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Worry not for the morrow...

By Tony Horne :  30/07/2008 :  Comments (11) :

Ask anyone at the start of any of the last few seasons who will finish in the top four of the Premiership and most peoples? prediction would be realized. Why is this? What is happening to professional football to prevent 1985 situations when the likes of Watford or West Ham and Everton and Tottenham challenged near the top of the table. The usual suspect is Sky. Murdock?s media empire seems to exert more and more influence over the game offering riches (for some) in return for media friendly innovation. Unprecedented media intrusion? Alas no. Football is the big prize for any media mogul?s empire and the trial run for this take-over is being played out before our very eyes - Rugby League.

So what are the improvements we can look forward to from a Sky Sports/Setanta/anyone else driven game? The main feature of The ?Super League?, as top flight rugby League is called, is that there is no relegation from or promotion to the league. Clubs tender for the right to compete and decisions are made by a committee who openly acknowledge commercial and other factors in their choices. It is in the interest of the game, apparently, to ensure that a side from France and one from Wales is included. No matter that this is at the expense of the likes of Widnes (Challenge Cup winners in 1984) and Featherstone Rovers (winners 1983) and regardless of sporting merit. This is akin to the Premier League deciding that Devon and Cumbria are under-represented and that Merseyside and Greater Manchester don?t need 2 clubs in the top flight so lets swap Plymouth Argyle and Carlisle United for Everton and Manchester City.

Couldn?t happen? Well we already have fixtures dictated by the media (super Sunday anyone?) and rules are changed either domestically when Real Madrid, or internationally when Liverpool FC are in danger of missing out on the money spinning competitions. This would have been unthinkable 20 years ago and whilst it is not quite of the same magnitude as moving rugby league games to a different time of the year (as has happened) it shows a willingness by football people to comply. A desire to take the 30 pieces of silver. An interest in personal advancement. A belief that they know what is best. A disregard for the fan of the future. Nothing is impossible. Should we be concerned?

"Sufficient is the day and the evil thereof"

Reader Comments

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Gareth Humphreys
1   Posted 30/07/2008 at 14:21:00

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Good shout Tony. The state of the game today is shocking but how do you do anything about it ?
A Euro super league was laughed at originally but they have gone and done it anyway by bastardising the European Cup.
In this game if you want it and can afford it you get it.
Nick Entwistle
2   Posted 30/07/2008 at 14:22:07

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It’s called selling out. Its the way it goes. And as this new breed of soccer fan is all for it, and can afford it, then who’s to complain?
Gordon Blair
3   Posted 30/07/2008 at 14:35:04

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Without getting too political on this thread, it's the impact of globalisation of everything from sports to sandwiches, call centres to financial markets - the ideology behind it is that the rich get richer, and the poor can get slightly less poor if they buy into the whole thing...

YES, you want to pay 15p less for bread - then do it at Tescos (and help them to billions of pounds profits)!

YES, you want car insurance 10% discount, so go with Norwich Union with their call centre in India - meanwhile taking jobs away from the UK, but help them to millions of pounds profit!

YES, you want to invest your savings in a secure fund or second home to rent out - meanwhile pushing up prices for everyone else who just needs a place to live..

YES, you want your team to play in the Premier League with ?superstars? from around the world - Then pay up those extortionate ticket prices so the players, agents and hangers on can all become millionaires overnight!


Sadly (or otherwise), its the way of the world.. you can always jump off a bridge! Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.....
Peter Howard
4   Posted 30/07/2008 at 15:11:14

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I agree totally with you Tony.
Rob Hollis
5   Posted 30/07/2008 at 15:24:04

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I am no fan of Cricket, but 20/20 and a bit of cash is fucking that game up as well.

A few years of top four and Champions League pulls you so far ahead it is very difficult (but not impossible) to break the monopoly.

As with everything related to the owner of The Sun, it has all gone tits up.
Ciarán McGlone
6   Posted 30/07/2008 at 16:32:30

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WOuld we be kicking up the same stink if we were on of the top four clubs....of course we blóody wouldn’t...

