Premier League trying to ban all loan deals following Man City “squad doping”

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?

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28 Replies to “Premier League trying to ban all loan deals following Man City “squad doping””

  1. The Elite Squad is composed of graduates of the MCFC academy (you may have heard of our academy if you follow your own club’s academy’s results – check out the nice video of the recent match on City’s web site).

    The ES lost 3-1 to a Man U side, who fielded a team with over 1300 first team appearances between them, this week. The only time first team players will play for the ES, is when they need a game or two, coming back from injury.

    I realise you are just jumping on the ‘let’s have a cheap shot at City’ bandwagon, and your attempts at humour must get laughs amongst your target audience, but please….check the facts first!

  2. What a strange sort of greed.

    And what does it say about the players who go there? They are gambling with their careers, knowing they may sit on the bench or be in the reserves, may never play first team football again – how big does the pay packet have to be for someone to choose that?

    Effectively, you are being paid not to play, going on permanent gardening leave. Self-restraint of trade. Weird.

    There’s also the issue of clubs such as Valencia, who need to sell to stay alive. Did David Silva have a choice? Did Valencia determine that he had to go to the highest/only bidder?

    It seems a peculiar form of triage for an already f’ed up system, since it keeps player values inflated at a time when the UEFA consensus is the opposite, that debt deflation is the way forward, including deflating players’ wages.

    Screwing the loan system, which helps player development and levels the playing field a little in that poorer clubs get the benefits of the Big Four’s kids, among others, seems equally stupid.

    Why not introduce caps on transfer spending instead? There’s already a cap on time – you can only buy in the summer and in January, so why not a total cash limit, say £50 million per window? And that could gradually be reduced in line with UEFA’s “fair play” financial aspirations.

  3. It is becoming a bit of a joke; especially from the lucky arab born oil boy; who were extremely lucky to land oil and not have any talent for the money anyway. And arry flab nap well he has the touch of death anyway and who cares its only totty numb skull. But just one thought man shitty could literally not loan them and buy like in excess of 33 internationals and play a competitive match against themselves?! who needs to loan out? the new internal elite cup anyone?

  4. yeah I hear there’s a cap system in NFL and NBA right? or did I read that from a certain tony attwood? lol

  5. i was thinking the same, gr8 article…..they are destroying any sort of morality in football…

  6. Clerkenwell thats actually a very good idea yo have there. not only will it cut them down to size but it would also give the smaller clubs more of a chance.

  7. Morning Tony.

    Surely this is one ridiculous rule that should never even be considered. Only one loan between EPL clubs maybe – for example, to minimise any chance of a club loaning to a club who is their main opposition – but otherwise, totally bad cheese.

    And once again, the press misreports. The Man City reserve team was called The Effete Squid, but once again the press got it wrong.

    And off topic, a loud cheer to Bogus Cheese for his great article!!!!! Damn!!! Now I’ve caught that itis!!!!!!!!!

  8. A good read as always and it’s very evident you’re not a happy chappie, Tony.

  9. The reason they wish to ban loans is because I made a few suggestions in various satanic organs such as the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, the NOTW, ANR and this terrible site of Red Enlightenment that one way for young English talent to get the experience between 18 and 22 was to do a serious of loans working your way up the divisions to reach your EPL side’s first team at aged 22/23.

    I recently highlighted the terrible case of Joe ‘still in nappies’ ‘Sure Start’ , who was allowed to stop 5mph shots in the Terribly Appalling League of the Marches before gradually working his way up to stopping the nightmare of scottish keepers for his redhead boss in Brum last year. He was still too useless to be allowed to face the USA, but was given one final chance to stop the tots as Capello didn’t want any more Spurs rubbish in his squad after the farce of South Africa, so it was important that they showed how useless they were against Man Arab 10 days ago. Unfortunately for Capello and the EPL, Joe ‘Sure Start’ did so well that he will have to play for England for some time now (terrible crime, that), which is a grievous blow to the loan system as it shows it might work; unfortunately, in another hugely unimportant game this week, Peter ‘English Gigolo in Madrid’ stuck two fingers up at the Swiss by scoring a hatrick this week, which puts Capello in the difficult situation of maybe needing to pick him after refusing to play him in South Africa. He is relying on the fact that no Englishman can cross a ball properly except Gerrard and he won’t play on the wing, so having a 6ft 7 inch striker who can score with alacrity is simply something England can’t possibly consider EVER. Better to lose the World Cup and the Euros than consider that, eh????

