#AVL #avfc

Well, they’ve gone and done it. Fearful of their lock on the top places and Champions League money, the owners of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur have decided they like guaranteed money and a closed shop rather than competition and the football pyramid. It’s a greed- and fear-driven move for which all the adjectives have been used: Shameful, disgraceful, disgusting, grotesque, outrageous, cynical…there’s plenty more. I’d add this: It’s an asshole move.

They’ve benefitted enormously from the current set-up, gotten all the money and prestige it has to offer, and now they want to piss on it.

Sadly, there’s no small amount of American influence in this, given the ownership at Liverpool and Manchester United, and indeed, the Glazers in particular, who apparently can’t wrap their heads around relegation.

Notably, American professional teams don’t face relegation. They make money even when they lose year after year. They hold communities to ransom to pay for stadiums, and take all the money, including that from concessions and parking, generated by games played in stadiums that taxpayers fund under threat of teams being relocated.

For them to come into England, buy venerable clubs, and then turn them against their own supporters and the fabric of the game itself is a despicable act. A betrayal of everything football has stood for, a dismissal of history, meaning and passion, and very much in keeping with the arrogance inherent to professional sports ownership in the US. It’s a product, a money-making device, nothing more, and the fans are just suckers who throw their money at it. The advertisers and broadcasters follow because the fans need it too much. Bread and circuses.

One might argue that the Premier League had started us down this path, and I wouldn’t disagree. But even its current state, it’s still linked to the other leagues. There’s relegation and promotion. A chance to share in the spoils, even just the money from a lucrative cup tie.

Everyone’s read all the details. Fury is widespread. Villa’s Christian Purslow has responded well, as have the Premier League, UEFA, and even FIFA. The French and Germans have reached rare common ground in refusing to join. How much idealism is involved there, I can’t say, given the German ownership model. But at least they haven’t even tried, making the whole arrangement even more farcical. England, Italy, Spain. Of course Barcelona would sign on, being in a financial shambles after years of dominance. Likewise Inter and AC Milan, who aren’t tearing up trees these days.

You’ve got greedy Americans leading on other European giants who are already, or in danger of, declining in relevancy and competitiveness. And perhaps the paucity of competition in their domestic leagues makes them more inclined to join. But that also makes their Champions League places guaranteed, along with that money. But they don’t get PL TV money. They want in on bigger, guaranteed income and permanent enshrinement in a pantheon above the mortals. Their proud traditions and previous glories apparently mean nothing anymore.

Villa have just been through relegation and promotion. We’re back, fighting and climbing, yet club which has won the European Cup will be excluded in favor of teams that haven’t: Spurs, Arsenal, City. And whatever definition you apply, Spurs and Arsenal are certainly not “super clubs.” Proud clubs? Yes. A significant part of the game? Yes. But you can see why they’d want inclusion even though they don’t merit it. Clubs like Villa, Leicester, West Ham, Everton, Wolves, and even Leeds are knocking on their door. Spurs and Arsenal could find themselves finishing out of the top half of the table next year. So of course they’d follow right along. They don’t want any more competition. They want the guaranteed money and prestige that they haven’t earned on the pitch.

They dismiss our anger, our history, our game with the contempt of aristocracy.

Me, I fully support moves to expel them from the Premier League immediately, if not sooner if there isn’t a u-turn. They won’t be martyrs, they’ll be simply be the shameless, stateless clubs they wish to become. I fully support their players being unable to play for their national teams. And if it all falls apart and they retreat before measures like expulsion, they should be docked at least enough points to either guarantee relegation to start the next season, or leave them in a relegation battle. The other 14 clubs have the votes, and the anger of the governing bodies should support it. Hell, they should all be relegated to League 2 with no parachute payments. Let them work their way back up, and see how they like it when they finally get back and a new top six have taken root.

If these cynical bastards want to cut ties and alienate supporters, they likely can’t be stopped. I’m sure the loophole letting some clubs qualify is meant to avoid anti-competitive rulings, and it’s an open question as to which way court challenges will go.

So what needs to happen is that the rest of the footballing world boycott their circle jerk. The TV money will dry up if people don’t watch. It’s only there for advertising. No eyeballs, no ads, no money. The players who care about representing their countries? We’ll see. You’d think there are still some who’d like to be at the World Cup. Some who want to have their names etched in that history book along with the greatest who’ve ever played.

It will be messy and drawn out however it goes, but there’s no small chance these owners will succeed in destroying their cash cows because enough wasn’t enough. The bigger loss is to football and the spirit of the game.

As far as these national team competitions, I’ve read the breakaway owners’ glee extends to not having their players in national team games, cups, or even PL matches. Maybe they’re counting on revenue from Asia and elsewhere. They don’t believe their brands are reliant on the context of league football, that no one else from any of these European nations with any love of the game will signing up to watch (which is obviously a large viewing audience), and they believe that foreign, plastic and glory-hunting fans are enough to sustain them. Whether lifelong supporters of these clubs want their sides to become the property of people with no actual attachment to English football, per se, is an open question.

What does it mean for the Premier League? Anyone’s guess, at the moment. If it returns us to the days of football yore, then it will be more exciting for everyone, and Villa probably will become royalty. There’ll be less TV money from Sky, yes. But I’m sure a European club competition will continue, and if true supporters flock to that, it will help everyone. Perhaps structuring it with more revenue falling downstream will help strengthen other leagues. A little bit of altruism goes a long way. There’ll be a lot of Spanish and Italian fans who’ll probably enjoy being released from the stranglehold.

Would I support Villa being one of the extra included clubs? On principle, no, of course not. If it were the only way to continue my affiliation and love of the club? It’s a question no supporter should ever be asked to consider. But I’d be hard pressed to embrace it. Would it feel nice to be considered a European giant? Sure, especially for a club instrumental in founding the FA. But taking away the derbies, history, continuity and all the rest? No soul, no meaning. Just a traveling circus.

