The F.A. Forget To Bolt The Stable Door……Again.
The fact that the Champions League is fast becoming the only prize worth having in club football has not escaped Michel Platini or UEFA. Staging this round over four weeks so as to maximise TV income is a clever move evidenced by the greater income 100million and higher prize money 75 million.
That means more prize money for each match, round, etc for the teams involved.
On the surface and from our point of view, that may seem ok. The prestige of playing in the competition, beating well known and respected European teams, making your fans happy and, and, making pot loads of money while your doing it. That’s almost as good as it gets, unless you get into the final or even win it.
It’s true that every team really wants to win it, but just competing in it and progressing even to this stage is hugely financially rewarding. For as long as the D and G brigade can remember, there have only really been four English clubs who get to play in it. So year after year this income has come into United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Ourselves.
For such a long time, Chelsea have been so swimming in the filthy lucre that the Champions League money just represents a smaller loss on their meaningless yearly accounts.
For Liverpool and United, especially United, the money has helped them pay interest on loans that they never needed to have taken out in the first place. Players were also traded, and the Brands remained strong, but the ledgers tell the true story.
For us, player development and stadium development meant that all the cash we earned was well and truly accounted for. We also traded players and did rather well, thank you. What we didn’t spend the money on was servicing idiotic loans.
Arsene Wenger and the board correctly predicted the need to run the club prudently, and having made a series of excellent decisions. So we find ouselves uniquely placed to face UEFAs new rules concerning finance and there we are, playing in the competition every year, spending the money wisely, and hence shaping up nicely for the rule change.
But a little scratching of the surface and it’s plain that all’s not well. The simple fact that the ‘top four’ are always in it makes it seem like its because they’re in it that they are always top four, and that the millions they earn from it keep them in the top four and then in the CL Etc. Etc. Etc.
For Chelsea this is not the case. Several suitcases stuffed with Roubles has propelled and kept them there. I would also argue that what has kept us in contention every year is the aforementioned Arsene Wenger. The stadium is a relatively new thing and it only requires income from one in four competitions.
Liverpool and United have definitely profited from their constant appearance in Europe. The money has been vital in sustaining their crumbling empires but for all four clubs, the money represents at most 12% of their total income.
Ahh, cry the FA, it’s only 12% because you are all so rich and earn so much anyway, it would mean much more to a non top four club.
So despite the obvious, the FA have suggested that it might be a good idea to auction the fourth qualifying place into the CL. The top three will get automatic qualification into the big money matches and the next four will fight it out for a chance to fight it out for a chance to get into the big money matches.
Despite an already crammed fixture list, the FA is proposing that these teams squeeze in another 2 or 3 matches. A cynic would point out the extra TV revenue. Is it the 39th match in a different disguise? A cynic would also point out that of all the clubs represented, only the top four thought that this wasn’t a great idea.
If the FA want the EPL to retain its place at the pinnacle world club football, it should consider that the reason we have four spots is that as a country we generally do quite well. The reason we do so well is that the best four teams, measured over a 38 week period qualify. We don’t send the best three and one other because, as Everton found to their chagrin, actually qualifying from that position is not easy.
It seems fairly obvious that the best four teams should qualify. But the FA want to spread the wealth around and it appears that this is the way they plan to do it.
So, in order for them even to consider this idea, the FA have to believe that:
- United and Liverpool won’t slip down the table because of financial mis-management. And…
- They along with Chelsea will pass the new financial tests being brought in by UEFA. And…
- That no other team will ever claim fourth spot for the foreseeable future.
If United or Liverpool or Chelsea, or any other club in the first seven don’t pass the financial rules and if City or the Spuds make it into fourth, the monopoly will be broken.
As an Arsenal fan, it’s all good. The proposed FA and UEFA qualifying criteria, coupled with impending financial disaster ensure that we are unique in the top four as far as qualifying is concerned. It looks like outside forces will conspire to make the proposed 4th place auction look a bit like bolting the stable door after the horse has fled.
UNTOLD RUMOURS by Algenon Fitzgibbon-Beater, (followed by the teams)
People living in the vicinity of Very Old Trafford have complained about the noise – not the supporters that is, but the music played in the build up to the game.
Eight pieces of music were played so loud that they breached health and safety regulations. The Health and Safety Executive described the music as “excessively strident”.
Manchester United said that the game in question had many “silent patches” so the music at half time seemed louder.
A court has issued an arrest warrant for Sulaiman al Fahim of Portsmouth by the sea, for failing to pay a debt of more than 8 million Flavian Pobble Beads.
An investor from Azerbaijan (actually this might well be true and not a rumour) demanded the dosh after Mr al Fahim’s company failed to build some buildings.
The Court ordered the Saviour of Pompey to pay $2.3m plus interest at a rate of 9% a day. The defendant said, “everyone else is doing it, and Arry said it was ok.”
Billy the Dog
Hoyte the Younger, Eastmond, Westmond, Hoyte the Even Younger
Cesc, Cesc, Cesc
Sheikh Yerbooty, Sulaiman al Fahim, Sheikh Yermoney
- Wind: definitely
- Air pressure: very heavy
- Hedgehog: Yes
- Image rights: Try telling that to the Revenue and see what they say.
WHAT YOU MISSED BECAUSE YOU WEREN’T READING PROPERLY
(and I really wish you would pay attention)
Billy the Dog in Porto: a pre-match special unlike any other
We’re slowly solving the question of Arsenal’s reserves at the start of the 20th century Read the latest
Why did Arsenal move to Highbury and not somewhere else?
Making the Arsenal. The story of how the modern Arsenal was made. A must for every Arsenal fan with a sense of humour.
From Man U to Mansfield – how football is falling apart and what three guys have done to stop it. Read here.
Untold Rumours appear after every article except when it doesn’t.
- Manchester City v Arsenal: the team and the FA Cup
- Has Arsenal now caught up with Manchester City?
- Manchester City v Arsenal: the referee and the FA Cup
- Arsenal – the “monster” Manchester City created (according to reports)
- Manchester City v Arsenal: The Big 7 Stats, and comparisons of the last 6 games