A wolf in very poorly fitted sheep’s clothing. That’s the Big Picture, or at least it was, and it was truly shameless and brazen. (Yes, I’m a bit late to this, but I’d be remiss not saying anything.)

Surprising? Actually, yes. For all their arrogance and off-and-on talk about a European super league, I find it remarkable that rich, foreign owners would hatch a plan behind the Premier League’s back to form a cartel virtually locking in their positions at the top, and virtually guaranteeing them Champion’s League football every year—at the exclusion of other rich, foreign owners. Three years this has been brewing, apparently. Leicester City, anyone?

7-2? 6-1? That’s the problem, isn’t it? These so-called “big clubs” are not immune to the vicissitudes of fate and decision-making. So they’ve wanted to eliminate as many variables as possible. And it’s just not on.

Aston Villa and the others coming for them are exactly what they fear: competition.

Taking advantage of a financial crisis to declare themselves lords and masters is craven and cynical beyond belief. We know this, every supporter does, and it’s been refreshing to see statements from the self-entitled clubs’ supporters’ trusts flatly opposing the plan. And not surprising to hear Liverpool’s and United’s owners didn’t appear at Wednesday’s meeting, or that they fell in line so that the league could “unanimously” vote down Big Picture.

Addressing the pyramid’s financial troubles is a necessary but completely separate issue, one the Premier League has to take up with William McGregor’s governing principle of revenue sharing in mind. His goal was structured competition to the benefit of all participants. And it ended up working pretty damn well until the Premier League came along and TV money became football’s greatest competitive threat.

Me, I think the clubs in the Premier League should sanction Henry and the Glazer for their attempted coup. As it stands, they’ve simply rejected the plan. Which will have to be good enough for now.

But the self-dealing intent at the heart of it will not be forgotten, certainly not by Compass or the other ambitious owners in the league that Liverpool and United were trying to shut out off of the pitch. Not sure how they thought this would be received by their fellow owners. Guessing they thought the candy on offer to the rest of the EFL would cow opposition, and that giving some “status” to Southampton, West Ham, and Everton would buy votes. Not quite the masterminds they thought they were. But they have, albeit rather secretly, put their cards on the table.

In short, if Liverpool and United want to tell us our place, they can f**k right off. And get ready to look up at us in the table more often. We’ll be waiting for your next big idea to achieve global dominance. As if what you have isn’t enough already.

••••••••••••

Denmark in a few minutes for England tonight, and the question of Jack Grealish arises yet again. I’ve been away, but took time to watch the friendly against Wales and the following Nation’s League match against Belgium. A quality win, yes, but a rather fortunate one. Mason Mount has classily come out in support of Jack, which I liked after seeing him seemingly prove Gareth Southgate’s point with a wildly deflected shot that secured the win. It’s a bit unfortunate the position Mount’s been put in.

What the matches told me is that England are crying out for a player like Grealish. Gareth Southgate fears a player like Grealish. Gareth has a system, and Gareth doesn’t want a creative star pulling the strings and outshining him. He wants cogs. Which isn’t to say they’re bad cogs, just that they’re interchangeable parts, and the result is uninspiring and a bit tedious.

So I get that his system might very well say, “Sterling or Rashford front left.” Which is fine for a 4-3-3 argument. In a 3-4-2-1? Bit harder point to make. But we’ve heard Jack needs to be in the Premier League; Jack faces stiff competition wide left; he’s no Gazza despite players saying he reminds them of Gazza; Mount does a lot off the ball. Gareth seems to be making a lot of excuses. If I were him, I’d just stick with “Jack faces tough competition in the likes of Sterling and Rashford,” keep him in the squad, and give him minutes. The first player to directly participate in five goals against Liverpool ought to be good enough. Not like he hasn’t undone van Dijk once already this season.

Not my problem, in the end, but I do think it will be a shame if a player as talented and enthusiastic as Jack Grealish doesn’t become an England regular, especially if his moment in the sun is overshadowed by another England manager most likely destined to fade into obscurity after squandering another talented generation of players.

