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October 2016
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Is it the Super League, the International Champions pre-season tourney, or the CL on tour. Or not.

By Tony Attwood

The Sun ran it first.  The Big Clubs around Europe are planning to break away.  A new Euro League.   Shock horror. Evil money grabbing swine.  Etc etc, you know how it goes.

Or maybe they were just talking about the International Champions Cup series, the pre-season competition in which clubs fly to Australia or China and play each other for reasons that never becomes particularly clear, get tired and fly back again.

Or maybe they were talking about actually playing champions league matches in the Far East instead of in Europe.  It is hard to say, because each paper reporting the story is quite sure they are right, and no one is acknowledging that other papers are running different versions.

Oh and it wasn’t a meeting.  It was a “summit”.  The Telegraph says so.  Except another article in the same paper says it is all a press stunt to up the value of the European games on TV.  “Serious talk of a breakaway elite club competition surfaces almost exclusively during the months leading up to the sale of Uefa’s broadcast contracts – from the 1998 threat from the Italian-based Media Partners to the 2013 claims by Galatasaray president Unal Aysal.”

And wait, what’s this?   The Teleg also says that the discussion was about re-arranging the Champions League to have more knock out matches and change the way the whole thing works.  Different Champs League, but the same.

It really is confusing.  And all this on the anniversary of the day that a corgi bit the Queen and she had to have stitches.  Well!  [I’ll have to stop you there Tony, Liverpool! now own the copyright on the exclamation mark and you are not allowed to use it anywhere else! ooops.]   I mean, if the newspapermen down the pub can’t even agree on what the story is, how are we poor saps who read the news supposed to take it?

It all came out of talks that five Premier League clubs had, and which the Super Soaraway “we’ve never knowingly printed the truth ever” Sun thought was to do with the Super League.

Apparently Manchester United, Liverpool! Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal all had a meeting with an American guy called Stephen Ross (apparently a 75-year-old estate agent with a net worth of £4.8 billion who owns Miami Dolphins, or possibly some dolphins in Miami) at the Dorchester.  It was a “cloak-and-dagger meeting” meeting according to the disreputable rag, so cloak and dagger that the Sun seemed to rumble the whole story without even having to use a Fake Sheik.

So it is going to be an invitation-only continental super league with all the usual suspects in place, Barcelona, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, etc etc, and it would “all but spell the end of the UEFA Champions League.”  I am not sure what the “all but” bit means, but anyway, it’s the Sun so who cares?  Oh yes and it would “not just be a hammer blow to the Premier League but also to Uefa.”  So maybe that’s good then.

Part of the problem for Europe apparently is that the new TV deal for the Premier League is so big that the competition is becoming so much more balanced than the leagues in the likes of Spain (where the top three are always the same and everyone else faces relegation) or Germany (where Bayern Munich win the league seven in every ten years) that the Big Clubs want something different.

But hey, what’s this?  Apparently Uefa is thinking of running a third competition to go alongside the Champions League, and the Europa Cup.  Of course there used to be three competitions, as we used to have the Cup Winners Cup.  Now the third competition will be for teams that are knocked out in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League.

Anyway one thing is very clear.  There is a “big five” of English football, but you have to call them the “so-called big five.”   Now why “so-called”?  So-called by… oh, the newspapers who call them the so-called big five.  Glad that is cleared up.
So anyway this league may, or may not, have been talked about, and there may or may not be a so-called big five.
But which teams will there be?

Well I guess they will have to come from several different countries, otherwise there isn’t much point getting too worked up is there?

Spain has got three of these beings: Real Mad Real Estate, Atletico Mad, and Barcelona Childcare.  They are always at the top so that is easy.

France has got PSG, and really no one else near them.  Do you see how far ahead PSG are?

French Ligue 1 2015/16
# Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1 Paris St Germain 28 23 4 1 68 15 53 73
2 Monaco 28 13 11 4 40 30 10 50
3 Lyon 28 12 6 10 40 30 10 42

Italy have got a number of clubs in trouble, plus Juventus who under the Treaty of Utrecht always win and then occasionally get found out to have been cheating a lot.  AC Milan and Inter are lurking around and would expect a place.

The trouble with this is that there are other clubs in the way…

# Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1 Juventus 27 19 4 4 48 15 33 61
2 Napoli 27 17 7 3 55 22 33 58
3 Roma 27 15 8 4 55 28 27 53
4 Fiorentina 27 16 5 6 48 27 21 53
5 Inter Milan 27 14 6 7 34 25 9 48
6 AC Milan 27 13 8 6 39 28 11 47
7 Sassuolo 27 10 11 6 34 31 3 41
8 Lazio 27 10 7 10 34 36 -2 37


 I saw the suggestion for Russian that Zenit was the obvious choice, but the league table doesn’t back that up.
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
CSKA 18 11 4 3 29 18 11 37
FC Rostov 18 10 4 4 23 16 7 34
L’motiv Moscow 18 9 5 4 30 23 7 32
Spartak Moscow 18 9 3 6 26 23 3 30
Zenit St P 18 8 6 4 34 23 11 30

Should Ajax be in it?  They’ve won the European Cup lots of times after all.   Well, yes but they are actually second at the moment and PSV is top – and there’s Feyenoord too.

Germany I guess have three: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund,  Schalke, and Bayern will have to play Real Mad, Barcelona and a specially invited guest team in the play off finals.  Otherwise it wouldn’t work.

