Short-sighted and hubristic, the Cabal's grand plan would kill the goose that lays the golden egg

The "Project Big Picture" proposals cooked up by two of the big six and their Trojan Horse in the EFL, Rick Parry, would slowly and ironically erode what has made the Premier League the exciting competition it so often is today

Lyndon Lloyd 13/10/2020 110comments  |  Jump to last

You don’t have to think very hard to come up with reasons why the English Premier League has been so successful… and it has been incredibly successful over the 28 years since its inception. It is arguably the most competitive and exciting league in the world and the massive broadcast deals that have been increasing at every stage of negotiation are as clear a reflection of that as you could ask for.

The Premier League is in big demand at home and abroad. It has the magic of 132 years of history behind it; an array of storied clubs, both playing in it on an annual basis and fighting to get in each season. Promotion brings giants from yesteryear, like Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds and Huddersfield, back into the top flight and gives clubs like Bournemouth and Barnsley the first taste of the top division in their history. Each carries the dream of one day joining the elite and, in recent seasons, some of them have far exceeded expectations and have added even more competition.

Together with Leicester City’s stunning achievement in 2016 and their close call with the top four in 2019-20, these newly-promoted clubs have, to a significant degree, tempered the notion that the Premier League, with its power increasingly consolidated among a cabal of six clubs, was becoming predictable, with the honours and Champions League places being fought over by that select few.

The financial gap between the “big six” and the rest has been growing ever larger over the past decade or so. And yet, intelligently assembled, well-managed and superbly coached teams like Wolves and Sheffield United have come very close to joining Leicester in cracking the glass ceiling in the very recent past. Everton and Aston Villa have made the kind of start to the new season that offers hope they might give it a good go this time around. That kind of narrative, unpredictability and competition is, you would think, the currency of a hugely popular league, one guaranteed to keep punters across the world riveted, tuning in and paying up while it also nurtures a thriving football culture at home.

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How ironic, then, that the owners of Manchester United and Liverpool, together with the malignant force that is Rick Parry, have been concocting a proposal that would tighten the strangle-hold this cabal have on the top places, increase their share of the revenue pie, and choke off even further the avenues open to clubs from the outside to get in.

The premise is sound, of course. The financial crisis that is gripping the game amid a Covid-19 crisis that shows no sign of abating, together with contradictory advice, protocols and restrictions from Westminster — in whose world does it make sense for an indoor venue like the London Palladium to be packed with people enjoying an audience with Arsene Wenger when fans of his former club Arsenal are locked out of the outdoor Emirates until March? — is threatening the very existence of a growing number of clubs outside the Premier League.

With its £250m rescue package for Leagues One and Two, £100m to shore up the Football Association’s immediate shortfalls, long-term investment for non-league clubs, grassroots football and the women’s game, and an ongoing commitment to increase the share of television monies being distributed to the bottom three tiers of the English Football League to 25%, “Project Big Picture” is loaded with incentives.

Indeed, the proposals are precisely the kind of reset that English football needs in order to correct the yawning disparity that the original breakaway of the Premier League from the old Football League, under Parry’s guidance, created, starting in 1992. They would go a long way to secure the futures of those clubs in the lower reaches of the professional pyramid and provide for the future health of English football.

As we have discovered, of course, all of this would come at a price for those teams not in the cabal. The Glaziers, who own United, John Henry and his Fenway Sports Group, who own Liverpool, and Parry, who used to be Chief Executive at Anfield, have, with naked and unashamed hubris, baked into the proposals the consolidation of power among those two clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham. The democratic one-club-one-vote system in the Premier League would be swept away with voting power placed in the hands of just nine: the big six and the next three longest-serving clubs of the Premier League era — currently Everton, West Ham and Southampton. The rub, of course, is that, among that nine, it would only take six votes to carry any motion which would effectively place the future of the game in England — from the selection of the Premier League’s CEO and the breakdown of broadcast revenue to the allocation of prize money and the very rules of the competition — in the hands of that cabal.

In addition, the top flight would be reduced to 18 teams, with two going up and down between the Championship each season and an end-of-season play-off between the 16th-placed team in the Premier League and the next three best-placed clubs in the division below to determine one more spot. The net result being that it will be harder for clubs to come up and more difficult to stay in the Premier League once they do, all of which suits the power brokers at the top.

This power grab is all incredibly rich (if you’ll pardon the expression) and opportunistic on the part of the cabal. Their argument, the same one they use when the concept of a European super league is mooted, is that because the biggest clubs attract the lion’s share of the interest and the audience, they deserve a greater share of the spoils from the Premier League’s success. They say that the global audience wants to see Liverpool take on Man Utd or Bayern Munich much more than it wants to see the reds play Burnley or some other unfashionable club.

The irony is that, until Sheikh Mansour and his petrodollars came along just a dozen years ago, the same argument could have been made about Man City, a faded, parochial power with only its core support and little appeal beyond. Prior to Roman Abramovich’s arrival, Chelsea had just one league title in their entire history and were just another middling club compared to Everton, the original big club — indeed, England’s quintessential “top flight” club. Tottenham haven't won the league for almost 60 years but qualify these days on account of their London location, shiny new stadium and wealthy backers. On a more even footballing landscape, a Burnley, Newcastle or, further down the line, a Sunderland are just a billionaire takeover away from beginning to compete for the top honours. However, as journalist Daniel Storey writes, the old meritocracy has been replaced by a plutocracy seeking to ensure that it will become incredibly difficult — even more so than it already is — to break the hegemony of the top six... and the same will ultimately happen with the Champions League.

That the six clubs who just happen to be the contemporary power holders should get to seize ultimate control of the direction English football is an abhorrent notion and should be fought tooth and nail by the rest of the Premier League. It shouldn't be ignored that there are some tremendous and long overdue suggestions within the Project Big Picture documentation – caps on away ticket prices, investment in facilities up and down the pyramid, and potential provisions for safe standing, to name just three – but they and the promise of redistributing income to the lower divisions could be enacted without any of these dangerous, anti-competitive clauses being included at all. But, at the end of the day, it’s a cynical coup dressed up as a rescue package with Parry as the Trojan Horse inside the confines of the EFL.

If the worst parts of PBP (or some modified version of it down the line) are successful, the ultimate irony is that it could kill the goose that has been laying the golden eggs all these years as it would slowly erode what has made the Premier League the exciting competition it so often is today. The German Bundesliga has some good teams and a wealth of great players but Bayern Munich have won it for the last eight years; seven of the last eight Ligue 1 titles have gone to Paris St Germain; 15 of the last 16 La Liga championships have been won by Barcelona or Real Madrid; and even the Scottish Premier League, a two-horse race for years, ceased to be a meaningful tournament when Rangers imploded and Celtic are now going for their 10th successive title.

The Premier League is special by comparison and it needs to be protected. Before Leicester’s feat, it felt as though the competitiveness was draining out of it but, with Everton, Leeds, Leicester, Wolves and, perhaps, the likes of Aston Villa, you now have a strong and vibrant clutch of 10 teams capable of beating each other and adding far more intrigue than was the case just a few years ago.

Do the 14 teams outside the big six have the strength to resist this impulse and a drift towards what might ultimately be the end-game of a closed-shop European super league and the permanent destruction of the Premier League? Does the Football Association have the stones to stand firm even against a watered-down revision that still seeks the same ends? Can enough EFL clubs see through the smokescreen and reject these proposals outright or would they back Parry should he trigger the nuclear option of the big six resigning from the Premier League to rejoin the EFL?

Time will tell but it’s just dismaying that it has even come to this — one of the world’s greatest sporting competitions threatened by forces representing the antithesis of sport, fair play and competitive spirit – all in the name of money. But then, perhaps, that was inevitable the moment the Premier League itself broke away 28 years ago.

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Ron Morgan
1 Posted 13/10/2020 at 07:41:59
Excellent appraisal of the PBP which has opened my eyes to the obvious 'protect our interests at all costs' being proposed by those teams who wear red! Surely those clubs outside the acknowledged Top 6 will have their own ideas and strategies to save the EPL from extinction? I bet Mr Moshiri will have sensible suggestion(s) to put forward.
Ken Kneale
2 Posted 13/10/2020 at 08:00:41
A thoroughly accurate and intelligent article as always. This correspondence must be circulated to the various decision making bodies for the process as an example of what could be achieved and what should not be countenanced for the reasons outlined under any circumstances.
Mal van Schaick
3 Posted 13/10/2020 at 08:37:43
Why change a winning formula? The moguls want to dominate in order that they can shape their own opulent futures in way that they will try to control not only the English leagues but also the European leagues.

The FA and others are onto them and now the power struggle begins!

