It looks like the insanity and greed of those who run football (in terms of the leagues and associations) is starting to impact on the real centres of football: the clubs.
Of course the clubs are not all sweet darlings themselves – and we spend much of our time here debating the lunatic actions of Manchester United and Liverpool in terms of club management.
But now maybe, at last, the backlash has begun.
There have been rumblings in Scotland for years. Celtic have said their situation is so dire they would join Division 4 of the Football League just to get out of the SPL, while Rangers (who from my limited amount of Scottish football knowledge appear to be as bust as some English clubs) say that they will be out of the SPL within 10 years.
That’s the background rumble. But now there’s something more. The big players – the clubs that get through the group stages of the Champs League most years, they are saying that they will break away.
It came about because of a typical FIFA piece of gibberish spouted from one of its infinite number of “vice presidents”. This time it was for a maximum wage – the thing that footballers spent years fighting – and something that our old friend Henry Norris was against.
FIFA often talk these days about level playing fields, and this time Jack Warner announced that it could only be gained through the maximum wage.
Of course the rule at FIFA is that when you have made one stupid statement you should not leave it there. He also called for player quotas based on the FIFA nationality rules (such as where your grandmother was born) and for money to be paid by clubs to the country of origin of players (country of origin of course being different from the country you might play for).
This is typical FIFA speak, but clearly Arsenal and others have had enough. Ivan Gazidis told a Guardian reporter that “the current peace accord under which European football is operating would be broken if heavy regulation is introduced.”
The article was tucked away in the depths of the paper’s web site – and yes I know that the Guardian is written by journalists and thus suspect. But this particular journalist tends to write stories that are real – he misses out stories that don’t fit his view of the world, but the one’s he covers always have the ring of truth.
Mr Gazidis’ comments were seemingly backed up elsewhere – a spokesman from AC Milan was quoted along similar lines. So it does look like the fact that under the surface the old grouping of football’s major clubs still exists, and Arsenal is right in there with them.
The benefit of a Mega League is more than apparent this weekend. No internationals. No more stealing Theo and then injuring him while sitting him on the bench, returning him to the club to make him better, letting him play 20 minutes and then taking him away again to injure him once more.
No more destroying of Arshavin, letting us do the repair work, and then just as he delivers one fine performance, sending him off to the Russian/German front line.
We would, at last, be able to see much of our first team without the horrors of pathetic, childish, pointless friendlies the week before our league starts.
And we would escape the Terror of Triesman and his cronies and the whole crazed fit and proper person business.
A league of the top clubs in Europe could be utterly brilliant – a mix of styles and approaches, with no more “team bus parking” teams. Why should we not have Real Madrid, Barca, Inter and the like in our league? Of course it means we don’t get to play the Tiny Totts, but we could always have a reserve league, operating a bit like Diddly Cup, so our kiddies could play their first team a couple of times a year.
Meanwhile, back in the past, there’s the story of the first piece of evidence found which led to the view that Arsenal’s history of 100 years ago, as commonly written in most text books, is simply not true. As usual it is on www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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