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July 2021

How to fix the Premier League – a scoundrel’s blueprint

By Tony Attwood

When Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-0 this season I didn’t see a quite how Chelsea were going to turn matters around.

But as Mr Wenger said this past weekend, “in the last two seasons the team that won the league hasn’t played in Europe,” and I started to wonder if that could possibly happen next season as well to make it three times in a row.

We know for sure that the top six in the PL will be in Europe, but beyond that it is a little less clear.   The top four of course go to the Champs League, and the next two into the Europa.  But…

But if Man U win the Europa they go there too.  And there is a place given for the winners of  the FA Cup.  Since Chelsea have qualified for the Champs League and Arsenal will almost certainly qualify for the Europa, whichever of the teams wins the FA Cup final, that position in the Europa won’t be taken up.

So that seems to me to leave two Europa places likely to be available for clubs outside the top six.  One of those will go to Everton, and the other (if I am right and there is one) will be either West Brom, Southampton, Bournemouth or Leicester.

Now the chances of Leicester actually making it are fairly remote, because for them to get into the Europa, they have to win their last couple of games, while all the others falter.  And Man U have to win the Europa this season.

But I mention all this because if the run that Mr Wenger mentioned continues and the next champions of the Premier League is once again a team from outside of the European competitions that would mean there is a chance for whichever of West Brom, Southampton, Bournemouth or Leicester (again) doesn’t make it into Europe.  Or indeed any team finishing below them.   Or maybe Newcastle or Brighton.   A curious thought.

Pondering such vagaries of the league table, history and the organisation of European competitions, I then started to wonder what I would do if I were the owner of a team in the Premier League that was not doing as well as I wanted.   For this flight of fancy I assumed also that I had multiple ambitions and a lot of money and no morality.  I also assumed I was used to getting my own way (because of my wealth) and was rather fed up because the team I had invested in, had slipped down the league.  Maybe so far that the team was not in Europe.

In the end I concluded I would do two things.  First I would explore how I might in turn influence the referees, and establish who was open to match fixing.  Then with that sorted I would order the manager to change the playing system, so that if results suddenly did pick up, the journalists could be persuaded into thinking that it was the change of system which explained the rebirth.  It would give them something to chatter about.

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In this of course I would be helped enormously by four rather curious factors.

First, the total secrecy of the PGMO which means no one gets a chance to see what is really going on with referees, why there are so few of them and why certain refs keep being given certain teams.

Second, the refusal of the mass media even to contemplate that any match might in any way ever be fixed in England because, well, this is England.   As one journalist said to me last year, “if there was something fishy going on don’t you think we’d know about it?”

Third, the fact that the media tends to work as a unity, following roughly the same agenda as we have seen this season.  Arsenal were praised for their early results, then criticised and of late (grudgingly) praised again.  When Xhaka was being criticised no one wrote about other players who have taken a season to adjust.  When Xhaka and Ramsey were not clicking together no one contemplated how long it took other pairings to work.   When Ozil was misfiring in the team no one was writing about what a brilliant player he obviously was, and how brilliant players tend to come back to form.

The media in short is hypnotised by the cult of today, and the desire to be part of the general commentary, rather than standing outside it with new ideas.  As a result even if anyone in the media was looking out for match fixing they would probably never see it because of their enthusiasm for the cult of now and the desire to let slip misleading thoughts of the “Arsenal have only two…” variety, oft mentioned here in the past.

Finally if I could do it, so could others, and therefore my crimes would be hidden among the crimes of others.

But would it work?

There are two issues.  One is that if you have four corrupt teams in the league, three of them will have a problem, since obviously only one of them can be champions.

Second, there is that most annoying issue of luck and fortune.  A ball that could go in, touches the woodwork and spins away.  A player has family problems that affects his form.  Injuries come along, not necessarily to key players but disproportionately to players in certain key positions.

But that is only part of the matter – if a club has six players injured it will probably be mid-table in the injury chart.  But if those six include the entire back four and the two backup centre backs, then the impact will be considerable.

Thinking of this I read a bloggetta piece recently (it was also mentioned in Sir Hardly’s transfer column) which proclaimed that Arsenal not having a backup for Santi Cazorla was typical of the lack of forethought and preparation that goes on at Arsenal.   But in reality how could one have a person even only 75% as good as Santi, and expect him to sit around waiting for league cup games and Santi to be injured?  No player that good would do it.   We have that replacement now in the Ramsey-Xhaka axis, but it has taken most of the season to get it right.

Of course being a multi-billionaire I could demand new players in the team by paying anything needed to get the top men.  And yes they would have an impact, but normally not until their second year – which means that we should be looking at this season’s transfers to make a significant impact next season.  This of course is the exact opposite of what the mass media and their bloggetta chums say.  Bring in the big names NOW and if it fails, the manager is a dope for bringing in the wrong person.