•••••••••••••

Taking the p*ss on transfers. You know we don’t do clickbait here. I suppose I might, well, would probably have to, if AVL were about making money. But it’s not.

So, guess what? Said Benrahma, or Josh King or both could still be signed by 5pm Friday, and Buendia’s name is getting tossed in the hat again. There you have it.

Over to you.

Comments 54

  1. Christ l. We have another shitting International break next month to?

    I hate international qualifiers. They should be scrapped.

    Just play finals in the summers with the biggest nations

  2. awefull set up for england tonight we have 7 players in defensive starting positions and a wealth of attacking talents these days
    I was excited about garath’s new england as he started to bring the young talents into the team but it all seems a little negitive and flat at the moment

    it was a rediculous plan jc …. there are too many smart business people in the prem at the moment it would be almost impossible to steam roll such a one sided plan into actuality thankfully

  3. Thanks JC- think this might be Chinese year of the underdog.

    England, people like us to win but they also want to be entertained, not many fans get to see jack every week and usually its when their team are chopping him down. With those thing in mind a few more big performances like the last one will raise his stock to the point Southgate will be forced to reshuffle his cogs.

    Transfers? can’t you lend Compass a few bob 🙂

  4. I’m glad we are losing

    I hate Southgate. Not qualified for the England job what so ever

    Mings is better than Maguire but doesn’t start. He’s been great this season. Harry has been dire but still starts him

  5. I can’t say I mind the idea of three at the back and so on…I think the issue for me is that a player like Rashford isn’t really ‘creative’. Give him a ball to run onto, he’ll score. But if you’re not playing him through, he’s unlikely to make a whole lot happen on his own. Likewise, Mount.

    Gareth needs to talk to Dean.

  6. Any one remember Southgate’s last few years at Villa playing under John Gregory. The endless playing across the back 3 (because we were proper footballers) until the ball was given away (to a more hard working less cultured side) and a goal conceded. Same system 20 years later with England using square pegs in round holes eg no left footers in the back 3. So an already stressed Maguire is playing uncomfortably out of position. Villa didn’t have the players to make the system work 20 years ago. Ditto now for England. Big Sam would at least have had square pegs in square holes playing a system that suited the players at his disposal. Boring “old School” I know.

  7. I mean, they’re playing Denmark, FFS.

    Put Jack in next to Phillips or Rice, leave your favorites up front. Not a player in that side, besides Kane trying, who was running back, picking it up on the edge of the box and surging forward with it.

    When you see JG week-in, week-out, you realize how much work he does, how much responsibility he takes. Gareth talking about Jack seeing how hard they work. That’s taking the p*ss.

    Too many players hiding in their positions and letting the system be at fault.

  8. I wasn’t that impressed with Reece James at all, & the less said about Walker the better.
    Rashford is another who’s not in form for his club
    It certainly proves that Beaky is a liar.
    If there’s any justice we shouldn’t qualify, as Frem said earlier.
    Then there’s the mental lethargy from too many games, many where we’ve lucked out.
    Never mind, the Sun will start soon.

  9. The best thing about tonight was John McGinn captaining Scotland to a win and their best ever run since the 1980’s!!!

    In the past I have tried to defend Southgate, but this last week has shown that he is not capable of giving us the England team we deserve, and it may be time for him to go.

    Even the Welsh managed to show what can be achieved with a really together team and management. They wisely took Daniel James off before he could collect another yellow card.
    Maybe discipline problems in the United camp….
    Late news looks like Benrahma is almost over the line at West Ham. Personal terms and medical happening in the morning.

  10. PP, JC- SJM’s not only back but looks better.

    Just read this Article about England and Southgate. You might be right JC about Southgate wanting to be the star but I think its in his nature to want to not lose rather than to win. It might just be we need a more forward looking and progressive Manager because we have a lot of really talented players looking dull, and a player of a lifetime on the bench.

    https://www.goal.com/en/amp/news/southgates-grealish-snub-gets-to-the-heart-of-why-hes-not/1gbg0p72c4i9y1xp39u5vg69ku

  11. The media have given Beaky a well deserved kicking. His defence of Maguire is astonishing. His selection of Maguire is even more astonishing. Whilst every opposition has to be respected, twice setting up so defensively against Denmark was plain stupid. What as happened to us since we were 0-3 up in Madrid just 2 years ago?