The path forward is simple: Football supporters around the world simply need to boycott the so-called Super League. How many will? I dunno. But I’m pretty sure supporters of every other club in the UK and Europe who are getting the shaft can be counted on. And without the meaning of the domestic leagues, how many true supporters of these clubs, never mind the rest, will stick around? How long will their anger last? The oligarchs are counting on it not being for very long.

They’re counting on their supporters behaving like Americans. (To be fair, Americans have never had any choice other than a closed shop.)

So this is the question they’re putting to us. Football supporters everywhere need to stand united. I, for one, don’t give a shit about this Super League and never will. I’d be happy enough playing Ajax and Bayern Munich again in something resembling the old European Cup. And it won’t be devalued for the supporters who will happily forget the entrenched oligarchy who’ve been set on ruining 100 years of tradition for years now.

I feel for the real supporters of these clubs. I really do. The question being asked of you is impossible. I hope some of you stand with the rest of us.

Perhaps money and television had already ruined the game as many of us feel. Yes, Villa have money now, too. But I don’t get the feeling Compass would support breaking away if Villa’s position were reversed. I think they bought in knowing what it was and wanting to win (and certainly make money) within the current confines. I could always be wrong. But that’s what I like to think, anyway.

I obviously and very fervently hope this backfires and that these clubs suffer the consequences of what they’re doing to the rest of football. They’re pissing on every single supporter outside this so-called Big Six and should expect an appropriate reaction if they come crawling back on hands and knees. If this doesn’t go as well as they think, their owners will abandon these clubs.

We can play a part in that—it’s the only thing we can do. Don’t tune in to another game any of them are playing, ever. I know I won’t be. Hell, maybe even when we play them, too. Give me West Brom vs Fulham, thank you very much. And I sincerely hope that if we can’t beat City on Wednesday, we at least give them a good kicking.

Over to you.

Comments 85

  1. I cannot disagree JC, its been coming and now we know. I cannot believe these cunts can barefacedly say they owe it to their billions of fans???!! I wish that these clubs could have their names taken away and given to the fans that really own it and have followed it for years to start again.

    I must also agree that its a massive pull for any fan to follow their club I just hope they don’t because I feel they have been taken for granted. if the fans were allowed into the stadiums I think there would be massive protests. I wonder if they even bothered to poll their supporters at all?

  2. Oh, no polling, MK. They truly don’t give a shit.

    They’re counting on them watching because they won’t have a choice. They’re counting on the PL not kicking them out because of the TV money. Like Compass losing out on their investment.

    FSG, Glazers, Kroenke…They’re used to this brinksmanship, and they could care less about fans if there’s a guaranteed TV audience. These owners will be just fine severing these clubs from their cities and fans if it means billions from Asia and wherever else.

  3. So, if the PL doesn’t expel them, the only remedy is to impose penalties, or a salary/transfer cap so they can’t replow the extra money into the PL with FFP being scrapped.

    If they can be made to compete fairly in the league, they’ll suffer ups and downs like everyone else. And my guess is that supporters won’t really care about the Super League once the novelty wears off and they’re finishing below Burnley.

  4. Excellent article JC,
    you have hit the nail on the head that this is the protectionist ideal of American Sport, whether it be football, hockey or the WWF.
    I note that you hope Compass are not part of this movement, as I have my suspicions, which is why I have made the comments that I have recently, and the direction in which I see Compass heading with both the male and female teams.
    I would love to be wrong, but this rat has been sniffing around a long time. I feel they see this as an opportune moment to announce the intent, with the only football being available is via tv, with no fans in the grounds, and also they have see the huge pulling power of televised football.
    By the time fans are allowed back, they will hope that the initial reaction will have died down.

  5. PP,

    Think you’re right there…It’s been talked about forever. And I think they’re scared, certainly Fenway Sports Group at Liverpool. They depend on that revenue, they see the Villas coming. Lock in the profits now. With that, they don’t need the PL to qualify, so they don’t have to worry about us.

    I think they’ve probably underestimated an Englishman’s ability to hold a grudge. Though the Glazers have outlasted the supporters’ displeasure over their mismanagement earlier.

    It’s going to be a very interesting few days/weeks.

  6. A few fans have gathered at the grounds I hope that grows, and a plane with a banner. Some Liverpool fans at Leeds have a banner rip LFC. I think the timing has happened now because there are no fans and they hope the idea will grow on them by next season. In the current economic climate I think there will be a lot of casualties yet and they are looking to protect their assets, they have some very large debts to service particularly Spurs, if the economies crash then shit will hit the fan, no pun intended.

  7. JC, you speak for me. 100%.

    MK, we banter about Trez, whether he’s worth his place, worth 5 players or worth 5 quid. It’s trivial compared to what these bastards are doing. It’s all about creating a cartel. A monopoly. So that they can take it all and leave everyone else in the shit. Well it’s time we left them in the shit.

    I agree with Ian at the end of the previous thread. There ain’t much difference between the elite teams and the others. Leeds beat Citeh, we hold a 7-2 on the Bin dippers and a double over the Arse.

    Far from feeling threatened, we are now looking at the greatest opportunity this sport has had to correct the gradual slide into a train wreck that these billionaires have pushed us to. The EPL now has a once in a lifetime chance to level the fuckin playing field. Kick them out. No way back. Reset the rules to suit each team equally without being controlled by the greed merchants. What an opportunity. With the whole of Europe up in arms, now is the time to grasp the nettle. Take the shocking action needed. Let them feel what it’s like to be Halifax Town.