Joe McMahon
4 Posted 13/10/2020 at 08:50:02
I was speaking to a Rochdale fan yesterday, and she doesn't care about Sky Billionaire teams but wants the best outcome for small town community clubs. We all remember what happened to Bury FC and any package that would support these teams would be beneficial. I just wish LFC and MUFC would piss off to the European league they obviously want. Do they even know there is a global pandemic?
Derek Cowell
5 Posted 13/10/2020 at 09:20:56
Are there still 92 clubs in the current 4 divisions? If so, I notice that these proposals seek to not only reduce the EPL to 18 teams but to cap the entire system to 90 clubs.

So, as well as supporting the EFL financially, the proposals also condemn 2 lower league clubs to obscurity and non-league football, which they may never come back from.

Who do they think they are that they can just condemn the likes of Oldham or Tranmere at the stroke of a pen?! Outrageous arrogance!! Parry is meant to be representing the EFL clubs, for fuck's sake, not binning two of them!!

Brent Stephens
6 Posted 13/10/2020 at 09:21:11
Good article, Lyndon.

"Do the 14 teams outside the big six have the strength to resist this impulse".

I hope Everton come out as soon as possible, and as strongly as possible, to oppose this.

"It would only take six votes to carry any motion which would effectively place the future of the game in England — from the selection of the Premier League's CEO and the breakdown of broadcast revenue to the allocation of prize money and the very rules of the competition."

I'm not quite clear on the impact on potential new ownership of a club. Am I right in saying that the Board, not the shareholders, would approve or not? And if the Board, then is that any different from current arrangements? I'm not well up on this.

"the old meritocracy has been replaced by a plutocracy seeking to ensure that it will become incredibly difficult — even more so than it already is — to break the hegemony of the top six."

Interestingly, the guy who coined the term "meritocracy", the sociologist Michael Young, used the term cynically, to describe a system in which "those who are judged to have merit of a particular kind harden into a new social class without room in it for others" (actually Tony Blair's expression of Young's idea).

What we have in PBP is cynical "meritocracy" in its originally-intended meaning.

Erik Dols
7 Posted 13/10/2020 at 09:24:33
My apologies upfront for this totally unrelated rambling.

Every day you learn – in the Netherlands, the use of the word "Cabal" is highly controversial as it holds – in Dutch – a heavy antisemitic connotation and is only used by far-right conspiracy thinkers -–often includes accusations of pedophilia. To be fair, I was a bit in shock that Lyndon would use the term so loosely.

A quick google session learned that ToffeeWeb didn't change into a far-right conspiracy theory website overnight but I learned that, in UK English, the usage of the term is more common and simply refers to any clique that is using intrigues to promote their private interests.

In that light, I agree with the article; well written, Lyndon!

Derek Cowell
8 Posted 13/10/2020 at 09:29:30
Erik, 'UK English'. That would be English then!
Ray Roche
9 Posted 13/10/2020 at 09:52:47
After reading that Everton could receive up to £250m towards the cost of Bramley-Moore Dock Stadum, you can see why the silence is deafening.

West Ham have come out straight away and denounced the scheme but do you think that Gold and Sullivan would have done so if there was a significant financial incentive to keep quiet?

It will be interesting to see what Everton's stance is on this. More to this than meets the eye....

Tony Everan
10 Posted 13/10/2020 at 09:52:52
Erik, no-one here at all would know of the Dutch interpretation of the word, it is only used and known for the latter interpretation.

Lyndon, Brilliant article. John Pierce on the other thread wrote really well on this too. I couldn't agree more with the sentiments.

“A cynical coup dressed up as a rescue package” sums it up in a few words.

It just goes to show, there may be competition on the pitch between Man Utd and Liverpool. When really they are working in total harmony together behind the scenes, in a permanent way, to boost revenues and stifle competition for good.

These attempted power grabs reoccur with regularity. This one is timed to perfection, aligned to the weaknesses caused by the Covid-19 crisis. Proving they are totally shameless in their pursuit of power and profit.

Better distribution of revenues can be sorted out, without resorting to handing over total power to the six self-interested clubs.

Erik Dols
11 Posted 13/10/2020 at 10:05:54
Derek Cowell #8, since we are on the fan website of an English-based team, I totally understand you. For work, however, I communicate with people from all over the world and it made me a bit more aware not to use the general term 'English' – as a lot of expressions used in the UK are not always understood in the USA and vice versa.

And don't get me started on other English-speaking countries. The other week, some Australian bloke was getting his arvo cuppa in our early morning call.

Just last week, I used "my bad" in communicating with an Englishman and, although he understood what I meant, he told me he never met anyone who used that expression before. Apparently that is American English.

Again, my sincere apologies, I will stop contaminating this thread with my ramblings on language issues!

Brian Harrison
12 Posted 13/10/2020 at 10:05:55
I am not sure this plan will get the go ahead, but football as in life the rich and powerful rule the roost and if this plan isn't approved then something quite similar will be implemented.

By the way lets not overlook the fact that Everton will have known about these proposals for a while and, being part of the so-called big 6 will have given their approval to this scheme to be put forward.

I can well see how Everton would have looked very favourably at the part which details how their stadium costs could be offset.

I can only guess that both Liverpool and Man Utd were strongly against the Saudis taking over Newcastle, as anything that threatens their monopoly will be vehemently opposed. These 2 clubs were also at the forefront in wanting Man City banned from Europe for transgressing the FFP rules.

Practically without exception, all the lower leagues have welcomed these proposals, so any objections from any of the other Premier League sides to this proposal will be counted as these clubs don't want to help the lower leagues, even though that may not be the case.

The practices of agents were they are paid a fee by the selling club and in some cases by the buying club as well is obscene. Yet the person that they are predominantly working for – the player – doesn't pay them for organizing their transfer. If clubs pay agents record amounts, then why can't some or most of that money be channelled to the lower divisions instead of greedy agents pockets???

Jerome Shields
13 Posted 13/10/2020 at 10:18:41
My argument is that, prior to the landmark of Leicester winning the Premier League, the Premier League was a cartel of the big six anyway. The other clubs began to find the resources to compete after that.

It has also changed as coaching and recruitment has improved and teams are being assembled at less cost throughout Europe. So benefits of being a big six club, or a big something in Europe, are being eroded. This has been accelerated by Covid. This proposal is not just being pitched at the English game, but at the European game as well.

Parry has probably pitched the better aspects of the proposal at the Premier League, the Government and other English Football bodies and got nowhere. He has maybe got a favourable ear from Liverpool and Man Utd and allowed them to tag along their proposals, some of which have been mooted in the past. This is why the proposal is so clearly bipartisan.

The objective is to put these collective proposals on the agenda of any future discussion, which it is hoped they will kick start. The Premier League, the Government and the fans of the other clubs have all shown their hands. Such talks will now be more inclusive.

Next move, Mr Parry, as the blight of struggling clubs of the Covid Crisis unfolds and something has to be done.

Thomas Lennon
14 Posted 13/10/2020 at 10:36:23
I haven't read the document, am only aware of the parts reported here and on the BBC, but I suspect that this package is intended to be unacceptable and will act to flush out specific objections, measure grassroots support, and start the conversation. After this, expect a limited revision and a further testing of the waters.

For example, Everton may be offered a vote in a 'big 8' or whatever, see how disapproval alters then, and so on.

EFL clubs on the brink will tend to snatch at this lifeline, they don't have time to think this through. The existence of EFL is under an existential threat from two directions.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
15 Posted 13/10/2020 at 11:12:27
Oh come on Erik. Don't stop.

My best ever boss was Dutch. 10 years on from retiring we stay with her and her husband at their farmhouse near Herwen on our way back from trips to Sweden.

But she had a problem with the word "interesting" when the other English guy and on the team and I used it. We often used it as a synonym for the word difficult, as many English do. In this sense it has that slightly sarcastic element. As in a response to a request to find 10% savings next year - "that will be interesting".

So whenever we used the word her next question was always - Is that Dutch Interesting (the dictionary definition) or English Interesting?

And just to say how good she was. When I retired my then boss got his mum to go to the supermarket to buy me 3 bottles of wine as thanks for 37 years service as I was finishing that night. She organised a dinner a few weeks later and got me an Everton Coffee Mug and Bath Towel. Perhaps the difference between Dutch and Germans.

Kevin Prytherch
16 Posted 13/10/2020 at 11:26:02
If you look at the contributions to stadium development – this is another money grabbing initiative.

Clubs will be able to claim up to 50% of costs, providing they have been in the Premier League for 12 out of the last 15 seasons...

That list currently includes:
Man Utd
Man City
Aston Villa
West Ham

So that's the so-called big six, plus 4 other clubs can claim the full amount.

Aren't Old Trafford and Anfield looking a bit dated and in need of a major overhaul?

If you're a smaller club in desperate need of a stadium upgrade – forget it.

If you're an established Premier League club with the financial infrastructure to afford a stadium upgrade – you can get help whether you need it or not.

