gary Neville’s passion and the sincerity of his love for football, however, he’s protest on Sky was akin to the murderer joining the family members in the search for the body of their victim. Wasn’t Neville a part of a United team that destroyed the legitimacy of the FA Cup by refusing to defend the title to play oversees?

Sky have created the billion euro product that has contributed to this obscene greed. Was it not Sky who conditioned a generation of fans to get hyper excited for obscene transfer fees twice a year. Jim White and his army of golden tied journalists even had a countdown clock counting the money, where did people think this was going to end?

Was it not Sky themselves who created the narrative of the big six to counter the likes of Leicester and West Ham? Sky created the cult approach to football that emboldens these clubs to believe they can exploit their fans. After shaking down fans for subscription packages, Sky then allowed betting companies to advertise at a game that is watched by millions of kids and teenagers. But all of this is too complicated and it’s better to focus on the stupid products like red Monday and hashtag Pogboom. Even the idea that the football has been good for our mental health during Covid is just a fabrication, we had an abundance of football before covid and the collective mental health of the west wasn’t wonderful.

There is outrage now. But all of the dissenting voices in the media will rejoin the chorus of fans for this league if it does happen. What evidence do we have to refer to which suggests that anything will change? The system isn’t broken, it’s exactly as those in power want it to be.

Messi’s contract has bled Barcelona dry and all folks care about are his goals. When Mbappe starts scoring in the new super league, all of the media companies will reestablish the new narrative.
Jamie, Eire


Our beloved Premier League winners and losers


…This is genuinely awful. A closed shop league with no danger to anyone. Any title will have as much meaning as a WWE belt. I am a Liverpool supporter for 30 years (yes I jumped on the bandwagon as the wheels fell off) and if they do go into it, I am out as there’s little point investing time to follow a cynical money grabbing exercise. I’m sure I won’t be missed as I don’t think the existing viewers/fans are the intended audience. This is for ’emerging markets’ and other equally depressing synergised buzzwords for the PR campaign that will accompany the launch. Sad times indeed.
Kieran (Tranmere could be my next true love) Malone

 

…”The game’s gone,” they said when players started having haircuts and dancing when they scored a goal.
“The game’s gone,” they said when players fell over easily to get free kicks and penalties.
“The game’s gone,” they said when players’ armpits were offside according to the VAR lines.
This is it guys. The game has finally, actually, gone. It’s gone to be f***ing Disneyland Football, designed to milk as much filthy lucre as possible from the far east cash cow. It’s a version of the game that no longer cares about actual competition at all, aimed squarely at the kind of people who support “whoever Neymar plays for”, “whoever Cristiano Ronaldo plays for”, who think youtube compilations are the whole shebang.

It can, in no uncertain terms, absolutely do one.

I’ve supported Liverpool Football club since I was about 5 years old, and here I am 30 years later ready to bin the club off. “This means more,” does it? This means more what exactly? Shirt sales in Singapore? TV subscriptions in India? That’s what people were chanting for on the Kop for all those years isn’t it?

Good f***ing riddance to the rotten lot of them. I’d rather watch Leicester, Everton, West Ham and Wolves duke it out for the title. At least that would be interesting. This super league nonsense, where with no UEFA or FIFA rules to hold them back, will be won every year by a petrostate wearing the colours of what used to be a football club, will build itself a bubble, laugh merrily at how clever it all is for a few years, and then cumulatively shit the bed when it bursts and come crawling back. I for one am not going to pay £40 quid a month or whatever ridiculous figure they come up with for the privilege of watching Atletico Madrid grind out 1-0s against mediocre Italian teams with nothing riding on it, just so that squad players that I have never heard of can earn 200k Euro a week.

We’ll also find out whether the players involved care more about football or money, because it will be a very black and white choice on those lines. I suspect Harry Kane wouldn’t give a stuff about actually winning anything if he was on £500k a week at Spurs.

