If you're not part of the problem you're part of the solution

by   |   25/03/2024  71 Comments  [Jump to last]

For all the mentally exhausting talk of how FFP and PSR have ruined the game for many and forever more, I haven't yet read a solution that will make the game more competitive (while remaining sustainable).

The current system failed miserably. A new system will be drafted in the summer and allegedly it will be somewhere along the lines of clubs allowed spend 70% of their revenue on transfer fees and wages. So Man Utd get to spend 70% of £1 billion, versus Everton's 70% of £180 million.

While this is most certainly placing a permanent glass ceiling on those outside the top 6, it isn't actually a new concept – it is how it has gone on forever; just without the scrutiny. (In 1993, the year Man Utd broke the British transfer record for Roy Keane at £3.75 million, we were buying Joe Parkinson for less than a tenth of that; they were rich, we were skint.) From an Everton point of view, it's just unfortunate we have slipped from the haves in the 80s to the have-nots. 

On to the solution. Or mine anyway: the PSR Draft: 

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The team that comes up from the Championship through the play-offs are considered 20th, and allowed lose £200 million on top of their 70% of revenue calculation (if they chose to do so).

2nd in the Championship is allowed lose £190m; Championship Winners £180m, 17th in the Prem £170m, 16th £160m, all the way in a sliding scale until the Premier League winners are not allowed to lose anything above their 70%.

How does it remain sustainable? Of course, clubs don't 'have to' lose up to their threshold. Stringent and careful owners won't over-stretch themselves. However, those rich ones who want to invest, can… but, if they do, it is to be turned into equity or a bond from the owner that'll never saddle the club. And that's it. At the end of the season, if you finish 17th again and your owner is daft enough to invest another £170m, so be it.

It won't solve everything (70% of a billion argument) but it gives smaller clubs with rich owners more opportunity and wiggle room to invest. Man City may still be able to buy Branthwaite for £100 million, but perhaps they'll have to sell three of their squad players to do so.

As a wise man once said, if you aren't part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. So that's my solution. And rather than slate PSR & FFP on this thread (it's been done to death), perhaps tell me your own alternatives?

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Reader Comments (71)

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Jerome Shields
1 Posted 26/03/2024 at 05:15:12
Professional football for as far back as I can remember has, as many savvy businessmen have found out, been devoid of the normal business norms, ie, they would never allow the business that made them the money to continue to run in the same way.

Of course it is thought that the introduction of the Premier League has changed that at the higher levels of football and such clubs can make huge amounts of money. But really has anything changed. Rich owners find they have to spend more money still for their club to compete.

Even this idea appears to have run out of road as the PSR era is upon us. It occurred to me that, though the Premier League can apply the rules to the lower half of the table and now venturing into the promoted clubs, they can't apply it to the top half of the table, since the very existence of the Premier League is threatened.

The amount of fans that I am coming across who now don't talk football but instead the threat of sanctions is crazy. What is the point for fans finding themselves in this situation? Their team may finish in a certain position in the table, subject to a unknown pending points deduction.

GJ has gone the owner money route, continuing the traditional money to burn scenario, but the simple competitive win or loss formula has changed. Maybe this present situation is just an extension of buying the cups for the few, but there has been a fundamental change with PSR, which is still unfolding.

Another scenario that is evolving is the multi-club owner. This may be an extension of the multi-brand conglomerate that evolved into some of the largest companies in the world. Finance opportunities are available to those that present such a plan, as 777 Partners are presenting. But there is a time-lag between finance becoming available and the actual competence to run a profitable business.

So while GJ has presented a solution which does address the problem for lower table clubs and those that may join them, there are other factors at play imo.

Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 26/03/2024 at 05:58:45
The more I've thought about it, the more I think just don't have it. Both PSR and FFP seem to preserve the elite.

Everton, "the Mersey Millionaires" I believe once paid the then highest fee between English clubs for Alan Ball.

We had our chance, but our dysfunctional ownership and board had no strategy to build a squad that could compete and went in different directions. They blew the money like gamblers on the Las Vegas strip.

Ernie Baywood
3 Posted 26/03/2024 at 07:24:58
We're not a million miles away from a salary cap in this argument. Which is a solution that would actually be 'fair' from a sporting perspective.

And the reason it won't happen? Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

There's a good percentage of clubs who aren't prepared to let sound footballing management dictate what happens.

Money largely dictates where a team finishes. It's the greatest single indicator of success. It opens the door to Premier League and Champions League riches. The teams that make money, have money and can spend money.

Any old pleb could make it if you start making it solely a sport.

Tony Abrahams
4 Posted 26/03/2024 at 08:12:06
The holy grail is the Champions League, but you don't have to be a current champion to be in the Champions League.

Arsenal remained competitive and sustainable whilst building a fantastic new stadium because Wenger always got them in the Champions League. The first thing that should be ripped up, is how teams consistently qualify for this prestigious money-maker even though they haven't won a trophy for years.

A salary cap and having to play at least three homegrown players would possibly create a much more competitive league but I can't see the Premier League proposing something that would enhance competition, unfortunately.

Charles Ward
5 Posted 26/03/2024 at 08:35:56
Danny's right. I remember singing along to “Ee aye we've got Alan Ball” to wind up the Kopites as he chose us over them.

In the '70s, we were spending big bucks on the likes of Dobson and Latchford while Clough was winning the League with Derby County and Nottm Forest with a fraction of our transfer budget.

Man Utd in the 90s were capitalising on having Ferguson and a relatively solid board whereas we went full-on Viv Nicholson when we had our pools win with Usmanov's & Moshiri's money due to our dysfunctional management.

With that gruesome duo they would have found a way to make a pig's ear of any fairer playing field - probably playing illegible home grown players!