Who funds this pot of money? Every Premier League club.
Who benefits the most? The so-called big six and a select few others.

Kevin Molloy
17 Posted 13/10/2020 at 11:33:18

Yes, the sweetener for Everton is staring us in the face. I'm sure there will be other less apparent goodies for the other key players whose support the big 6 need to get this done.

I don't think this is just putting a marker down, I think this is a serious proposal that they think stands a chance of success. See Martin Samuel's strong repudiation of it, he wouldn't be so up in arms if this was something that insiders in football think will never see the light of day.

Derek Thomas
18 Posted 13/10/2020 at 11:41:22
Thomas @ 14; you maybe right, its just the opening offer. It could be the shite six, having seen FFP effectively dead in the water as a means of stopping others getting on board, have gone in boots and all, stick and carrot... and to many, it's a very decent carrot.

The point is: where does their bottom line lie?

The TW Poll is running at 93% - 7% against.

The BBC has the vote at 13 against, but no actual figures on the fors.

Which leaves in all probability the shite 6 + 1... and if the 1 is Everton, which way will... Did? Moshiri vote.

Or is he abstaining, having a bob each way...or will he sell out the rest for £250M in the BMD pot!

I'd like to think not.

The silence is deafening.

Barry Rathbone
19 Posted 13/10/2020 at 11:44:20
I beg to differ.

English football, and the Premier League in particular, are not competitive; the title has been shared by a handful of monied clubs (bar Leicester) and the League Cup and FA Cup downgraded to reserve-team competitions. An unofficial cartel has existed since the rebadging of the First Division into a marketing entity called "The Premier League" came about

Football in general has been on its backside as a spectacle ever since. Arl arses like me despise the turgid dross but younger, cleverer fans deal with it by taking iPhones to Skype, listen to music, and watch porn during the mind-numbing chess matches

The forums of Man Utd and Liverpool mostly embrace the idea as experts with solid Lancashire names like "Ahmed", "Khatri" and "Panovic" are bemused as to why "others" are moaning?

The proposal with a few tweaks will go through and we will enter an Americanised version of top flight "soccer" governed by 6 clubs. But the younger generation will embrace it because comfort, Wi-Fi and better grub trumped passion and desire decades ago.

Nothing lasts forever; the substitution of local fans at Old Trafford and Anfield by tourists was always going to lead us here. As soon as it happens, I will fuck Everton and football in general right off.

Tom Bowers
20 Posted 13/10/2020 at 12:03:37
Let's not forget, it is all a big business and greed will always come to the fore. The big clubs win most of what's going and therefore have the biggest drawing power, so they want to''capitalize'' on it.

Unfortunately, they don't care about many of the little clubs going bust as they have always believed one super league will sell all over the world on TV and merchandising.

Things change and not always for the better. A sad fact of life.

Kevin Molloy
21 Posted 13/10/2020 at 12:05:41

Five years ago, I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you. But the smaller clubs in the Premier League have grown more powerful, and are able to tell Man Utd and Arsenal to get lost if they don't want to sell a player.

This is quite a new phenomenon, I think it's because the Premier League has become so popular, the rewards just for being in it are starting to make qualifying for Europe not so important.

And it's also I think dawned on Man Utd in particular that their "rinse and repeat" financial model is no guarantee of success on the field, which jeopardises their wonderful golden egg. So something needs to be done to bring these uppity Premier League clubs back into line.

Five years ago, these little clubs were being slowly strangled by lack of access to the Champions League money pot... but, with the Premier League being so popular, clubs can now thrive without it. Until now.

What an irony if our club, just as it did with the birth of the Premier League, waves through a proposal in its own self-interest, which in fact knackers it again for a second time. We would wholeheartedly deserve it.

Derek Cowell
22 Posted 13/10/2020 at 12:17:17
Erik @11, I was being light-hearted because your expression just made me chuckle.

If Everton vote for this and those 2 schysters get their way (as usual), we will never be in a position to beat them ever again as they will just grow stronger and stronger. Their aim of course!

What will be the point of clubs outside the 6? We are almost at that stage now.

At present, at least we have 6 teams competing (sort of) for the title. In most other countries, they only have 1 or 2 in realistic contention most seasons.

Stan Schofield
23 Posted 13/10/2020 at 12:27:56
Tom @20:

That's true, but an irony is that Liverpool are not one of the biggest clubs. The biggest, the elite, are Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea. Arsenal and Liverpool are ‘2nd level' rather than elite. Spurs don't even count.

It took Liverpool nearly 30 years to win the Premier League, and it puts them on a broad par with Leicester. Liverpool are desperate to become elite, Man Utd are desperate to remain elite after a few years of struggle, and the desperation has surfaced in the most obvious way with these daft proposals.

John Keating
24 Posted 13/10/2020 at 12:30:17
Although it probably won't happen, I would like to hear how many Premier League clubs, including us, had been consulted on this prior to its announcement?

It seems strange that at this time, it appears only West Ham have come out and condemned this blatant power grab by our neighbours and Man Utd.

I may well be missing something but there also appears a deathly hush from supporters of both scum clubs.

I hope our Club, sooner rather than later, joins West Ham in their condemnation.

Dave Roberts
25 Posted 13/10/2020 at 13:08:37
A joint statement I would love to see:-

Everton, West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers & Aston Villa.

As representing the four surviving members of the founders of the Football League currently in the top tier of English football, we would like tell the Johnny-come-latelies of Liverpool and Manchester United and the rest of the so-called top six to discover some humility and just fuck off right and proper!

Patrick McFarlane
26 Posted 13/10/2020 at 13:28:08
Dave #25,

I think the lads from Turf Moor might be miffed as their club was also a founder member of the Football League and they are currently in the Premier League.

David Graves
27 Posted 13/10/2020 at 13:38:50
Barry Rathbone,

With such out-dated and antiquated views as those, I don't think that you will be missed.

Steve Carse
28 Posted 13/10/2020 at 13:41:21
Given the exposure of this report and the drivers behind it, perhaps Everton Football Cub can now drop its traditional docility and its supportive relationship to all things related to our underhand neighbours across the park, recognise that we are in a dogfight, and act accordingly?
Neil Weaver
29 Posted 13/10/2020 at 13:45:19
Correct me if I'm wrong but don't you need the support of 14 out of 20 Premier League teams to make any changes??? Turkey's voting for Christmas springs to mind...
John Pierce
30 Posted 13/10/2020 at 13:46:50
You do wonder if Moshiri’s pronouncements and uttering over the last couple of years hinted at him having some foresight or even knowledge of these proposals?

He’s talked about a window of opportunity before and seems undeterred in funding a failing product on the pitch. Why? I’d say Parry’s deffo bandied this crock of shit about in some form or other for years.

His lack of comment so far has me worried, he is maybe all for it, the stadium element especially would be enticing. Getting the rest of league to pay half.


Dave Roberts
31 Posted 13/10/2020 at 13:57:29
Patrick (26)

I knew I'd probably miss one but thought I'd leave it to someone on here to tell me!

John Raftery
32 Posted 13/10/2020 at 14:12:02
I have seen no evidence to suggest any of the other 18 Premier League Clubs were consulted or involved in the development of this proposal. The two clubs who were involved should face censure and immediate sanctions in the form of a points deduction and fines. It is time for the other clubs to punch their collective weight in these matters. For, without them, there would be no Premier League and none of the TV contracts and commercial sponsorship which come with their participation in the Premier League.

Rick Parry has long been a contemptible figure in the domestic game. The Manchester United owners have extracted over £1bn from their club. The current bunch of American owners across the park have no conception of the traditions and aspirations which drive our game. John W Henry and company are accustomed to operating in a closed shop. The idea of promotion and relegation and the threat posed by the lower clubs are an unwelcome blot on their gold-laden financial landscape.

The anonymous quote a couple of years ago from a ‘big club' executive that ‘We don't want too many Leicester Citys' summed up the contempt the top six have for the rest of the league. If, as seems likely, this latest power grab is merely a stalking horse for an ultimate breakaway to a European Super League, the clubs involved should be expelled forthwith and informed they will not be welcome back.

Kieran Kinsella
33 Posted 13/10/2020 at 14:12:05
The optics of bailing out the EFL sound good but in reality that amounts to about £3 million per club. That's not a dent in the wage bill of a Championship club.

The sad fact is the EFL doesn't run a sustainable model. If the Premier League cared about the Football League, then they wouldn't have live games at 3pm on Saturday, so Rochdale fans would watch Rochdale live instead of Man Utd on TV.

All this does is kick league club bankruptcies down the road for a year or so and hand all the power to Liverpool.

Jerome Shields
34 Posted 13/10/2020 at 14:41:12
Kevin #21,

Another new problem for the top six is Ancelotti. If successful, we will see bigger investments in coaching and recruiters in clubs outside the top six.

