There I’ve said it. I didn’t think the day would ever come but it has, courtesy of the extraordinary arrogance and greed of the Premier League. It’s staggering when you sit and think about it. That any country should think their domestic league so important that it should be exported all over the world. How wrong can they get? Supporters across the world don’t love the premier league, they love Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool. With the greatest respect, no one cares about Wigan and Bolton. And neither would they care about Ipswich if we were promoted either.
Let’s get one thing straight. All these ‘supporters’ in far flung countries are really nothing of the kind (ex-pats excepted). They are armchair footie-watchers who buy shirts and put up posters of the better-looking players on their walls. They do not understand the culture that underpins English league football. They have no idea what it means for a proud Geordie to be a Newcastle fan and to watch his or her team at St. James’s Park. They know nothing of the joy and pain of being a lifelong fan of your home team. And they never will.
On another tack, I’m trying to work out if these matches could be played at any other time than in a mid-season break. I don’t think so. This is the mid-season break that is needed (so we are told) because it would reduce the number of injuries suffered in the latter months of the season due to the attritional nature of weekly football. Someone needs to tell me how these injuries would be helped by transatlantic flights, a game in God knows what climatic and pitch conditions, appearances, jet lag, acclimatisation training etc.
This is a plan that cares not about the players. It cares not about the home supporters who remain the lifeblood of every club. And it cares not about the essential fairness that MUST underpin a league championship. Look. In a league, every team plays each other home and away. This is fair and equitable. How can having another random round of games meaning you play one club three times be anything else than a mortal blow to the very basic ethic of league football?
It is simply a moronic idea that has the making of money as its only goal. Richard Scudamore would like you to think there is an element of missionary work involved… taking the great game to the provinces and all that. Bollocks. This is more like a crusade, looking to crush other countries’ professional leagues under its steel shod boots. If the Premier League really wants to make money overseas, far better to suport the construction of properly supported pro leagues in places where beamed in TV from Europe makes them struggle so badly. Feeder clubs, places to loan your players, places to find new players for your team. All these can be achieved to the long-term benefit of our league. But it’ll take a bit of altruism to achieve. And I suspect that is a word Scudamore would have to look up. Idiot.