Friday, February 08, 2008

What have those greedy b*st*rds thought of now?

Over 3,100 Spurs fans will be travelling up the M1 to Pride Park tomorrow. But in a few years time this fixture might be taking place in Dubai! Or Hong Kong! Or Sydney! Yesterday's news that all 20 Premier League clubs have accepted a proposal to consider extending the season to include overseas matches strikes me as absolutely ridiculous.

All I've heard for the last few years is about how our top professionals play too many games in a season, the England side suffer because of it, so surely the footballing authorities need to consider reducing the size of the Premier League? Rather than cutting out a couple of teams they now want to keep 20 sides in the top division, but get all teams to play one extra game in a foreign location every January. In other words, teams will play 39 competitive games which means a side will end up playing one team at home, away and at a neutral foreign ground (but will continue to play all other sides just home and away).

The whole purpose of a league is its fairness and its accuracy at ranking each side come the end of the season. The round-robin format means everyone has to play the same games so the final league table is truly reflective. Playing the extra game will ruin it. I know there's talk of introducing a seeding system (which is even more unfair on the sides just missing the cut), but just consider an example. Suppose Everton, fighting for a Champions League spot are seeded and their extra match is against Fulham or Sunderland (assuming they're both still in the PL by then). Suppose we're making another late run for that final Champions League spot and we're not seeded; instead we draw a better side like Blackburn or West Ham. The points from both of those matches will count towards the final league table - how unfair is that?

Richard "I'd sell my own granny for a fiver" Scudamore said yesterday, "We believe that an 'international round' of matches will enhance the strength of the Barclays Premier League as a competition." Utter b*ll*cks. An international round of matches will destroy the fabric of the league system and will make everyone a bit richer at the expense of true football. The chairmen are selling the soul of football.

If the aim is to expand the brand then think of something else. Why not just come up with a plan to play more pre-season games abroad against fellow English sides?

Fortunately yesterday's decision is just an agreement to consider the proposals further. A final decision won't be made until next January. That gives football fans almost a year to convince the money men of football that their greedy ideas are at the expense of the world's greatest game.


sore head said...

good article

It will also be unfair on teams with little or no support overseas. What chance manu playing in Far east or man city in Thailand

Marco. said...

I suppose its good for the fans that live in foreign countries like I do, I do not expect that Tottenham or anyone else for that matter would expect too many fans to travel to a match in a different country but there are fans that live abroad and also football fans that are native to say..Spain that would like to witness some premiership football, this article smacks of a tad selfish to me, why should you think that you have the devine right go to a live match for the team that you support but no one else, just because the game is in a different country.

Chappers said...

You all have it wrong. Not saying i agree but at least understand it. It will be an extra game on top of the home and away legs. It will give the small teams a chance to take their brand overseas! So every team will play one extra game aborad, again gives teams not in europe a chance to get aborad play football in another big town.

oog said...

No divine right, Marco. Just common sense and a sense of history. The idea that what makes a football club is in some way related to place, to people and to its history.

This is just one more way of chipping away at that. Fans who go to games don't have a 'divine right' to attend but to expect the team you support to respect the culture of a club (and of an equal, fair league competition, come to that) and not to become just another corporate brand going whereever the money is isn't selfish.

If you live abroad and you support a premiership team, good luck to you. I'd welcome you to White Hart Lane and be impressed that you care enough to come all that way. But its not selfish to expect your club to respect the fact that 36,000 people (or however many) a week are wrapped up in the fabric of their club in a way that means something to them. If it means so much to people in Thailand to have that - start attending your own league. Don't just support teams from another league because they have big famous names.

But - I don't begrudge people from abroad supporting my team. I just begrudge my team chasing the extra money rather than the traditions of the game.

N7teen said...

Any overseas fans are welcome Marco and to be honest, even if one of the 38 games was played abroad it wouldn't be the end of the world.

What bugs me is that each team will play 39 games but WILL NOT play the same number of games against the same opposition. That is unfair and is against the point of a league.

Curio said...

WTF are you waffling about Marco?

you are free to jump on a plane and come to white hart lane anytime you like?

It has bugger all to do with divine right it is all to do with the season ticket holders (i.e. those of us that put money in to our clubs coffers every week) being shafted.

This is the ENGLISH premier league not la liga furthermore do you really think they are talking about European venues which are already flooded with first class football? no of course they aren't, where is the revenue in that?

sorry but what you have just spouted is more ill conceived then the idea of extra foreign games is.

Selfish? damn straight we pay week in week out for our clubs we turn up rain or shine, why the hell should we let them treat us like this?

Spurs V's arsenal in dubai yes that would be great assuming we'd all won the lottery the week before!

Johnson said...

Curio.... so hostile, everyone is entitled to an opinion, you are not Harry Hotspur by any chance?, he abuses anyone who has a differing opinion to his!