Before this, there was a merry-go-round of managers with potential. If, as has happened, squads can be assembled with less cost, having expensive players can be a problem, since the lower clubs are in a better position to regenerate their squads, applying fresh competition.

Man Utd are a case in point: a cheap manager and an expensive squad. I expect Liverpool to have a problem with their expensive squad.

The whole scenario is changing for the top six.

Malcolm Bennett
35 Posted 13/10/2020 at 14:51:44
Interesting that Man Utd and Liverpool both have American owners. Both owners have business at heart rather than say Chelsea where the owner is at least a football fan.

Also, if we look to American Football or, for that matter, Major League Soccer, there is no relegation or promotion, wouldn't they just love that?

I don't think there is much likelihood of that happening to either of the sponsors although, as a “senior citizen”, I can remember both of them being in the second tier.

Kevin Molloy
36 Posted 13/10/2020 at 14:54:24
I think the smoke is starting to clear a bit on this one.

This really is a quite sinister development. Strategically brilliant, perhaps. You have to credit Parry for a very nasty sleight of hand here.

I think the threat is very real that the big six drop down and form their own little league with the EFL. Why not 0 that league is now nearly as competitive as the Premier League (see Leeds). They do that, and they still play against good sides, and get everything they want.

Also, this is a potential nightmare for the budding Premier League teams such as ourselves Leicester et al. We'd be cut adrift with nowhere to go. And it is that which is weighing on the minds of the turkeys being asked to vote for Xmas.

Jamie Crowley
37 Posted 13/10/2020 at 14:56:39
Newcastle, Aston Villa, Burnley, Leeds, Wolves, and Leicester all wouldn't have equal voting rights?

Why in the world would they agree to any of this?

Also, Man City and Man Utd look like they are on a downward trend. Awfully convenient for them to gather influence and power at a time like this.

This whole thing stinks to high heaven. If Everton support this, I'll be despondent.

Martin Reppion
38 Posted 13/10/2020 at 15:21:26
I think the EFL should test the altruistic angle of this hideous proposal.

If the Premier League clubs have £250m going spare and can afford an ongoing 25% supplement from TV deals to be passed on down the pyramid, then let's see this now when clubs really need it.

Meanwhile, go back to the drawing board and come up with a proposal that doesn't require the other 86 EFL and Premier League clubs to put their futures at risk in order to guarantee the wealth of those few currently claiming the title 'Big 6'.

When the idea of a Premier league was first launched in the 80's it required the support of the 'Big 5'. That was the 2 Merseyside clubs, The North London pair and Manchester United. As has been pointed out, even at that time Spurs and Manchester were struggling to justify the name. Manchester City and Chelsea haven't remained at the top table throughout the ensuing period.

Take away the chance of clubs coming through to be part of the establishment and you take away the whole ethos of sport.

Why would anyone invest in Villa, Newcastle, Wolves never mind Huddersfield or Bradford City if they knew that the glass ceiling imposed on all but the current elite meant they were only ever going to play for scraps? Can fans of Spurs and Arsenal even remember who was the top London club in the first year of the Premier League? Didn't think so. It was QPR.

This plan has to be attacked and defeated.

Barry Rathbone
39 Posted 13/10/2020 at 15:28:25
David Graves @27,

Your unwarranted and snarky little missive demonstrates the IQ of a dangling piece of snot making you just the sort of buffoon these idiots are counting on.

Nowhere did I say I would be missed, in fact, quite the contrary. I declared acceptance of things not staying the same but your powers of comprehension are on a par with your miniscule IQ.

What a grim state of affairs when someone purporting to be a blue wants to throw in their lot with Liverpool and Man Utd at a subservient level.

What a prize plum.

Brent Stephens
40 Posted 13/10/2020 at 15:35:30
Kevin #36

"I think the threat is very real that the big six drop down and form their own little league with the EFL. Why not, that league is now nearly as competitive as the Premier League (see Leeds). They do that, and they still play against good sides, and get everything they want. Also, this is a potential nightmare for the budding Premier League teams such as ourselves Leicester et al. We'd be cut adrift with nowhere to go."

I was just thinking along the same lines and some questions came to mind, the answers to which I don't have...

If the big 6 (or big 9?) combine with the EFL, what happens, in the short/medium term, to the right to participate in European club competitions (and therefore benefit from the income from that)? As that right is currently given to clubs in the EPL, will the "rump EPL" clubs (20 minus the big 9 = 11? 20 minus the big 9 minus the relegated 3 = 8) continue to benefit from that right, and for how long before the arrangement is renegotiated or re-mandated?

Will the big 6 (9?) who join with the EFL be happy to lose income from European competition for a period of time (how long for?) and the contingent TV, advertising and match-day revenue?

Have there already been any behind-the-scenes discussions between Liverpool and key figures in UEFA (based on vague, hypothetical what-ifs about changes to league structures in England - "what would happen if the EPL suddenly, for some unforeseeable reason, collapse?")?

I guess there'd be other implications of the big 6 / 9 merging with the EFL.

Kevin Molloy
41 Posted 13/10/2020 at 15:43:49
Of one thing we can be sure, Brent. Uefa will do any and every thing they can to make sure their mates in the big 6 continue to access the Euro spoils.

The problem for us is, suddenly it's us that's locked out of the 'football pyramid'. Those gobshites would have the support of the 80+ clubs all desperate for a bailout.

It may of course never come to that, Everton may peer over the cliff they've been offered and think, "You know what: being part of the Big 9 is a damn sight better than being part of the Irrelevant 11."

Brent Stephens
42 Posted 13/10/2020 at 15:49:44
Kevin, "of one thing we can be sure, Brent. Uefa will do any and every thing they can to make sure their mates in the big 6 continue to access the euro spoils."

Yes, so "dropping" into the EFL would not be any loss to the big 6 / 9, and could achieve what Liverpool have been planning for.

Except that the imbalanced voting rights currently proposed would be lost? Unless, of course, the benefits of all this to the EFL (and personal bungs to Parry) meant that the voting arrangements currently proposed might be accepted by the EFL?

God, I love a conspiracy theory!

Kieran Kinsella
43 Posted 13/10/2020 at 16:11:07
Neal @29,

That is true but the gist seems to be that this isn't going to be done through the Premier League as a change. It is going to be done by these clubs and the Premier League can other come along with them or they will up and join the EFL instead and try and knock the Premier League out of existence

John Pierce
44 Posted 13/10/2020 at 16:38:51
Resigning is a wild option, it's nuclear. Essentially they get a league where they will always finish top six and you have the presence of competition. If the remaining 14 stick together, then they have nothing to fear.

But the FA still have to sanction such a competition. They won't do that and are vehemently against the plan.

Ultimately, both these snidey clubs want what Bayern, Juventus, Madrid & Barcelona have; a domesticated, tamed national league to allow them to keep the coffers turning over and preeminence in Europe. They want us as patsies as they go play their Super League.

Jay Woods
45 Posted 13/10/2020 at 16:54:02
They say they have the lion's share of the fans and therefore should enjoy the lion's share of the income. But without the other teams, they have nobody to play, to beat, to glory over. So let them play each other every week and see how that works out in terms of a marketable product.

Their Super League idea is, in my view, a paper tiger designed to scare the other clubs into compliance. Does any one of these elite clubs really fancy coming mid-table or worse in a league stuffed with other elite clubs? Of only winning it 1 year in 20, while watching Real Madrid win it 10 in 20? (Because that's exactly what Madrid would see themselves entitled to do, as the elite of the elite... a position that they would, in turn, demand be consolidated by the lion's share of revenue from the new league, based on the same trite argument Man Utd and Liverpool are invoking now).

Jack Convery
46 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:12:19
I never knew you could scratch someone's back whilst pissing down it at the same time.

FFS, Moshiri – come out and condemn this coup asap. Get together with Villa, West Ham, West Brom, Burnley, Leeds, Wolves etc etc and show the self-elected, self-serving scum they are not getting away with this.

Football without genuine competition is not football, end of.

Trevor Powell
47 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:25:26
At a time when American politics is in the hands of a corrupt Republican party with a narcissist at the helm, it will not come as a surprise that the two pushers of this anti-democratic move are run by American backers.

The USA has very successful ways of maintaining a level of equality and competition with its draft systems for new talent in baseball, American football, basketball and ice hockey!

However, the current MUFC model is a company milking its football profits to fund its commercial debt in the retail sector back home.

What is the deal with the RS? Are Fenway in desperate need of more funds? Let's not kid ourselves that Fenway is a caring company. Their record of dubious methods to release home owners in Anfield of their desire to stay there.

So, we have two clubs trying to take over the voting system just like Trump and the Supreme Court!

With the six club voting majority, how long will it take for the 'big six' to soon use their vote to get rid of Everton, West Ham and Southampton in the voting system in the future?