It is horrible, it is horrendous, it is rotten to the core, and we need to make an example of these bastards, my beloved Liverpool along with them.
Pierre (this is Ed Woodward’s noodle partner endgame made flesh), LFC (for now), Bristol

…So the proverbial cat has been let out of the bag, and the plans for the European Greed, sorry, Super League have been leaked, or revealed, depending on your chosen news outlet. Not being a fan of one of the clubs involved, my first impression is that the response has been gratifyingly furious and hostile, including Gary Neville’s excellent rant on Sky, and even from fans of the clubs involved. In fact on various social media pages, I think I’ve only read one post in favour of the plan, which, if you’re a hopeless optimist, you might think would give the plotters pause for thought.

You would have thought these clubs, if they were anything like aware of the mood amongst fans generally, might have anticipated the derision and antipathy the news has received, although being naturally cynical and a fan of conspiracy theories, even if I don’t believe the great majority of them, I can’t help wondering if there might be something else going on.

It’s not that long ago that some of the English clubs involved proudly announced Project Big Picture, where they would essentially take control of English football and run it for their own benefit, sorry, administer it for the good of the game, even deciding, in their wise and benevolent way, on whether lesser clubs could be taken over. Is it being too cynical to wonder if these clubs are signing up to the Super League project in the knowledge that they could also use it to put pressure on, even coerce the domestic leagues along the lines of ‘We won’ t follow this Super League cobblers up if you let us have the Big Picture structure’.

In other words, these clubs might be even more underhanded and greedy than we originally thought, which is no mean feat, but perhaps it might be a good thing if these clubs do bugger off to their precious Super League, and leave the domestic game alone. Trust they won’t let the metaphorical door hit them on their respective back sides on their way out.

Yours amicably,
Paul Quinton, Wolves

…The premier league made lots and lots of people rich (whilst probably leaving the English leagues poorer). The rich people in the FA and UEFA have stopped listening to what the rich teams want and so the rich teams have decided to do it themselves and be more rich. The rich broadcaster is furious because it might leave them less rich.

A bunch of assholes in Ivory towers throwing diamond plated shit at each other. Some rich guys are now pretending they have other people’s interests at heart when they’re all a bunch of selfish, self interested wankers. ‘Twas ever thus.

It really stopped being the people’s game when you had to pay £100 a month just to watch your own team play in the league on tv so there’s no point pretending that the game has gone in some irredeemably capitalist direction. This probably shouldn’t have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. And in the best case scenario all that happens is we go back to being bled dry by our clubs, who in turn continue to make a bunch of wankers at the FA and UEFA ludicrously rich for no reason other than their political clout.

Maybe this is a power play by a small minority. Maybe it’s a political game or maybe there’s a genuine feeling that it’s time for this super league. Ultimately I feel little more than, “meh”. I stood by pretty idly when clubs have charged £10 for an official plastic water bottle or £80 for a seat at the ground so I am struggling to feel surprised that they are greedy enterprises wishing to make as much money as possible with little regard for sporting merit. It should come as no surprise that the owners are interested in little more than hosting games in China and making crazy money for doing so. This will also make their game so global that fan protests about ticket prices will become a thing of the past; if Liverpool only play at Anfield three times a year because they’re booked to appear at games hosted in Shanghai, Doha and Moscow then the demand, and thus price paid for tickets, for the local games will go through the roof.

To be honest if I don’t have to watch Jon Moss referee a game again then I’m pretty up for it.
Minty, LFC

 

…As Man United toil against Burnley and Arsenal needed 97 minutes to get a draw against Fulham, it’s great to hear they are stepping away England to bring their supreme abilities to the European stage. Can’t wait not to watch or subscribe.
Paul

 

…Shameful day. Even just to force change with UEFA they are willing to walk away for their histories.

The memories of every single one of Liverpool’s 6 European Cups can go in the bin.

As a Villa supporter I was delighted for Liverpool last season when they won the league. A proper football club is how I described them.

They can go f**k themselves now.
Paul again


Arteta ‘glue’ dissolves to leave Arsenal on verge of collapse


…First of all. Let me state that I love Arsenal. I’ve stood on the North Bank more times than I can remember, then sat on it more times than I can remember. I’ve been to Paris to watch Seaman lobbed from the halfway line (snigger etc) and Roots Hall to watch Glenn Helder in pre-season. I’ve watched us beat France at Highbury (look it up kids) and I’ve sat on a coach for 27 f*cking hours to get to Milan for the European Super Cup (it was only £99 including match ticket).

