- Rival to Champions League announced by media that is prohibited from applauding
- Picture of PL ref’s obvious error leads to club director’s Twitter account being closed
By Tony Attwood
In a recent piece (Picture of PL ref’s obvious error leads to club director’s Twitter account being closed) I raised, in passing, the issue of the way in which certain topics in the world of football are not covered in the media at all.
Of course some topics of discontent are covered – such as the way in which kick-off times are set to maximise TV coverage without any thought given to the fans who want to get to and from matches.
But even there, there was hardly a word of complaint from journalists when the dates for the fourth round of the FA Cup matches were selected to suit TV’s demands, without any thought of how away supporters, including those who still support their club although they’ve moved out of the immediate area (although of course that is not going to apply to Arsenal this season since we are already out of the League and FA Cups).
I don’t want to make excuses for Manchester City or Newcastle United but having matches in London kicking off at 7pm on Friday and 8pm on Saturday was ludicrous for people who choose to have a drink at a game and get public transport back to their northern homelands.
And it is not just the scheduling – it is the lack of notice. I know the number of people who support Luton Town away is low, but moving their trip to Burnley just five days before the game was really not right.
Time and time again this complaint has been made, time and again the authorities have said sorry, and time and again they have repeated the nonsense. Matches are moved and moved again, and the broadcasters of course never mention the fact, presenting each new match as a joyous celebration of football at its finest, rather than football’s paymasters doing their worst.
The Football Supporters Association, have done their bit of course, but to no avail. For the companies showing live matches, the crowd is nothing but an annoyance and for the rest of the media, kowtowing as always to its paymasters, this is not a subject to be grappled with.
Meanwhile, in the midst of all this, we await the next round of decisions as to whether clubs have broken financial fair play rules.
And here there is a tasty issue sitting on the edge of the menu (as it were). “Everton and Nottingham Forest are expecting to be referred to an independent commission over breaches of the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability regulations,” according to an article in the Athletic.
Now if you have been reading Untold of late you will know that I’ve received a number of emails from Everton supporters in response to my earlier pieces in which I asked for reasons why the conspiracy that is supposed to exist against Everton exists.
I haven’t had any clear evidence, nor any exposition of why there might be a conspiracy against Everton in particular. But I suspect there will be some further accusations coming along soon – although my point will be the same: if there is a conspiracy against Everton, why is that the case? In short, why Everton?
Anyway if there is a points deduction for Nottingham Forest and another one for Everton, that will leave the foot of the league table looking somewhat differently. (Although let me stress, I am just speculating here following a story in the Athletic). And here I am going to take the simple step (without any evidence) to suggest that the deductions would follow the lines of the deductions before.
After the ten point deduction and assuming that Everton’s appeal is not heard before this new deduction, the table would read…
Premier League with 10 point deduction for Forest* and a second 10 pointer for Everton**
Of course we are just guessing here – guessing that Manchester City’s points deduction is still years away, that neither Nottingham Forest nor Everton can put up a strong enough legal case to have the ruling of the Premier League Commission overturned and that ten points deduction is now the norm.
According to an article on the Liverpool University site, Everton have said that they spent too much money because of “unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances” including the war in Ukraine which led Everton to breaking their link with Alisher Usmanov and which included losing the naming rights deal for their new stadium.
I suspect the League’s response to that will be one of counting chickens. I’ve never run a business remotely the size of a PL football club, but even running a modest-sized PLC we knew that rule. Don’t expect everything tomorrow to be like today.
Everton also claim that they are penalised because they borrowed from their owner rather than a bank – and that is probably the case. But… and this is important – everyone in the business knows there are restrictions on borrowing from the owner, for very obvious reasons. Everton borrowed from the owner because he wasn’t wanting the rate of interest the bank wanted – so it was a gamble, and it didn’t pay off.
Everton are also said to have used the excuse that they found it difficult to sell players during COVID-19 – and Covid was beyond their control. But then if that argument were allowed it would open the gates to all “unexpected events” as an excuse for breaking the rules. Successful companies have reserves and are cautious, and that approach is what the League are trying to reward.
- 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