    Also ban the players from appearing in any internationals. Desperate stuff. But desperate times need desperate action. Don’t fuck this chance up FIFA. UEFA, EPL, FA. If these parasites believe the average fan will part with money to watch the ESL there’s a shock coming. Just the opposite, I’ll bin any sporting package I hold that airs it. The wrath won’t abate with time. The 6 have shit on us. I won’t forget that. The EPL will meet tomorrow. We watch with interest.

  8. Chelsea, Manure and City to be thrown out of CL by Friday apparently, I can’t but help think there is some brinkmanship here, they did not want more small teams in the champions league with small grounds, if they get away with this they win if they don’t its a warning to the leagues.

  9. MK,

    So City can go from the quad to a league-cup double. Just like the old days.

    It is brinksmanship, and hostage-holding. The PL and everyone else should say “we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

  10. I also understand reservations about the CL. It’s become a monster.

    But they could sacrifice cup games by playing kids instead of looking to dominate football without FFP in place. Like you say, they’ll be able to afford two teams.

    And this business of it being good for fans and football…self-serving pricks. Just own it, and call it what it is: “We believe, at this moment in time, we hold all the cards and would like to take this opportunity to cement our advantage and the extraordinary profit potential to dominate football for now and the foreseeable future.”

  11. Waking up the day after the news of the Super League and it still feels odd.

    Spurs have sacked Jose Mourinho, a story I’d normally be basking in, but are they doing that because they want to gear up with a proper manager for this Super League windfall? They’ve gone from being able to attract Nuno, to now being able to attract a rockstar. They’ve gone from a certain Harry Kane exit, to now possibly keeping him.

    I’ve spent 5 years writing about Stan K needing to do things the hard way, and in the space of one pandemic, he’s shortcut 5 years of pain and taken us back into guaranteed Champions League football. He did it all without spending his own cash. He brought us the Arsene Wenger FFP dream. We have the edge without the effort.

    It’s a lot to take in.

    Amazon and Disney are looking at stumping the $4b for the TV deal. That’s game-changing money. $350m just to sign on.

    There are some lawyers doing the rounds that basically say UEFA have no say in this and the Premier League wouldn’t be able to stop it.

    Some are saying the league might suspend the teams. Don’t be stupid. The 6 teams leaving are the 6 teams that matter. All of them are clubs that can make a super league on brand name alone. The Premier League likely won’t have much power in this.

    One possible hope with this is that there is European Union or British government intervention. It’s been trendy for countries to get involved in big business to protect industry. We’ve seen moves on 5G, TikTok in America, medicine. Question, is football worth protecting? This is a culture wrecking move. There’s also not a lot of love for billionaires. Boris Johnson won with the little guys last time around, would he go against his elitist instincts and step in? Is Macron action-oriented or just hot air? Would Merkel accept this from yet-to-be-confirmed German sides? Where is the politics on this?

    There’s not really a counter to creating a closed league, hence the botched PR launch. However, human nature is all about the in and out club. We’re programmed to want to be on the inside. In caveman times, if you were in the out-group, you didn’t eat. Well, shock horror, my DMs were firing on all cylinders this morning…

    ‘Awful… but’

    Clear-eyed, this move for Arsenal, is hard to argue. David Dein led the first break away league way back when. We are crippled financially, there was no plan for the pandemic, clubs want to take back control of their destiny. Arsenal have turbo-charged the future with this move.

    I suspect the calculation on this is that fans are easily won over. Morals didn’t stop human rights abusers taking over clubs. No one cared about blood money if it was being spent on big-name players over the last decade. It won’t take long for fans of the in-club clubs to sail over to the idea that this is actually a good thing because Arteta’s transfer budget just grew 10x inside a day.

    The other part of this story is that there’s going to be a networked effect on the fan multiplier. The biggest clubs, with the most fans, always in the biggest competition, will grow their fanbase at the expense of outsiders or plucky upstarts. Where are the kids going to spend their $80 for football shirts? The clubs where the stars go every season. Wednesday night football will be a global spectacle that diminishes smaller ‘outsider’ clubs chances of moving forward.

    Think about the shape of our summer now. We’ve gone from a hard sell, to one of the easiest.

    I spoke to some people yesterday that had a ruthless mindset on the matter.

    Why not change?

    When you start at a new place of work, your first job is to look at how they do things and ask questions. You will always find something that is baffling, inefficient, and counter-productive. When you ask why… ‘we’ve always done it that way.’

    Human nature is routine. Football is routine because it works. Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. This could be the start of an ideas race. Rory Smith, who I’m sure will have some excellent thoughts on this, said that football without competition is content. Do fans want content? Or competition? Can a truer competition exist for the purist? Does that purist spend more money than the casual? So many unanswered questions.

    I was speaking to Matt Kandela from the podcast who has been shaped by New York to be one of the ruthless business people I know. He asked why European football was only for the top 7 clubs in each country. Is that interesting enough? Is that exploiting all the opportunities there are? Why can’t we create European avenues for Championship teams? That’d be interesting. Norwich vs St Pauli? I’d watch. Monday and Friday nights are free. Is there such thing as too much sport? Baseball has 180 odd games as season. So not in America. What is the capacity for fans?

    Why couldn’t the alternative Champions League be an awesome spectacle? In the current Super League, you have a shite Arsenal, a shite Spurs, a fairly meh Chelsea team, and a Liverpool in decline.

    Super League vs Champions League. Let’s make this pure WWE.

    Football fans go where the hype is.

    The main losers here right now are the fans that will have to spend money on all these experiments.

    … but football only dies if the others don’t fight back.

    What I will say is that I have absolutely no interest in supporting UEFA and FIFA in this. Two of the most corrupt organisations in the history of sport. Fuck them. They’ve allowed this into the game. They failed to enforce FFP, they failed to get a grip on disgraceful schedules, they gave the World Cup to a country using slave labour to build their stadiums. They have no moral high ground on this.

    … and that’s the rub in this. It’s like a Tarrantino film, everywhere you look, there are bad guys. You don’t know where to place your allegiances.