  12. MK, Compass have been magnificent. They have pumped in so much. But then again, the current value of our players is far more. How much do we think Jack, Tyro, SJM, Dougie and Watkins are valued at? Never mind Martinez, Traore, Cash and Trez.

    Like Frem, I thought Brentford had our trousers down over the price for Watkins but his demolition of the bindippers has at the minimum doubled it. The future is bright, it’s claret & blue and exciting.

  13. re engerland. It’s utter madness what southgate is doing or trying. Really is astonishing how some managers loose the plot all together. Football is a simple game. Play players in there main positions in a formation they are familiar with and play players who are in a bit of form! Its not rocket science. How many of those playes play 523 or whatever the hell that was? Walker who I like but switches off defensively at cb?! Calvert ended up lw. The final straw was replacing one of the 2 def mids and bringing on Henderson instead of jack. That right there was a personal snub. He aint got a chance now with foden, sterling, greenwood back

  14. Jack plays every games for Villa, so I prefer if he doesn’t play for England.

    Yeah, Benrahma failed medical.

    Would be nice if we could get rid of Lansbury and Croat goalie. Liverpool need a goalie, right?

  15. It’s an old trick of the Dildo Bros. Leave things to the last second, find something wrong with the medical and then use the “problem” to lever the price downwards.

    Ben Drahma should know better than getting involved with those two and Brady.

  16. Cannot believe we have allowed West Ham to get away with signing Benrahma on loan. He had to be worth every penny Brentford were asking for him.
    Certainly feel we should have got Rico Henry, Max Aarons, oir someone similar for LB position.

  17. PP,

    Benrahma has no pace and is just left footed. Not sure why WH signed him when they have Bowen. I’ll be surprised if he makes it.

    Great to read DS comments on Jacob Ramsey. Looking forward to seeing him get 1st team action.

  18. MK,

    Yeah, nice read on Cam.

    Glad Guilbert didn’t leave. Didn’t he play a game at LB last season? I also wouldn’t mind Guilbert at RB and Cash on RW for some games

    Apparently Watford turned down 25M from Palace for Sarr, as they value him at 45M! Nuts!

  19. We’ve left ourselves worryingly short up front.

    Are we going to make the same mistake as last season with strikers? Because if Watkins gets injured we have no goal scorer

  20. VillaM. Benrama isn’t left footed

    West Ham will have Bowen and Benrama out wide. Both better than Trezeguet and Ghaizi.

    I would have paid the 45 million for Sarr

    Let’s see what January brings.

  21. So nervous about tomorrow

    It’s strange how I get more nervous for games when we are on a winning run then when we lose game after game

  22. I don’t think DS wanted to disrupt the dressing room. Sturridge would be a big ego coming in. Not a bad call though.

    Looks like Wesley will be back soon. Will be curious to see how he fits in. Last season was a little unfair to judge him as a lone striker with little support. I for one hope to be proven wrong on my initial judgment.

    Why do we have to wait until Sunday to watch The Villa again!

  23. Big difference with Jack this season.

    Last year he had no choice but to go down when fouled as the support was not good enough. A lot of times he just drew the foul for a free kick.

    This year, he doesn’t need to go down or draw a foul with Watkins and Barkley on the same wavelength.

    I looked back at Villa vs Fulham again and Watkins is such an intelligent footballer. Very crisp passes, one-twos. Fast and ideal for Jack to play with. Also great in the air which is a bonus

  24. Don’t think we need to worry *too* much. Injuries are always a concern, but at the same time, you can’t just stockpile starters at positions unless you’re playing CL football. Even then…

    So, Trez has competition with Traore, Jack will be wide left, and we just need a good run with Ollie. If we’re in trouble come January, Wes will be close to fitness, and we’ll have money to go get King. Bournemouth will need to sell to get anything for him. And we’re already in the middle of October with three wins under our belts.

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