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Superleague. The key question the media utterly refused to ask, let alone answer

By Tony Attwood

Stan Kroenke.pngSuperleague is dead.  Messrs Kronke, Abramovich, Levy, Mansour, Glazer, Henry have been shown to be total and utter prats of the first order.  Their stock as businessmen will now have reached to somewhere around minus 50 on a scale of 1 to 5.   So now we have a question: what will this scurrilous bunch of ne’re-do-wells come up with next?  These guys who own and still control the clubs, these who do not lose ever, and who will never stop in the quest for more money and more power and above all find defeat unacceptable.  People who have everything always want more.

So really, what will they do?

First, they will sack a few people who have failed to deliver on their demands.  Then they will instruct the minions to come up with another scheme with the caveat that, “This time it had better work.”

There is also every chance that they will seek revenge on the media and the supporters who turned against them.

To give a clue as to how these people operate, we might cast our mind back to the notorious John Henry case in which Arsenal put in a bid for Suarez from Liverpool at just over the player’s release clause price.  Henry then did his infamous “what are they smoking at Arsenal?” jibe, and carried the media with him in the story that that there was no £40m release clause.

After that he went to a sports conference in the US where he openly admitted there was a release clause, and Arsenal had met it, and he had denied it, knowing the media would accept every word he said because the European media were stupid and never checked anything.  Much of what has just happened is the media getting its revenge.

We might also remember the Kroenke case in which he moved his American club from St Louis to Los Angeles – you might recall we reported on that as a warning about Kroenke behaviour as well.

This time he and Henry have tried to set up a league of their own.   And what this has told the English footballing authorities is that their rules and laws are nowhere near strong enough to protect the heart and soul of football.

There really ought to be rules which say that clubs cannot set up their own competition without the agreement of all the other clubs, and also can’t move grounds without permission.  Otherwise who knows… Arsenal moved to the US?  Under the present rules there is nothing to stop that.  The only thing the rules demand is that the ground meets the standards laid down by the League, by the local authorities and by the local health and safety standards inspectorate.

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And what else?  A doubling of the seat prices to compensate for the loss of the Super League?  Quite possibly.  Kroenke’s revenge is likely to know no bounds. 

The big losers and the clubs in the biggest danger are those whose finances are not stable.  Chelsea and Manchester City didn’t need the money – they were just going to be there because it was the big boys playground.  Manchester United still have their huge debts caused by the Glazer takeover, but they earn enough to cover those costs.

But Tottenham were banking on this to get them out of their financial hole and the owners of Liverpool and Arsenal demand profit – that is their only motive.  These three are not going to let this rest.

So what now?  Klopp has learned what his employers are really like, and will, I suspect walk away to work for someone more in touch with reality – for most if not all of this fiasco Liverpool made no mention of the affair on their website.

Chelsea and Manchester City sail on regardless, content with their unlimited funds, and the knowledge that the press will always give them (and Liverpool) a soft time no matter what rules they break (remember both Chelsea and Liverpool have been found guilty of breaking rules concerning children… no one seems to worry.)   They also know that any fine or suspension they are given for youth or financial issues will be chopped to bits by the Court for Arbitration in Sport.

But there are still financial problems lurking throughout football.  Barcelona is teetering on the edge of financial collapse.  Tottenham appears to be in real financial trouble/  The Premier League seems to be entering a phase in which Manchester City follows the Bayern Munich style of winning the league year after year.

The days when Arsenal could come 20th out of 22 one season and second the next, or 14th one season and then winners the next (both during Chapman’s era) have long gone.  After the excitement of the last few days, it is a bit depressing to find that Kroenke still owns our club, the grounds are still empty, and we’re still ninth in the league.

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13 comments to Superleague. The key question the media utterly refused to ask, let alone answer

  • Steve Vallins

    Been reading many blogs regarding the ESL and the Le Grove blog has a good article today with his views similar to yours Tony IMO

  • Brickfields Gunners

    For me ,the fact that all of the old guard are still around to dictate terms to The Arsenal would be my worry.