I’m no super fan by any means, but I do love my team.

However, in spite of us sitting mid-table in the Premier League and not having won a European trophy since 1994 (I went to the wrong final!), in what world do Arsenal think that they are a major European Football power and should be part of a European Super league. I’ll assume there’s no relegation, as in the company mentioned, we’d be f*cked.

Financially? Maybe? They do (or did until lockdown) make massive profits at every home game, but on a sporting level? No chance. We’ll be lucky to finish top half this season and whilst we could still win the Europa League, I think we all know deep down that we won’t.

I know football is a business these days and that the fans don’t really matter and maybe I’m missing some greater good in all this, but if Arsenal go into this new ‘super’ league then I think I’ll just stop taking an interest as it’s no longer about sport. That said, is losing to Inter any different to losing to Burnley?

All this applies to Spurs as well, who are even luckier to be in the conversation! Never been to White Hart Lane. Bet it’s shit.

God I miss Matin Hayes.
Stu, (increasingly disillusioned) Gunner in France

 

…Let’s hope that the strength of the opposition to this tawdry breakaway brings about proper reform to our football.

Clearly the clubs involved have overreached, it is probably their political move on the eve of UEFA’s announcement of CL reform, but the football community should use this moment to respond to these greedy people by insisting on far reaching changes to protect the principal of open competition and sporting merit. And giving more people a chance wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

How this reform comes about I don’t care. Just save our football from greedy Americans (and the other bastards, Roman?) is the most important thing right now.

As a Chelsea fan I am utterly disgusted that the club signed up for this nonsense.

John Walker


Neville: ‘Big six’ should be docked points for Super League involvement


The main thought that has jumped into my head upon hearing the news of a potential European Super League…

If it actually does go ahead (I doubt it will, feels like a last minute power play before Monday’s CL announcement that’s been twice postponed)… Will it suddenly be OK to say “the game’s gone” and not sound like a Prick!?!
Paul (Spurs), T.Wells

…Personally I don’t think the proposed Super League is exclusive enough. Why should the mighty Real Madrid have to sully themselves by playing the likes of Spurs or Arsenal. They’ll eventually have to breakaway from the Super League and form the Super League plus, or have 2 tiers of the Super League, Super League Silver and Super League Gold. But no relegation or promotion between the 2 leagues, that would be ridiculous.

Actually, why do we even need ‘teams’? We all only watch football for the star players. Why don’t we just do 1 on 1 skill showdowns between the players with the most social media followers or marketability? Finally settle the Messi vs Ronaldo debate by having them dual it out in a football meets gladiator style battle. It could be hosted in Saudi Arabia or any other country looking to sports wash their human rights abuses. Tickets would only be purchasable with bitcoin or if you’re a pleb you could watch it on pay-per-view. The winner, determined by an instagram poll, would be gifted a small principality and tax exemption for life, whilst the loser would be publicly executed, the method of execution again determined by an instagram poll.

Or we could just stick to the same domestic league systems that have been used for the last century or so and made football the most popular sport worldwide?
Simon

…And so the bloated corpse, caught in the footballing flotsam at the top of the waterfall is finally ready to break free and fall over the edge.

Football has always been a game of two halves; The emotional and the practical.

Those who see football through their emotions – the soul of the corpse. The ones who pay the money to follow their clubs across the land, and sometimes Europe just hoping for those highs, who save or spend money they don’t have on tickets just to feel the adrenaline of a last minute breakaway goal, the despair and sinking feeling of a defeat, the schadenfreude, the rivalry, the sometimes camaraderie with opposing fans united against a common goal.

But what do emotions matter when those on the practical half, the corpse can benefit to the tune of £200m extra per year. Bloating it more and more.

And just like that, the extra £200m was enough to push the bloated corpse over the waterfall.
Mat, Disappointed Leeds fan, Liverpool.

…So, what do people reckon, will John Nicholson’s article on the Super League be for or against?
Andy (MUFC)

 

…I’m sure you’ll get a lot of emails on the subject, but for me a European Super League has always been an inevitability, but it shouldn’t and doesn’t need to happen like this.

