By Tony Attwood
Just a couple of days after the annual Untold preview of Arsenal’s five squads (the “25”, the cup squad, the reserves, the loanees, and the youth team) the Guardian is reporting that the EPL is looking to ban loans.
In the article “One club five squads” we all picked up on the way that Manchester City had renamed their reserves “The Elite Squad!!!!!” (the exclamation marks kindly provided by numerous Untold correspondents) in reflection of the number of players the club now carry and the quality they are now packing into the reserves.
Now the Premier League Investigation Department (turn left behind the rosebed, and its fifth portakabin on the right, just by the dustbins) are apparently trying to ban loans – and not for the first time it seems.
The argument is that part of the tactic of Man Arab is that they deliberately buy up everyone that any other club might want. It is effectively “Squad Doping”. When they get to hear that there is a a team who could possibly be a rival for a top ten finish in the EPL is interested in Fred Higginbotham, they buy him, put him in the Elite Squad!!!!! and then loan him to a Championship side.
(And yes, as you are asking, Man City really have renamed their reserve team “The Elite Squad”.)
It seems that chief bottlewasher and reserve cook, Richard Scudamore, has twice had a bash at introducing a rule that will stop loans between EPL clubs – but has now realised that such a deal would be pointless – because Man City would continue its new policy of loaning to lower leagues.
So they are looking to stop loans altogether!!!!! (sorry, I seem to have affected by !!!!itis).
This could be quite a serious blow for Arsenal, given that in recent seasons we have, on occasion, had ten or more loanees out at any one time – and already have four in place this year. Even a ban at loans between EPL clubs would be annoying – for no matter what we all think of the awful recent history of Notlob, the fact is they clearly had a positive impact on Our Jack towards the end of last season.
The EPL argument is that you don’t need loans because clubs can afford to buy, but that totally ignores the development potential that comes from a loan. Anyone who saw the way Henri Lansbury developed during his year at Watford last season will know that the chance to play competitive games week on week was of great benefit to him.
Seemingly, in the past the attempt to ban loans has been rejected, but with Man Arab happy to ignore the “25” rule and stockpile a huge number of players (their “25” is currently 38 and there’s still a few days of transferability left), the suggestion is that the EPL might change their vote.
A major mover in this attempt at change looks like being our old chums The Tiny Totts. It would be quite wrong to suggest that anyone at the club is involved in any sort of back-hander when a deal goes through, but there is no doubt that the club has gathered together a collection of people at the who have previously been noted as serial traders. They are getting irritated at the way that players they want to buy and sell on a daily basis are simply not available.
They suggest this is the current scenario: TinyLand Hottenspuds wants Herbert Slug from Bogshire United. Bogshire are ready to deal, but Big Brother in the north west says, “Oh I wouldn’t do that deal – we might come in for him at double the price.”
The deal stops, and then with nothing happening TinyLand try again for Mr Slug. Bogshire say to Big Brother, “look we want this deal” and Big Brother up in the north then buys the fellow and either sticks him in the Elite Squad!!! or else loans him to Torquay United (who of course have done no wrong in all this) for the year before selling him to Real Mad.
In one particularly amusing move a certain H Redknapp, taking time off from studying the fraud charges levied against him by HM Revenue and Customs, predicted that Craig Bellamy would not be allowed to go to a club with Champions League pretensions. “I couldn’t see them loaning him to someone like us,” said the old wheeler dealer who has left WHU, Southampton and Portsmouth with a string of issues. Yes, well Arry I think we could all see that.
Big Brother in the North West (motto: “Poverty is Plenty – but it doesn’t apply to us) have said, “It’s not our fault. Other clubs don’t pay high enough salaries so of course players come to us. What can we do?”
As things stand Arsenal, Man City and everyone else are able to build up multiple squads at various levels, and Arsenal as we saw in the earlier article, have done this brilliantly, particularly in the use of the loan system. But other clubs, such as Tinyland, have gone the opposite way, closing down their reserve team two years ago after they put out a squad load of internationals for a match against Arsenal, and were humiliated by a bunch of 16 year olds.
So with no reserves, little happening in the way of loans, no overseas links as a way of doing loans, only a fraction of a separate cup squad, and having also withdrawn from the youth league, Tottenham are a club built for transfer deals. And Man City are effectively closing that avenue down.
Big Brother in the north west has spent £500 million on players in the last year or so, and as was revealed in an Untold article a few days ago, has amortisation arrangements that will prevent them playing the Champs League for at least four years.
So without a Champs League route forward they are looking to mess up the game for everyone else. They are quite happy to buy players who will never play for them, just to enhance their chances of getting up the league.
Financial doping, squad doping, whatever next?
“Making the Arsenal” – the story of the birth of the modern Arsenal club 100 years ago.
Untold Arsenal – the story of Arsenal today
The first time I ever saw Arsenal live – give us your memories on the Arsenal History site.
Arsenal Worldwide – for supporters of Arsenal outside the UK
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