Breakaway clubs face largest football PR and political disaster of all times

By Tony Attwood

The British Prime Minister and senior cabinet ministers are said to be investigating ways of introducing legislation to prevent English clubs entering the European Super League, according to senior cabinet sources.   Meanwhile the backlash against the proposals have now reached such proportions that the credibility of those who instituted the plan is being questioned.  Did they really think they could get away with this?

Floating ideas is of course what all successful businesses do, but it is a fundamental of this notion that ideas are contemplated and tested thoroughly before being released into the wild.  This is why even modest size businesses have PR divisions to see what people think of ideas before the first press release is emailed and faxed.

But this seems to be exactly what the Big Six seem not to have done.  There is no sign of any focus groups, discussion forums etc.  They have just gone and done it.

This in turn shows extraordinary arrogance – such a strong feeling that “everyone will love this” that it isn’t even worth testing the idea.  And this level of arrogance has clearly led the clubs to be biggest PR disaster that football in England has ever seen.

Unless they have something left up their sleeve – like moving the clubs to another, more accepting country….

On the other hand, football is the culture of the almighty cock up – at least in the UK.   Remember the FA spending £21m bidding for the World Cup 2024, only to receive just two votes (one of which was England).  That was utterly catastrophic – and yet here they are still in power, still talking about another bid!  It beggars belief.

The failure of the footballing authorities to impose safety standards on football grounds resulting in the Bradford fire and the Hillsborough disaster made the League and FA look complete, callous imbeciles.

But get away with it they have – for one particular reason.  33 Bolton Wanderers fans were crushed to death on March 9, 1946, during an FA Cup quarter- final with Stoke.  And that event was hidden and forgotten.  They did it then, so they thought they could get away with as many cover ups as they wanted.  

Or on an individual level – how long did it take the FA to sack Mark Sampson wherein accusations racism, harassment and bullying were all swept under the carpet?

It goes on – all these cock ups and catastrophes, some harming people, some killing people, some just wasting tax payers money.  On and on and on, and still the FA sails forth, unchallenged, untouched until finally someone realises what is going on. From Greg Clarke to Sam Allerdyce, the list is enormous, the cock-ups catastrophic, the get out of jail free cards, endless.

So who can blame the mostly foreign club owners from thinking they could get away with anything they wanted to?  Take a look at the history of football in England and there are very few other conclusions you can reach: but one of them is, in English football you can get away with anything.  And if you get caught out one time, well, come back six months later.  They’ll have got used to the idea by then.

I mean, they let people die in their stadia.

So when Gavin Williamson, says, “The government reserves its position to take any action that’s required, including the need to take legislation, the need to take sanctions in order to ensure we protect football interests in this country,” the point is, when it comes to football, they’ve never done this before.

Thus the Competition and Markets Authority watchdog has said it would be “carefully considering” the proposals for the super league.  And certainly, if the government does not block this plan, it is hard to imagine any English resident who likes football ever voting for this government again.  So maybe that spurs them on.

One government plan apparently being discussed involves blocking the renegade teams from signing foreign players.  And that is easier than you might imagine

Having left the EU, non-UK players are now required to obtain a Governing Body Endorsement, (a fancy phrase for a work permit) to play in this country.  So the government can just stop the six clubs signing any foreigners.  They can play their new competition, but it would be UK citizens only.  An all-English Arsenal.  That could be interesting.

The Sweet FA and the corruption files – extracts from our long running series…

8 Replies to “Breakaway clubs face largest football PR and political disaster of all times”

  1. there is never any shortage of stupids, whether rich or poor. the rich stupids just got lucky and managed to accumulate money.

  2. I’ve supported Arsenal for 50 odd years so what I’m about to say I don’t say lightly the prmiare league the FA and UFFA should ban us and the other teams from competing in any compations with immediate effect fans should boycott the clubs.. Don’t buy mechendise or renew season tickets we need to isolate these teams compleatly it’s the only way the owners will take notice hit them hard I love Arsenal but I know Arsenal need to be part of a competitive completion not a closed compertition with no ramifications for playing badly and losing The thought that my Arsenal have entered this compatition with out consulting the fans shows me how much the fan base means to the club… They don’t deserve to have any of us I would rather give up watching them than watch us playing non competitive football… It may as well be called a friendly league where the results don’t matter as long as the teams walk away with there cash payment

  3. I know people are unhappy about all this, very unhappy. I am. In fact I am gutted. I was so proud of our club. I realise we are not perfect of course, but by and large I believe, as a club, we do, or at least did, things the right way. The road we have chosen to go down today is quit simply wrong. But here’s my point. I do have a modicum of sympathy with our owners, and here’s why. Back when we built the Emirates the club had a clear financial model they wanted to follow. They clearly stated they wanted to be ‘self financing’ and stand on their own 2 feet. It wasn’t going to be easy but given the footballing landscape at the time it was a viable proposition. FIFA Fair Play was still a possibility.

    This is what the club said back in 2011.

    This from the BBC at the time:

    “Arsenal may have suffered their worst playing start to a football season for 58 years, but off the field the club’s executives are confident they have the winning business tactics.