And that final point struck me.  As a match fixing billionaire I would be aided 100% by the bloggettas and the mass media.  Their unified insistence that the failure of any club is down to the stupidity of the manager and the policies of the owner, and that they can see reality far more clearly than managers can, effectively helps deflect any debate on other factors.

Thus I would not have to contemplate bribing journalists and broadcasters – their mindset is so strongly of the view that match fixing cannot possibly be happening in English football, and that they can see reality perfectly, that I would be able to sail through.

In short, a match could have so many duff significant referee decisions that a computer operating at random would get more right, and they would not mention it.

And curiously enough, that is exactly what is happening.

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13 comments to How to fix the Premier League – a scoundrel’s blueprint

  • MikeT

    If , and a big if, Man Utd win the EL as you rightly say that would give us 5 participants in the CL next season. Man Utd have already qualified for the EL next season having won the League Cup so won’t be using that sport or indeed the spot they would have won for league performance.
    English football gets 3 EL places so as things stand those places would go to Arsenal, irrespective of how the FA cup final goes.Everton and then WBA .
    As for us I really didn’t see us winning the league at start of season nor indeed after the loss against Liverpool they truly were the best team we played against this season but as we know their performances have not been consistent enough.Not having CL football helped but there is far more to it than that just as having a squad full in numbers guarentees nothing.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    My contributions to this article posting are as follows:

    1. Ozil is a perennial winter stickler at Arsenal as he continued to be missing in games for weeks for Arsenal during this period and take weeks to return to a good level for Arsenal after he has returned. Has this his periodic absenteeism contributed to Arsenal title charge failures for the last three seasons?.

    2. For Eddie Howe’s remarkable managerial effort at Bournemouth this season, I’ll love it if the cherries make it to the Europa League next season, but it’s difficult.

    3. I think Arsenal already have their Kylian Mbappe in Eddie Nketiah 18. All Arsenal need to do is to draft him into their first team squad next season and start using him to see how far good he’ll come.

    4. Arsenal need only a top quality left back signing to do for their defense-line next season I’ll suggest. And if Chambers has come top as expected he should after his loan spell at Middlesborough, he should be kept in the squad next season. But BFG should either be sent on loan next season or be sold in the summer to make room for the younger and now should be a better defender Chambers to come in and stay. Keeping BFG at Arsenal beyond this season will not be productive for Arsenal at all next season in my view. It will be like the continuing keeping of the later unproductive Abou Diady, Thomas Rocisky and TV7 at Arsenal by Le Prof just becauae of his likeness for them instead for professional reason.

    5. If he has stop smoking, Would Arsenal like their goalkeeper Szceseny on loan to Roma to come back and stay at Arsenal next season instead of to loan him out again or take the wrong step to sell him? I think he should be kept at Arsenal next season to give tough rivalry competition to Petr Cech for his money. But would Le Prof like to send Ospina on loan or sell him as he won’t want to keep 3 top goalkeepers because of squad size reason and redundancy issue?

    6. Goals difference could decide who picks the UCL ticket in next season campaign amongst Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool. Therefore, in our home game against Sunderland tomorrow night, I’ll like to see Arsenal score 6 or 7 goals in that match with Sunderland scoring none and Sanchez scoring a hat trick or four goals in that match if he’s able to play to improved on his goals tally in his bid to win the PL top goals scorer of the season award this season.

    7. We’ve all been suspecting all along the Pgnol might be doing match fixing in the PL because of some questionable match officiating their referees have been referring in PL games over the seasons which begged for urgent correction but none coming from the Pgmol. Hence, their complicity. What we are hoping will reduce this alleged match fixing at least to the barest minimum in the PL matches is the introduction of the VARs for usage in officiating in the PL matches. But we don’t know when it will officially come on board in the PL. The coming on board of it in the PL should no longer be delayed by the FA and the Premier League management board.

  • Zuruvi

    Tony, if Manure wins the Europa Thursday Night Cup they automatically qualify for Champions League but, does it mean Premiership gets 5 teams in the Champions League?

    I thought Man United would instead replace the team that came 4th (meaning that the Premiership still gets only 4 teams in the Champions League).

  • ARSENAL 13

    Winners of FA Cup also get Champions league spot????

  • Robl

    @ Zuruvi, no, the winner of the Europa League gets a seperate Champions League spot, as happened in Spain last year.