    The thought of Wilshere progressing during his loan stint at Bolton is anathema to the powers that be at EPL, as developing Englishman is the last thing the EPL want, it being the biggest white lie told in the history of football. JET was total rubbish at Doncaster, Lansbury showed what a lazy good-for-nothing he was at Watford and Watt will be absolutely useless at Leeds this season. Because the aim of the loan system is to get global exposure for foreign players and to make sure the English boys don’t get a look in……….

    You’ll learn sooner or later. The EPL’s about foreign owners bringing in foreign managers and stopping English players in their tracks. The English fans can pay up big time, but as soon as they realise the scam, the EPL’ll build the global fanbase to break the EPL away from English roots.

    If the loan system can help that, then it’s good.

    But otherwise: forget it………..

    For the record: I am in favour of 6-7 English players in an Arsenal squad of 25 (more if and only if they are good enough), with reasonably equal exposure for other foreign nations. We appear to be slightly away from such an equilibrium at the moment……but may well reach it within 3-5 years……..

  10. Why dont they put an age cap on the loaning process? For example, anyone under the age of 22-23 can go out on loan. Therefore this clearly shows that the club who is loaning out the player is doing it for the development of the player and not for any other reason. Obviously there will be the odd exception to the rule like players under 22-23 who have already fully matured and been around the block for a while….fabregas/richards etc. But this would probably get rid of the sort of thing that Man City are doing.

  11. Surely a sensible route would be to ban loan-transfers on players over a certain age?

    That way youth can be developed.

  12. @Rhys Jaggar

    Whilst I agree with what you say about the EPL positioning itself as a global brand… its bread and butter (sky subscriptions) come from the UK. If foreign ownership and players are the future then why has our dear old Arsenal had such a rough time from the PGMOB?

    We have been held back, whilst clubs with an English spine and play the English game have seen the benefit of the doubt on numerous occasions…

    Could you be alluding to a rift between the FA and the EPL and who has more influence over the PGMOB (side deals between the boys in black and Asian businessmen excluded)?

    Of course if that were the case the FA have shoot itself in the foot by raising an ‘elite’ of English players with no comprehension of the rules and a group of uppity foreigners who have the right stuff to win despite, at times, nothing going their way.

    It’s a good angle and one, I must confess, I have not really explored with regards to the political consequences and their effect of the field of play.


  13. Rhys I imagine that being an England supporter first and an Arsenal supporter 2nd must be a conflicted existence.
    What u must surely realise is that a football club and indeed league has obligations only to itself.
    The state of the national side is the business of the FA and they already have an artificially unfair commercial advantage in that they get expensive players that are the commercial property of others which they can then exploit and in most cases over-exploit.
    I am your opposite. I detest international football. I see it as an unnecessary evil that has many times destroyed and hindered our persuit of silverware. If there was any justice the FA and their international peers would be obliged to take on the wages of players for the duration of the international breaks and the medical and wage costs of players that are injured during it. This will never happen of course because that would bankrupt football associations and kill the international game.
    The FA is a defunct concept and indeed a failed one.
    Me I say fk international football. I say club before country.

    I also say that this 2018 thing is a farce and that the fix is in for Russia which will build lots of lovely new stadia which is what FIFA want to leave an historical mark. England has only 3 top stadiums and the Wembley pitch is pure shit which leaves Odl Trafford and The Emirates with maybe St.James’s park. The rest are too small by far. The English bids include the propesed new stadia for Liverpool and Spurs but if the FA think that Liverpools will happen they should lay off the crack pipe and Spurs’ is by no means etched in stone.
    Russia will build half a dozen new stadia with bold designs that will be landmarks and they will obliterate any red tape and they will do it with oil money.
    Russia will grease the wheels of FIFA who like a good greasing.
    Another detestable aspect of International football : corruption.