UEFA should now go all in, call the bluff of the greedy cartel, and get their invites out to apply for a new league tomorrow. Give clubs a couple of weeks to officially sign up or miss the opportunity of joining for the first season.

The league should be based on sporting merit and absolutely not be a closed shop. So, here’s my proposal. What’s yours?

20 teams to join (I want a proper season, not a 30 game or less mini league) with priority given to clubs based on their UEFA coefficient at the end of this season (or the season the league starts).

There should also be a knockout European Cup open to all European club sides.

The Champions League is then scrapped, but the Europa League continues with qualification from domestic leagues based pretty much on the current Champions League criteria. The semi-finalists then automatically get promoted to the Super League, with 4 teams relegated back to domestic leagues.
Richard, Sheffield

…I get the outrage about the European Super League. But spare me the moral outrage from fans of Chelsea. ‘Chelsea’s Supporters Trust has said it is “appalled” at their involvement’ I just read. After 18 years of Roman’s oil money being pumped into Chelsea, now they have some moral outrage? The imbalance and lack of fair competition already exists.It’s is all a bit rich coming from them.
James, Vienna (nice location for European Super League travel)

 

…It is absolutely no coincidence that all six breakaway clubs are foreign owned and are not owned for the love of the club or game. This was where the Glazer takeover was always heading since 2005, you were warned.

It’s tragically funny to see The FA and The Premier League getting in an uproar when they turned a blind eye 16 years ago. They and the Government chose not to step in and it opppened the door for other institutions to be bought and used as seen fit. They are victims of their own lack of foresight.

If you ever sang “Love Glazers Hate United” this is what you get.
Wayne, Manchester

 

…For all those City fans who backed your club in Maine Road in the 2nd Division and helped raise your it back up, I think it’s time to turn your back on and move on. Manche$ter City doesn’t deserve you.
Paul

 

…I like the honesty of the founding clubs of the European Super league. Their intentions are perfectly transparent and laid out for all to see.
The FA , UEFA and the Premier League are in fact powerless in face of this actual power play. The intention of the ESL is to hoover up most of the money and leave the rest with some crumbs. If you ban the big 6 from domestic leagues and competitions then you can kiss goodbye to the millions that Sky, BT and Amazon currently pay.
The ESL founders know this, and the hysterical and threatening language coming from the FA, Premier League and UEFA demonstrates this. Forget all the bollocks they spout about “this is not how football works” – they are all terrified that the gravy train will stop.
I predict that in due course the ESL will get their wish and the remaining EPL clubs will be happy with the new status quo so long as the big 6 stay in the league and keep the money flowing.
The threats to ban players from internationals is both irrational and petty, let’s face it 95% of the worlds elite players will play for ESL clubs, and the remaining 5% will be looking to be picked up by them.
The Jeep

 

Would it be so bad? 
What a load of pompous nonsense “experts” such as Neville are spouting about the European Super League. It should and will happen, as the top clubs have been treated so badly by UEFA, FIFA and even their own leagues. Money talks and in the same way the Premier League was formed in 1992 against a backdrop of foaming at the mouth dinosaurs having a tantrum, this is also an inevitability.

The “non” big clubs only have themselves to blame, they have tried to stick it to the big clubs at every turn. The refusal to allow 5 subs during this pandemic was not untypical, but their refusal to agree a fairer redistribution of League income may have gone under the radar, but has made this inevitable. How is it fair that clubs like Burnley, Brighton and Palace can make so much money simply leeching off the pull and success of big clubs.

And don’t get me started with the bleeding hearts of the likes of UEFA. This is an organisation that is up to its eyeballs in corruption. They have been useless at dealing with financial doping, they have allowed racism to fester away unchecked and as for the introduction of technology into the game, it’s been nothing short of disastrous. A streamlined, organisation of finite teams can ensure rules are more quickly adopted, changed and improved to keep pace with an evolving game. As for FIFA, the manner in which national associations can simply take any of the players from the top clubs to play stupid international friendlies half way around the world with no regard for player welfare or the clubs that pay their wages is shocking, it wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that so many of these games seem to exist simply to allow he suits a free lunch in some exotic location.

Have a think back to the farce that meant Liverpool had to play a youth 11 against Aston Villa in League Cup quarter final last season because the suits were not prepared to accommodate the team playing in the World Club Championship 24 hours later, it’s beyond words.