    The big loser is the game and as a result, the fans.

    The billionaire class moved in on our culture and they are ripping it to shreds.

    I had a look at an Arsenal site. Off to confession this evening for that. I thought you would be interested in what they are saying.

    Being on the winning side is better than being an outsider, but don’t enjoy it too much, if something is too good to be true… it’ll bite you in the pocket eventually.

    For now, tell me what you think in the comments below. Gonna try and get a podcast fired up a little later today about it.

  12. To understand the seismic importance of the proposed European Super League, let’s first think about the United States. In a country that prides itself as the cradle of modern capitalism, there’s been at least one realm where a form of socialism holds sway: professional sports. The top American leagues all operate with what could be described as “socialism for the rich.” The owners of franchises work in a closed shop, where no matter a team’s sporting success, a steady stream of profit is effectively guaranteed by shared television deals and other mechanisms, including salary caps and penalties on overspending.
    For those holding the purse strings, egalitarianism is the name of the game. For example, in the National Football League and National Basketball Association, as the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson noted a few years ago, “the top draft picks typically go to the worst-performing squads from the previous year. Revenue sharing redistributes wealth among the rich and poor teams. Overall, success is punished by design, misfortune is rewarded by design, and the power of wealth is circumscribed with spending caps.”
    In Europe, where social democratic systems abound, the opposite is the case. The continent’s many national soccer leagues have long fitted into a Darwinian maelstrom of survival of the fittest. Success begets success, often yielding greater revenue and the opportunity for top teams in each country to participate in Europe’s Champions League — a lucrative annual tournament that runs parallel to the national competitions. The richest clubs corner greater commercial deals and can outspend the also-rans; the bottom feeders get relegated to lower divisions, making the target of climbing back to respectability all the more difficult.
    The risk of failure in European club soccer is far greater than anything stomached by owners of American sports franchises. Sometimes, ambitious leadership jumps the shark, gets saddled with debt and leads the club to ruin, not glory. But for decades, the average European soccer team was never seen and never operated as a franchise — that is, the plaything of a billionaire or ownership group — but as the social clubs many once were, rooted in communities and beholden to the fans who gave them life. That an opportunistic owner could relocate a team to some other city, as is common in the United States, would be a monstrous act in Europe.
    “Traditionally, clubs did not regard themselves as businesses. England’s Football Association used to forbid club owners from profiting from their investment,” wrote Simon Kuper of the Financial Times. “The aim was to ensure clubs were run by ‘the right class of men who love football for its own sake.’ Regrettably, those rules were scrapped in the early 1980s.”
    The model steadily eroded thereafter. Soaring TV revenue, sponsorship deals and the investment of major financial backers — from Russian oligarchs to Arab sovereign wealth funds to American billionaires — made an already unbalanced playing field all the more warped in favor of the haves over the have-nots. To the corporate executives running soccer’s elite teams, a fan sitting in another continent thousands of miles away was as exciting a potential customer as those living a stone’s throw from their home stadiums. Soccer in many European countries had already broken free of its grass-roots tethers.

    Then came news of the European Super League. On Sunday evening, it emerged that 12 of the continent’s most well-known teams had agreed to form a breakaway tournament that, if successfully launched, could prove fatal to the Champions League and the entire soccer pyramid that sits below it. Most of these clubs are already huge global brands, with social media followings far greater than those of any U.S. sports team. There has been talk of such a competition for at least 30 years, but this proposal, which is apparently backed by financing from U.S. investment firm JPMorgan Chase, looks the most serious one yet.
    “A dozen clubs have agreed to become founding members of the league, including much of the cream of English, Italian and Spanish soccer: AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur,” my colleagues noted. “Fifteen clubs are expected to become permanent members of the league, per the shared announcement, with five more rotating through after achieving qualifying benchmarks.”
    In effect, the proposed competition would cement the Americanization of top-level soccer in Europe. The owners of the new league’s permanent clubs would be granted an environment free of jeopardy. Gone is the risk of failing to even qualify for the Champions League, a fate endured by Arsenal for the last few years. Instead, there’s a guaranteed fortune for the designated super clubs, some of which are currently loaded with debt and in deep financial trouble amid the pandemic. And for thousands of other professional clubs in Europe, there’s the vision of a ladder being pulled up and the airship of the chosen ones soaring away.
    It’s unclear if the project will get off the ground. As it is, it has provoked a huge backlash. Both national and regional soccer authorities have threatened the teams with expulsion from existing competitions. Former players have lashed out in disgust at the cynicism of the concept. Fans are staging protests outside stadiums, though probably in far smaller numbers than they would in an age without coronavirus protocols. Politicians, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right Italian leader Matteo Salvini, have all condemned the greed of the cabal of breakaway owners — some of whom happen to be American billionaires and financiers.
    “We must not allow the financial interests of a few top clubs from England, Italy and Spain to result in the abolition of tried and tested structures,” declared Germany’s soccer authorities. “Football in Europe also lives from the fact that it is theoretically possible for any club to compete with the best on the continent. This dream must not be replaced by an almost closed society.”

