The Best League In The World – My Arse!
So here’s the good news.
The pyramid system in England works fine, despite the disgusting lack of money trickling down into it. Despite the poor foreign imports even lower down the leagues stopping homegrown talent progressing. Despite the absolute absurdity of administrators like Richard Scudamore and Greg Dyke “polling” opinion on whether we need Premier League B teams lower down the leagues to give youngsters a chance.
Well today answered that squarely. Where else in the world of football would you get a fifth division team beating a first division team who are in good form at home? Nowhere on the planet.
So to every administrator in England:
Stick to trying to fob punters off that the top league is the best in the world.
Stick to selling your product in Asia, Africa and beyond and treating fans like customers.
You’ve made your bed, now lie in it. But don’t ever try to be so high and mighty that you think you can re-invent the wheel of English football that’s been turning pretty well for over 140 years.
Because as Millwall and Lincoln proved, there is absolutely no fixing needed lower down the league. Indeed, if Premier League teams punched their weight as lower league clubs regularly do, we wouldn’t have an embarrassing situation where English clubs, the richest in the world, are getting their arses handed to them on a worryingly frequent basis, which brings me to…
The Bad News
It’s not Arsene folks. Although he should, if Arsenal directors care about winning rather than bean-counting, be toast at the end of the season.
It’s the emperor’s new clothes that football fans are being told is the best when every statistic available to us suggests that as the money rolls into top level English football, the standard of Premier League games goes down and so do English club teams in European competition.
Want proof? The team that will win the league were abject last season, so they will go into the Champions League next season without any European club football in this one.
The current Champions of England may well be in tier two next season and were dumped out of the FA Cup by a tier three team.
Liverpool and Manchester United, England’s two biggest clubs by a country mile, have the sum total of a second leg against St Etienne to look forward to in the coming weeks.
Arsenal have had 20 years in the group stages. One Final. Manchester City will eventually get European success, just like Chelsea and maybe PSG, but it will take about 1 BILLION pounds to do it, maybe more.
And Spurs, the flag-bearer of all that is youthful and good about English player development and the core of the national team for years to come were dumped out of the Champions League and were woeful, inept and clueless against a side who are 8th, yes 8th, in the Belgian league. Or to make an analogy closer to home, the same position that Dundee are in the SPFL, a similar league in quality to the Belgian league.
Yes I keep hearing how everything is great, how the money will keep going up and how the Premier League is at the forefront of English football progress.
No it’s not. It’s proven to have virtually killed off the national team, it’s virtually killed off 20 teams in the league at least having two or three marquee players (due to player hoarding by the big clubs, who just loan players out to non-competitive teams abroad). And it is now overpaying massively for average or poor talent while Bale, Ronaldo, Messi and Lewandowski laugh at the prospect of playing in the Premier League. Because it’s not good enough for them to consider anymore, unless they’re coming for cash.
We can talk about Alexis and Ozil being world class but where have they taken Arsenal to? Two FA Cups. Wow, hardly proof that the world class talent we do have is playing world class football.
You need to win six games to win an FA Cup and probably will do it beating non-league and lower league teams with plenty of home draws along the way if you’re lucky. World class my arse! Which is why Barca and Real didn’t want them.
Branding and marketing are vital to the Premier League money-making machine.
If Sky and BT tell you long enough that the league is the best then it just becomes accepted.
But trust me, as I sit here writing this column, having commentated on hundreds of Premier League games over the last eight years (more than anyone, anywhere on TV or radio) the amount of crap was large, the amount of average was large and the amount of classics was virtually nil. Which is why Sky keep bloody playing that 4-3 game!
Show Me The Money
Why should we worry? Well if you’re a business owner and the quality of your product actually gets worse the more quality ingredients you put into it, you’d be worried!
I’m worried that when the billionaire foreign owners find something else to satisfy their ego, when Scudamore goes off with his millions to the Cayman Islands to retire having given less than nothing to the English game other than great deals for clubs, and when fans say I’m going to watch other sports or lower leagues because the value is there, we will be left with a lot of debt, a huge mess and ask one question. Where did all of that money actually go?
Answer right now? Not towards top quality football teams, that is for sure.