Rob Dolby
6 Posted 26/03/2024 at 08:41:12
GJ, Good OP.

In an ideal world, the league should try and make it as level as possible for teams to at least try and compete every year.

The clubs with money have always done well and generally won stuff. Even when Leicester won the league, they broke the rules when winning the EFL.

I did suggest some sort of draft system without elaborating but got shot down in another thread.

Limiting the number of players a team can buy depending on league position and introducing a club salary cap would do it but there is no way it would get voted in.

I am afraid there are no shortcuts to our problem. We have been mismanaged for 20 years or more. It will take a Clough or Mourinho type manager to get sustained success then add a Ferguson on top of that before we could again take a seat at the top table.

Newcastle are worth keeping an eye on to see how they break through because, if they do, there will be nobody bigger.

Michael Lynch
7 Posted 26/03/2024 at 08:58:18
A level playing field is not in the Premier League's interest, nor is it in Uefa's interests, nor is it in the interests of the richest English clubs.

"The Product" is everything now. We're constantly being sold "The Product" as being the best thing ever – the best title race ever, the best relegation battle ever, the best managers ever, the best teams ever.

Imagine dismantling that? Imagine a situation in which Leeds could get promoted this season, win the PL next season, and the CL the season after?

Not going to happen. Vested interests. And the new fans – young people in front of screens from Norfolk to Nigeria – have no interest in that happening. They have picked their teams (one of the big six, plus a Spanish team, plus whichever team Messi, Neymar or Mbappe is playing for that season) and they want the glamour of their clubs competing and winning every season, not Leicester or Everton winning something. The new fans don't give a shit about a level playing field, they just want Real Madrid v Liverpool, Man Utd v Barca, Chelsea v Man City, every season in every final.

You want a level playing field? Watch a different sport, or a lower level of English football. Meanwhile, every other fucker is going to be watching six English clubs plus two or three European superclubs win everything for the rest of our lifetimes.

Ernie Baywood
8 Posted 26/03/2024 at 09:19:51
Tony @4, I completely agree about Champions League qualification.

Just being there makes it more likely that you're there the next season. And with 4 (maybe even 5) spots, the odds of that revenue remaining unchanged the following year increase substantially.

Basically it's doing what it was designed to do. Concentrate the money, concentrate the world's best players. It's the Premier League theory on the European stage.

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 26/03/2024 at 09:25:57
Charles, it's not how much you spend, it's how you spend it. Many teams like Brighton have proven that.

Tony, from the onset I have been a critic of the Champions League. It's not a Champion's League. It was designed to ensure the elite clubs qualified regardless of whether they won their national league or not.

The Champions League was originally the European Cup when only the Champions of each country qualified. Something we were denied twice, but don't start me on that!

Brian Harrison
10 Posted 26/03/2024 at 10:04:27
I think both FFP and P&S should be scrapped – they serve no purpose other than to protect the cartel of teams in the top echelons.

What does FFP and P&S do except stop owners wanting to bring in the best players to their clubs? Why would any business in any normal environment be restricted to how much they can plough into their business?

The argument often used for the introduction of FFP and P&S was to stop owners coming in spending lots of money and then dumping the debt onto the club. Well, adopt Gary Neville's solution: all owners sign a bond that, should they sell the club, they have to personally make up any shortfall in the difference between the financial state the club was in compared to how they are leaving it.

What clubs need to address and they won't is a workable salary cap which can be independently checked. We now have clubs like Everton spending in excess of 90% of their income on wages.

Everton aren't alone in paying players unaffordable money, but clubs would seemingly rather have that than face up to the fact they can't afford these astronomical wages.

I can't recall any team in the Premier League going into administration; that's happening a lot in the lower leagues.

Rob Dolby
11 Posted 26/03/2024 at 10:32:26
Michael 7

Can't disagree with any of that.

We can't compete.

If our club went down a similar route to Bilbao and just played homegrown players with a small quota from outside a radius of the club, do you think that would install more local pride in the club regardless of league position?

Or would it be shooting ourselves in the foot. I have often wondered what those fans expectations are in a league dominated by 2 teams.

The prospect of not competing ever again and watching the same teams win every season doesn't appeal to anyone.

Maybe natural selection will kick in and eventually we will be competing at our true level and let's face it we are on the brink now.

James Marshall
12 Posted 26/03/2024 at 10:45:04
One thing that has struck me throughout this whole debacle, and this is true of both Everton and Forest, is that while we slate the Premier League, the Big 6, and the entire process, what we actually want is to be part of the Big 6.

The only reason people wanted a Moshiri figure and a new stadium was to get to the top and be part of the Big Show. As Danny says above, we used to be known as the 'Mersey Millionaires' and we revelled in such a tagline - football has, for a long time, been about being the richest, biggest and best.

Nothing has changed really, other than the figures have gone through the roof, and yet here we are complaining about not being part of the elite, while at the same time doing everything we can to be part of the elite. I don't notice this being talked about by anyone on TW.

So the question remains, are we part of the problem or part of the solution?

As an aside, has anyone read the piece below on the Guardian about Chelsea this morning?

Marina Granovskaia linked to secret payments by former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Alan J Thompson
13 Posted 26/03/2024 at 10:47:26
Charles (#5);

I think it was Leeds who thought they were going to get Alan Ball as Revie was paying him £100 a week to stir things up at Blackpool while it was Howard Kendall that was Anfield-bound when Harry Catterick stepped in to take him from under Shankley's nose.

It was said, without proof, that Gordon Milne's father who was managing at Preston thought it would undermine his son's position. Then the same with Alex Scott who, if memory serves, was pictured on a newspaper's back page as signing for Spurs, again until Harry in his usual manner quietly stepped in, no agents touting players to clubs in those days.

It may be agents who will be the fly in the ointment of any transfer/salary cap, remember the sale of "Our Kid"?

