English football needs fairer alternative

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    There is nothing more certain than death and taxes… except for Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal challenging for the flag.

    In the great history of the English game, particularly since the ’60s, the odds have always been stacked in favour of the big six.

    When the EPL formed and the five instigators threatened to break away from the first division it was because they had come to realise their power.

    The 80 teams in the English Football Association were sharing television rights equally and that didn’t suit the big six.

    So, rightly or wrongly, the big six became the instigators of a Super League breakaway concept… and television, BBC, ITV and Rupert and all the media bought it.

    Now the architects of the great English coup, the owners and chief executives of the big six, knew where the power base lay.

    So the 15 other clubs in the EPL, by their design, were essentially there to make up the numbers in the new Super League.

    If Newcastle played Southampton, yes, there was a television audience.

    And if Everton played Blackpool, it was the same story.

    But any game involving the big six had dollars – or should I say quid – written all over it. That was all the Media needed to sell the concept.

    The forming of the EPL had success written all over it.

    The big six were still able to pull the strings, the media could still sell space and time ad nauseum and the 15 number maker-uppers were more than happy to compete for the three bottom spots, if not some obscure shot at a European competition or the FA Cup.

    The administrators were taking in a huge haul, via media rights, cash through the turnstiles, cash through the concession stands and cash from sponsors. Just as importantly, this was to occur for six to seven month, guaranteed.

    That’s what you call a successful competition.

    It’s like saying “here we go, you 15 miserable hangers-on; go sit in the corner and lick the cream off the floor”.

    The EPL is not an English invention; it is an invention of the media.

    It is not a level playing field. It is a competition of six teams.

    It is not predicated upon what’s good for the youth of England (like the AFL have created in Australia), but what’s good for the fat men plotting behind closed doors.

    So while the EPL careers down the road of success, the England team is a basket case and will remain so until the balance is restored.

    All the good players in England can play 70-90 games of football in an eight-month period. That’s one game every three days. They are literally run off their legs.

    And while television and the big six apply their concept of a ‘competition’, 15 teams can never win it.

    I stand to applaud the big six, ITV, BBC and Rupert Murdoch for the great competition they have established and for the great monopoly they have established.

    But I think the power brokers who fear tinkering with the mix and bringing the house of cards down ought to re-think.

    You might as well just have a Super League with the big six and Newcastle playing every week – a super six, per se.

    If Sky B, Mr. Murdoch, the FA and the clubs are fair dinkum, they will take the next big step.

    That is, create a draft, a salary cap and some combination which enables the 15 to have a fair-dinkum chance at winning a title.

    And then watch the fall out.

    Rupert and the big six will choke on their sausage rolls over that one. But it is the logical next step.

    The EPL is football.

    Football is meant to be a team game, where every team has a chance to win the title.

    But since 1992 when the EPL was formed, Blackburn has been the only team outside the big six to have managed the impossible and won a championship.

    And that was Alan Shearer time, when the world went crazy for eight months.

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    The Crowd Says (14)

    • May 2nd 2012 @ 2:20am
      Dan said | May 2nd 2012 @ 2:20am | ! Report

      Here is what you are not getting. There is purpose besides money grubbing, though the money is the main spin. To compete in Europe, England NEEDS teams that are continually winning the league in order to attract top class talent to compete in another competition. Without the “big 6” as you call them, there would yes, be a more fair domestic competition, but forget English teams competing in Europe, it would be NEAR impossible. Did you think about that when typing up this worthless little didy? I didn’t think so.

      • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:06pm
        AndyMack said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:06pm | ! Report

        Ease up Dan. I dont think it was a “worthless little didy”. Some people place a greater emphasis on the national competition than on European Cup glory. You are right that the english teams would not compete with the likes of Barca and Inter. I would gladly give that up to see a much more even comp during the year, but as Art suggested, there is no money to be made in that!!!!

    • May 2nd 2012 @ 10:32am
      Lou Lando said | May 2nd 2012 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      Virtually impossible to enforce a draft and/ or salary cap in England.
      Best players will simply go to other European clubs including the English players.
      TV will then pay less for an inferior product and smaller clubs will go down left, right & centre.
      A cap for all of Europe is only way but that will never happen. They have enough problems with the EU let alone all countries agreeing to this.

      • May 2nd 2012 @ 12:22pm
        Matt F said | May 2nd 2012 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        Yep. There’s also the relegation aspect. You can’t really relegate clubs if you also have a salary cap. That will then cripple the lower leagues as their teams will no longer be able to ever reach the EPL. It’s easy to forget that the EPL, unlike the A-League, AFL, NRL etc is’t just one league existing in isolation. It’s actually the top league in a pyramid stucture. For some clubs it’s a real achievement just to get into the premierleague. I suggest that the author reads up on the league system


        In other words the premierleague isn’t just 20 clubs existing on their own. It’s the top 20 clubs out of over 7000 clubs. That’s a pretty exclusive club and one that changes annually.

        Besides, for all the talk about a “top 6” from the article 3 of them (Chelsea, Man City and Tottenham) weren’t any chance of winning the league 10 or so years ago. Man City weren’t even in the EPL 10 years ago.

