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Crisis of ambition leaves Merseyside in danger of becoming a trophy-free zone

28/04/2015  Comments (39)  jump
With Everton 28 years on from their last title and Liverpool 25 years on from their's, Tony Barrett blogs on the city of Liverpool's fall from footballing grace and the risks of Merseyside becoming a place that celebrates the success of years gone by because that is all it has to cling to.
Two years ago, Everton removed the Latin motto Nil Satis Nisi Optimum from the club badge, prompting wholly justified outrage from those who still cling to the idea that nothing but the best is good enough. The reality, though, is that those words are no longer fit for the purpose. Everton do not aspire to be the best, their existence is now defined by punching above their weight rather than knocking out all comers.

» Read the full article at The Times (£)


Reader Comments (39)

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John Raftery
1 Posted 28/04/2015 at 18:54:00
With the RS it has been a case of gross mismanagement in the past ten years since they fortuitously won the Champions League. They have thrown money down the drain and almost went bust. With us the gross mismanagement was between 1987 and 1999 when we drifted along with no sense of direction and threw money down the drain - money which we simply did not have. With hindsight we were very fortunate to enjoy our success of the mid eighties which arrived out of the blue on the back of 13,000 gates and repeated calls for 'Kendall and Carter out'!

There is no easy way back to the top and it may take a whole generation for us to catch up. I just hope we get there before the RS.

Brian Denton
2 Posted 28/04/2015 at 19:12:27
No point in linking to any articles in the Murdoch press unless you fancy paying for some journo’s inane scribblings. The Times/Sunday Times/Sun are all behind paywalls.
Patrick Murphy
3 Posted 28/04/2015 at 19:17:31
Agreed Brian – Personally I wouldn't pay for the privilege of reading a blog – but you have to give the opportunity to those who would.
David Sheen
4 Posted 28/04/2015 at 23:01:37
If football was more simple, and money had not have poured into the game along with the foreign invasion. I'm pretty sure Everton or Liverpool would have another title.

The Premier League changed the landscape of English football, and Liverpool and Everton have not adapted well. Liverpool have certainly not lacked ambition, but Everton have. Both clubs are guilty of gross mismanagement, but in different ways. In Everton's case, it's at the business side of football along with no investment.

Eddie Dunn
5 Posted 29/04/2015 at 08:28:48
All those thinking that extra revenue is the answer to our problems, take note. Liverpool have spent big without winning the Premier League title. They failed to build on Stanley Park (thank God – there isn’t much greenery for the locals around there as it is).

Despite regularly getting into the promised land of the top 4, they have still failed in Europe in recent years. So even if we get an influx of money from qualifying for the CL or a rich benefactor, it is still no guarantee of success. (I wonder when the Americans will get sick of their LFC project?)

We need to keep improving on all fronts and redevelop Goodison, as we could wait another 100 years for the right opportunity to come along. With the TV money rolling in, surely this is the time to do it?

Andrew Ellams
6 Posted 29/04/2015 at 08:44:30
I read somewhere this week that Liverpool have spen almost 𧿄million on 190 players since they last won the league. That works out at almost 8 players and 㿋million a year. If Everton had spent even close to that IÂ’m sure they would have achieved more than the RS have over 25 years.
Patrick Murphy
7 Posted 29/04/2015 at 08:45:54
Eddie I agree that money isnÂ’t the solution on its own but the reason they have been able to compete at all is because of their huge commercial arm and the sponsorship that goes with it.

We have had little or no investment a negative net spend for the whole of the PL era and a wage structure which is sensible but stops us getting the type of players needed to break the monopoly at the top. We donÂ’t require billions of investment but we do need an individual or group who are able to pump some much needed revenue into the club, to keep us in the top ten teams never mind the top four.