    But there’s plenty of reason to also be cynical about the status quo. The romantic “dream” of soccer as the people’s game may be true compared to any other sport, but at its highest echelons, it’s already become an “almost closed society.” Three of the four competitors in the semifinals of the Champions League — including two clubs that have signed up for the breakaway league — are run by owners tapping into vast reserves of Russian, Emirati and Qatari petro-wealth, respectively. The existing bodies that govern soccer are hardly institutions of democratic accountability and drag a long tail of scandal and corruption. And the pandemic has accelerated fears that an already unsustainable business model for many clubs lacking the same resources as the wealthy few is on the brink of collapse.
    Ultimately, in a globalized world, it’s almost certain many viewers would still tune into the spectacle of this super league, no matter the outrage of those in its shadow.
    “It is worth pointing out an uncomfortable truth: this is what a lot of people actually want,” wrote Guardian journalist Jonathan Liew. “Maybe not you or the stalwart season-ticket holders … but certainly millions around the world with no particular historical attachment to the game, and for whom the idea of keeping the elite teams apart for the sake of tradition seems as perverse as shelving the Godzilla vs Kong movie on the basis that they still need to face all the smaller monsters first.”
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    Headshot of Ishaan Tharoor
    Ishaan Tharoor
    Ishaan Tharoor is a columnist on the foreign desk of The Washington Post, where he authors the Today’s WorldView newsletter and column. He previously

  13. Thanks, Ian. A very accurate write-up. Money has changed the game. But I was willing to live with a ‘done deal’ and for Villa and Compass to compete in that reality.

    I was also encouraged that more wealthy backing was coming into the PL, or Championship clubs who looked viable, and that this would at least restore some competitive balance.

    As it stands, I’m all behind kicking the six out if they don’t retreat, sanctioning them even if they do, and upending the current model. If Compass lose interest, if Villa suffer, so be it.

    I was a supporter (rather young, granted) as Villa were clawing their way back up from the third division (can’t say I was around for the ‘57 final as some we know were), and I’ll be Villa til I die. I’d much rather see English football go back to what it was than see it march into further commoditization and imbalance. I guess that makes me old now, but not all change is good.

    So, enough is enough. Here’s hoping the 14 other clubs, Villa included, show some spine today and draw a line.

    From third division champions in 71-72 to champions of Europe in 81-82…that’s the way football was meant to be.

    I enjoyed every win in the Championship. I’ve enjoyed every victory back in the PL. Losing hurts just as much anywhere. I’ll be wherever Villa are.

  14. I’m also going to point out that I wonder why Edens and Villa weren’t tapped up, given three of the six have majority American ownership.

    If they were, kudos for resisting. If they weren’t, it only increases my contempt for the clubs deeming themselves bigger than a European champion whose chairman came up with the league in the first place, and did so in the spirit of inclusion and fair competition.

  15. JC Maybe Villa are a reminder of an uncomfortable truth, and have stuffed a few of the 6 this season already 🙂 Inclusion is basically about recent consistency in Europe and therefore larger income and fan base world wide, nothing else.

  16. MK,
    That graph really spells it out clearly as to why it is the six clubs involved.

    JC/Ian,
    Great input from you both, and good to see the information coming from across the pond.
    This league will become like the WWF has to wrestling, delivering phoney sport as entertainment.

    Interesting to note that you go back to the third division days JC, making you a very long term fan.
    I was fascinated listening to the Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher last night, as they put in some really good thoughts, going into how the Premier league started in 92, and how that was actually good for the game, raising standards, improving football grounds and safety, and creating new competition, which was needed.
    They also commented on Manchester City and pointed out the good that their owners have done world-wide for football, and are not in the debt position of the other clubs. they also felt that if City decided it was a bad thing and were the first to withdraw, the whole thing would collapse.

  17. 48 Hours on from the seismic news and I’m more livid than ever. Billionaires who have lost half a billion in the pandemic want it back. Everyone else can take the job losses, furloughs and other shit. We’re being stiffed by them.

    Time to level the playing field. Kick them out. Let them play all over the world. Let those who want to watch it pay for it. No world cups or euro’s for the players. Let them settle for fat bank accounts or lose it all gambling and drinking. I don’t care.

    But I do care about AVFC. My club, in my city, in my tribe. The football authorities have created the monster it’s become by letting the big clubs dictate instead of levelling the playing field as Ian states the franchises do in US. It’s not beyond the wit of man to make that work across the whole English club pyramid.

  18. Plug- Last I heard no Billionaires have lost anything due to the pandemic, some have become 10x wealthier as money has been printed hand over fist and spent by the masses into their pockets and then into whatever assets they choose to buy and hold.

    The American System from what I understand works because the colleges filter their players through to the top sides who then pick the best etc. Our system has hundreds if not thousands of football clubs.

    You can’t share out the best players to the worst clubs in our scenario or Jack would be playing to a 100 fans, They don’t have relegation either so the sharing only happens at the top.

  19. No real competition in the American system, and if you read what JC has said, you will realise how corrupt it is.
    I am also beginning to realise it is not just about the Super League, it is also about cutting out the corrupt middlemen of EUFA and FIFA, who have been milking the system, and taking huge backhanders for years. It is also about breaking MUrdoch’s control through FOX and Sky, having basically worldwide control of TV rights, and Amazon and Disney wanting to break into the lucrative market.
    There is a lot more to this than is initially being talked about. This is only the very beginning of what could be a very big shake-up of football, and what happens.
    Will VAR in its present form be part of this new league??
    I can see once the dust settles a lot more coming out. This is not a bunch of crazy people who have come up with a plan that has not been thought about.

  20. PP- no I agree this goes deep. The Covid situe has opened the box with every game being televised now they have discovered there is a market for them to exploit if they have full control. So taking all the best supported teams worldwide and putting them in one league? seems a no Brainer.

    What seems a shame is that the teams in this country could do the same and sell their own rights, the problem is those 6 believe the are worth more and the others are bit part players.

  21. “Audiences are decreasing, and rights are decreasing and something had to be done. We are all ruined. Television has to change so we can adapt,” Florentino Perez, chairman of the new European Super League, said.

    “We are all ruined” FFS. “Television has to change so we can adapt” FFS what does that mean. Real and Barca are bankrupt so the rest of Europe has to be shafted?

    Well mind I don’t slip on the bullshit. BT and Sky bid £4.4 billion for the lions share of 200 games per season for period 2019 – 2022. This is down from £5.1 billion in 2015. So the Sky is falling in eh? The 6 from England can’t get their hands on all that money if other teams finish above them. Time to say one thing at the big meetings but do something else.