Brent Stephens
14 Posted 26/03/2024 at 11:16:40
James #12,

Yes, we're pissed about all of this because we're not part of the Big Six.

If we were part of the Big Six and managing our much superior income well, we wouldn't give two hoots over what happens to any club being sanctioned by the Premier League. We'd probably welcome that as it further weakens part of the opposition.

Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 26/03/2024 at 14:24:12
I honestly don’t think Evertonians, or genuine scousers, would ever think like this Brent. I might be wrong?
Brent Stephens
16 Posted 26/03/2024 at 14:40:54
Tony, as genuine scousers I'm sure you and me both have always wanted Everton up there in the top 6, if not higher. The only question then is how we'd react if we were up there and a club like Forst or Leeds were in the bottom half dozen and being chased by the EPL on PSR regs. We might not like it, as you say, but I doubt we'd see the same vitriol against the EPL from us as we (rightly) see now.
Dale Self
17 Posted 26/03/2024 at 15:38:41
The current problem of PL favoring the shite 4+ is a direct result of the PL winning the competition against La Liga and Serie A to be the dominant league. They had to allow financial engineering to draw the best players from the other leagues. Then the brand started to change in that the league image was driven by the teams that had the funds to continually attract quality players. Those clubs then converted that support into a more specific loyalty to the team since the qualification for Europe was a given.

After taking in the returns from the global growth in revenue the league was never going to be proactive about concentrated financial football success. Only now are they really considering the overall health of the English football system and they are obviously distracted. It will likely require turnover in PL executive personnel to achieve any progress from here.

MPs creating a framework to get the PL to act is likely the only catalyst. The PL executives are largely victims of their success at this point and have run out of ideas on how to run the league.

Finn Taylor
18 Posted 26/03/2024 at 16:10:18
Michael @7. Spot on. Hardly anything more to add.

I think if we were never part of the big six, never part of the elite, not one of the teams behind the Premier League - a lot of the conflict we currently feel about not being in the top six wouldn't be there.

With a bit of fortune - we may get back there BUT we are reaching a critical point whereby the gulf of wealth is so wide, the rules are so crooked, it looks increasingly unlikley.

Premier League football is legalized corruption - and that's just what we know is in the public domain.

Tony Abrahams
19 Posted 27/03/2024 at 08:12:10
Fair enough, Brent, but I don't have any real vitriol but more a lot of dismay. I thought Forest were very hard done by because they made an absolute mockery of what PSR is supposed to be about by keeping hold of Brennan Johnson and getting more money, or his actual true value, rather than panicking and selling the player a lot cheaper, which definitely wouldn't have helped their finances. (Only one part, I know, but it does expose the shambles.)

I am a person who is slowly moving away from watching a lot of football because, if the game is not corrupt, it has definitely became a game that courts controversy. This might be needed for it to remain such a popular television sport but, for an old timer like myself, I have no real time for it.

I still love going the game to watch Everton, and I've started helping out with my youngest son's team in training, but a lot of modern football makes me despair because it's simply full of out-and-out cheating, imo.

I read Evertonians saying Forest got off lightly compared to Everton, and I saw an article that I couldn't be bothered reading, which looked like it came from a Forest fan, saying Everton's breach was worse.

I'm aware you need rules in life but I also believe that a lot of rules are designed to split the human race for the benefit of the rule makers.

Christine Foster
20 Posted 27/03/2024 at 08:57:46
Tony, just as history is written by the winners, so are rules. Whatever the motivation, be it money, power or influence, winners control the status quo.

Change come about when someone breaks the cycle; otherwise, it is a continual widening of division. My dad used to say, "The pendulum will swing..." a bit like the old equal and opposite reaction but, in power, until a catalyst happens and what was is no more..

Such is the Premier League: it's broken but those in power and the affluent members continue even though bits are falling off their Mercedes. Haves and have nots.

Brent, I think you’re wrong in wishing we were one of the Top 6; I think we want to have the same access as others to make it a viable league. I have no problem recognizing winners financially, but currently there is no equal opportunity to compete and that makes the league a mockery.

The 70% rule is fundamentally wrong. There is absolutely no justification for it unless revenues are banded with the 70% figure dropping once a clubs revenue increases. It's absurd to even vote for acceptance by all Premier League clubs. Winning to them is impossible, being in the league makes the club a business, not sport focussed entity. Existing not winning.

What a dreadful reality. Tear it down, let them go and have their super league, they have destroyed the very ethos of competition. Fans are merely people watching, of no importance other than a branch of revenue. Look at 777 Partners who see the opportunity to leverage the fanbase with financial offerings..

I hope those who wish to have a European Super League go... whatever is left they cannot be part of. I wonder how many would leave if they cannot come back or cannot have their cake and eat it.

It may not be the Premier League as it is now, but it would be far more enjoyable.

Brent Stephens
21 Posted 27/03/2024 at 09:46:18
Christine #20,

"Brent, I think you're wrong in wishing we were one of the Top 6; I think we want to have the same access as others to make it a viable league. I have no problem recognizing winners financially, but currently there is no equal opportunity to compete and that makes the league a mockery."

Yes, Christine. That's probably a better way of putting it – equal access and opportunity; if we don't make the Top 6, then so be it.

Brent Stephens
22 Posted 27/03/2024 at 09:56:24
Tony #19,

"Fair enough, Brent, but I don't have any real vitriol but more a lot of dismay."

Tony, I think I was really talking about the general reaction. Like you, I'm a bit more sanguine about it.

"I read Evertonians saying Forest got off lightly compared to Everton, and I saw an article that I couldn't be bothered reading, which looked like it came from a Forest fan, saying Everton's breach was worse."

I think the Premier League calculated our breach as £19.5M over 3 years, and Forest's (adjusted) breach as £34.5M.