Mike Gaynes
48 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:27:11
Lyndon, thanks for an excellent summary. I appreciate the clarity of your explanation and the comments here. Trying to sort through the issues and implications of this proposal via the emotive comments on the previous thread was... uh... challenging. For example, I knew nothing of Rick Parry other than his previous job titles, so the strong opinions about him flew clear over my head.

Having read this, I'm going to sign aboard Jamie's concise opinion from the other thread.

One question to the crowd... Lyndon pointed out the non-competitiveness in Spain, Scotland, France, Germany, and could have cited Italy as well. How does this proposal move the Premier League closer to the scenario of one or two teams winning all the titles?

Jay Harris
49 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:36:19
Interesting report on Sky saying the majority of clubs want Parry removed and object to this scheme.

Brent Stephens
50 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:44:59
Jay #56, thanks for the link.

Interestingly it says "A board member at a Premier League club says there is agreement among 14 clubs [my emphasis] that EFL chairman Rick Parry should resign over 'Project Big Picture' plans."

If that is 14 EPL clubs, and it's not the "big 6", then Everton must be one of those opposing the plan.

Kieran Kinsella
51 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:45:02
Mike @54,

It probably wouldn't make one or two teams more likely to win; rather it would essentially mean the six driving it and maybe the quislings in the nine would assure no-one else ever wins it. But the quisling three really have no powers as the six could vote to cut off cash to them at any time.

And, if Liverpool and Man Utd are driving this, who's to say they won't organize further breakaways at some point until one of them is guaranteed to win in perpetuity?

Mark Louch
52 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:45:37

This is an excellent article, I hope it gets picked up by some of the national media.

This is an unashamed power grab dressed in the clothing of altruism. Sadly, this descent into greed started many years ago when it was agreed that home teams kept all their attendance money, thus depriving the smaller teams.

We have to be honest that we have been culpable ourselves in hastening the descent; this echoes your point that we were in the big 5 at one time and looked out largely for ourselves.

As you say, sport is about winning and losing, promotion and relegation, dreams and jeopardy; sadly, this is a move to remove all those things.

Clearly the element of redistribution of funds to EFL the National League, and the FA is an essential part of any new arrangements but not in the manner envisaged here.

All true football fans, including the big 6, the next 3 on the list (purely to help carry the vote), the next half dozen who aspire to being at the top table and right through to National League must kickback against these proposals.

Kieran Kinsella
53 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:50:53
Brent @58,

It's also slightly ambiguous as it also says "It is also alleged that the support from the 'Big Six' is not as solid as has been suggested."

Playing devil's advocate, Arsenal have been hamstrung by the cost of their new stadium for the last 20 years. Would they be okay with Liverpool, Spurs and Everton alleviating themselves of the same burden? I suspect not.

With all the political issues between Russia and the UK, would Abramovich trust his rivals to allow him to sell the team at some point to another oligarch?

Would Man City ever agree to complying properly with Uefa's FFP rules?

Is Tottenham even a real team or an illusion created in an artificial Intelligence Matrix?

These are some potential issues which may affect the balance of the 14 versus the 6.

Mike Gaynes
54 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:52:01
Makes sense, Kieran.

Here's a stunner I hadn't seen -- popped up in The Fiver today:

"While Parry would have us applaud the largesse of certain American businessmen, it seems he is not so keen on that of others. In what seemed like a particularly riveting episode of Dragon’s Den, reports have emerged alleging that the EFL chairman turned down a £375m offer from an American investment firm for a 20% stake in the league last Friday. What’s more, the Times claims he rejected the offer without consulting all member clubs, in much the same way as he has been cheerleading for Operation Big Picture without asking for the thoughts of all those whose interests he is tasked with serving."

Brent Stephens
55 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:58:48
Ah, interesting, Kieran.
John Raftery
56 Posted 13/10/2020 at 18:00:50
Mike (54) The two teams driving this project claim that between them they command the support of about a fifth of the world’s population. I think the big prize for them is a much bigger share of broadcasting income from across the globe. That will put them in a potentially unassailable position compared with the rest of the league.

It has been suggested in some quarters that at least two members of the ‘Big Six’ are opposed to the Big Picture project. They may have seen the writing on the wall for their own income streams.

Jay Wood

57 Posted 13/10/2020 at 18:23:45
Let's not forget that the Premier League came into existence thanks to a similar cartel led by Everton's Chairman at the time, Philip Carter. Moreover, he was President of the Football League at the time, so we have had our own 'Rick Parry' stiffing the majority of league clubs to benefit his own club. Only, that didn't work out particularly well for Everton FC, did it?

This is a shameless, opportunistic move by the main proponents of this proposal, taking full advantage of a long-standing situation exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Football finances (it reads as an oxymoron for most clubs) have been unsubstainable for years. The pandemic has been a tornado, exposing just how closely many clubs have been sailing to the wind.

Separating the wheat from the chaff, there are some good proposals contained in the document. And given just how vulnerable some clubs are across all tiers of football (Leyton Orient's chairman saying today some league clubs may fold in 5-6 weeks without addressing the issue), it is understandable that some desperate club owners may be tempted by the offer.

If you offer a starving man a Big Mac, even though he hates fast food, he may bite your arm off up to the elbow. Only, it won't sustain him for very long, will it?

The politics, power and protectionism behind all this is very intriguing.

Let's take a look at the nominal top six.

* Spurs have not won the title in nearly 60 years.
* Chelsea had just one title to their name before Abramovic rocked up.
* Man City were a yo-yo club, very poor neighbours to Man Utd, until the Mansour money rolled in.
* Arsenal have not won the title in 17 years.
* Man Utd have not won the title in 8 years.
* Liverpool have waited 30 years to win the Premier League.

Their participation in European competitions disguises the fact that quite regularly the majority of the six are far from genuine league title contenders.

One assumption is that the other four clubs will fall in line and support the Man Utd - Liverpool proposal. But... why should they?

Man City and Chelsea will always have superior wealth and purchasing power, be it of players or managers, that not even Man Utd and certainly not Liverpool can match.

Throw into the mix that Man City are still bruising that the likes of Man Utd and Liverpool were pushing to get the Sky Blues a long Euro ban for their 'malpractices' and I don't see them as likely candidates to align themselves with their two rivals on this.

Then you have Arsenal and Spurs. Both have invested heavily in their stadiums which – in normal times – would see them generate at worst equal match day income to both Man Utd and Liverpool and at best, greatly surpass them. Again, why should they compromise their long-term planning and lose a potential advantage to their red rivals and support this proposal?

And of course you have the sop - the random naming of 3 other clubs (Everton, Southampton and West Ham Utd) to make up a privileged 'nine'.

Everton, historically and for longevity, you can understand. But Southampton and West Ham? A greater case could be made for Leicester. A more rock-solid one for the clubs who along with Everton were part of the original 12 clubs of the English Football League, Aston Villa, West Brom, Burnley and Wolves.

Then you have the leaking of the document and its timing. Deliberate or genuinely leaked...?

Are some of the proposals deliberately provocative which those who drafted them fully expected to be rejected so still other far-reaching proposals are more readily accepted with little or no opposition?

All classic bargaining gambits.

This has certainly shaken the English football tree. It's going to be interesting to see how the fruit falls, who gets bruised and who is thrown away as pig swill.

Bobby Mallon
58 Posted 13/10/2020 at 18:41:52
Rick Parry is a fraud. He’s got the job of EFL chairman but hasn’t done a thing to get the EFL their 250 million they need to survive. A loan from the government would have been the easy option but he’s done f all.
Will Mabon
59 Posted 13/10/2020 at 19:13:39
I'd say this thread about covers the sordid issue.

It's said that life imitates art. Well sport along with much else now is doing a fine job of "imitating" global corporate business. Expect more of the same. Much more.

All that can be done by those sickened is to try to concentrate on what it's really all about – the action on the pitch (while it lasts, for smaller teams).

The trajectory could be effectively arrested if enough would just cancel their subscriptions. They won't, so kiss the past goodbye.

Will Mabon
60 Posted 13/10/2020 at 19:16:41
...and Lyndon, thanks for the eloquent discussion. It deserves further quotation.
Patrick McFarlane
61 Posted 13/10/2020 at 19:44:35
The pursuit of money and power is always at the forefront of Billionaires' minds – that's how they have become as rich as they have. Will the media please stop treating our neighbours as some sort of bastion of sporting excellence and fairness when they are just another Manchester United but trying to claim they are a salt-of-the-earth club?

Liverpool's owners are considering selling some of their shares to a corporation which has connections to Richard Scudamore and Damien Comolli, according to reports. Reports from The Athletic back in August suggested that RedBall want to acquire a Premier League team. RedBall are seeking to raise €1bn to invest in the deal.