    Read the article link:
    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/20/european-super-league-chairman-defends-breakaway-soccer-competition.html

  22. Some are missing the point of what is behind this move. Manchester United have 240 million followers in China alone, the biggest fan base in the world today, generating millions of pounds in income, virtually negating the fan base in the UK.
    I was watching fans in Dubai, and elsewhere in the world, saying what a great idea they think it is, being able to watch live matches between the best teams in the world.
    The TV income from these games will dwarf the payments being made by Sky and BT Sports. Amazon and Disney are the main players, and can rule the world in sport, if they win.
    It is to basically shaft EUFA and FIFA over the Champions League set-up, and will not affect their role in the domestic league, as I understand it, but they will not participate in domestic cup competitions.
    At the end of the day, it is all about the billion and a half world wide audience that is at stake, and everyone needs to sit down and reach a sensible compromise for the future of football.

  23. pp- yep, the Madrid boss put it at 4.5 billion, we have been aware of the potential and trying to tap into it since tony Xia. The big 6 but mainly Utd and Liverpool have had years of growing due to winning and champions league exposure.

    For me I could not give a toss if its chumps league or super league its the shutting teams out and closing the door except by invite from who?

    They want the right to market themselves and sell tv rights individually in an ideal world, but if they went it alone it can’t work hence the league. I have no doubt if successful they would wave the prem bye bye. I suspect the only reason they want to remain for now is just in case it falls flat or the law courts go against them.

    I am astounded that its all going off right now as the covid fuck up continues to Rodger the economy but I suppose they are thinking even if we get a reduced world market it will be better than a depressed European one.

  24. The surprise it that for footballers its not all about money otherwise Billionaires could buy clubs anywhere and form a world league and pay all the best players. Unfortunately if they kill the infrastructure that supplies players the quality would become poorer over time with less teams to play for. This way they have a captive audience with faux allegiances already and the risk is zero. A big problem is no player grew up wanting to lift the super cup of nothing, they are as attached to their dreams as fans are to some extent.

  25. Jordan Henderson called a emergency meeting with all the captains from all the clubs to discuss the super league apparently, that’s is an interesting come about if true, you would think the players union would be in there too.

  26. Paul, you’re right regarding world audience.
    I wonder how people would feel if the league was portrayed as a much more inclusive plan? It’s no secret that the Champions League was getting more and more cumbersome. The glut of fixtures kneecapping the most recent arrival due to small squads. Having to decide which is more important, domestic or international. The premise of mid week games and not that many of them, to me is a good solution to those problems. The paring down of the league compared to the Champions League, again to me is a good change. Perhaps a system where the inclusion of teams from lesser leagues is removed and placed in the second tier of international play. Remember BCFC playing internationally from the Championship?
    Internationally a big revamp is necessary in the Champions League and probably one of the reasons the ESL was created was to alleviate those problems. I mean really, the inclusion of every top team in every European country—isn’t that a money grab?
    When it comes down to it, its the audacity of immortality to 15 teams regardless of performance, the number of followers they have worldwide. That’s good business to recruit people and not their fault. I mentioned that years ago when kids showed up at my door for a bottle drive to support their soccer team. They knew MUFC and not even an idea who
    Villa were. There were people pushing their teams boat out years ago and now they want some separation from the rest. Bastards all of them but in the grand scheme of things in business, its good business.

  27. Ian the problem was when the European cup became a league and mis labelled it the champions league. It attracted leaches and allowed more teams (top 4 regulars) to become the elite rather than the winner takes all it was.

    From that moment more and more games got added and usually against the crapper sides which is less lucrative to the top sides hence the new perpetual big teams clash league. Its all done in the name of equality like so much today but is not really Equal and if the big earners don’t want to be charitable then what. I can see both sides as the rose bush of football has quite a few to many suckers growing on it. On the other hand the population has grown too.

    I am surprised the British government are bothered as every other aspect of the former British life is being erased.

  28. Excellent set of comments.

    Yes, it is about money, it is about franchising, it is about the American model—the ringleaders are Americans, after all.

    And naturally it’s appealing to once-great clubs who don’t have access to PL money and have screwed themselves financially. We’re debt-free, despite the pandemic. For these clubs to use that as cover, well, it only points to their precarious positions, lack of planning, and why FFP was, ostensibly, introduced.

    And indeed, the global audience is what they’re after. It’s absolutely the case when pointing to China, Dubai, wherever. It’s a detachment from the roots and communities from which these clubs came, everything that has made them great. These aren’t the values of any of the clubs or supporters. This is a league to supplant all others sooner or later.

    The American model, which is a socialist cartel, ironically, will also grant expansion franchises. It has to be part of their thinking. The owners and no one else make the rules. Yes, there’s a league office, but it’s puppetry.

  29. I am fascinated by the idea of setting the big six adrift, and promoting the top six Championship clubs into the Premier league. This could be a huge boost to our football, and would cascade down the leagues, and may provide a life-saving boost to may small clubs, as they suddenly are able to compete in a new playing field.
    Birmingham City or Derby could then be able to win the Championship!!! Forest may rise to nnew heights and bring back their glory days!
    Villa would be challenging Everton, Leeds and West Ham for the title!!
    Champions league football would be ours…!!

  30. This would then all be followed by a world super league, with teams from all the major leagues playing each other!
    River Plate could end up playing against Chelsea, and if they did not like the result, they may shoot the owners…!!

  31. I think if they get expelled then they could well invite others around the world to achieve the same aim. If it works then others may join. Imagine the top Chinese club playing Liverpool and both sets of fans are Chinese, surreal, might even change their name to Riverpool, bad joke I’ll get me coat 😉

  32. This was a post from another Blog, No video yet but I can’t wait

    “Looks like a crazy game for the under 18’s, won 6-4, was 3-2 up but then 4-3 down. Had the GK sent off and a CB had to go in goal. Then went and scored 3 goals with 10 men lol.