This whole situation is about power and money, the big clubs have been denied it for too long and this is as inevitable as former players, managers and officials whingeing about it, just like they did in 1992.

UEFA further expanding the CL to include 4 more games in an already stuffed calendar is the final straw, it is no coincidence that this was announced at the same time.
Dale (the PL is dead long live the ESL) Marlow

 

…I am not sure what to think about the idea of a European Super League to be honest but I do know what I feel about all the hypocritical comments being made by pundits and other organizations.

We have Keane and others talking about the clubs and their owners being ‘greedy’, while all the players and their agents push for yet higher wages. At the end of the day very few clubs, if any, make a lot of money out of the owning the clubs. The Glazers, perhaps, but those same pundits would also bemoan the way clubs like Chelsea, City and PSG have put millions into the clubs – to gain an unfair advantage. Not so much greed for them then? But a vanity project they can afford – generally from what we might consider ill gotten gains. Meanwhile the agents and players are getting wealthier – easing into training grounds in their super cars at 18.

UEFA, who strive to suck more money out of the game with schemes that pander to those same top clubs because they draw the audience while they sell themselves as the footballing Robin Hoods. And let’s face it, none of these international football bodies have shown themselves first and foremost as anything but organizations aimed at lining the pockets of their members.

The Premier League itself – which must mean the other 14 clubs. Most of whom have benefited from the pretty equitable distribution of funds on the back of the drawing card of the top six clubs. Some of those that have been in the PL for a while (Everton, for example) could claim to have a decent following – but how much of that is from being in a league playing those bigger (not necessarily better) supported clubs?

But just as creating the idea of the Premier League changed football for the better in many ways – especially if you watched games in the 60s/70s/80s at crap grounds who didn’t care about the ‘fan experience’, with players playing on mud baths, as they smoked and drank themselves silly afterwards and the violence – oh yes the violence – on the whole it is better. Will the European Super League do something similar?

I suspect, besides dear Johnny, there will be many of the Brexit crowd who will abhor the idea of British teams cosying up to those nasty Europeans.

While I am not sure I like the idea of damaging what has been a successful concept – the Premier League – I am also concerned about seeming like the old fuddy duddies who originally dismissed the creation of the Premier League. Are those European ‘super clubs’ simply leveraging what has been successful in the PL as an attempt to catch up? While Real and Barca will always be different from their La Liga fraternity (same for Bayern and PSG) the Italian clubs have been suffering.

In the end, this will likely be a shot over the bow of the good ship UEFA to ensure those same clubs get some kind of automatic entry to European competition as the new model is rolled out. We’ve been here many times before.
Paul McDevitt

 

…I’m not quite sure how contrarian my opinion is on the matter but so what if the richest clubs want a closed shop football tournament? Will it be a bad thing?

The standard of play will be at least as good as domestic leagues, if not better.

Fans will still visit the grounds, Covid permitting, and the eyeballs will be on the TV globally.

So what’s the objections?

It’s not quite the end of football. I was way too young and far away (India) when the Premier League was being formed but I’m sure there were similar protestations back then.

I remember the furore around Rupert Murdoch trying to buy Manchester United, and I’d invite people to compare that to the reaction up in Newcastle when an investment fund of an authoritarian monarchy headed by Prince MBS wanted to buy their club and weren’t allowed. I saw thousands of Geordies on Twitter put the Saudi flag on their profiles and accuse the Premier League of corruption for the escapade. The one time they applied their fit and proper test correctly, they were the most hated entity in Geordieland.

Let’s not pretend the rest of the English football is significantly representative of the fans anymore. Clubs up and down the league are owned by minor Middle Eastern royals or Far Eastern businessmen or American investment vehicles. Wrexham have been bought by Hollywood megastars, for no apparent reason, other than a diversification of their money and maybe the lolz. I’ll wait for the documentary to confirm the true reasons.

Let’s also not pretend that the game has been affordable. I watched a pretty shit game of football between Crewe and Accrington in League Two on a cold and wet night in the 2011 season, and paid £15 for the privilege. It was literally two of lowest ranked professional clubs charging 50% more than The Hangover 2 charged that same year, to sit in some pretty appalling conditions.