But both breaches were seen as being in the middle "significant" band, so the same starting point for both clubs for points deduction (before mitigation / aggravation - which led to the different final points deductions).

Charles Ward
23 Posted 27/03/2024 at 10:51:40
For clarity the European Super League was intended to be a closed shop solely for European competition and the clubs joining it would remain in their national leagues, ie, having their cake and eating it.
Michael Kenrick
24 Posted 27/03/2024 at 11:20:09
Thanks for pointing that out, Charles.

It's remarkable the number of people who still think the Bad 6 wanted to break away and destroy the Premier League (Yes, you, Christine). A bit daft when you think about it.

Their real target was (and still is) Uefa and the Champions League. If the European Super League ever happens, the teams involved would stay in their domestic leagues and the only things destroyed would be the current European competitions administered by Uefa.

But why spoil a good rant, eh? Keep howling at that moon.

Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 27/03/2024 at 11:28:50
I simply think they are making it up as they go along, Brent. After years of getting away with keeping the status quo unchallenged, everything was running smoothly, but then some teams at the other end of the table started breaking the rules, and how they have clamped down on these clubs.

Whatever the arguments, Everton's initial 10-point deduction was incredibly harsh, cynical even, and definitely not well thought out, and I think the people in charge have now dug their own grave, because of this, and the “incredibly stupid” rule, that means the season is going to be finished before the appeals are finished and they must now be filled with massive fear because of this?

Everton fans running onto the pitch in pure emotion after witnessing their team come from two goals down to win, and save themselves from relegation = a huge fine for the club.

Manchester United fans breaking into Old Trafford and forcing their game against Liverpool to be cancelled = no case to answer.

The masters do indeed make the rules, unfortunately, Christine.

Brent Stephens
26 Posted 27/03/2024 at 11:39:00
Tony #25,

"I simply think they are making it up as they go along, Brent. After years of getting away with keeping the status-quo unchallenged, everything was running smoothly, but then some teams at the other end of the table started breaking the rules, and how they have clamped down on these clubs."

As others have suggested, the answer is in the timing: the government started to talk about an independent regulator; the Premier League panicked as they didn't want to lose control; so they wanted to be seen to be taking action; we were the first convenient club to take action against.

As you say, they are making it up as they go along. That's what happens anywhere when you make up a new set of regs (agreed to by the clubs in this case) – regs that are then being implemented for the first time: you find fault in the regs or in their application; somebody appeals (us); the regs, or in our case, interpretations and applications of the regs are revised, and decisions changed as they should be (in our case).

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 27/03/2024 at 12:01:15
So the correct thing to do is make it up as they go along, Brent? I think I understand where you're coming from, mate, but there's already been inconsistencies, with the biggest being that they have already decided that they are going to change the rules.

Keep howling, Christine, because you make perfect sense to us people who are taking you as literal.

Whatever is left, they cannot be part of, especially because they are very greedy and have been claiming a much larger percentage of the international television rights for years, and well before they threatened to join a league which was going to be a completely closed shop.

Who knows, but I'm pretty sure they would have got a lot further if the greedy bastards hadn't shown their true colours from the outset?

Christine Foster
28 Posted 27/03/2024 at 12:22:19
Michael, I bloody well will keep howling... I am well aware that they wanted it to be a European Super League but stay jn their respective National leagues.

My point was simple, if you wish to join such a league, then do so, but don't expect to stay in the Premier League. I certainly do not think they wanted to destroy the Premier League in doing so, hence my cake and eat it.

So, back to you, Michael, how do we get a league that is competitive whereby all in it have a fair and reasonable chance of not just competing in it, but actually winning something?

Personally I think it's too far gone to ever be equitable again without radical surgery, but hey, that's turkeys voting for Christmas!

Brent Stephens
29 Posted 27/03/2024 at 13:06:00

"So the correct [thing] to do is make it up as they go along?"

Yes!! But not for the reason you imply. The Commissions and Appeal Body have made the rules more precise (and they needed to be) as they've first heard our case, then our appeal and then Forest's case; in an attempt to be consistent.

I think we need to distinguish between the original Premier League rules (lacking clarity), and the line the Commissions and Appeal Body have taken (bringing more clarity).

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 27/03/2024 at 13:32:27
Brent (29),

Clarity? Let's see how our second charge pans out along with Forest's appeal. I wouldn't go a bundle on the Commissions and Appeal body just yet and I don't think our punishment and Forest's up to now represent fairness.

Tony Abrahams
31 Posted 27/03/2024 at 13:54:04
The league allegedly proposed a 12-point deduction for Everton, and then changed to wanting an 8-point deduction for Forest, because they suddenly realised that you only got 9 points for going into administration.

What an improvement and such clarity, especially when you read that the Forest commission didn't quite understand how the previous commission had reached their verdict on punishing Everton.

The only thing I've learned is that the whole thing has been an unmitigated disaster and it doesn't leave me with any real confidence because our initial punishment still feels like it had an ulterior motive behind it.

Brent Stephens
32 Posted 27/03/2024 at 14:07:25
Dave #30, It's surely obvious I was only talking about what's happened so far.

The EPL rules weren't clear on sanctions (maybe you think they were?). The various hearings tried to make some things clearer (specific paras in their reports show that).

I didn't go a bundle on the Commissions and Appeal Body.

I didn't for one second suggest what's going to happen at our next hearing. Not a clairvoyant like some.

I haven't said our punishment and Forest's represent fairness. You need a yardstick to measure fairness against. I'm saying they've moved towards internal consistency.

"Let's see how our second charge pans out along with Forest's appeal."


Tony Abrahams
33 Posted 27/03/2024 at 14:15:33
I wouldn't waste my time if I was you, Brent, because you sound like you know a lot more about this type of thing and I haven't really got that much of an idea.