And then England.   Would these other guys actually let England have five teams when other countries are limited to three or less?

Who knows, since we don’t actually know that they were talking about football at all.  Maybe the American estate agent was trying to sell the other guys some retirement homes in Florida.

Anyway, the “so-called big five” as the so-called Sun Says, would include

  • Arsenal
  • Chelsea
  • Liverpool!
  • Man U
  • Man C

I’m not really sure why Liverpool! has to be there as they haven’t won anything for ten years, but they have won the European Cup several times, so maybe that’s it.

Which then leaves Tottenham to go on and win the Premier League in colour for the first time I suppose.

Anyway that gives us five from England, three from Germany, three from Spain, which is 11, and if the idea was to have 16 or 20 clubs from other countries could make up the balance. No relegation or promotion, and Professional Match Game Fixers to do the refereeing.

There we are.  There is the future.

Or not.

Depending on which paper you read.


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11 comments to Is it the Super League, the International Champions pre-season tourney, or the CL on tour. Or not.

  • proudkev

    I admit to having had a chuckle Tony, very amusing.

    Sums up the amateurs in the media perfectly.

    …and the bit about Liverpool and Spurs was apt.

    Its amazing how much the media and their gullable followers conveniently ignore about Liverpool and Spurs. Arsenal get all kinds of countdown clocks but nothing compares to Liverpools 26 year wait for a league title or Spurs amazing 55 year record. Realistically, you would have to be over 30 years of age (with a good memory) to remember Liverpool lifting the League Title or around 60 to have seen Spurs win it.

    So what’s looking down the nose at Arsenal about? I mean, it’s hardly apples and pears.

    I doubt many of the ex players/pundits/hacks etc disrespecting Arsenal at every opportunity will have ever seen these events. Certainly the social media junkies, trolls, multiple personalities, abusers of the later generations will have never seen this. One substitute? Cotton goalkeeper gloves? Muddy pitches?

    Even when we were winning doubles and going unbeaten we got abused – remember the red card countdown and the ‘damage’ we were doing to the National team!?

    It really is bizarre, don’t you think that these abject failures are put onto a pedestal and praised while Arsenal get kicked.

  • Mick

    I should imagine the Spuds would expect to replace us in the ‘BIG FIVE’ list now, given the change in the balance of power in north London they claim has now happened.

  • Florian

    I wouldn’t mind as long as the Spuds don’t make the Superleague 😉

  • Zedsaunt

    Roll on Saturday. The game yesterday was football, it had that cruel taste of fortune you have to take, otherwise you’ll never be able to watch football. Sunday, the team came out in a daze, still playing Champions League. Even so, just one goal in it, and that a deflection of such proportion Cech had it covered going one way and the deflected ball went the other. For that Wenger should lose his job!!!

    Last night the team was faster. Players moved more, created more. Saturday they’ll be up for it and focussed.

    Reading some of the comments you get here – you never get them here when Arsenal win – I’ve come to the conclusion WOB do not want Wenger out because they want Arsenal to win the title, they want Arsenal to win the title so that they can stand on the shoulders of Redknapp & Souness & Carragher & Owen & company and take their salute. To be seen as the supporters of the winning team by these people is the conversation in their head. It is the sum of their aspiration.

    It is why they are here, as emissaries with a message, and why you never see them when Arsenal win.

    You would have thought, as proudkev says, Liverpool’s 26 year wait for the title, especially with so many Liverpool players in the punditry, would be a constant, recurring, weekly, documentary, a constant source of references, jokes, jibes.

    Not a word of it. Twenty-six seasons, three months, two weeks, 28 games without a title – will it ever change? You do not see this. Nor do you see Tottenham. 55 years.

    Wenger is the permanent, ever-present, never failing, red herring. Nobody predicted Leicester, let’s talk about Wenger.

  • Andy Mack

    If they’re going by European Cup wins then why aren’t Villa and Forest involved???

  • para

    If these “big guns” did break away, do you think they will want Arsenal in their league, if the animosity and attacks we are having these past years for not spending has any bearing? They will want so called “big spenders” don’t you think?

    I suppose their greatest problem will be how to define a big club so that it does not include Arsenal?

  • I think some of the smaller leagues ought realign to be more competitive. For example a combined Dutch, French and Belgium league could be very competitive especially if they work out some kind of Financial Fair Play system. It would seem to me that a Swiss/Austrian/Chech-solvakia league would also be a positive development.
    Scotland ought to join up with Norway/Sweden/Denmark.

  • Menace

    To anyone who thinks they know better than Wenger.

    Who do you think you are to set an ultimatum to Arsenals manager? You dont have a mandate nor do you have the intelligence to compete in a debate nor do you have the humility to attend a school where you can learn something about football. Your total worth is not capable of buying a pair of Wengers used shoes.

    So please go away & leave us deluded fools to wollow in our own truths.

  • Robert

    Until Fergie Time was introduced, Man U went 26 years without a title.

    Until financial doping was introduced, Chelsea went 50 years without a title, and Man C went 44 years without a title.

  • Stevo


    I don’t think that there were any subs in 1961.

  • proudkev

    Stevo, I think they were introduced in the sixties but your’e right probably not as early as when Spurs won the League. I think dinosaurs were extinct then too, although the FA and PGMO are doing their best to prove otherwise.

    Robert, very well put.

    A lot of the new type of fan, think football was invented at the same time as computer games, hence the lack of perspective.