The premiership is the best football in the world...and with this privilege comes a hefty price to pay...and that price is infated fees, spoilt footballers and a money driven game.

If you seriously don’t want the best football and are so digusted by the modern game then take up a one-man placard and don’t watch...

if you do want the best - then what are you moaning about!
Brian Finnigan
7   Posted 30/07/2008 at 18:43:24

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Ciaran......best football in the world? Do you ever catch any La Liga games? In my opinion, no comparison....every team, even the lowliest, play or attempt to play proper football in Spain. The overall skill standard is far superior to the Premiership.
Matt Willey
8   Posted 30/07/2008 at 23:50:19

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Ciaran is right to a certain extent - if a bigger club can afford more wages for better players to ultimately win more trophies then so be it .. that is just economy of scale I guess ... it’s why Everton have, given their history, won more trophies than say Man City .. but less than Man Utd...

However, when rules are changed retrospectively to accommodate these clubs, when decisions are made that are blatantly in their favour (both on and off the pitch) and when the media don’t take a blind bit of notice or sweep it under the carpet... then that is STINKING UNFAIR CORRUPTION .. and my belief is that in football this disease is reaching endemic proportions !

The checks and balances that previously existed are no longer there; the FA / Premier League are powerless and unwilling to get their house in order and the politicians .. well they don’t give a shit to be honest. So decent hardworking fans are the ones to suffer.. not just Evertonians... there are fans of another 87 clubs out there who feel exactly the same.

Lets not forget Clattenberg, the ’gentlemans agreement’ about Tim Howard, Paul Stretford... the fact that Tevez and Mascherano played on loan at top 4 clubs last season - ON LOAN ! that despite the controversy surrounding their initial transfer to West Ham, The slanderous comments in respect of AJ diving - from Wenger, all the terrible decisions, all the media bias, all the petulance from their so called ’stars’ , all the SKY money that goes into keeping the top 4, and their employee’s, in their ivory tower.

Everton are not entirely innocent but if you can’t beat them you have to join them - clubs like ours are victims, along with Villa, Spurs and many other fallen giants...Leeds, Forest, Sheff Wed to name a few..

But maybe there is hope .. or at least a sting in the tail for one or two of the big 4 ... MIchel Platini .. and his plans to only allow 3 teams to qualify for the Champions league .. such a policy would surely ’devastate’ at least one big 4 club who budget for this annually ...

We need more innovation in the game to stamp out the unfairness.... retrospective red cards (for assaults which go unpunished - Kuyt / Gerrard etc... ), proper punishments for transfer impropriety and ’tapping up’ - i.e. Robbie Keane ... and just a general improvement and upholding of professional standards and ethics.

Otherwise, as someone previously uttered in an old article on here (maybe Colm) .. Football’s Fooked !
Derek Thomas
9   Posted 31/07/2008 at 06:24:54

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Tony, I’ll see your quotations, worry not...sufficient is the day...

And raise you with 2 of mine

1) He who pays the piper calls the tune

2) Alway remember the golden rule...them as has the gold makes the rules.

Your piece is a timely reminder that the DK BK KW Brouhaha has made us introspective.

All this and more vis a vis Rugby League could come to pass. There are a similarities between Us and Widnes from 1985.

The deal they were offered was as you say, not room for 2 franchises in the area, so it was amalgamate with Warrington (R.S. in our case) or be on the outside looking in.

They chose the better dead than red option.

Being introspective and having your head in the sand just means you get your arse kicked.

Fairplay to you for reminding us.
Peter Howard
10   Posted 31/07/2008 at 12:34:15

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Derek:
or how about- " .. if you sup with the devil you should use a long spoon "
Dave Lynch
11   Posted 31/07/2008 at 14:31:03

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Tony.
I posted on here last season stating the very same, and that is the reason I refuse after 20 seasons to renew my season ticket. I am being dictated to by the media and it?s cash cow mentality.
As for my favourite quotation that a lot of people on here should remember is: "I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."


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