    – The English FA who could not muster {any} measure of support for a World Cup bid . Nor do any good for the game that started in their own fields.

    -FIFA with all their sycophants in tow would still be in charge , as would be the UEFA .

    – The Premier League will still be around to strut their stuff . I guess quite a few still get goosebumps when the English game is referred to as the best that is.

    – And { Gasps , chokes and pukes !},Riley and his PIGMOB boys will continue to whistle merrily away! Let us hope that they are more forgiving to The Arsenal

    – The idiotic and pliant media. And lets not even mention the fans. Opss !
    To think that we could have got rid of this entire lot !

    Ah , well , back to the drawing board.

  • Apangu iddi Amin

    Its the right time to heat the beach on the head other wise fans have to open their eyes when spending.

  • goonergerry

    Football is currently hostage to vested interests and fans who identify with those vested interests. All of the arguments that have been laid against the ESL apply currently to the English Premier League.

    The problem at the heart of this is what football is- it is not just another capitalist commodity like a high street shop to be bought or sold at or moved to another country at an owners whim. Football includes hundreds of thousands of consumers- many of whom want to have a say.
    The American ownership model does not fit well with consumers feeling they have the right to determine the direction of their club- or at least have a meaningful voice.

    Clubs like Arsenal’s owners too often view their consumers views as an afterthought- an encumbrance- their Boards meet in secret and don’t want to have to care what consumers want- as long as they keep buying the season tickets.

    At the heart of this is the ownership model- and we need a different one- where consumers have a meaningful voice- and where the games are competitive and refereed professionally and competently. At present neither is consistently the case.

  • Roger Hall

    It is alleged that money is the root of all evil? Eufa collects $3.25 billion to organise & run their Champions league & Europa cup competitions via the global TV rights money. Global TV audiences & shirt sales are now more important economically than season ticket holders. A UK club earns between $100 million – $200 million for Champions league qualification, depending on what stage of the competition they reach. EUFA themselves earn $700 million dollars raking off 20%+ of the TV rights money. The product is football. To qualify for champions league you require top players on 4-5 year contracts that can now equate to £10-£20 million a year in wages for a single player. Miss out on Champions league & you still have those players on their long contracts. Don’t buy/invest in those players & you stand less chance of qualifying. A vicious circle. Should a club be run as self sufficient or rely on its wealthy owners to cover losses & pay the wages of its stars? This is the root cause/motivation of the failed scheme. To circumvent paying $700 million to EUFA & to ring fence the income required to pay for their squads regardless of their league position.
    I can’t help but think that an agreed maximum players wage or squad salary limit would equally solve the inherent economic problems that obviously exits for many clubs. The big clubs wouldn’t like it as it erodes their economic strength to pay bigger salaries, but perhaps the increased competition & uncertainty of league position would make for better leagues and stronger competitions? If the clubs involved in the failed scheme had agreed between them to never pay a player more than £200,000 per week then perhaps this PR fiasco would never have occurred? However you would never get the likes of Man City or Chelsea agreeing to a salary cap that erodes their wealthy owners their own economic advantage. Equally players & their agents wouldn’t be shouting from the rooftops. EUFA’s Financial Fair play has never worked and this was meant to solve the above problems, but all it takes is a club or two to bypass the rules and you are back to square one.

  • Laos Gooner

    Are we celebrating that we are still stuck with the Sweet FA, Uefa and Fifa? I for one had hopes that we might free ourselves from the drivers of migrant worker deaths, greed and corruption. How can people seriously call this super league idea greedy with football organisation as it is? Pots and kettles spring to mind. We still have the utter manipulation of the pigmob and the British media hatred of our club combining to lower the standing of our club by the year. Any cheers of jubilation are as empty and hollow as the morality of the games management structure. I feel this is an opportunity missed but the super league idea will return. Next time it will be comply or die deal for the clubs. The real enemy is Fifa and all who serve it whilst thousands of migrant slaves pay with their blood for a Qatari vanity project based on backhanders. The kneeling means nothing if the Death cup goes ahead.