    Young scored 4 goals, Barry and Chuck got a goal each”

  33. I also agree that the mishandling (read greed) of the Champions League and UEFA League have a lot to do with this, but not everything.

    The competitions are bloated, are a drain, and, most important, don’t provide guaranteed income, or perennial super status. Seeing how popular the product is, the breakaways think, “Hey, we’re the global brands starring in this show. Time to set up our own competing production.” And yes, cut out the middlemen and any obligation to anyone else.

    They want to be free of any entanglements or rules apart from the ones they make for their new club/league.

    Its hubris, it’s business, it’s ruthless, it’s hardly surprising. Plastic fans in America get fed a steady diet of prime-time games featuring these clubs. It’s all they know, and they latch onto the sides who are winning. The do like the game, but they really don’t know where it came from, what it means. And the don’t care because it’s just something to watch on TV that isn’t American.

    They love the foreign flavor. They love aping and appropriating the traditions. MLS fans try to recreate the English/European atmosphere at games.

    So yes, right now, they say, “I don’t want to watch Aston Villa-West Brom. I want City vs. Liverpool.” Until Aston Villa become City.

  34. PP, of course Dubai would be in favour of it. Mansoor owns Citeh and Emirates sponsor the Arse for millions each year. They would love any increased exposure. Watching live games starting after midnight might be a bummer though.

    But they could always change the start times. Hold on, the Chinese want to watch it live too. Big brother will then step in and decree games are spread around the world “in the spirit of inclusion” but mostly in USA.

    Meanwhile, your average fan of the “12” hasn’t got a prayer of going to San Francisco or Kuala Lumpur to support their team. So they can kick a can down the road and go and watch the nearest non league team. Wonderful idea.

  35. I don’t think it will happen. There’s so much resentment and opposition. FIFA anf UEFA will be under huge pressure to come down hard on them.

    I can see laws being changed by UK and the ECJ if necessary to ensure it. It then becomes a case of punishment when they come crawling back. I say the 4th tier of English football, no higher.

  36. The average fan of sports who decides to watch a soccer game is going to pick a big ticket game. No question about it. Teams have to work to put their name front and centre. It helps if you win a lot too.
    That’s the reason why ESL is butting in.

  37. Well I’m not sure I like any of the options. Kick ’em out and the football loses, keep ’em in and football loses. Trouble is I’m pissed that they want their cake and eat it, we have to stop that in it’s tracks. However, my fondest memories of any away games have been at Anfield and Highbury, never could be arsed with Old Trafford it was already a glory hunters club with the London Reds, Midland Reds (not the buses) and even the Glasgow Reds FSS. being inside Anfield in the Saunders era and listening to ” You’ll never walk alone” made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. And when they were done we’d go into a rendition of ” Bertie Mee said to Bill Shankly” good old days. I’m also pi$$ed that we were not included, although I don’t like the idea we are BIGGER than four of those a$$hole clubs. For quite a few years after I emigrated I wrote to Ted Rogers in Toronto to add some English games either to PPV or even Tele-latino to which he was the sole owner at the time and already carrying Italian games on Sunday afternoon. Took years but eventually we started to get some games on Rogers Sportsnet. Now we have to download and and pay for Dazn, as it got too expensive to carry them after Skye kept putting up the prices. Will be the same for this ESL it will be PPV of some description without a doubt. I know one thing, just like you lads over there refused to pay fifteen quid a game at the beginning of CoVid, I too will tell them where to shove their money. I can live without whooping the Pool once every decade lol.

    Well lets hope we can smash $hitty tomorrow and give them something to think about, is that a pig flying, boy these gummie bears are good!!!

  38. MK,

    Yes. The American system draws on college/university athletes. Every year there’s a draft of seniors (graduating) and some juniors (players who are good and don’t want to risk injury playing another season), and teams get to pick in order of finish. The worst team from the previous season gets the first pick. In basketball, a lot of kids now opt to go into the draft after one year of college.

    So, colleges are the ‘feeder’ or ‘developmental’ level. In football and basketball, it’s a very big and corrupt business. Huge money for coaches, TV coverage and contracts like the pros (sustaining these programs along with a lot of other sports), games with 100k in attendance, national playoffs, kids all over ESPN, magazines, etc. Separate housing, state-of-the art gyms and practice facilities. Your top 30 college football team facilities make Bodymoor look like a neighborhood rec center.

  39. Canadian Villan- Not Ted Rogers of 321 fame I take it?

    JC- I suspect our owners took one look at the Garden shed at BodyMoor and pulled out the cheque book.

    I suspect if a player went for years undiscovered in some lower league in American football he would be in a wheelchair by the time he was discovered so the system makes sense to a degree.

  40. here here JC
    I for one am very confident that the plans for ESL has zero chance of happening despite the mega money involved and why ?
    because football is unlike any American sport or any other sport on the planet
    Football is about community , family a sense of togetherness , mess with someone in a villa shirt in my view at your peril 🙂
    the greatest chairman of all time McGregor who set out the blueprint that has spread worldwide way past 100 years and counting

    if people loose there passion for a football club and are backed into a corner rather than continue to support MUFC for example the vast majority of fans will form there very own AMUFC and get behind it fom the start of the pyramid in there droves … rich owners be warned

    In fact I feel this disgusting move has done football a favour and it will now seek to preserve its heritage and itself from the money men taking over football clubs

    so thankfully that we are not involved

  41. Chelsea reportedly backing out, with City to follow.

    No word from the American teams. If Tottenham are the last ones standing in the ESL, good chance for them to finish second.

  42. Man City started the withdrawal process earlier today, and Chelsea are to follow suit, according to Sky during the drab 0-0 match between Chelsea and Brighton, where the players did not seem to have their heart in the game.