Eric Myles
8 Posted 29/04/2015 at 08:55:14
Eddie #5, but extra revenue will help in us not having to sell players every year to pay back debts or to be able to fund new purchases.
Ross Edwards
9 Posted 29/04/2015 at 09:17:20
MerseysideÂ’s era has passed. The 70s and 80s was our time, the 90s and 00s was ManchesterÂ’s time and now the next 10 years is probably going to be LondonÂ’s. I can see Chelsea dominating.
Brian Harrison
10 Posted 29/04/2015 at 09:25:19
Football has always been dominated by the teams with the most money, and this will never change. At this present time Chelsea and Man City and Man Utd followed by Arsenal are amongst the richest in the league and coincidentally they occupy the top 4 places. Now, because of the FFP rules, the chances of another club being able to break the existing cartel over the next 10 years is minimal.

Yes, one of these clubs can have a poor season and drop out of the top 4 but that will only occur on rare occasions. That leaves the FA Cup and the League Cup as the only possibility of silverware for the clubs outside the cartel. I would think that only Liverpool could possibly break into that cartel as they still have a worldwide fanbase that generates a lot of money; other than them, I don't see the top 4 changing anytime soon.

Colin Glassar
11 Posted 29/04/2015 at 09:47:01
Football is now a closed shop as FFP proves. It sickens me to see the likes of no-mark teams like Man City and Chelsea gradually catch up with us in the honours table. It will eventually happen but it will all be down to money.

Saying that, both Merseyside teams have been grossly mismanaged over the last two decades. The RS more than us as theyÂ’ve literally flushed hundreds of millions down the toilet. Our only argument is that weÂ’ve been skint over the same period of time.

Eugene Ruane
12 Posted 29/04/2015 at 09:55:54
Brian (10) - "Football has always been dominated by the teams with the most money, and this will never change"

Have to question that.

Before Sky/PL, a team basically had four sources of income.

1) Gate money.

2) Revenue from selling scarves and few other bits of tat (incredible but true - grown men didnÂ’t go to games dressed in club shirts back then).

3) A bit of telly money.

4) Whatever the chairman felt like contributing.

This would have made Man Utd in the 70s, with their 60,000 crowds, one of those teams dominating... except they didnÂ’t (and for one season they were getting those crowds in the old 2nd Division).

We were Â’the millionairesÂ’ of football, but didnÂ’t win a carrot from 1970 to 1984 (Sure, we could afford a Bob Latchford* or a Martin Dobson, but we couldnÂ’t afford to pay that kind of money on every position.)

Liverpool were winning titles but werenÂ’t doing it because they could outspend their rivals (certainly not by 20 times).

I was born in 1959 and from then to 1992 (when Sky began) the league was won by 12 different sides – Wolves, Burnley, Spurs, Ipswich, Derby, Liverpool, Manchester Utd, Manchester City, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Everton (that includes Liverpool winning it 13 times in that period).

Now some of those clubs would have been richer than others, but not to the degree they could basically freeze out 90% of the rest of the league and/or almost guarantee themselves silverware.

Since the Premier League, itÂ’s been won by 5 teams (Blackburn, Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal) and money has been a major factor.

Jack Walker threw his millions at it and Blackburn won it. (Jack Walker, died, Blackburn now in the 2nd Division or whatever itÂ’s called now.)

Chelsea and Man City – two sides who were in lower divisions until relatively recently, will have won the PL 6 times in the last 10 seasons (assuming Chelsea win it this season).

Man Utd and Arsenal may not be as rich as their rivals but guess what, recently, they donÂ’t look like winning as much.

Unlimited money of course doesnÂ’t give you a 100% guarantee of trophies, but probably about 90% (and an almost 100% guarantee of CL).

As far as Â’competitionÂ’ is concerned, what we have now is a total nonsense and patently unfair. The PL is the equivalent of watching a sprint race that sees two runners wearing jet-propelled rocket-packs and the rest with their legs tied together.

We all (specially me at my age and having renewed my season ticket) need our fucking heads testing.

I donÂ’t believe thereÂ’s evidence to suggest money was the reason for the success of teams before Sky and itÂ’s obviously the major contributor to success now.

