Back In Yer Box-Until The Next Time.
One thing in life which never changes,IMO,is that true,proper friendship survives probably not despite differences of opinion but because of them. My best pal for the last forty years,well of course we have the same ideas in life,we both agree on what is right and what is wrong,etc.
But by ‘eck,we don’t half disagree on the details!
Same too with my pals in Swindon-I was out with a few of them the other day,for example,and we spent most of the day tearing each other to shreds and enjoying every minute. My pals back home,of course,need little introduction. You can guess how little we SHOULD have in common,how much we SHOULD vehemently dislike each other-but we don’t. Because the details aren’t important,you don’t bother about the route a person takes to get where he or she is,but simply that they are in the same place as you.
Three years ago when MAHE and I were discussing setting up a site which was more to our liking than our Alma Mater of CQN or the various alternatives to it,we were told that it wouldn’t be possible,that the days of a viable football blog were gone,that we would fall on our face. And besides,we both had such different ideas about things that we couldn’t possibly agree,or even come close to a degree of consistency within the site!
Well,they got the last part right,and in the thirty or so months since the site’s inception,the main consistency in the lead articles has been the consistency with which my co-host and I disagree on the details but rarely if ever on the big picture. Mahe sees the ESL as the natural way forward for football,citing American sports as the perfect example. Those sports though are essentially American sports,sports which haven’t the global reach of The Beautiful Game. For forty years,American Football in particular has been heavily promoted in the UK,the rest of Europe and worldwide. Given heavy network coverage,and virtually for free,in order to open it up to the masses. It failed miserably,as they all have,and apart from occasional outliers like Japan,they are still niche sports and always will be.
MAHE suggests in his article on Wednesday that the European Super League is the way forward for the game,the only and inevitable means by which it can survive and thrive,and indeed that it will lead to a democratisation of the game,one where the likes of Burnley can dream once more of winning the league again. He may have a point,but it will be a league hardly worth winning,and largely unnoticed by others. Who gives a damn about winning the English First Division when the likes of Liverpool or Man Utd aren’t playing in it?
As an example,in 1972 a provincial club rose from the depths to win The English First Division. The following year,they were kicked and cheated out of The European Cup. Five years previously,they could never have dreamed of such giddy heights. Nor could their fans-and nor could the envious friends and colleagues of those fans from the neighbouring city of Nottingham. But only five years later,those very fans from Nottingham were embarking on their own Road To Glory,one which would ultimately be crowned with not only the English First Division title but also two triumphs in football’s biggest trophy,The European Cup.
Football has undergone seismic changes since those days of yore,still only forty years ago. Many for the better,some not so. MAHE believes that the now dormant ESL will prove to be a change for the better,but I disagree. It is,as I said,a strength of the site and of our friendship that we can sit at the same table yet disagree on how we got there. ESL will not be a force for good in football. It will not lead to a democratisation of the game. He mentions Burnley,but who remembers where Burnley were forty years ago? Or that Wolves were in the bottom tier thirty-odd years ago? Bournemouth on the brink of extinction yet spending five years in the country’s top tier within the decade?
For all their faults,we can look at the top divisions in most countries over the last,say,forty years and ask-eh? Who are they,where did they come from? Or,alternatively-what happened to such and such that we played in Europe not that long ago? Yes,there is a lot wrong with the structure of the game,as MAHE correctly points out. But IMO,the proposed and now dormant ESL is not the way to fix it,not for the benefit of the wider game. It is only ever likely to be for the benefit of those invited to dine at the top table while the rest of the game survives on scraps before perishing altogether. And all the while,the people at the top table,the ones throwing the scraps to the serfs who will ultimately die of starvation? Well,they forgot who it was that fed them in the first place!
And that English First Division title won so memorably by Brian Clough for the fans of both Derby and Nottingham Forest? Well,it will linger long in the memories of those fans and of afficianados of the beautiful game. I’m not so sure that the same is likely about this year’s likely winner,Hull City.The monetisation of the game,that so-called democratisation,the drive for improvement,means that the title which will be won by Hull City now refers to the third tier of the game. Not that the likes of Man City or Liverpool are too bothered. Despite the fact that it isn’t too long ago that Man City themselves could only dream of winning that same third tier!
There is no interest from these clubs in the betterment of the game,nor of the democratisation of the game. These are plans which will not go away,but cannot be dressed up and given fancy names,the ultimate lipstick on a Sarah Palin. And yes,while a memorable soundbite,that is the woman who inadvertently laid the groundwork for Trump. That’s what happens when you take your eye off the ball-someone starts playing a different game and you are left wondering WTF happened!
I’m fed up with these “big teams” threatening,year after year,to do this or do that because they are the big teams and only they matter. They got a hefty boot in the bollocks from EVERYWHERE,with very little support at all. That took all of 48 hours to achieve,from grand announcement with a huge GIRUY to the rest of the game,to the humbling climbdown. The people who thought that it was a good idea in the first place need to be removed from a position where they have the potential for such damage again.
It is interesting that MAHE cites American sports as an example of how their planned system would work,given the background in those sports of so many of the owners. I’ll go further,and point out that the background of the other owners owes nothing whatsoever to democracy. Overall,none of them knows anything about the soul of the game,the romance,the history. Or even the simple joy and pleasure that it was created for. They know the price of everything and the value of nothing. They are a blight on the game,and there must be regulations put in place which will prevent such posturing from ever being threatened again. Simple enough,put your name to such a document and your eligibility to play the game anywhere is withdrawn. Status of “fit and proper person” is removed. All player contracts are null and void,with the players becoming free agents. The days of the tail wagging the dog must become just an embarrassing memory.
Above article by BMCUWP