The Times adds that FSG want to expand their empire by buying a European football club. Their aim is to become the “most powerful international sports conglomerate

The special purpose acquisition company has already employed the services of Scudamore to offer his expertise on the English top flight. Scudamore was Premier League executive chairman between 1999 and 2018.

There is another familiar connection to the group interested in buying shares. Cardinale recently bought Ligue 2 club Toulouse, whose chairman is former Liverpool sporting director Comolli.

During his previous stint with Liverpool, Comolli oversaw the signings of players such as Jordan Henderson, Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and Charlie Adam.

Selling Shares

David Graves
62 Posted 13/10/2020 at 20:00:42
Barry Rathbone again...

I'll ignore the juvenile name calling and request that rather you try and respond in an adult way. Where do I state whether I agree with the proposal or not? Read what I said again.

What I actually did was call you out on your archaic and ignorant statements as I personally found them to be abhorrent amongst a thread where so many have made informed opinions.

You claim that young supporters don't watch or care for live football because they are too busy watching porn on their mobile phones. The thoughts of a deviant.

Or what about your other gem, the suggestion that the opinions of people with different or “non Lancashire names” aren't important. How proud of that observation you must be.

You then go on to suggest that I only purport to be a blue. Your ill-informed and morally questionable opinions don't represent this football club or the fan base so don't for a moment suggest that they do or that you are a better blue than me.

And as for calling me a “prize plum”???


Barry Rathbone
63 Posted 13/10/2020 at 20:43:44
David Graves

Stop whinging you took an unnecessary swing at me and got bopped on the nose for it. The simple expediency of being civil rather than snarky would have prevented the gloves coming off. Next time phrase your contention like so "I disagree with your point because " - far more adult. Sort yourself out

Jamie Crowley
64 Posted 13/10/2020 at 21:54:05
If these disgusting Clubs are so concerned about the plight of the small Club, why don't they simply agree to an aid package distributed throughout the football pyramid? Why does it have to contain restructuring of the present format, league, voting rights and the weights of said voting rights?

Because they're wicked, that's why!

I've never been so happy to see such resounding opinion coalesce on TW. I think there's been like two lukewarm "positive" reactions to Project Self Centered Picture in all the posts I've read.

There's a lot of disagreement on this site, but it seriously warms my heart to know that the massive majority of Blues can see through this crap, and are offended by it. That's a lot of moral compasses pointing north.

Well done to all. I'd expect nothing less. You're not going to pull the wool over most TW contributor's eyes. This group can distinctly smell bullshit, and I love it.

David Graves
65 Posted 13/10/2020 at 22:24:14
Barry Rathbone,
It wasn't an unnecessary swing. You posted ill-informed rambling nonsense and got called out for it.

A "bop on the nose"? You're deluded.

Danny O’Neill
66 Posted 13/10/2020 at 00:11:16
I get the business grab of the so-called current "top 6". However one of them barely scraped into 6th position last season and one finished 8th. As was alluded to earlier, not much beyond a decade ago, Manchester City would not be in that group. Further back from that, neither would Chelsea.

In the 80s, we had the big 5: Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal. Later into the Sky years, the top 4 of Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. Now we've re-defined it to a top six of Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Man Utd. The point here is that why would you give control to a self-proclaimed top 6 who may not remain in said top 6 category, especially as one of them currently isn't technically in terms of last season's league position?

A rather condescending effort to provide the other "longest-serving" members with what seems like a non-voting special status (whatever that means), which includes Everton, West Ham and Southampton.

Well a couple of points here.

Firstly, I guess if you're a here-and-now business person, then you see where they're coming from, however outrageous it is (and it is).

Secondly, thank you for your kind offer, Tottenham (no league title since 1960 and only 2 in your history). Likewise Man City and Chelsea who cannot match our 9 titles. And as for putting us in the "other longest-serving" category, by luck, fortune and god knows what, we have served in every season of the Premier League's lifetime. And, taking into account that football did exist before 1993, we could remind everyone that we have played more top-flight seasons than anyone in English football ever.

Thirdly, West Ham and Southampton "in the club"? No disrespect, but if I'm Aston Villa in particular (7 times League Champions) and perhaps Newcastle, I'm outraged and offended right now. There are probably others.

Will Mabon
67 Posted 14/10/2020 at 00:26:17
Danny, I wholly agree. However, I won't even entertain their concept of what is or isn't a big club; it would only ever be framed for the best interests of their plans, whether being big financially, or not at all, as in Southampton, for some sort of esoteric or patronizing allusion.

Any club in the Premier League at any one time is a Premier League Club by merit. Out of it, then not.

The whole thing should be shunned, so sod the details.

Danny O’Neill
68 Posted 14/10/2020 at 00:38:04
Exactly Will. Defining a "big club" by their own definition secures their supposed eliteness, whereas allowing football to take its natural course means that group can, will, and has fluctuated over time. The overriding aim of this is for them to seize the moment and cement their place. At a time when Man Utd are not guaranteed and let's see how Liverpool go having likely been scarred by their own experience of dropping out of the top 6 pre-Klopp. Funny how those two are leading the charge with the ex Liverpool CEO in support!!

I'll be honest, there's a couple of things in there I'm not opposed to. Reducing to 18 wouldn't be horrendous – the Bundesliga has 18. And again, similar to the Bundesliga, the 3rd from bottom team not automatically going down but entering the play-offs would be interesting. I believe we done that the first year we introduced the play-offs.

Personally, I'm a purist and not a fan of the play-offs as I think, for a league competition, you should be rewarded or suffer because of where you finish in the league, but if we're going to have them, I think that's a good way of doing it.

Aside from that, it's the elite looking after the elite – even though some are not as elite as they think they are.

Barry Rathbone
69 Posted 14/10/2020 at 10:44:40
David Graves

Whether my opinion is ill informed nonsense or not matters not a jot you chose to ignore the tenets of adult civilised debate and attacked without provocation. Your subsequent whinging about my counter giving it back in spades just confirms what a remarkably infantile buffoon you are.

Learn from the good book "you will receive what you give"

Alun Jones
70 Posted 14/10/2020 at 12:54:08
Barry Rathbone, I have seen your posts on TW before and you always seem to end up falling out with someone. I think disagreeing is all part of this forum but you seem to revel in pretty horrendous vitriol in your responses which then causes the escalation I have seen here between you and David Graves. Please take a breath before replying next time. it’s in everyone’s interest to enjoy healthy debate without the needless insults.
Dave Roberts
71 Posted 14/10/2020 at 13:32:08
In the quieter moments I often enjoy contemplating the mysteries and fundamental questions of the universe. Relativity, dark matter, dark energy, the nature of consciousness, the number of grains of sand on Formby beach.

Sometimes I come up with answers I'm quite proud of even if they're totally wrong. But there's one question I just can't deal with at all. Can't think of any reasonable answer whether right or wrong. I just can't get my head around it and I've given up in frustration. I'd like to share it:-


Rob Halligan
72 Posted 14/10/2020 at 13:39:07
Dave, totally agree 100%. What have Spurs ever done to warrant being called one of the so called big six? I'll tell you what, .

Fuck All!

Barry Rathbone
73 Posted 14/10/2020 at 13:59:59
Alun Jones

Thanks for that.

Presumably if I steam into you "calling you out" as per the vernacular of the cliched and mindless your response would be "thanks, for the unwarranted swipe please do it more often"

Grow up.

I treat people as they treat me - play fair and everything is peachy choose the other route and prepare for incoming.

Phil Greenough
74 Posted 14/10/2020 at 14:00:07
I thought it was based on wealth?
Tony Everan
75 Posted 14/10/2020 at 16:02:50
Man Utd and Liverpool’s “Project Big Picture” been unanimously rejected in today’s PL meeting.

They will now , with 100% certainty, move on to PBP plan B phase 1, so the clubs opposing better not drop their guard any time soon.

Dave Roberts
76 Posted 14/10/2020 at 16:11:29
That's good to hear Tony. Perhaps Parry should now resign eh? He was supposed to be acting on behalf of the EFL but at the same time was acting on behalf of his own previous employer. That was gross misconduct in anybody's book. The same sort of misconduct one of our own previous CEOs was sacked for. ( Can't remember his name now Wyness?)
Dave Roberts
77 Posted 14/10/2020 at 16:23:10
Ok, let the 'big six' join the EFL and form their own league as they have threatened. What would you rather watch, Spurs v Norwich or Everton v Aston Villa?

For a neutral the answer is a bit obvious. In my honest opinion.

Even better, for those unhappy, fuck off and form your own Euro League and don't come back when it goes tits up.

Jason Li
78 Posted 14/10/2020 at 16:59:12
Kind of guessed, finger in the air, that it wouldn't work.

If it did go to a European Super League, where do they buy the players from if other clubs in other leagues can only pay a pittance in wages to attract young people to a career in football?

Almost up to half of Everton's squads best players in the Premier League era is from lower leagues, so if that goes, there's no football.