Eugene Ruane
13 Posted 29/04/2015 at 11:14:55
* And Latchford wasnÂ’t 𧸖,000, he was two players plus cash valued at 𧸖,000.
Andrew Ellams
14 Posted 29/04/2015 at 11:25:19
One of the major differences between now and pre 1992 is the squad sizes of the so-called elite. Previously they didnÂ’t stockpile young players from the teams around them. Could you imagine the likes of Trevor Brooking playing in a team that yo-yos between the divisions in the modern game, and WBA keeping some of the players they had in the late 70s.
Brian Harrison
15 Posted 29/04/2015 at 11:26:35
Eugene,

Yes, I should have said since 1992 the monied clubs have dominated the Premier League. Yes, when I started watching Everton in 1956-57, every team at the start of the season believed they could win the title.

I, like you, have renewed my season ticket for next season and as you also say we need our head testing. Especially me as I have been very critical of RM and, despite a change of tactics recently, I worry he will revert to type for next season.

But by-and-large, us Blues have always been well supported. I well remember being inside Goodison with well over 70,000 for a night game. The other amazing thing is that it was pay at the gate and if you didnÂ’t have the right money, they gave you the change.

Dave Abrahams
16 Posted 29/04/2015 at 11:38:26
Brian & Eugene,

I think you would both agree it was better watching football before the Premier League took over. I know it is for me, a much more level playing field.

Eugene, you are right about the Bob Latchford deal, money plus Howard Kendall and Archie Styles.

Brian Harrison
17 Posted 29/04/2015 at 11:56:09
Dave,

I think it's true for many of our age group, we have been lucky to see some great Everton players and some great Everton teams.

Funny, I bumped into Peter Reid last week and we spent about 40 minutes reminiscing about the old Everton teams. He was telling me he played against Alan Ball when he was in his 30s and he said he was still a great player. He said that the best player he ever played against was George Best and he must be one of the very best that ever played in our league.

I feel very sorry for the under 30 fans who have not seen any of the great teams. No wonder we sing "If you know your history" as thatÂ’s all we have to cling onto.

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 29/04/2015 at 12:16:02
I agree, Brian, itÂ’s always great looking back and talking about old games and players of different eras.

George Best must rank as one of the greatest British players, although for me it was Tom Finney of PNE –simply because he did it a lot longer than Best.

But the greatest ever player for me, though I never saw him in the flesh, was Alfredo Di Stefano of Real Madrid, a player who would have been great in any era, a marvellous player and great leader on the pitch.

Patrick Murphy
19 Posted 29/04/2015 at 12:31:12
It’s amazing to think that George was only 25 when he went off the rails, I hadn’t realised that fact until I watched a documentary about Booze and British culture last week. I didn’t get to see him play live but he must have been some player – although my Uncle’s tell me he didn’t do a great deal when playing for Man Utd at Goodison.
Eugene Ruane
20 Posted 29/04/2015 at 12:07:34
Brian - ha ha ha, and hereÂ’s me tutting and thinking you were about 23.

ItÂ’s funny, these days I genuinely and consciously try to think before I express some Â’it was better when I was a kidÂ’ view.

In fact, so I donÂ’t look like a mad oul twat, IÂ’m keen (even happy) to express opinions about the many things I think were shite about the/my past. (When people of my generation smilingly say Â’it was a simpler time back thenÂ’, I usually add Â’it was certainly more boringÂ’.)

And I think many things are better now than they were in the 70s and 80s (entertainment options, restaurants, food, communications, trains, personal hygiene...) and I definitely donÂ’t think football back then was some magical wonderland.

Shit pitches, racism, Â’hard-man defendersÂ’ (see 'fucking filthy bastards'), putting your life in danger traveling to away games, lunatic police treating you like cattle etc.

But what it was, was much, much, much fairer and trophies were won, not bought.

Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 29/04/2015 at 12:40:55
Yes, Eugene, your last line sums up what I meant in regards to football, but for me life in general was better. I think large parts of society has been ruined by drugs and the culture of life drugs bring with it, but again each to his own.
Harold Matthews
22 Posted 29/04/2015 at 12:45:34
Eugene. Nice posts mate. Sad but true.
Brian Harrison
23 Posted 29/04/2015 at 12:49:11
Dave,

I watched the great Di Stefano play for Real Madrid against Man Utd at Old Trafford, that Real team had Ghento, Suarez and Santamaria – a great centre half. I think I am right in saying that DI Stefano was the only player to represent three countries in World Cups.

