A European Super League – By Tired & Weary
Posted on February 24, 2007
Filed Under Articles By Tired & Weary
I’ll do a write up for the Hull City game and do a general update tomorrow. I’ve been busy for the last couple of days and I’ll be away most of next week. But onto T & W’s excellent article…
We’ve just lost 2-0 to another relegation threatened side. So far this season, we’ve lost to, and been comprehensively beaten by Leeds away, Luton away, Norwich at home, Ipswich away, Southend at home, and now Hull away. That sounds dam right awful, probably because it is.
In fact I’ve decided to write something completely unrelated to Birmingham City. I’m not going to waste my time on a Saturday afternoon writing anything about them. They don’t warrant the time or the effort, so lacking in today’s performance at the KC Stadium. However, the underdog story got me thinking.
Instead I would like to talk about the level of competition in the English game. I remember back a few years and there was big talk of a breakaway European Super League. A league in which the elite European clubs compete against each other weekly. This subject does arise every so often, and always with much negative reaction and cynicism.
Since the subject first arose, English football has changed greatly. Gone are the days when a Norwich, Aston Villa or Blackburn team challenged to the bitter end, or even managed to win the title. The Premiership is not a monopoly, but a league in which those select few, are light years ahead of the others. I hope I am proved wrong, but I fear no team outside these four will ever win the title again. Certainly not within the next twenty years. Possibly a club like Newcastle might manage to get back in the mix again, and even that looks a long way off at present.
For teams like ourselves, the chance to get into the Premiership and visit grounds such as Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and Anfield were our reward for getting there. Before we managed it, Swindon, Barnsley and Oldham had the opportunity to grace these Stadiums. Clubs such as Reading and Wigan are achieving their rewards now, whilst the likes of Preston and Cardiff are determined to have their own experience of these occasions.
Boothroyd, the Watford manager, likened his team’s recent game against United to Mohammed Ali taking on Jimmy Cranky. It’s sad, but it’s absolutely spot on. It may be the same in many other European Leagues, but where as, in some countries such as Spain, where virtually everyone supports Barcelona or Madrid. In England the ‘other teams’ are more greatly supported, and therefore more unhappy with the uneven level of competition.
I say we should allow Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal to break away, and continue their highly artificial worlds against the likes of Milan, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid week in, week out. Surely their fans would appreciate the thrill of more competitive games, than a predictable win over the rest of us, on a Saturday afternoon. This would allow us and the other (in the words of Rafa Benitez) small teams, to compete annually in a competition we actually have a chance of winning.
Some may argue that the elimination of the Super Teams, would have an affect on TV deals and many other revenues. But who amongst you would rather have football return to the old days, where it was blood and guts, sweat and toil, yet a chance where the best man wins, not the richest man?
As much as many of us dislike the Championship, or should I say, being in it. One thing that I feel it does offer, is the chance for anyone who shows a bit of good planning, determination and tactical awareness, has a chance to do well. My argument is proven with the performances of Derby and Colchester, and also Sunderland, who have recently risen from the dead.
In other sports too, those nail biting, closely fought finishes provide the best spectacles. I’m sure the Aussies loved stuffing us 5-0 in the Ashes. But the last 2 tests were a complete non-event. Surely a 3-2, last day decider would have been more pleasurable for them. In horse racing, the handicaps are always more intriguing, and usually give the more exciting finishes. Formula One, has had many years on Schumacher and Ferrari domination, but last season, the battle between Alonso and Schumacher was the most entertaining and watchable, the sport had been for years.
I say let’s create a European Super League, and save top level English Football. This would also help refill Stadiums across the land.