If the gap between that Super League and others is so great, it's really hard to buy in players from in this scenario semi-pro leagues who will likely make it, unless you build a massive squad of people happy to sit on the bench.

Plus it's boring watching the same old Barcelona or Man Utd or Bayern or Juve or Real challenging for the league every season for 20 years straight. No cup surprises too, how boring.

Nah, it wouldn't work, no one would pay the TV fees as they can't related to it.

Dave Roberts
79 Posted 14/10/2020 at 19:38:53
According to the Guardian Baxendale demanded an apology from Liverpool and Manure ( proud of you Denise and proud of Everton) They refused on the basis that they had only been discussing a few proposals. Lying twats!
Derek Moore
80 Posted 14/10/2020 at 21:33:11
I am happy to lend my voice to the chorus calling for these proposals to be bluntly rejected. Many comments here have summed up most of my position, both Messrs Woods and Jack Convery remarks stood out for their clarity.
I would like to point out that even if this particular power grab is repulsed, it's inevitable that more and more power and control will coaelesce around theso called upper echelon. Lyndon was right to point to the lack of competition in other leagues arond Europe. I believe this is as inevitable in the Premier Leagues as it was elsewhere as well. It's revenue sharing, drafts and salary caps that enable competitive balance. Most of these measures are simply not an option within European football.
Bob Parrington
81 Posted 14/10/2020 at 23:39:12
Well done DBB! Good to note that you had the strength to call them out but I wonder which other members supported you when you did??

Parry should be sacked if he doesn't resign!

The Premier League is a great competition and should be able to survive and prosper if the two 'Red Shirts" leave it.

Julian Wait
82 Posted 15/10/2020 at 15:22:42
Another fine piece of analysis, summary and writing, Lyndon. You've put in words what I have been emoting all week.
Jamie Crowley
83 Posted 15/10/2020 at 15:29:55
A bit off-topic, but not really.

Is Rick Parry the total D-bag who rode the motorcycle when he was at Liverpool? I watched a documentary on them - like a bit of it. Some suit came and left work at Analfield on a Harley, and the dude was just a total butthead.

The same show also had Brendan Rodgers holding an envelope up to the players at team meeting saying someone wasn't going to be with the Club, and their name was in that envelope - like game-show style.

It was SUCH a poor production. Bill Kenwright was probably all, "That's not how you do it!"

But anyways, the dude on the motorcycle was such, and I can't stress this enough, such a douche. I literally said to my wife, "How do people like that actually succeed in life?"

Can anyone confirm this? Is the motorcycle zit from that documentary / show actually Rick Parry?

Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Will Mabon
84 Posted 15/10/2020 at 15:54:17
Jamie, we rarely know what you're talking about but as to the documentary, someone may know.
Jamie Crowley
85 Posted 15/10/2020 at 16:07:02
Haha. Too true.
Eddie Dunn
86 Posted 15/10/2020 at 16:20:57
Reflecting on the issue now the latest proposal has been consigned to the dustbin of history, it is clear that the game has changed so much since 1992.

The success of the Premier League brand in tv revenues all over the world has made lots of people very rich. Players(and coaches) in the Premier League are now earning ridiculous sums of money. TV companies are also making vast sums and advertisers presumably are reachiing new audiences.
However, for the ordinary fan of a Premier League team, his/her importance has diminished. Revenue streams from other sources outweigh the matchday income by a considerable distance. Now it is clear, as Barry Rathbone stated in his reference to online forums where the contributors are often from other countries, that people consider themselves"fans" by simply watching TV.

Listening to Radio Five football phone-ins the accents of all the fans ringing-in often have no semblance to the region of the club. This has long been the case with Man Utd, after the 1958 aircrash, many neutrals took a sympathetic interest in their fortunes. Liverpool's domination during the 70's and early 80's attracted glory hunters and as the telivised contracts started including far eastern countries the lovable Reds were often the team of choice for the glory-hunting foreigners.

These days we see shirts of the top teams worn in every town in the country. When I was at school on the Wirral it was only Liverpool and Everton, one or two Tranmere die-hards (some of us used to go to Tranmere on a Friday night and then Goodison or Anfield on Saturday.) There was a kid who supported Villa..none of us could understand it!

How things have changed. And today, the local fan who goes to the game is less important to the club than ever before. The Covid problem has taken the atmosphere from the stadiums, the results are becoming more unpredictable because of it.

Watching the Egngland game the other night, imagine the howls of protest when Henderson was sent on instead of Grealish. Southgate didn't have to worry.

The big problem I this whole story is that no matter how much revenue is collected, the players and agents are taking too much of it. Clubs are not saving money, the billionaires still see the game as a safe haven for their money, as until now, it has shown no sign of abating. Revenues have been steadily on the rise. This has to stop because the money that could be used to improve facilities, reduce ticket prices and help smaller clubs is being poured into the pockets of ridiculously rich players and agents.

That is the crux of the matter. And the fans are without any means to change it, as we are now a tiny player in the world wide armchair fanbase.

As we get used to watching games without fans, the clubs will realise that we really aren't that important. The longer Covid continues, the worse it will be.

Jamie Crowley
87 Posted 15/10/2020 at 16:40:24
Eddie -

It's up to each individual owner as to how they invest the windfalls. Players? Infrastructure? Staff? The additional monies are simply down to the fact that the League has grown into a global brand.

The parochial side of this is one I sympathize with. As I'm part of the problem - the TV dude fan - I certainly wouldn't desire a return to good-ol' English days of footy. I need and want this phenomenon of largesse in your sport.

But I would say, for me, one of the endearing aspects of Everton is the "local" vibe and reality of the Club. It's a locals Club - it's a Scouse Club. I don't think there's any question of that.

So as long as you can put up with a few interlopers and carpetbaggers, I'd argue Everton is well positioned.

When CV19 is behind us, and it will be, fans will be back in the stadiums, as loud as ever, supporting their clubs. They do matter. They affect atmosphere, they certainly affect income (even if diminished, it's still a revenue stream), and they are the motivating and driving force behind every Club's will to win.

English footy isn't dying. It's not obnoxious. It's growing. Some of the growth is unseemly. Some of it is good. Take the good with the bad is my advice. Which I know you'll take or leave.

Is Rick Parry the D-Bag on the motorcycle??!!

John Pierce
88 Posted 15/10/2020 at 16:50:24
As the dust on this revelation settles it's clear this is just the opening salvo from Man Ud and the Liverpool. Perhaps creating as much outrage at the outset was deliberate to force others into showing their hand. That looks like a clever ploy.

It successfully gauged support from the lower league clubs who are desperate, even under normal circumstances, I think would be just as eager to take the deal. I understand only a handful of clubs might have the ambition to make it to the Premier League and the rest are happy with their lot and the place in the community. Those few, their dreams are snuffed out.

It showed that now is not the time, but they will know which Premier League clubs ‘softly' support the proposals but who had to come out against it this time.

The FA will buckle eventually it's just a number to buy them off, as they know they have soft power only.

They can slowly buy each stakeholder off individually before gaining their backing and taking power from the rest of the Premier League.

I'm not sure this outcome can be derailed.

Will Mabon
89 Posted 15/10/2020 at 16:53:58
That's an interesting post, Eddie.

I was talking with my brother about the game early this year, before the current craziness. We wondered about crowds (at the large, richer clubs) in the future, as that revenue became relatively less and less important.

This led to thought of virtual crowds, and then, virtual stadiums. With VR where it is now, and the pace of development, it won't be too long til it's possible to present the experience as a construct. I wonder should the no-crowd thing continue, will we see some form of trial of projected fans in the stands.

If we can think of it, you can bet your bottom dollar it's already long been discussed as a possibility. The savings of no stadium whatsoever are a massive asset consideration. There is also an enormous amount of relevant viewing and interest data being generated right now.

Once it's technically possible, it's then a matter of framing and selling the concept of what constitutes a "Football club", with the usual citing of predictable "Benefits" that don't even need listing.

Almost all those overseas "Fans" have never been to watch their team - and may have never attended a stadium even in their home country.

Not for the likes of you and I but the future may be very different.

Mike Gaynes
90 Posted 15/10/2020 at 17:03:32
Alun to Barry: "it’s in everyone’s interest to enjoy healthy debate without the needless insults."

Barry to Alun: "Grow up."


Stan Schofield
91 Posted 15/10/2020 at 17:10:47
Eddie@86: Good post. One point I’d disagree on, I think that corporate owners have known for a long time that matchgoing fans are of very limited importance. Stadiums and fans are for the TV spectacle, and I think this has been so for a few years.

People get what they choose, most people watch a lot of TV, including football, and are happy to pay for the latter. The big TV money is obviously because people have chosen to pay it. I actually don’t see this as either good or bad, but simply as what has come to pass naturally.