Not only was Di Stefano a great goalscorer – I think, apart from the great Alex Young, he was the best footballing centre-forward I have ever seen.

Mind, I'd better stop all this All Our Yesterdays... otherwise, I could go on all day.

Patrick Murphy
24 Posted 29/04/2015 at 13:07:51
As Eugene states, only five clubs have won the Premier League since it began.

Everton’s best finish was 4th but only a dozen other clubs have finished sixth or higher during that period — can you name them? I’ll post the answer in about an hour.

Chris Leyland
25 Posted 29/04/2015 at 13:01:15
Eugene, you picked the year you were born as the measure of whether the league is now won more based on money than merit than in the Â’good old daysÂ’ and thus compared a longer period of time (1959 to start of Premier league in 1992) to the Premier League era of 1992 to present day as the comparison.

Instead, if you include this season and say that, over the 23 years of the Premier League, it has been won by 5 teams and then look at the last 23 years of the Football League before the Premier League era (1969-70 to 1991-92), the title was won by 7 teams in those 23 seasons. So, not a massive difference.

Also, in the Premier League era, one team has by far and away the most titles: Man Utd with 13. In the corresponding pre-Premier League 23-year period, one team had by far and away the most titles: Liverpool with 11. Again, not a massive difference.

In the pre-Premier League period, 5 teams won 21 of the 23 titles between them, in the Premier League period 4 teams have won 22 of the 23 league titles. Again, not a massive difference.

What has changed more for me is this top 4 and the competition immediately below the winners. In the Premier League era, it is by-and-large the same top 4 or 5 year-in and year-out. In the pre-Premier era, it was much more open with teams like Watford, QPR, Ipswich, Sheff Wed, Palace and West Brom finishing in the top 3. That simply doesnÂ’t happen any more.

The reason for this is because of ChampionÂ’s League money and the cartel this effectively creates. The introduction of Â’Financial Fair PlayÂ’ dressed up by Uefa as trying to introduce fairness has effectively perpetuated the cartel by making it harder for teams to break into it and pulling the ladder up behind the monied teams.

Patrick Murphy
26 Posted 29/04/2015 at 14:06:11
Chris, you are correct: the number of clubs finishing in the top 4 has reduced over time.

The period 1948-1970 had 24 different clubs finish 4th or higher; 1971-1992 saw 20 clubs; and only 13 clubs have ended 4th or higher in the Premier League era.

Everton have ended 4th or better on just 14 occasions since 1948 and only once in the Premier League, whilst Arsenal (21), Man Utd (22), Chelsea (14), Liverpool (13) have all but equalled or bettered Everton during the Premier League alone.

The answer to my earlier question was as follows:-

6th – Bolton; Wimbledon;
5th – QPR; West Ham; Ipswich;
4th – Spurs; Everton;
3rd – Norwich; Nottm Forest; Leeds Utd
2nd – Newcastle; Aston Villa; Liverpool
1st – Man City; Blackburn; Chelsea; Man Utd; Arsenal.

Eugene Ruane
27 Posted 29/04/2015 at 14:09:43
Chris, my point is a simple one – every team before the PL (since the league began) at least had a chance – and since 1888, 23 teams took that chance.

Their wins were mainly down to the fact that (in the years they won) their coaches/managers and players came up with better plans and performances than the rest – they couldn’t/didn’t just go out with unlimited funds, find the best players on the planet and say ’him... him... him...’ Teams were up and down, consistent and inconsistent, winners and losers.

Not anymore. If nothing changes in the next hundred years, thereÂ’ll still be the same 2/3/4/5 teams winning the majority of the trophies (and the rest of us... whoÂ’ll have virtually no chance).

It is undeniable that game now is fixed in favour of the very wealthy.

Link

The rest (including my own long-winded bumfluffery) doesnÂ’t really matter.