  43. PS I speak from experience with the US police, had a gun drawn on me on the I81 just for speeding. TBF although I never pi$$ed myself I am sure I had a dribble, these fella’s especially state troopers think there shit don’t stink and they are above all of us Black or White. I am white but had Canadian plates, this was just North of Binghampton NY, supposedly a civilized state!!!

  44. It collapsed like a house of cards. The rats have scampered for their bolt holes and left others to face the music or fall on their swords.

    Simple apologies won’t do. Treachery must be punished. What is a suitable punishment for the 6 clubs? I’d relegate them with the top 6 in the Champs promoted and no relegation this season for the EPL. To the 4th tier as well. UEFA can deal with the European bans.

  45. You can only think that their Lawyers did not fancy their chances and that the initial losses would of been to much as some service a lot of debt.

  46. OK UEFA, don’t screw this up. Even a blind man can see these clubs are not able to dictate matters at their whim. Time for some big European bans. How long did they boot the English out for after Heysel?

    Now rise above the threats and corruption. Revamp the Champions League into groups that guarantee half the last 8 standing are from teams outside the usual mob. Then anything can happen at the straight knockout stage and the competition will have new life breathed into it.

  47. Canadian Villan – the British cops don’t carry guns routinely but they can still fuck your day up when they pull you over and common sense does not apply to law. My Girlfriend is facing court for no insurance after her Broker cancelled hers without calling her after taking her money. To top it off she cannot find her licence and the police insist she has been driving on a provisional for 20+years according to the DVLA who apparently have previous for losing peoples driving details, chalking off Bike and HGV licences with not record of the drivers passing in their database. You are then asked to prove you have passed it or resit and take umpteen points. I am discovering that even Speed awareness courses don’t keep your details, driving test centres destroy them after so many years, DVLA destroy documents after 10 years and even though she has had her Licence validated on numerous occasions for work, car hire, insurance etc and was hit by joy riders in her driving life the only evidence we have is her driving instructors word that she passed.

    My faith in authority is at an all time low. If any of you have any ideas or similar experience’s to share let me know on here please. It will cost £1500 just to plead not guilty with representation , retrieving her car was already £500. I am discovering that nobody out there gives a fuck.

  48. Oh just for good measure she works in caring is 55 and was wearing her carers outfit when this happened, so much for essential worker, she now gets up at 5.30 to get a bus for her work at 8.30pm and gets in at 8pm most nights all for about £12 an hour.

  49. Mark, the shit keeps coming in many walks of life. I’ve had energy companies empty my bank account and had one hell of a job getting the money back. I worked overseas for a while and rented my house out here. When I got back, it cost me thousands more than collected in rent to repair the damage. The estate agents were supposed to vet the tenants, but they are only interested in getting their letting fee.

    Then we have the €uropean $uper £eague trying to shaft everybody. Greedy bastards must be punished.

  50. Canadian Villan no I am not that silly to think it was just a smoke screen but as I said football will now seek to protect itself from being hijacked my money men in the future

  51. Plug – I sympathise mate, the biggest shit is there is no recourse for the average person, pleading not guilty can cost you £££ and there is no Guarantee even if everything points to you being right you can still be guilty by the letter of the law. There appears to be no point in fighting against it unless you are minted.

  52. Not looking good from Dean’s presser. Jack Grealish, Trezeguet and Sanson out for at least the next few weeks. Will Jack or Morgan make it back before the end of the season?
    Dean confirmed my thoughts on Trez and us getting a penalty against Liverpool.

    Will be interesting to see the line-up and subs for tonight.

    MK,
    Will come back to you a little later.

  53. Just a thought, having seen the outrage and the reaction to it by the 6 its occurred to me that real change could get done in the world if the will was there.

    The problem lies in the propaganda/disinformation put out and lies told from all angles that make the big decisions in life very hard to pin down, exactly what constitutes the truth? It does tell you where the power lies if we are of one mind though.

  54. Mark I am at last going to agree with you 🙂 re your last post
    However the people power was strongly aided by the press who were just as outraged , we have to remember Sky BT and are the current big hitters in sports coverage were fiercely defending there investment in all this … so there huge influence in stopping this idea in its tracks is possibly more about money than morals on there part

  55. Runtings oh I totally agree there was a lot of job saving going on from the media who very often are just stirring shit up or directing the narrative. That’s why I said it would be nice to know the real truth so informed choices can be made, unfortunately there is no such place to find it today.

  56. And yes, an awful lot of cops in the US think they’re Wyatt Earp. There’s obviously a lot of racism and unjustified, murderous use of force. It’s sickening and deeply embarrassing.

    Without that video, no chance Chauvin would’ve ever been charged with anything. Talk about something to be outraged about.

  57. Basically, Sky were going to blow this one away, whether it was right or wrong, with their world domination through Sky/Fox supplying virtually all the major sports exclusively to the rest of the world.
    Initially, the reform was going to address the corruption that has been glossed over, and never properly dealt with in both EUFA and FIFA.
    Hopefully, now they may all sit down and address this sad saga.

  58. H&V,

    Yes on Dean’s comments. Obviously the attempted coup diverted my attention, but that’s basically what I was going to say about the youth.

    Loans are still the only real way to toughen them up and get them ready, a few wunderkinds excepted. The Henshaw appointment is very savvy in that regard.

    Not ideal, but being around training and the first team can only do so much. Imagine being 17 or 18 and sat on the Villa bench at Anfield or Old Trafford. The stands and hostile crowd towering over you, the volume, the intensity, physicality and speed of play. Takes a certain mental fortitude to be excited to come on in that environment, never mind actually being able to make your mind-body do anything useful.

    You need to know you can go out and do it against hardened players at Championship level, or at least League 1.

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