- The defeat to West Ham: does this mean the title race is over?
- PGMO’s selection of referees appears to be racist. It would be good if they could explain why this is.
By Tony Attwood
There is an article in the Guardian today which runs, “The original Super League plan failed in April 2021 because supporters of the six English clubs that jumped ship simply would not tolerate the idea.” Reuters ran a similar piece claiming fans hold power.
As is typical of English football journalism virtually every newspaper and then most blogs followed the leader – there was a revolution going on and the clubs were forced to back down in the face of the pressure.
Indeed so torrential was the storm that before anyone could ask any questions all the clubs pulled out. Since then, as you will know, the legal powers that be in Europe have said that Uefa has exceeded what it can legally do, and that it has no power to stop clubs running their own competitions in any way they like.
But the general feeling is that having been frightened by the force of the reaction from the fans, clubs will back off. However let’s consider this a stage further. Let’s imagine that a new club competition is formed along the lines of the one proposed initially. What would the fans really do?
There are multiple articles around on Arsenal season ticket waiting lists – some quoting as low as two years, some five years and some longer. There are multiple stories around on how long it takes for silver members to get allocated tickets for matches this season – I know of one person who has won a ticket in the ballot just twice this season so far, and others who have got over half of their requests.
So let’s just think for a moment. Supposing Arsenal did something that was seemingly not liked by militant supporters and joined a revised Super League. Two questions would then arise, and interestingly I have not seen much discussion of these points on the internet, and virtually nothing at all in the mainstream media.
First, would existing season ticket holders (many of whom like me have held season tickets for decades) give them up in protest?
Second, would those people who have been on the waiting list for years, reject what is probably going to be the only chance in the next decade of getting a season ticket?
Knowing that the people who sit around me in the stadium have, like me, been occupying their seat for a long long time, (quite a few since the Emirates opened, and like me had a season back in the days of Highbury) I wonder if when push came to shove they actually would decline their seat in protest against the change from the Premier League to a European Super League. I have my doubts.
Some would of course, and I know that the supporters club of which I am a member had long and detailed discussions with its members and with the club over the proposed change.
But still, in the end, would so many people really give up their season ticket, and so many more refuse to buy one when it was offered because Arsenal were moving from the Premier League to the Super League?
I not only have my doubts because I know that I would not want to stop watching Arsenal as a way of protesting but for two other reasons. One is because I know that for many of my friends, supporting Arsenal in person is a fundamental part of their lives. The other is because I haven’t seen any serious academic research on the issue which gives details of just how seriously and randomly the research was done.
And that is before I even contemplate the length of the season ticket waiting list and the length of the silver waiting list.
Now of course I might be wrong and maybe 25,000 people would give up their season tickets, and maybe 20,000 of these tickets would then be on sale to people on the waiting list. Would they then all turn down the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy tickets for a league that involved the top six or seven English clubs, Real Madrid, PSG, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and half a dozen or more clubs owned by the City Group?
Even if you are sure no one would buy these tickets, there still is a question: why has no serious research into this been published? Could it be the usual journalistic arrogance that says, “I don’t have to ask, I know what people think?” Or could it be because it doesn’t suit the message the media want to give?
- Is the Premier League getting more exciting or simply ever more predictable?
- How far down might these points deducations take clubs?
- Big clubs that foul less lose fewer players of their own to injury
- What takes clubs up and down the league: attack or defence?
- Referee Extremism: the situation in Spain and in England