Eddie Dunn
29 Posted 29/04/2015 at 16:33:33
Remember when Clough brought his newly promoted 2nd Division Champions Notts Forest to play us in the first game of 1977-78? We had just splashed the cash on George Wood and Dave Thomas but Forest, with John Robertson taking us to the cleaners down the wing and Peter Withe causing all sorts of problems in the air, swept us aside 3-1. They went on to win the title the year after winning the 2nd Division.

With the right manager and good signings, momentum can be built up and a title challenge could still happen. The youth system is the answer. How many players are there out there that were overlooked by EFC and LFC, that still went on to make the grade? We need to spot them, and develop them, and then bring them into our first team.

Harold Matthews
30 Posted 29/04/2015 at 17:34:23
Eddie, with you all the way but Cloughie wasnÂ’t averse to splashing out the cash like Chelsea and Man Utd. I seem to remember him buying the first ٟ million player and the worldÂ’s most expensive keeper.
Paul Ferry
31 Posted 29/04/2015 at 18:38:08
I well remember that match, Eddie (#29) as some hideously ugly and deformed Forest fan with at least 10 scarfs on each arm and the brightest brownest DMs ever gobbed in my face as I was walking through the lines at the Park End turnstiles on my way to my taunting spec in said Park End.
Eugene Ruane
32 Posted 29/04/2015 at 18:51:14
Harold (30) - "..but Cloughie wasn't averse to splashing out the cash like Chelski and United. I seem to remember him buying the first ٟmillion player and the world's most expensive keeper"

Indeed they did, but itÂ’s a very different situation to what we have now.

For ForestÂ’s spending back then, to compare with the spending of the Man City and/or Chelsea of today, they would have had to have bought 22 ٠m players (or... er... something like that).

Chris Leyland
33 Posted 29/04/2015 at 19:14:12
The Premier League is effectivley a cartel of 5 clubs with the rest of us just making up the numbers. As I said in an earlier post, this has been perpetuated by Â’fair playÂ’ and by the 4 Champions League places on offer.

It is further perpetuated by Sky, the BBC with their predictable running order on MotD, newspaper coverage and commercial sponsors.

IÂ’ve reached the stage where I prefer to watch my 10-year-old sonÂ’s team play to watching Everton. Indeed it has come down to a straight choice between the two on a few occasions this season and the kids footy won out every time.

Whilst I get the occasional moment of joy such as SundayÂ’s 3-0 win, most of the time I end up feeling disappointed and let down by watching millionaires going through the motions and more interested in chasing money than the ball.

Dave Ganley
34 Posted 29/04/2015 at 19:59:33
Some good interesting posts about current/yesteryear. Harold #30, I do seem to remember that we were after the worlds most expensive keeper before Cloughie got him (was it Gordon Lee??) but the board wouldnÂ’t sanction 𧷤k for a goalie... oh what might have been if we had Shilton between the sticks instead of George Wood!!

IÂ’m quite split as to what was the more enjoyable era football-wise really. I first started watching Everton in the mid 70s (Latchford was my hero) and for most of the first few years we actually werenÂ’t far away from being a great team.

We should really have won the title 1974-75 when Derby won it... two losses against Carlisle (yup, they were in the top flight for a season) cost us dearly... 3-2 at home and 3-0 away. Also, when Forest won the league in 1978, I do recall playing Coventry and beating them 6-0 to send us top of the league for while... if we only had Shilts to finish the job.

On the back of that as has also been pointed out, the racism, violence definitely made it a scary time to watch football, especially for a kid, as I was then, and the shit pitches also detracted from the skilful players of which there were plenty. It did seem that most clubs had an entertainer... we had Mckenzie; Stoke had Alan Hudson; Tony Currie at Sheff Utd; Stan Bowles at QPR; Frank Worthington at Bolton, etc. All entertained when they could.

Today, actually watching football is far better, if devoid of atmosphere compared to yesteryear. Fortunately I never had the "program slipped into my pocket and a warm sensation trickling down my leg" but plenty of others did. Unfortunately the lack of competition is a massive drawback. I did ponder for a long time as to whether renewing my season ticket mainly down to the reasons Brain #15 highlighted in that despite recent results (when thereÂ’s nothing to play for) we are going to be subjected to the same style of football we have witnessed for most of this season.