A few years ago when some kopites were going on that Everton should support a boycott of The Sun, I pointed out that the parent organisation was the root cause of the issues, and that I’d support boycotting The Sun provided LFC boycotted the entire Murdoch empire and the fans not renew their Sky subscriptions. They didn’t want to do any of that of course, their CHOICE, so I told them to take their hypocrisy elsewhere.

Will Mabon
92 Posted 15/10/2020 at 17:20:22
Stan, I believe many people have no idea where the money is from, or to where it goes, and don't want to know, eg. big player signings: "It's not my money". Oh yes, it is.

Post-Millenium world – where the annual TV licence is a rip-off, but near the same amount per month for cable/satellite, is okay.

Kieran Kinsella
93 Posted 15/10/2020 at 17:27:56

I would definitely be down for virtual crowds like in Tron on Thor. Way cheaper to buy a sixpack at the store than buying drinks at stadiums

Will Mabon
94 Posted 15/10/2020 at 17:35:21
Don't encourage 'em, Kieran...
Stan Schofield
95 Posted 15/10/2020 at 17:38:57
John @88: I suppose it can always be derailed by other Premier League clubs, since they also want power, and they now clearly know (if they didn't before) what the two rogue clubs are prepared to do.

Will @92: Good point about the TV licence versus subscriptions. Also, re your post @89, it reminds me of the digital recreation of the Collosseum in the film Gladiator.

Will Mabon
96 Posted 15/10/2020 at 17:49:58
Some efforts have been almost convincing, Stan. It's coming...
Danny O’Neill
97 Posted 15/10/2020 at 17:50:11
Something not commented on here (that I've seen) is the fact that the current Covid-19 crisis has reinforced that the Premier League no longer requires the match day fan. The revenue generated by the traditional season ticket holder is seemingly irrelevant to what they get from the global TV market.

Whether sustainable or not remains to be seen as atmosphere generated by fans is the magic of football. However, in the short term, top-flight football only cares that it gets on the screen and reaches the global TV watching, paying subscriber masses.

The season ticket holder from Speke who turns up to shout and sing but only buys a sausage roll and half-time pint has become irrelevant, in the short term at least.

And that massively saddens me to say that.

Brent Stephens
98 Posted 15/10/2020 at 18:03:22
Danny, I wonder how sustainable the current model of TV money in football is at current levels. Covid has had, and will continue to have, an impact on household finances: increasing unemployment; reduction in household savings; belt-tightening; household cancellation and non-renewal of Sky and BT tv contracts.

I wonder how far that will eventually feed into reduced tv money for clubs, who will then rely more on gate money, given the level of transfer fees and wages.

And / or are we already seeing an impact on reduced transfer activity??

John Pierce
99 Posted 15/10/2020 at 18:08:49
Danny, from what I’ve read it’s actually the big six who are suffering most from lost match-day revenue.

We, in comparison, as a pauper and dreadful commercial operator proportionally don’t lose anywhere near as much as United, RS Arsenal etc. The average spend is x5/6 greater than say a Fulham or Sheffield.

They very much need the income and fans in the stadium, based on their running costs etc. match-day revenue is essential.

Danny O’Neill
100 Posted 15/10/2020 at 18:35:40
Brent, John,

Thats why I questioned whether it is sustainable. It's definitely (hopefully) a short to medium term thing but I question whether top flight clubs will ever go back to being dependent on match day revenue. Its almost become a nice to have and there to create the atmosphere that match day fans and TV supporters alike love and cherish.

Very good point on the self proclaimed top 6. Tottenham in particular designed their new stadium to change the match going experience. The concept is one of high class restaurants in the stadium and apparently the longest continuous bar in Europe. The idea to keep fans in the stadium before and after the match. Great for them and the revenue it generates from the franchises that pay to be there, not so great for the local pubs and food outlets that used to survive off the business generated from the White Hart Lane match day fan. An area not too dissimilar to our own County Road.

So to my point, right now, the Premier League has proven that it can continue without matchday fans whether we like that or not. And I think their (Everton included) transfer expenditure in the recent transfer window demonstrated that confidence.

Eddie Dunn
101 Posted 15/10/2020 at 18:50:39
Jamie @87, Don't get me wrong Jamie, the difference between the likes of yourself or Mike Gaynes is that you are interested in the club, geography, the history and even the musings of people who go regularly to the ground and the many pontifications about all things being Blue.

As opposed to following the herd, you have found a bit of a cult. Just like if you had chanced upon a lower league club but decided that they were interesting.

Unfortunately I imagine (I may be completely wrong) that your average TV fan in Malaysia, for example, is attracted to the trophy count and the reflected glory, much like little Timmy Thomas in Basingstoke who supports Arsenal instead of Southampton (or Basingstoke Town!).

Larry O'Hara
102 Posted 15/10/2020 at 19:19:35
About Tottenham's ground: I went last season when they played Norwich in the cup, partly to assess the venue. However impressive the facilities may be (I was in the away end, didn't see too much of that!) the atmosphere was certainly not designed to intimidate away teams, it was very open and flat.

And of course Norwich won on penalties: after which a steward who was grinning answered in the affirmative to the question: Was he an Arsenal fan!

Tony Abrahams
103 Posted 15/10/2020 at 20:04:55
I'd look at it another way, Danny @97, and say that football would never prosper and maintain sustainability without the passion of the fans inside the stadium.

Danny O’Neill
104 Posted 15/10/2020 at 20:16:56
Totally agree, Tony, and don't mistake my sentiment. I'm going against my inherent grain in my points above. Long term football isn't what it is and cannot survive with those who have made it what it is. It is just apparent right now they (the top flight clubs) can survive without us. Pains me to say.
Tony Abrahams
105 Posted 15/10/2020 at 20:22:40
I’d say they are surviving because of us Danny, and hope it’s appreciated once the fans return!
Mike Gaynes
106 Posted 15/10/2020 at 20:37:58
Eddie #101, thanks, but in fairness I was at best a casual fan for the first decade of my Blue allegiance. I got to see few games on TV and of course could never attend in person, so only after the FA Cup win in '95 and the widening coverage of the Premier League in the US was I able to climb fully on board. And then joining TW a decade later to interact with other Blues was critical to my complete immersion, but that was 20 years after Sheedy's free kicks first pulled me in.

I can certainly see why lifelong Blues like yourself would sneer at the RS bandwagon-hoppers in Norway or Malaysia, but it wouldn't be appropriate for me to judge them for their lack of true passion.

Chris Leyland
107 Posted 15/10/2020 at 21:21:02
The shite made £95m from match day revenue in 2018/19 - that was approximately 16% of their total revenue.

Man Utd - £111m from £627m total revenue. Around £17.5%

Everton’s was £14m out of circa £188m approximately 7.5%.

According to one report pre-Covid shutdown:
Everton’s matchday revenue has decreased most of the current Premier League teams.

The lack of fans is hitting them more than us financially but it also shows that in a post-Covid world we need a bigger stadium.

Brent Stephens
108 Posted 15/10/2020 at 21:28:28
Chris, stadium size matters. I think also that a decline in our match day revenue has something to do with season ticket prices having been held constant for several years?
John Kavanagh
109 Posted 15/10/2020 at 23:32:14
Chris, thanks for the stats. The impact of Covid on the RS is bound to be even greater in the longer term if, post Covid, flights from Oslo are not restored or are too expensive. Fenway, like Monty Python's Dead Parrot, must be pining for the fjords.
Jack Convery
110 Posted 20/10/2020 at 19:00:49
BBC just reporting a European Premier League backed by FIFA and JP Morgan Bank ( £4.6b ). LFC MANURE SPURS ARSE CHELSKI CITEH and 12 top Euro teams from Spain Italy Germany France. Obviously the other 14 EPL Teams and the Swedes, Danes, Dutch, Portuguese, Swiss, Austrians, Russians, etc etc can all go F themselves. The hypocrisy of this stinks. No doubt they will want to vet new owners, when it is fundamentally clear to all who really love football, the Hancocks, Glazers, Kroenkes, Levys, Abromovitch etc etc do not. They only love MONEY. MONEY MONEY MONEY Abba got it right in the 70s, Greed is good ? GREED IS FILTH and always has been. It ruins everything and always will.

If they go ahead with this the other 14 should expel them from the EPL. The 14 will have less income if this goes ahead. 17 home games instead of 19. No League Cup matches either. Less exposure less income from advertising. Midweek matches over shadowed by Euro trash football in all the pubs. They've already ruined the FA Cup with no replays and penalty shootouts without extra time. Cup replays under lights at Goodison at any ground is what its all about surely. I know don't call you Surely.

I hate this money grabbing culture. Give me Gene Roddenberrys' 24th Century Earth, were money and greed are ancient history and everyone can read and no one goes to sleep on an empty stomach.

PS: As its the 3rd day - has Virgil Risen Yet ? Just asking like.

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