    How anybody gets excited about it I will never understand. Lord Treisman madea twofold prediction that cost him his job. The first half was correct and it would take a fool to bet against the second half.

    Anyone else laugh at the segment at the CL draw yesterday where UEFA made bold statements about seeking out and destroying match fixing?

    By “destroy” they mean personally fat-tracking an offenders appeal so that they can enter and subsequently win the CL the year after being found guilty. Platini —> AC Milan.

    The clubs should run European football as they do the premiership and they should do it as a non-profit entity kicking back a % for grass roots infrastructure development.

    Rant over.
    There will be those who will disagree but that doesn’t mean that I am wrong 😉
    The only entertainment that The national team provide is when they fail so predictably (hilarious)

  14. “There will be those who will disagree but that doesn’t mean that I am wrong.”

    I wish I’d said that.

  15. @Terence McGovern

    There are plans within plans here – I think that you have got to look at the whole picture – I wrote a comment at the end of this thread coving much of what you say:

    Although this leads on to another story… to get Webb into the final England had to be knocked out early – so was Capello in on it too?

    I love a good crime scene!


  16. Mick, I think you missed the point where Tony said that City has some 38 players in their books and only can have 25 with the new squad rules.
    That means 13 players who will see their career being halted and who are not allowed to go to another team in the EPL

  17. Walter – Mick’s rather defensive comments show that there are a lot of City fans now having similar feelings to many Chelsea fans seven or eight years ago. I have quite a few friends who are long-time Chelsea fans and they were always unsure how to celebrate Chelsea’s new found success simply because they knew it wasnt Chelsea being successful, but rather Roman’s chequebook. Same thing with City now, it isnt City that are successful but rather the Sheik and his money. He didnt choose City for any other reason than that they were available and once he chose them they were always going to be successful eventually because if you throw anough money into the team eventually you’ll find some good players.

    City now have the same problem Chelsea have had. For the past 6 seasons Chelsea have been playing against themselves only, and have only won 3 Championships. That is a bit ridiculous when you think about it. Chelsea have been in a League of one and only won half the time. Now that is what I would call failure. But now Chelsea are trying to be frugal and City are the big spenders now so City now have the same problem. If they win, well that is what a team that has spent 500million on players should do. But if they lose, all the City fans will have to put up with fans of every other club in the country laughing uncontrollably at them because they will be seen as even bigger losers and failures than they were before the Sheik showed up.

    In that context I can understand City fans being a little defensive about all this new found grotesque wealth and flamboyance. They are on a hiding to nothing.

  18. @Paul C. — I think you hit the nail on the head, there. People who became City fans pre-Robinho were looking forward to annual mid-table finishes, some entertaining travel to the continent for UEFA Cup ties, and the occasional underdog victory over their crosstown rivals. Instead, they got JUGGERNAUT status and a team full of Adebayors. Would make me defensive about the fate of academy graduates, too.

  19. Rusty – and let’s face it, Arsenal of the 90’s and Spurs right now are showing that you dont need JUGGERNAUT status to lift yourself up to the level of the big boys, and it is a hell of a lot more satisfying than throwing 500million of somneone else’s money at the problem.

    As in any business in any industry, you need good people at each level of the business and a common vision for the direction that the business is moving. Manchester City didnt achieve anything for years not because they were cursed, or unlucky, or anything other than the fact they were run horribly by incompetent people. With City’s youth academy, which has long been one of the finest in the country, if not THE finest, success could have been achieved.

    Instead, City are now stuck in some wierd parallel universe that I pray with all my might that Arsenal never find themselves in. They will be complete and utter failures and losers if they dont win this season, and even if they do win it seems as though they will be banned from the Champions League anyway, and they are dependent upon the Sheik, who seems a nice enough bloke but has zero emotional attachment to City.