The one thing I think I can see, Brent, is that you are trying to be genuine and very balanced, but you know how it is sometimes, especially because there has been very little balance coming out of this process so far.

Brent Stephens
34 Posted 27/03/2024 at 14:16:23
Tony #31

"What an improvement and such clarity, especially when you read that the Forest commission didn't quite understand how the previous commission had reached their verdict on punishing Everton."

Tony, that point has been addressed before. It's quoting selectively (and conveniently) from the report. We need to read the section in full.

"The league allegedly proposed a 12-point deduction for Everton, and then changed to wanting an 8-point deduction for Forest, because they suddenly realised that you only got 9 points for going into administration?"

As people have said before, we need to distinguish between what the Premier League have been saying and doing (bastards the lot of them, seriously!) and what has been happening in terms of what the Commissions and Appeal Body have been deciding. The Commissions and Appeal Body have rejected certain Premier League arguments.

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 27/03/2024 at 14:21:18
Brent (32);

I really don't know what the Commissions are bringing to show more clarity… which Commission? There have been three different ones up to now.

I'm not a clairvoyant either so who knows what the fourth and fifth Commissions will decide when they judge our second charge in the same season (another first) and Forest's appeal. I don't see any clarity but the big mess created by the Premier League getting bigger and bigger.

Brent Stephens
36 Posted 27/03/2024 at 14:24:39
Tony, sorry I posted before I'd seen your #33.

Seriously, I post with my fingers crossed that I haven't misunderstood something that's been said by the Commisssion / Appeal Body (I tried to work out how the Forest Commission arrived at the loss threshold for Forest and how much Forest were above that – found myself going round in circles initially!).

Dave #35 - the Premier League cocked up with their Rules, as they weren't clear on the sanctions framework. That's something the other bodies have tried to get to grips with, and I see a more precise position emerging on that.

Michael Kenrick
37 Posted 27/03/2024 at 14:27:15

I think you're right, we've been through all this before at least once.

There's a saying about taking horses to water…

Paul Tran
38 Posted 27/03/2024 at 14:28:51
Brent's points are good by me. The Premier League's finger in the air tough guy act has been spoilt by Forest, so now they're using their own case history to get a perceived level of consistency. They're being scrutinised and they don't like what we're all seeing.

On a wider level, nothing will change while this government is in office. Much of Tracey Crouch's good work and intentions were thwarted by the 'libertarians' like Davies (MP for Bookies North) and Chope (MP for Freedom to Upskirt).

Dave Abrahams
39 Posted 27/03/2024 at 14:38:29
Michael (37),

“There's a saying about taking horses to water”. Well you might be right if you keep taking them to the same water, if you take them to five different watering holes who knows what you might find there.

Michael Kenrick
40 Posted 27/03/2024 at 14:47:52
That's the problem, Dave.

Brent, Ernie and me (sometimes on other threads) have been showing you the holy water, but you've been wandering off to other internet watering holes and quaffing gallons of the bad stuff till it's coming out of your ears!

Michael Kenrick
41 Posted 27/03/2024 at 15:05:11
Christine @28,

You want it to be a level playing field, but it never has been. There have always been stronger clubs and weaker clubs in terms of financial muscle. At one time, Everton were the Mersey Millionaires thanks to the work of Sir John Moores.

We were one of the five who pushed for the Premier League… only to fuck-up our own chances of success through years and years of mismanagement and incompetence that culminated in our self-inflicted PSR blunders.

None of the existing or proposed P&S or FFP rules are fair but the football authorities seem committed to them. It's strange because, at least in the Premier League, you'd think the 14 also-rans could gang up and out-vote the Big 6. But I've a feeling that's never going to happen.

You have lots of ideas how to make things better but that's not usually how change occurs. If change does come in the form of a European Super League that displaces Uefa (which I could see happening eventually), those clubs in it will almost certainly do so while remaining within their domestic leagues.

Then again, the Saudis could wreck everything by throwing a lot of money at a few select clubs...

Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 27/03/2024 at 15:42:06
Michael #7, perfect summary. True competitiveness will never return to big-time footy because almost nobody really wants it or could conceive of making it happen.

Meanwhile here in the US, where our grandfathers all remember how the Yankees won every year, the fields are largely level. The past ten World Series have produced nine different champions (counting the Houston Cheatstros, whose title should have been revoked, the scumbags). Of the last five NBA champions, two had never won before and a third hadn't won in 50 years. Only in the NFL, where a great coach lucking into a generational quarterback can win four or five Super Bowls, are dynasties created like we see in the Prem and European leagues. And they don't last.

Different worlds.

Danny O’Neill
43 Posted 27/03/2024 at 15:47:55
You made me think, Micheal.

In an ideal world and from a football purist view, we would like a level playing field, but the the reality is, it has never been that way as you say Michael.

Lucifer's Children in the late 70s and 80s then Ferguson's Manchester United followed by Chelsea and now Manchester City.

We've had had spikes but never capitalised on it.

However there is a balance. The Premier League has morphed into a self-licking institute that worships the few.

I said you made me think. I thought of Amazon.

Originally a book selling company that now rivals Microsoft in the world of cloud computing and owns various food chain sellers. Basically world domination if you've ever dealt with the.

Imagine if they stepped into football? Do we have their number?!!

Denis Richardson
44 Posted 27/03/2024 at 16:27:16
Would a start be to limit first team squad size and not allow loans in the same division?

That way good players outside the 25(?) first-team squad need to find another club to play regularly. Top clubs can't then hoard players, like Chelsea, and mid/lower clubs can sign decent youngsters permanently rather than training them for the Top 6. This also includes not just loaning them to another club with the same owner. The multi ownership rule also needs to be banned. At least that of owning more than one club on the same continent.