    • May 2nd 2012 @ 11:07am
      Futbanous said | May 2nd 2012 @ 11:07am | ! Report

      Much truth in Dan & Lou Lando’s posts but I ask where do you get the big six from?
      Manchester City were no bigger than Sheffield United/Wednesday,Leeds ,Notts forest,Newcastle,Sunderland ,Wolves.Aston Villa,West Ham & others not far behind ,nor were Chelsea either a big club till Abramovich. Even TottenhamArsenal,ManU,Liverpool it could be argued were only marginally bigger clubs than the large pack behind historically.
      Nobody was making up the numbers,they all had a chance to hop in for their chop. That Clubs like Notts Forest,Sheffield Wednesday,Leeds are not in the EPL is purely from mismanagement not adjusting from the First Division mentality to the brave new world of football which as indicated by others is about competing in Europe. Wigan is in the EPL as a classic example of what can be done if you approach the brave new world with an open mind.
      Under the old system it settled into its niche position A mainly RL town with football a lesser consideration. Enter the EPL a chance for greater riches,greater glory.
      Its inconceivable for me growing up on the game in England that this club is in the EPL & Leeds,Sheffield Wednesday & Nottingham Forest etc are not.
      But I’m not whinging I say good luck to them they made the most of the new EPL world these historically strong Football clubs didn’t.

    • May 2nd 2012 @ 12:09pm
      Disco said | May 2nd 2012 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

      Tottenham challenging for the title? Not since the mid ’80s.

    • May 3rd 2012 @ 10:45pm
      Aleks said | May 3rd 2012 @ 10:45pm | ! Report

      This is the worst thing I have ever read on The Roar. Some of the facts and assumptions made here are so wrong I can’t believe the editors allowed it to be published at all.

      Big 6? Weren’t we still getting used to the idea of a Big 4 a few years ago? City and Chelsea have both only joined the EPL elite this decade, while Tottenham were considered ‘best of the rest’ up until 2-3 seasons ago. Saying that any club outside of Manchester United or Liverpool instigated anything in 1992 is laughable. Liverpool’s demise into a mid-table club these past few seasons is further proof that the benefits of the SKY TV deal are not being shared by a few top clubs exclusively.

      To quote the article: “… particularly since the ’60s, the odds have always been stacked in favour of the big six. ” I should have stopped reading here as a cursory glance at wikipedia will tell you otherwise. Half of these clubs haven’t been in the top division for all of these years, including United.

      • May 4th 2012 @ 1:50pm
        Brian said | May 4th 2012 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

        Exactly Cty were also rans for years way behind Villa & Everton. If the next billionaire buys QPR instead of Chelsea or Man Cty they too can challenge.

        Arab owners by the way have bought Man Cty, Malaga & Paris St Jmn, all under performing teams with huge supporter bases. Any back to the point and the EPL has at least 6 big clubs which is 3 more than Spain (being generous to Valencia) and 1 more than Italy (big 3 + Napoli & Roma).

        • Roar Guru

          May 4th 2012 @ 2:10pm
          The Cattery said | May 4th 2012 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

          “If the next billionaire buys QPR instead of Chelsea or Man Cty they too can challenge. ”

          I think there are some factual errors in the article, and even the concept of a Big 6 is a new one to me, but conversely, in a round about way, this article is also trying to say that there is actually a problem with what’s quoted above, i.e. this idea that you need to bought out by Oil Sheiks to have a chance of being competitive.

          • May 4th 2012 @ 5:00pm
            Brian said | May 4th 2012 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

            In reality there’s a very small chance for QPR but what I am saying is that the reason is their lack of historical success. The “capitalist” system in European football is essentially done in other sports by not having promotion and relegation at all. QPR & Swansea are unlikely to win the EPL in the next 20 years but likewise South Melbourne in the HAL or Port Melbourne the AFL.

            In other words if you have a big 6 and say another 5 who can dream through luck and great management of again one day challenging – Newcastle, Everton , Aston Villa etc well that is all you really need. Only 10 teams can ever win the HAL, and for many years only 8-12 could win the VFL.

            It is obviously a different system to what existed 40 years ago when Doncaster Rovers could dream of one day winning the league but those days are gone. Look at Spain or Scotland those leagues are really choking themselves to death with only 2 potential winners every year.

    • Roar Guru

      May 4th 2012 @ 2:38pm
      Fussball ist unser leben said | May 4th 2012 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

      A very poorly researched article with numerous factual errors.

      Even the opening sentence is riddled with errors of fact & substance: “There is nothing more certain than death and taxes… except for Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal challenging for the flag.

      “Challenging for the flag”? What sport are you talking about?

      Manchester City has spent large portions of the past 30 years yo-yoing their way up & down between the 2nd leauge & top league in England & even spent time in the 3rd league! Chelsea have never been considered “a big club” and prior to Abramovic’s buying the club, Chelsea rarely challenged for the top spots in the past 30 years

      The Roar is a terrific website for football discussion, but yesterday’s article by Dugald Massey & this article reflect poorly on the lofty standards set by The Roar’s editorial staff.

      • May 5th 2012 @ 8:01am
        Kasey said | May 5th 2012 @ 8:01am | ! Report

        It has all the overtones of those regular Herald Sun articles that preach to the AFL masses about how great their little comp is despite all the unseemly attention the world showers on the Premier League because:
        a. Sockah is not a ‘real sport’, and
        b. its just not as ‘fair’ as our AFL. you can tell because you hear terms like “win the flag”, which in my experience is only used in an Aussie Rules context and it professes that all the equalization policies eschewed by the AFL(stolen from the NFL) are the only way to run a sporting competition.
        garbage article.
        Still it is off-season in the domestic football so I’ve come to expect these sorts of articles. Heaven forbid someone should write about the exemplary week the local game has just experienced, so much good news to ponder:
        Jets saved
        first meeting of the JALSC
        CCM plan B into action until the Russian takeover is finalized
        Serious rumours of SBS telecasting 1 x HAL game in the near future.
        Bonita Mersiades writing a detailed look at how the next media rights deal will 90% chance likely cover the entire Salary cap.
        Yeah, but instead we get these types of pieces:(

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