Most top leagues haven’t been competitive for many years. Even the Premier League which has had more unique winners than others has done so because some billionaire or consortium has spent better than the rest, including Leicester.

For the pundits complaining, most of them will cover the breakaway league in a heartbeat if it reflected in their bank statements.

Every TV channel or streaming platform who wants football will bid for the rights. Enough subscribers will sign up.

If the big clubs want it, this will happen. So you know what, let the big clubs leave as long as they promise to play the FA Cup, Coppa Italia, etc and they don’t get to play between 2pm and 7pm. They can have the Asia favouring early kick off and the prime time / US focused night kick off.

In fact make it a legal condition, or their players won’t be selected by national teams and their records expunged. Everyone will sign up to that deal.

Let the Super League have two conferences of 15 or 20 teams each – since they are so inspired by the US leagues, and then do the playoff format. Let it be the primary league for these big clubs.

Let them go, or all you’ll get is these threats every so often and the league caving in to their demands for greater revenue. It’s been a business for decades now, treat it so and be done with it.
Nikhil, Indian in Cheshire

 

Never gonna happen
I know everyone is going crazy about the European Super League but surely its obvious that it won’t ever happen? The players won’t have anything to do with a league that sees them getting banned from representing their country and (presumably) not being able to move back to a non-super league team when they are surplus to requirements.

To me, its clearly just a bargaining tool so that these teams get more of the UEFA pie. You can’t bargain effectively unless you have an alternative option and this will no doubt ensure UEFA have to share more of the money with these clubs.

I’m certain it won’t happen in my lifetime…
Stewart, Pompey

 

Nev for PM
I have to admit my interest in football this year had dwindled. It’s been on the wane for a long time. While I don’t agree with a lot of John Nicholson’s statements his criticism of football’s greed and lack of soul always gets me nodding in agreement.

I now see the Bog 6 (deliberate) have signed up to the ultimate exercise in greed and not giving a shit about the people who pay their wages – the fans. If I cared about football I would be devastated. As it is I feel slightly proud I have basically given it up. If only more people were like me (with regards to football – not general).

However my point is – how great are Gary Neville’s quotes? Relegate Utd and Liverpool and give the title to Burnley. His hilarious comments on being bewildered Tottenham and Arsenal are even invited.

His passion has made me an instant Nevillite(is that a thing?). I agree with everything he said and it was beautiful to here it. If his words came out the mouths of Bill Pullman or John Hannah they would be talking about in 50 years. Gary Neville – what a guy.

All 6 should be relegated. I think there should be a national movement to achieve this. Do the Premier League have petitions like government? Surely they have broken a clause somewhere. The Premier League would even be redeemed in my eyes if it did this. All of a sudden it would be the greatest league in the world.
Howard.

 

If only
At the time I wasn’t expecting Man United to win the league when they went top in December. But if we could only have beaten Sheffield United and WBA we would only be three points behind City. Bloody hell.

Oh and the superleague thing is destructively bollox.

Cheers
Ged

 

European places for as long they matter
Interesting email from Ebrahim about European places. I’ve done a bit of research and I think the following is correct:

Firstly, he’s not quite right with what he set out. The winners of the League Cup will now go into the UEFA conference league playoffs. If that is Spurs, they would get that place. If it’s Man City, it would go into the league.

However, assuming Spurs do win it, along with with everything else said (I’m writing this before the FA cup semi final) the following would happen:

Places 1-3 in the Premier League would go in the Champions league, along with Arsenal and Chelsea as the winners of the European Trophies.

The Europa league is a bit more complicated and it’s worth looking back to 2017 for precedent. Arsenal finished 5th, but also won the FA cup. They went into the Europa League as cup winners and the 5th place Europa slot went down to 6th. How we, United in 6th had already qualified for the Champions League. Everton in 7th got the place usually reserved for the League Cup winners, because United, who won it, were in the Champions League. The Europa spot for 5th place, therefore went to no one.

Assuming the rules are the same, Southampton would get a spot as FA cup winners, Spurs would be in the Europa Conference league and the league Europa spot would not be awarded. That would mean the team in 4th not only misses out on the Champions League but wouldn’t even be in Europe!