The main sickness with the game at the moment is the amount paid to players and managers. It's just not sustainable and a race to the bottom when clubs are paying almost all their revenue on wages. Salary caps however won't work as people just figure out how to get round them (Chelsea offshore payments as example). Owners should be allowed to invest money (and lose it) if they wish so the current set up is just there to keep the top clubs in situ. Question is how to control wages.

Brendan McLaughlin
45 Posted 27/03/2024 at 16:43:35
Danny #43

Good shout about Amazon...can't help but feel they'd be a better fit for Forest though!

Tony Abrahams
46 Posted 27/03/2024 at 17:09:06
I’m glad you posted Brent, because both your tolerance and civil nature, has literally kept this thread very respectful, mate!!
Robert Tressell
47 Posted 27/03/2024 at 17:11:30
Unfortunately all of this talk assumes clubs are in it for sporting success.

Unfortunately that is just not the case.

Clubs / club owners are in it for revenues (and regime washing / vanity etc etc).

Everton enjoy much greater revenues by participating in a league they cannot win, than they would from a fair league.

From the perspective of the Premier League, we exist to make up the numbers and be beaten by more glamorous clubs.

Only fans want a fair league (except the fans of much richer clubs).

There is no chance whatsoever that the rules will be changed to make this a more fair sport for competing clubs.

To succeed, we somehow need to navigate a patently unfair set of rules.

That means excellent long term player development strategy brilliantly executed.

As Newcastle have discovered, being Rich doesn't even get you there in a hurry these days. It's a closed shop.

David West
48 Posted 27/03/2024 at 17:18:15
A levelling of the transfer spend and wage bill is the only way you can create a level playing field. But it would have to be done across Europe and that's never happening.

It's past the point where it can be a level playing field again.
Look at Man Utd. Absolutely rubbish for some time now. Yet with their budget they can spend their way to mediocrity without having to worry.

Limits on spend and wages is the only way to claw back some genuine competition. This should be Uefa leading this.
Across Europe. Or the whole spectacle will be lost and you will have these top European clubs playing an NFL-style boring non-relegation league.

Brent Stephens
49 Posted 27/03/2024 at 17:18:20
Tony, that's really gracious of you, mate. I don't want to overdo it but I think you're very respected on this site. As is... as is... struggling to get it out...as is that Dave fella!

Seriously would love to meet both of you.

Dave Abrahams
50 Posted 27/03/2024 at 17:19:27
Michael (40), You think so? Well to be honest I know as much as you or anyone else about what is going to happen with the premier league and different commissions, especially with Forest now appealing,didn’t they get points knocked off their original six pointe punishment for cooperating with the premier league? Leicester have now joined in and are taking the premier league and the league they are in now to court. Who is next to show their distain for the way it has all turned out ?

And you’ve been showing me the holy water? Now that’s a first a Heathen/ Pagan offering me holy water————-ger out of here!!

Duncan McDine
51 Posted 27/03/2024 at 18:01:34
Interesting debate.

Transfer/wage caps would help (if properly regulated), but the masses across the world don't want to see a competitive English league. However, they would love a European Super League.

No one wants to watch Everton or Palace or Fulham unless they're the sacrificial lamb getting roasted on Super Sunday by KopCity Utd.

A cap would significantly weaken the top 4/6's dominance in Europe, so it simply will not happen. Nice idea though.

Dale Self
52 Posted 27/03/2024 at 18:10:01
Nice Duncan. This takes us back to the astute posters (sorry, too much dope) who pointed out the tension between the global TV audience and the legacy local supporters. It seems the PL executives were courting one at the expense of the other. That is now in Act II.

I think I’m with Andy on the caps though. Unless there are caps at the top, fuck that.

Dale Self
53 Posted 27/03/2024 at 18:24:32
I got it. Rather than a wage or transfer cap, require each club sale to be charged a fee based on ShitSixness proximity that is distributed by an agreed formula by the other 14.

Don't pile on too much while I work through that but this may be a decent second best solution.

Tony Abrahams
54 Posted 27/03/2024 at 18:33:02
Take a leaf out of Brent's book, Dave, don't take the bait because I'm sure he will have pissed in that holy water!

I'm not sure about being respected Brent, but I think it's important to treat people in the same way that they treat me, so I always try and stay respectful to most people on ToffeeWeb, mate! I'm sure I'll bump into you sometime Brent, maybe at one of our games🤞

Brent Stephens
55 Posted 27/03/2024 at 18:42:27
Tony, Dave has my email address. Get it off him and contact me - I'll buy you a pint before the next game.
Charles Ward
56 Posted 27/03/2024 at 18:58:09
Danny's bit about Liverpool dominating in the 70s and 80s got me thinking.

In the 1950s they were languishing in the 2nd division had a poor team and an unimaginative board. All that changed when one Eric Sawyer was appointed Finance Director in the late 50s. Suddenly they had the money to buy St John and Yeats and rebuild the Anfield Road End.

How did this financial genius suddenly find these funds? Simple answer he was a Director of Littlewoods so I'm sure that's where the money came from.

Cue the 1970s and 80s, Liverpool were able to break transfer records and pay high wages without any of the lucrative TV money available now, again probably through the Moores family.

So did the Moores switch allegiance or did they fund both clubs simultaneously? If it was happening now, social media would be in a ferment.

Tony Abrahams
57 Posted 27/03/2024 at 19:28:50
Sound Brent. I’m not techno, but I will definitely arrange to bump into you mate, it’s a shame I don’t travel to many away games anymore, unlike your good self.
Tony Abrahams
58 Posted 27/03/2024 at 19:46:29
It's absolutely incredible to think that Everton were taken over by an alleged super-accountant, Charles.