For me, I have always been excited when match day comes along and canÂ’t wait to get to the game but this season, especially since Xmas, I feel like I have had the life and joy sucked out of me and found by half-time I couldnÂ’t care less about the result as I just want the game over and done with. However, as with most others I have renewed (yeah, call me stupid, gullible, mug etc) on the off chance (very off chance) that Martinez has learnt some harsh lessons which wonÂ’t be repeated next season.

Even allowing for the top 4 monopoly, I can accept (from the team) giving their all, being properly prepared and actually having a good go to win every game they play. If the team does that and falls short to a better team then fair enough. But what I donÂ’t accept is the lacklustre displays we have seen for most of the season and bad tactics which all they seemed to achieve is send most blues batty!!

As a club we do need to start showing ambition to win any, all trophies from the competitions we enter. It may not be achievable and not realistic however we deserve, as fans, to treat every game the same and try to win them. As for the ambition (or lack thereof) of the board, well over to you gents to show us how much of "wonderful Evertonians" you are by doing whatÂ’s best for the club and not yourselves. Hmmm.... better not hold my breath just yet!

Eugene Ruane
35 Posted 29/04/2015 at 22:55:42
Just read an interesting (scary, depressing) piece in When Saturday Comes. In an editorial column entitled Â’No ContestÂ’ (basically about English clubs doing badly in Europe this season) there was the following paragraph (below), which certainly explains why the PL are only prepared to play lip-service to the idea of a fair and even league.

"What Scudamore wonÂ’t say is the PLÂ’s future success, depends on an unchanging power structure, as the few teams with a global fan-base drive the ever escalating commercial deals. The league can afford to be competitive only up to the extent that the cartel at the top shuffle around. According to a recent social media survey, widely reported in the football press, 5 English clubs were among the top 10 most followed sports teams in the world, with no others in the top 30. That mid-table sides in England have a bigger turnover than CL finalists (last year) Atletico Madrid counts for nothing when the financial chasm between the top few and the rest continues to widen"

The editor (presumably) adds - "Top level English football is now as close to being rigged as is possible without actually fixing matches"

I agree.

Bill Gall
36 Posted 29/04/2015 at 22:36:50
With the end of the season coming up, and really not a lot of performances from Everton that make you want to do a happy dance, looking forward to next season is not filling me with great expectations.

Like a lot of other supporters, I am very lucky to have witnessed what is fast becoming our history and that is League wins, FA Cup wins and a cup win in Europe. I've seen a lot of great games at Goodison from the 60s onwards and still have my programs from the 1966 World Cup that gave us a glimpse of the world's greatest players of their times and some, still legends.

What saddens me now is this Premier League is simply a spectacle for moneyed teams with the rest of the sides as supporting cast. The sadder thing is after these teams have established their top 4 positions in the Premier League with the use of money injected by billionaire ownership, Fifa. bring out their Financial Fair Play policy that means, even if Everton were to be taken over by a billionaire, they will be handcuffed by rules that are "supposed" to bring in fairness for all competing clubs for years.

My problem with Everton is: What do I want them to do? Keep selling our young players to bring in more experienced players, try for the Europa League spot and hope we donÂ’t slide down the league the following season by competing in it (excuse for this season by some supporters) or hope for a cup win finishing about 8th. But even that puts us into the Europa League.

I want Everton to win every game but being a realist I understand that the odds are stacked against that happening and, as the way the league is set up, our history will be eclipsed by teams who not long ago were in a lower league and are winning purely by the injection of billionaireÂ’s money.

People will most probably think some of these comments are a defeatist attitude, but I do not think I am a defeatist, but a realist that has been let down by an inept Chairman and Board that did not have the business sense to run the club with the future as a priority.

Time to stop moaning and look forward to next season with a hope and a prayer that we break the glass ceiling.

Nick Entwistle
37 Posted 30/04/2015 at 00:08:58
It’s not the PL that is the problem but, as Eugene alludes to above, it’s the cartel of clubs that keep qualifying for the CL.

