Thursday, October 20, 2011

The only way is up neither up nor down

Could talk of the all-important 40-point mark, "relegation six-pointers" and "squeaky bum time" become a thing of the past? It might if certain unnamed foreign owners of Premier League clubs have their way.

Without the possibility of promotion or the threat of relegation, the game would be immeasurably poorer - no excitement, no sense of uncertainty, no point. But, as ludicrous as the idea of doing away with them might sound, that's already the situation in Scotland, where there's no straightforward route from the regional leagues up into the national leagues and vice versa. A friend of mine supports Forres Mechanics, who were founder members of the Highland Football League in 1893 and have been stuck there ever since, managing to win the title just once in all that time. How the fans are able to sum up any interest or enthusiasm is completely beyond me.

Even those for whom we have precious little time have been voicing their opposition to the potential proposal. Taggart lambasted it as "suicide" and 'Appy 'Arry labelled it "scandalous". Grudging credit where it's due, but even Deluded Dave has branded it as "the most stupid suggestion I've ever heard in my life" - a more significant stance than those of Taggart and 'Appy 'Arry simply because the Premier League becoming a closed shop would be to Wigan's benefit. (The Latics owner actually threatened to withdraw his club from the league if the idea became reality - as things stand, Saturday's visitors to St James' Park could be waving the Premier League farewell regardless...)

Of course, it's tempting to speculate who might be behind the suggestion. Not hard to imagine that Blackburn owners Venkys might be guilty of fowl play, given that it would keep their dead men walking in the division. I wouldn't put it past Liverpool either, American owner John Henry being used to the franchise system in the US and managing director Ian Ayre having voiced a much-publicised disregard for what's fair in pursuit of narrow self-interest.*

Thankfully, even if there was some momentum behind the proposal, the FA would apparently retain the right to veto it. So they might yet prove their worth after all...

(* Incidentally, here's True Faith's eloquent commentary on Ayre's remarks.)


Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has dismissed the suggestion as "ridiculous", claiming that no owners have actually declared their support for it - and indeed Blackburn and Liverpool are among those who've come out to announce they're satisfied with the current system. A storm in a teacup, then, it seems, and one that leaves League Managers' Association chief Richard Bevan (who made the initial comments) looking a little bit foolish.

Still, it's interesting that Man City and the Mackems refused to comment on the issue, and Arsenal actually announced they "did not have a stance". Surely you're either for the status quo or you want change?

Labels: , , , , ,



Blogger Unknown said...

This is such a bad idea... It would turn the Premier League into Major League Baseball (which is screwed up beyond belief).

This really effects the smaller market teams as you get two situations:

1) The owner is happy to bank all the profits and put out a horrible team and trade away (or sell) any actual talent that comes up. This is the case of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The owner banks around 10mil a year in profit and the team has gone 19 straight years of loosing seasons (less than .500 and typically finish in the bottom 5 of the league).

2) The owner decides to pack the team and move to another city as they will give him better tax breaks and a bigger stadium.

I've been saying that baseball needs the relegation / promotion system, however someone suggesting that would cause a similar stir.

Also, speaking of the Liverpool oversea's TV deal, I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the idea of making money off of internet streaming. Does that go around the current TV deals? Some kind of pay service for live matches and replays (similar to It would be good for someone like me who has no other means to watch a match (outside downloading them via BitTorrent).

9:39 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home