I was talking to someone before who was telling me that it looks like Moshiri has been borrowing from everyone and it's hard to comprehend how much of a financial mess Everton are currently in, even when you take into consideration everything we think we already know because we read about them morning, noon and night.

Christine Foster
59 Posted 27/03/2024 at 20:07:16
Michael @41,

You're right to say there have always been inequities in leagues but there is a significant discrepancy between then and the current Premier League.

Now, the financial rules on fair play or PSR currently in place and more importantly going forward are designed specifically to protect and enhance those clubs who are "brand leaders".

We did stuff up the opportunity to remain a brand leader because of our own incompetence but, before the Premier League began, we were one of a number of clubs who had wealthy owners who spent their own money to buy success. Any club had that opportunity to do so.

The difference now is we, Newcastle, Villa, Leicester, in fact any owner with money, cannot break the circle due to the PSR rules. The opportunity for any new owner to become a significant force in the Premier League has gone.

Newcastle are a prime example, owners with unimaginable wealth can only spend 70% of £250m (that's £175m) whilst Man City with revenue of £750m can spend £525m. That's 3 times more.

It's clear that it's not just money that rules the game but the power to control who can use it. The only level playing field are the rules of the game on the actual pitch and that's debatable!

The much used maxim of "unfair sporting advantage" used to penalise us, is actually enshrined and perpetuated for those clubs by rules designed to protect clubs.

Financially there never has been or will never be a level playing field, money will always buy the best. But the current state of FFP/PSR are anti-competitive and that inequity will be even more significant with the 70% squad cost rule.

Laurie Hartley
60 Posted 27/03/2024 at 21:04:26
Christine # 59 - “But the current state of FFP/PSR are anti competitive and that inequity will be even more significant with the 70% rule.”

Precisely - it solidifies the position of the so called “top six”.

I watched the Luton v Forest game an was struck by the standard of the home stadium - Kenilworth Rd.

Compare that with Spurs new stadium:-

What Chance have they got honestly?

Premier league stadium capacities:

Barry Rathbone
61 Posted 27/03/2024 at 21:42:07
Some day, a Mourinho, Wenger, Simone, Clough, Shankly will turn up and by dint of character and/or innovation convert a less monied outfit into champions.

My money is on someone like Southampton where patience is unencumbered by history.

But, yes, for the best part, footy is more than ever a money game.

Christine Foster
62 Posted 27/03/2024 at 22:22:26
Laurie @60,

I would like Masters to comment on, or more importantly, address that very issue because as a competition to win silverware or even gain a Champions League place, there is an infinitesimal chance of any club outside those handful, of ever achieving going forward.

As a competition, the Premier League is defunct; as a revenue-generating business, it's been stellar. But to continue as a competition, it needs to change… before it dies.

Laurie Hartley
63 Posted 28/03/2024 at 02:11:20
Here is a better link to the stadium capacity for each premier league club.

Stadium Database

It's not hard to draw parallels between league position, income, and stadium size.

Christine #62 - for Masters to comment or address that issue, it would have to be as a result of pressure from fan groups and the press.

Barry #61 - yes it is a possibility that such a character could pop up. I live in the hope that we can get Marcelo Gallardo as our hero once he has got his retirement fund sorted from the Saudi pro league at the end of June next year.

The Marcelo Gallardo philosophy: ‘I want my teams to take the initiative, be protagonists’

After all he did say in that article, “I need to find a place that makes me feel something. I need a sense of identification.”

We might be skint but we can give him that in spades. Getting carried away now I am.

Robert Tressell
64 Posted 28/03/2024 at 02:58:50
I would also love us to be a front-foot footballing side under a manager like Gallardo. However, Gallardo is much more likely to join Brighton if De Zerbi leaves than Everton. In fact there is 0% chance of Gallardo joining Everton.

Gallardo himself will understand that managerial success is hugely dependent on the club's ability to deliver quality players to the first team squad. That's not something within the manager's control or job description.

That means academy, youth development, international youth scouting networks and the sort of data analytics Brighton use to source players (repurposed by their visionary owner who uses this stuff in his gambling empire).

None of this has been down to any of the managers at Brighton. And it's not something that either of Simeone or Mourinho have been involved in anywhere either (apart from possibly the signings of very well known players often for huge sums of money).

Wenger did help to transform Arsenal along with David Dein – but that has allowed them to move to a model where Arteta is now the beneficiary of an excellent academy and excellent youth development recruitment strategy, none of which is overseen by Arteta.

Gallardo will know this because he himself was not responsible for the steady flow of top-class youth academy players made available to him at River Plate (who also had a very big budget in relative terms in Argentina).

You cannot simply hire Gallardo and expect him to succeed off the back of a poor academy and the extraordinary financial constraints the actual recruitment team are operating in.

Once the club has sorted out its academy, youth development, international scouting and data analytics, then we too might find that decent manager we've been waiting so long for. Indeed if we manage that soon the decent manager might turn out to be Dyche.

Mike Gaynes
65 Posted 28/03/2024 at 03:30:19
Even the most ebullient-appearing athletes can suffer from profound depression. Jarring stuff from our old friend Richarlison on ESPN Brasil:

Brazil and Tottenham forward Richarlison said he suffered troubling thoughts and was ready to "give up" when battling depression following the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Richarlison said he sought psychological help following the tournament, saying it was "the best discovery I've ever had in my life."

"Before I went to training, I wanted to go home, I wanted to go back to my room because, I don't know what was going through my head," Richarlison told ESPN Brasil. "I even went and told my dad I was going to give up.

"It's kind of sad to talk like that, you know? What I went through after the World Cup, discovering things here at home from people who had lived with me for over seven years. It is crazy.

"To go to my father, who was the guy who chased my dream with me, and say, 'Dad, I want to give up,' is crazy."