    @ Aresenal 13, no it’s the curse of a Europa League spot

  • Arsenal 1950

    I have just come across your site which seems to be a good platform for ideas. I am a season ticket holder who is not sure what to do next season. 2 weeks ago I knew I would not renew but now I am not so sure. There is a big problem with teams coming not to lose rather than win, we see week in and week out time wasting, I can now go throught the routines for goalkeepers and throw ins. Players falling to the ground when their attack breaks down just to stop play, or the “taking one for the team by pulling Theo’s shirt, Iam 66 and I could stop him by doing that. Finally wresting players in the box. With out too much thought all these things could be removed easily
    1) unnecessary time wasting— Have a digital clock on display showing count down for 45 mins, ball goes out clock stops, ball comes in clock starts again—- effect stops time wasting and I see a full game
    2)Playing not to win—- Change points system, 3 for win, nothing for draw or lose but 1 point added for every 5 goals scored– effect no point in not scoring and exciting games
    3)No player needs to touch another player with his hands , therefore shirt pulling and bear hugging carry yellow cards and retrospective punishment— problem gone in 2 weeks.


  • Arsenal 1950 – re the idea of “Have a digital clock on display showing count down for 45 mins” we did have that, installed during the Chapman era at the North Bank of Highbury. The League vetoed it at once, and Arsenal replaced it with the famous white clock, which later moved to what became the Clock End. The League reg outlawing the countdown clock is probably still on their list of regs.

  • Gord

    Marca has an article, probably elsewhere too.

    But, apparently Red Bull owns two teams that might qualify for Champions League: Leipzig and Salzburg. UEFA rules say an owner can only have 1 team in a competition. No reason to think England might benefit from such a situation.

  • Zuruvi

    Welcome to Arsenal 1950. I am sure (like me) you will enjoy this participating in this platform for genuine Arsenal fans.

    Your ideas make a lot of sense.
    Unfortunately your ideas might never get implemented because FIFA and the FA are two organisations who benefit from corrupt practices within the game. FIFA officials have benefited from cheating and bribing in the granting of World Cups, the FA and the Premier League governing body benefit from on-field corruption which they ignore (or promote). anything they shines a light on their practices is outlawed. Having a stop clock which shows that fans are being ripped off by paying for 90 minutes but only getting 60 minutes or less of play is not allowed. (Hopefully, someone in America will file a class action for being sold a 90-minutes but only being given 60 minutes of play!!)

    In my view the FA and Premier League are worse than FIFA in that whilst FIFA are corrupt in their awarding of World Cups, the actual games are refereed in a somewhat fair manner (by and large). The appointment of referees to World cup games appears to be done properly; and incompetent referees are removed from the next round of games. The FA and the Premier League however have a corrupt refereeing system that displaced both incompetence and pure bias. The FA have had child sexual molestation taking place under their noses over many years. Minorities and women are not adequately represented in the FA structures as well as the Premier League structures. Rafa Benitez was probably right when he highlighted the FACTS of favouritism and bias towards a certain team from Manachester with a knighted manager. The FA never charged Rafa with bringing the game into disrepute meaning they knew what Rafa said was true. Every season we see Arsenal getting more red cards and penalties against than what Stoke City or West Brom get.

  • Norman14

    One consequence of the need to call a “sudden” General Election, is that the demand for the FA to prove it is restructuring itself, has gone by the wayside.

    This fits in nicely with the plan to create a European “Super” league, and to allow Premier League clubs to place “B” teams into the Football League. (Starting already with the EFL Cup).

    It’s possible, that all the maneuvering, demanded by the FA and administered by PGMOL, is in fact a plot to make sure all the right English teams are invited into the EUSL, and that those teams have time to get “B” teams in position to continue in the EPL.

    Supporters of some lower league clubs are planning to “boycott” next season’s EFL cup in protest against this possibility.

  • Sb

    So Tony the press shouldn’t talk about the now? If xhaka was having a messed up early season form, they should ignore it because you say so?(after coming up with a conclusion on how well transfers do,based on your assessment).
    So if the impact of purchases are in the 2nd year up, where is the impact of our buys 2seasons ago?
    So it took the whole season to come up with the xhaka-ramsey partnership that works, and that is normal? How many months did it take to get kante going in Conte’s team?
    Sometimes it’s just plain honest to accept you weren’t good enough and congratulate those who were better, no point cooking up excuses and conspiracy theories

  • ClockEndRider

    “As one journalist said to me last year, “if there was something fishy going on don’t you think we’d know about it?””

    The logical conclusion from this is that the journalistic community, being such all-seeing, all-knowing paragons of virtue, would also of have known the wholesale nationwide child abuse which has been going on for 40 years or more, including in Islington children’s homes which was hushed up by the then mayor , one Margaret Hodge. Thank heavens they came out about that.
    These people’s self righteousness and lack of humility makes me sick.

  • SB: “So Tony the press shouldn’t talk about the now?”

    I am sorry you think that is a fair representation of what I said, or indeed is likely to be what I said. But you do think that, so fair enough. Maybe it is time for you to stop reading what I write. It would save you a lot of wasted time.