    Nobody remembers Blackburn of the mid-90’s anymore because that team was just bought. Even Alan Shearer is remembered more for his Newcastle days than his brilliant, unplayable, world-class Blackburn days. Nobody will remember the current Chelsea side, just Roman Abramovich and his billions. He has been the story. Same with City. Nobody will remember the players or the team, they will just remember the millions poured into the club by the Sheik, the ridiculous excess, the expectations.

    I actually feel a bit sorry for older City fans. The kids will no know different and will have the shock of their lives when the Sheik leaves, but the older fans must be in a wierd place right now. It is always interesting to read David Conn of the Guardian, a City fanatic, as he fights with his heart over what is happening at his club.

  20. casual: That is an intrieguing idea and not without merit. I do think however that it would require a machieavellian element to the FA and that would be a first.
    Russia have a history of getting the job done regardless of rules and given FIFA’s penchant for earnings via corruption it would appear to be a match made in heaven. The russian league is getting stronger by the year awith vast sums of money being applied so a raft of new stadia would be put to good use afterwards as well.

    On a sidenote I know that this topic went off on a tangent from the original post so apologies to Tony on that front and I will leave it at that.

  21. The exclusion of loanees within the premiership sound like exactly the kind of thing that Scudamore would try. On the face of it, it appears to be takinga strong stand and look like a game changer but in reality it would only shift the goalposts slightly and have a negative effect on the smaller clubs that benefit from it domestically.
    Now that I think of it, I’m surprised that the FA isn’t proposing it. Seem to be taking a stand…check!
    Guaranteed to get plenty of media coverage….check!
    Have an overall negative effect on the smaller clubs…check!
    Restrict the development of young players…check!

    Clubs like arsenal would simply loan out their talented younger players into the Dutch and french leagues to get first team experience. This would foster further relations and ease potential future transfers built upon a steady stream of loan deals. we sould realise by now that Arsenal are always ahead of the curve when it comes to these situations of rule change.

    On a positive note it would bury teams like Blackburn and Stoke who thrive on such agreements. the wouldn’t have the financial clout to buy the players the need outright and would slip out of the league slowly but surely back to their spiritual clogger home of the Championship.
    Good riddance if that happened.

    Anyway this all originated from Spurs whining over being denied Bellamy’s services combined with their lack of a reserve team.(mainly because they spend so much of their resources on the first team they can’t afford one)
    It is highly unlikely this rule would be embraced by UEFA as there are more clubs that need loanees than need to loan. then there are those rules regarding freedom on movement of labour etc from our totalitarian friends in the EU.

    When you look at the amount of loan signings made each year by the smaller cubs in the EPL and then the top clubs that loan out players as part of their development each year, it is difficult to imagine any of these clubs voting for a loan ban. That rules out the premier League.
    This will of course allow that bunch of inbreds at the FA to step in.

  22. Terence – I have just added a note to the Billy the Dog preview of Blackburn – I am not totally against going off track – it is just when someone deliberately charges in and makes a point that has nothing to do with anything we have been discussing at all. If they were really friends of the site they could send me the piece as an article in order to have it published.

    Nothing wrong with the odd diversion however – indeed it is a bit of the spice of conversation.

  23. Wow ban-hammer! i haven’t heard that phrase since my evony days!
    Happy nostalgia moment!

  24. How about change the transfer system to something like the draft in American sports for example each team gets a number of transfers say 5 because very rarely do teams bring in more than 5 players in a transfer window (promoted teams should get more transfers) no caps on wages or transfer fees simply the number of transfers.

  25. What a terrible idea.

    If a player really wants to leave Man City he can just refuse to play. He can also buy out his contract. He could also sue them if they are purposefully blocking moves.

    There are a billion avenues to look at before revamping the system. System are complex, and imposing new rules always have unintended consequences.

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