Richarlison said he was consumed by negative thoughts after Brazil's exit from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Richarlison, 26, finished as Brazil's leading scorer in Qatar with three goals in four games, although the country exited at the quarterfinal stage following a penalty shootout defeat against Croatia.

Brazil's elimination at the World Cup quarterfinals was a blow for Richarlison, who said shortly after the tournament that it was "worse than losing a family member" and described the huge pressure of wearing Brazil's No 9 jersey.

In September 2023, Richarlison opened up about having a "turbulent time off the field" after he was seen crying on the bench after being substituted during Brazil's 5-1 win over Bolívia.

One of the issues affecting him was that he had parted ways with his long-term agent Renato Velasco, reportedly due to a financial dispute about money being stolen.

"I'd just played in a World Cup, man, at my peak," Richarlison continued. "I was reaching my limit, you know? I don't know, I'm not going to talk about killing myself, but I was in a depression there, and I wanted to give up.

"Even I, who seemed to be mentally strong. After the World Cup it seemed like it all fell apart.

"I think the therapist, like it or not, saved me, saved my life. I only thought rubbish. Even on Google, I only searched for rubbish, I only wanted to see rubbish about death.

"Today I can say, look for a psychologist, if you need a psychologist, look for one because it's nice for you to open up like that, for you to be talking to the person. Today a [psychologist] came to thank me for taking this to the world of football, to the world, outside the pitch too, because it is very important and, whether we like it or not, it saves lives.

"I had this prejudice before, I thought it was nonsense, I thought I was crazy. In my family, there are people who think that anyone who goes to a psychologist thinks they are crazy, they think they are insane. But I discovered this and thought it was wonderful. The best thing, really the best discovery I've ever had in my life."

The forward completed a £60 million ($75.7m) transfer from Everton to Spurs in July 2022.

Richarlison has won 48 caps for Brazil, although he was an unused substitute in both of their fixtures this international window, against England on Saturday and Spain on Tuesday.

Laurie Hartley
66 Posted 28/03/2024 at 10:36:26
Robert #64,

I would have to say in my view it will be some time before Everton sorts out it's “academy, youth development, international scouting and data analytics”. If that is the only way, I suppose we will just have be patient.

On the other hand, if our new owners, whoever they might be, could lure Gallardo to Everton, I am sure his contacts in South America would identify plenty of good young Argentinian players willing to play for him and by association us.

Just another of my hair-brained schemes to make Everton great again.😉

Robert Tressell
67 Posted 28/03/2024 at 11:07:34
Laurie, absolutely it takes time unfortunately. Even with their riches, Newcastle have been unable to short-cut things. And Man City's academy – put in place many years ago – is only now providing a La Masia style conveyor belt of Premier League, International and First Team quality players for City.

That said, some of the things that make a different are already happening:

- We are now recruiting into the academy, there has been a noticeable step up with Boakye, Benjamin and the lad from Northern Ireland whose name I have forgotten. Also, lots of 15-, 16- & 17-year-olds linked. This is Thelwell, possibly in conjunction with 777 Partners.

- As for good young Argentinian players, they are all hiding in plain sight in the Argentina youth set up or actually playing in first teams. Indeed we've been very strongly linked with 18-year-old Anselmino of Boca Juniors (possibly as a longer term replacement for Branthwaite). Similarly we are strongly linked with two teenage Brazilian attackers at the moment. The strategy is already in place. Emphasis on longer term though – there are very, very few players in South America who would be able to come straight into our first team and make a difference. But a season or two to acclimatise and develop and you can have yourself a star. These guys can be bought irrespective of whether we have an Argentine coach (as with the likes of Mac Allister being signed by Brighton to play under Potter). Again, for us, this is Thelwell territory and has nothing to do with Dyche.

- On the data analytics and international scouting, that is exactly what 777 Partners have already put in place in their short time at Genoa, resulting in very heavy recruitment of teenagers into their academy.

Just to reinforce (labour?) my point though, none of this is led by the manager at any club these days. It is all club led, with the manager fitting in with the overall club strategy.

Tony Abrahams
68 Posted 28/03/2024 at 11:12:38
I think it's so difficult to do this because the top team has had no stability for years, Robert.

Sometimes I think start at the bottom and work up but, until you know what system the main team is going to be playing, then it would be incredibly hard to achieve real success through the academy system.

Everton have had a lot of success over the years bringing kids through, but there has never been anything consistent about this imo, in the sense that you wouldn't be able to say you can tell that kid was coached by Everton, in a similar way you might be able to say about Arsenal, Chelsea or Man City.

Laurie Hartley
69 Posted 28/03/2024 at 21:43:11
Robert # 67 - what you said in your last sentence - agreed!
Jerome Shields
70 Posted 29/03/2024 at 07:35:51
Charles #56,

I remember watching a program on John Moores and he admitted he funded both clubs. As a Everton supporter, he wished that Everton were doing better; it wasn't happening at that the moment in time, but he hoped they would in the future. At that time, it was against the Football League rules to have financial interests in two Clubs.

David Moores‘s uncle, Sir John Moores, was chairman of Everton FC, although he was a small shareholder. John Moores created Littlewoods and made the Moores family one of the wealthiest in the UK. Littlewoods was sold in 2002 for £750m. The family owned their stake in Liverpool FC for over 50 years.

Dave Abrahams
71 Posted 29/03/2024 at 13:04:09
Jerome (70),

Yes, I think it was common knowledge that John Moores helped both clubs financially. I remember reading, in the Echo, that Mr Moores financed both clubs' floodlights when they were being built with loans.

As for Mersey Millionaires, that was a term used by the media. When you look at the transfer fees and players' wages at the time, it was far from the truth. Jimmy Greaves playing in London at the time said his basic wages never exceeded £100 per week throughout his career.

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