Now I’m happy to be corrected, but that’s the rules as I understand them.
Mike, LFC, London

 

Wrestling with the truth
There has been a lot of time to think during the various lockdowns here in Italy and I have used it wisely. We have just said ‘ciao’ to the Red Zone and also ‘ciao’ to the Orange Zone (it conveniently means both hi and bye). This was after a brief period in the Dark Orange Zone (which only really led to Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange cravings). Anyway, the long and short of all this is that I have a grand idea.

This season has seen huge issues with VAR and match officials have struggled with the third-eye technology at times. It is a very consuming and onerous debate, and it isn’t much fun. Additionally, like many of us, I am genetically predisposed to be skeptical of the level of fairness from the beautiful game’s officials. My granddad always took umbrage with referees and would frequently shout, ‘You’re bent ref!’, in reference to their perceived dishonesty and bias. This is no word of a lie – there was one game where he shouted it at the ref before kick-off due to the previous referee’s poor decision to send one of our players off in the game before. He really meant it! What a legend.

So, in my many musings, I noticed today that Craig Pawson is the selected ref for Arsenal v Fulham and I have honestly never heard of him (or maybe never bothered to let his name enter my stream of consciousness). I then considered how many current referees I can actually name. Clattenburg? That funny one who has a two-syllable name that escapes me at this point. Peter Ellerey? While these guys form an integral part of the game, their celeb-factor is hideously low. ‘They never even do interviews!’, I hear you say! Considering the over-financed, over-hyped Super Sunday, Super Monday, Super any day ending in day circus that is the Premier League, surely there needs to be a revamp here.

Fortunately for everyone, I am here to help with a spectacular idea. I remember a time when I scuppered my Dad’s plans to get Sky TV by exclaiming, ‘Great, I can watch the WWF every night after school!’ (in hindsight, my NQT year was far too busy for this), resulting in my Mum’s subsequent horror once she’d clarified that I hadn’t suddenly became an animal-rights activist. So, through my own stupidity, I was denied endless Super Sundays and Monday Night Raws. That said, I was probably lucky to avoid a Friday Night Smackdown from the football fans in the family for the spanner I carelessly inserted into the works. Well, as luck would have it, my plan will also serve to resolve this lifelong depravation of muscle-bound mayhem.

If you are still reading, thank you. The idea is as follows:

– From 2022/23 (as it will take quite a lot of training), each referee will adopt a WWE Wrestler style persona (e.g. The Undertaker or Macho Man Randy Savage – what a name!!) and will enter the pitch with their own Intro Music. Flexing will be expected and intimidation of players will be welcomed.
– Two referees will be assigned to each game and will be in direct competition with each other under the watchful eye of VAR as they officiate a half each.
– Points will be awarded for various criteria. Correct decisions, Person VS VAR (to get humans onside and possible AI entities too as technology advances), screen time (let’s face it, reducing it is a losing battle), kilometres covered (everyone loves running now don’t they?), etc.
– So what if the Ref-Off (good non-offensive play on Eff Off) contest ends in a draw? You’ve guessed it!! The refs have a duel at full time in the centre circle until a pin to the count of three or where one ref is forcefully removed or fearfully self-removes from the centre-circle (this is a slight plagiarism of the Sumo Wrestlers battles they had in the 90s).
– A Ref-Off league table is collated and the top 16 refs can then have a Champions League style end of season wrestling tournament.

Mike Dean (that was it!) can easily adopt a Mike Mean persona. What about Kevin Enemy, Spartan Atkinson and Mad Andy Madley?! If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to write in and form a formidable alliance with me as proponents of this plan!

Best wishes,
AC in Milan, Milan

 

Nominative determinism
There were some contributions a few weeks ago about (in)appropriately named footballers. Well, watching PSG against St Etienne today, in goal the latter was a young man called Etienne Green (born in Colchester no less). If there is one team he was meant to play for, it is surely the former French giants who play in green and are actually nicknamed ‘Les Verts’. Unfortunately, this will mean he can’t wear a green goalkeeper’s jersey which, me being old-fashioned, i think all goalies should wear.
Rob da Shrimper (yes that is my last name. I was meant to support Southend United)(I might have just lied)

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