Since the late 80s the “big” teams have threatened to break away from the rest and form their own little league, apparently to “save” the sport. In forming the Premier League and then forcing UEFA to create the so-called Champions League, they have succeeded in funneling money into those clubs, and their already wealthy owners and the hangers-on who surround football, at the expense of everyone else.
There was an element of tedious predictability in yet another attempt to reinforce their own wealth, so that fans desperate to watch the Manchester derby every week from the comfort of their armchair can rest easy that their enjoyment won’t be marred by smaller clubs occasionally breaking through into the top rank. What was new was the swift backlash against the proposals, and the collapse of the super league with barely a whimper.
Alongside the impressive level of fume at the new proposals it was interesting to see a fair proportion of people questioning why anyone should be concerned.
Frankly, I have some sympathy with those who can’t see what the fuss is about. The Champions League was created to ensure that a small group of clubs was always in it and the new proposal is just another step down a path we embarked on 30 years ago.
It is outrageous to have a competition from which some teams can’t be relegated but we already have this in the UK – it is now inconceivable that any of the “big 6” (interestingly, not the same big 6 as in the 80s or 90s) could be relegated from the Premier League.
It just won’t happen. Only those teams have the resources to compete at European level. Leicester have shown that it is just about still possible for a club to succeed from outside the big 6, but I can’t see them sustaining their position long-term.
Outside the big 6, there are another 20 or so clubs who have realistic aspirations of breaking into the Premier League top 4 for a brief period but I don’t believe any of us (because I include Sunderland in that group, despite everything) will be able to break into the elite group, not without spending hundreds of millions of pounds.
Manchester City did it. They certainly weren’t big 6 in the 80s and 90s; their billionaire owners have bought their place at the top. Good for them, but is that what we want?
Is that want football fans now have to aspire to – a team which gets into the Premier League, gets taken over by an ultra-rich consortium (preferably not linked to organised crime) and then simply buys all the best players available for a few years?
It all seems so false.
Frankly, I would have preferred it if those six teams had left to play with their mates and been kicked out of all domestic competitions. I never watch Champions League football as it’s of no interest to me so I would happily never watch any of them again.
Readjust our domestic league and start a genuine competition in which there would be 30 or 40 clubs that could compete to win. We wouldn’t have access to the very best players but most fans (including us) hardly ever see the very best players, anyway.
What we enjoy is the whole experience of following football, of which the game itself is only one part. Creating a Super League might just save the game after all.