The grubby greed that taints football

I'd love to believe there won't ever be a European Super League, but as the promises are coming from UEFA chiefs I'll take them with a pinch of salt.

Friday, 23rd November 2018, 5:00 am
Greedy Gordon Taylor.

Former FIFA boss, tall tale-telling Sepp Blatter, might not be the main powerbroker in football any more, but those in charge of the sport’s major organisations still remain grubby, greedy and completely self centred.

That’s why the English Premier League can give a retiring rich man (Richard Scudamore) a £5 million pay-off when junior football in this country is swimming in dog poo, literally judging by some local pitches I’ve visited recently.

And that’s why the PFA, a players’ union, can pay millions of pounds in salary to its chief executive/dictator (Gordon Taylor) and pay silly amounts for unlovely paintings rather than donate to things that really matter, like the devastating effects on your health by heading a heavy football regularly. RIP Chris Turner and Jeff Astle.

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Rich Richard Scudamore.

So do I believe the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool would dump the rest of the Premier League if there was a few quid in it for them? You bet I do.

I admit I can see the appeal of the top clubs and even armchair fans.

There are too many games of attack v defence in our Premier League. Too many games deliver all-too-predictable results as the rich get richer.

The prospect of City playing Barcelona and United playing Juventus twice a season is more exciting than home and away mismatches between Liverpool and Burnley, and Chelsea and Southampton, although giving up the Liverpool/Everton derby would surely hurt the Reds?

Some European football leagues are more boring than Formula One.

I can see why German and Italian fans would be intrigued by the prospect of a Super League. Bayern Munich (although not this year) and Juventus have turned their top-flight contests into more of a procession than a Formula One season.

But the English Premier League isn’t like that. Manchester City will win it again for the second successive season, but they will falter when Pep Guardiola leaves or when their blatant disregard for financial fairplay rules catches up with them.

And when they do you can bet your life Liverpool and Manchester United (as long as Jose Mourinho has departed) will be waiting to pounce. That’s why the Premier League is the most exciting in the world.

But those details will be ignored as quickly as decades of tradition if there’s money to be made from a Super League.

Selfishness also drives some clubs into dreaming of a Premier League 2 rather than a Championship. They’d love to protect the financial advantages of second tier football while keeping open the chance of promotion to the promised land inhabited by Spurs and Everton, while making relegation impossible.

They don’t care about the impact on clubs like Posh. It wouldn’t bother them if, as would doubtless happen, lower league clubs went bust because owners and fans lost interest when promotion above League One level became impossible.