When it was three teams, it would be Man Utd and Arsenal (who had accelerated under the two-team qualification previously) followed by the revolving door of Leeds, Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle. At the time Leeds imploded and Newcastle suffered under RobsonÂ’s weak transfers, it was increased to four places and those teams in 6th and 7th like Boro and Bolton couldnÂ’t bridge the gap to Liverpool and Chelsea and Boom! Top 4 was rock solid.

And as Eugene posts above, it is important for the PL brand to remain strong, and that is for the same teams to keep qualifying each year.

Unfortunately that means that English representation in Europe (or rather the same 4 clubs who are no more English football than Barca and Real are all of Spanish football) is given precedence over the domestic competition. Only it’s not a competition, is it? And thatÂ’s the tragedy.

People praised Ferguson to the hilt for all he won, but without the massive income of CL and its kudos in attracting players, he wouldnÂ’t be anywhere... well somewhere else anyway, without it. Good for him for winning a two-, three- of four-team mini-league all those times.

It used to be squads of 16 or 17, but now it’s 30, and those outside the top 6 would probably have their first XI overturned by the 2nd XI of the teams above.

It was said Milan bought JP Papin just so other teams couldnÂ’t play him. Now scores of players do not even play at the weekend because it’s better to sit in the stands watching Man City play without them than it is to be at Sunderland or... us, so again the divide is made even bigger.

Most fans think having massive funding is the answer but what has it got Spurs? Fact is, the billionaires have gone off to Russia and France because the PLÂ’s CL spots are solid so make taking over a club here not as viable as guaranteeing CL elsewhere.

ThereÂ’s no point in expecting the CL to change format or the rules of qualification to change in this country. And if you look at it now, not only do the same teams qualify each year, but the same teams are hitting the QFs as well. Madrid, Barca, PSG, Monaco, Munich. Throw in Chelsea it will remain like that.

And the reasons? The Spanish clubs can negotiate their own TV deals meaning it’s like the Scottish Prem when Rangers were there; PSG and Monaco have their billionaires, and Chelski will come good. Munich... theyÂ’ve done something right. But it’s all money.

It wonÂ’t go back to the three tournament format unfortunately, but they should do away with Europa League for one massive unseeded knock-out tournament. It would be worth watching and create a fairer playing field in domestic competition. They all play in the same competition the following season and with qualifiers coming from the cups and a play-off basis below the Champions it would shake things up.

And before I close off this post-midnight ramble, the idea that clubs should gain prize money on league placings is crazy, especially when the top 4 then get an added £Xm for the CL. Keep it all equal.

... ahhhh whatever, it’s not going to change.

Michael Winstanley
38 Posted 30/04/2015 at 00:39:09
Hang on! The cartel have got it sewn up? The Golden Goose is laying her eggs? I have no idea how much itÂ’s worth but theyÂ’re not leaving it to chance. ItÂ’s fixed. ItÂ’s a product being sold to the masses.

Our model of reducing the debt and producing homegrown talent has to be the way forward. I do not want to witness Everton Football Club spending 𧴜s millions and not coming close.

When we got fourth we were offered a seat to join the G14, the European elites; we declined their offer. Does anybody know why?

Patrick Murphy
39 Posted 30/04/2015 at 13:09:54
It might just be me, but I have noticed in the matches I have seen in the last couple of weeks how the referees are allowing the games to flow a little bit more than they were earlier in the campaign and allowing robust tackles to be made. Could this in any way have a direct link to the English clubs exiting European competition?

Would the players at the top clubs be even more protected if they were still in with a chance of winning a European trophy? After all, it would be better for the Premier League brand if one of their clubs was successful in Europe.

Mike Childs
40 Posted 30/04/2015 at 15:38:04
The only viable solution I can see on this side of the pond is a salary cap. ItÂ’s worked for the NBA & the NFL. It absolutely rediculous that Chelsea can have 40 odd players on their payroll and then farm the surplus out.

That they can buy players just to keep them off other teams is against what a real FFP should be about.

The only way to break the glass ceiling to me otherwise is a fantastic manager with great mix of vets and youth.


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