    Chief executive Ivan Gazidis is positive about the north London club’s ability to enhance its standing in international commercial markets while also flourishing under new European football finance regimes.

    With Uefa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules coming into effect, which broadly means clubs cannot spend more than they make, Mr Gazidis believes Arsenal’s prudent financial husbandry has left them well placed.

    A year ago the club announced record pre-tax profits of £56m, although that figure may not be matched this year.

    However, importantly, earlier this year Arsenal’s interim financial results showed footballing operating profits of £9.3m.

    This figures would mean Arsenal should have no problems in meeting Uefa’s FFP break-even rules.

    “We are standing on our own two feet,” says Mr Gazidis.

    “Everything that we have achieved…. has been created by the club itself. It has been done through discipline over time.

    “We can plan for a future that sees Arsenal at the top of the game in five, 10, 20 years from now.”

    Then came Abramovic at Chelsea. Then came the Mansours at Manchester City. Then came the death of FFP.

    Arsenals attempts to follow this path was thwarted at every turn. Not only were they thwarted, but they was openly mocked for following such a path. We were endlessly mocked for NOT having a Billionaire owner willing to spend £100’s of Millions on players. Chelsea and Manchester City were openly admired when they poached our players with their bottomless pits of money. 4 th is not a trophy. Where’s your ambition?

    Our own fans were screaming ‘spend some f***ing money’ urging our club to follow down this limitless finances model, most likely many of them the very same fans now complaining about the path we’ve gone down today.

    But even as recently as 2018 the club was still looking to follow the self sustaining model.

    This from the BBC again in 2018:

    “Arsenal are “confident” that their “self-sustaining business model” is capable of financing major success, the club’s new managing director said.

    Vinai Venkatesham was appointed in the role after ex-chief executive Ivan Gazidis left in September.

    “We’ve got a really clear ambition and that is to win the biggest trophies in the game,” he told BBC Sport.

    “We want to do that in our way, respecting our values, history and traditions.”

    Alas as time has passed and we’ve seen more and more money pile in to not only Chelsea and Man City but the prospect of yet more Billionaires prepared to bank roll other clubs, as well as all the foreign clubs being bankrolled. Not only that it has become abundantly clear that FFP is completely dead.

    So the truth is, despite our clubs and it’s owners best intention, sadly the self sustaining model is just not going to work, or at least it’s not going to bring us the success the club, the players and the fans would like.

    But to my eyes, at least we TRIED to do it honourably, and personally I would take that honour all day long over the path we have now chosen. I Sadly, very sadly, it seems to me the club has simply given up and sold their sole to the devil.

    So rather than look too harshly at our owners for taking this route I put the blame firmly in the laps of those that allowed the billionaire owners to take over the game.

    I put the blame firmly in the laps of those that allowed these owners to kill off any chance of FFP curbing these financial excesses.

    I put the blame firmly in the laps of those who chose to mock us for trying to make the self sustaining model work.

    And last but not least I put the blame in the laps of some of our own fans who failed to support their club on this path and flew planes over the ground and waved banners in the ground. Money over honour. A path so many of our fans endlessly pushed our club toward. A path they have now chosen. And guess what, now those same fans, so desperate for glory at the expense of honour, have got what they asked for, and guess what ? They’re moaning again.

    How does the saying go? Be careful what you wish for !

  4. Well Chelsea and City have stated they are stepping away from the Super Bowl of shit and apparently Woodward has resigned at Manure (probably couldn’t stomach the odour).

  5. If it carries on like this we might even be able to win the dam thing.

    If another 3 of us pull out Spurs could even win it !!

    Then again even in a competition of one they’d probably find a way of blowing it.

  6. As long as the ESL is abandoned and the proponents punished, the luddites of English football will be happy. Happy to return to the situation we have now – the status quo bizzarely described as a meritocracy.

    Fans and pundits are happy for clubs to be run by Billionaires with fans having minimal influence on decision making. How can anyone seriously argue that Man City, Man Utd or Chelsea win anything on merit? Yes merit after they have been free to buy all the best players and coaches.
    Billionaires own football clubs for a range of reasons one of which is in order to give them an unfair advantage. Those clubs have done everything they can to subvert merit and get ahead of the rest.

    Hypocritical fans are happy for this to happen.
    Where exactly would Chelsea be without Ambramovich’s millions? We’ve got our Chelsea back they chant- no they haven’t.
    There are a few perverse examples where billionaires buy a club but don’t invest like Arsenal where the owners own an asset for capital leverage and in order to prevent others doing so.
    If ESL is a disgrace so are those 3 clubs.

  7. So Arsenal admit they ‘made a mistake’ and apologised.

    Pity they had to be forced into doing the right thing.

    Does anybody responsible for this ‘mistake’ have the balls to stand up and take the blame? Probably not.

    Just a corporate statement.

    There still should be consequences for these six renegades, as a fan of 51 years it hurts to say that but shame on Arsenal and the others.

    History and culture and ‘the Arsenal way’ are not for sale.

    Calming down, very slowly.

  8. Arsenal was only one to apologise at least they humbled themselves and to me that is good pr.

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