  • Roger, it is an interesting point about the maximum wage, but it would have to be agreed across Europe, not just in the PL, if the PL wants to continue to be able to attract the best. Arsenal are bringing through brilliant youngsters and already struggle to keep them because other clubs will offer the youngsters more money on spec. If the kids knew that there was a maximum about here, but not in other countries they would quickly leave us.

  • Vikrant Dogra

    As someone who works in football, but is afraid to post similar on social media due to the sheep-like nature of fans, the main takeaway for me is:

    Never has the phrase ‘the mainstream media tell the people what to think’ been more apt.

    If we go back to when the European Super League was announced, the media establishment in unison condemned the idea before any analysis of the proposals was possible, and was the repeated message over the coming hours and days. (Note: the statement above is not necessarily a defence and/or endorsement of the ESL)

    The message was intensified by a few rants from Messrs Neville, Lineker, Carragher, Stelling, etc. getting on their high horses about how the new structure would kill the game, while completely ignoring what their media companies helped to bring to England back in 1992. Rather than ‘caring about the supporters’ as they claimed, it seemed to me that they were absolutely terrified that the ESL would threaten their own careers, so they pushed back and tried to paint themselves as the good guys in this fight.

    All this rhetoric had the desired effect of encouraging the FA, the Premier League, UEFA and FIFA to issue strong condemnations of the ESL, and of duping the fans to believe that their protests demonstrated their power by stopping the league from starting.

    So we now have all the club withdrawals and the effective dissolution of this league, for now at least, all while the powers that be can still turn a blind eye to all the faults on their side (UEFA, FIFA, FA, PGMOL, etc.) which the ‘rebel’ league exposed.

    Furthermore, there are the ludicrous claims from the media that Chelsea and Manchester City ‘saved’ football by withdrawing first, even though both clubs were not fully on board initially (possibly because their financial advantages may have been somewhat countered by the large amounts of money promised to be paid to other members of the ESL?). To top it all off, I read certain journalists on Twitter claim that the ‘good guys won’, i.e. them and the football establishment, even though this week’s events mean that football’s power brokers will not even try to clean up their act!

    Ultimately, as a few Untold posters often state, the most powerful entity in the football industry is not the FA, not UEFA, not FIFA, but the media…

  • Ukesox

    Much has been made over the past couple of days by UEFA about integrity & fairness, yet a number of clubs that fail in the group stages of the Champions League are awarded a second chance at revenue and silverware by being given a place in the Europa League. Isn’t UEFA’s rational for this to make the competition more exciting (read.. a more valuable product) …much like the argument for ESL. Neither, fair nor inclusive.

  • gee

    @ Vikrant Dogra

    “Never has the phrase ‘the mainstream media tell the people what to think’ been more apt.”

    100% agreed.

    I kind of think it was a bit of a scam to get UEFA to pump more money in benefiting the breakaway 12 anyways. Some of those clubs are in huge debts.

  • Menace

    It’s time for the greedy to leave the UK and revert to their domestic markets where abuse of humanbeings is still continuing. Arsenal do not need these sad excuses for wealthy owning our club. The previous owners are responsible for accepting the purchase.

    Until the sports clubs are nationalised, we will have to suffer unprincipaled foreign ownership.

    The Quataris are the worst bigots ever. They will not allow ownership to any foreigner in their country, yet expect to buy and pontificate how business should be run everywhere else.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I would glady buy into an Arsenal of the fans ,by the fans and for the fans only set up.
    I don’t need a vote nor do I need any dissenting veto. I would buy a share just to show that I AM an Arsenal fan.
    All I would hope that there are others like me who would show our undivided support for the club.
    We can get rid of foreign owners, but do hope that the locals can step up to bring hope and glory to the club.
    A few million of us and we are in bang in buisiness of running our own club.
    Now I sit back and watch this great movement I have just unleashed !

  • Menace

    OT but bigger than everything else:

    Andrew Crawshaw why has wikipedia not got ‘2006–07 Arsenal Women F.C. season’?

    It is dodged by the media like it never happened. It was a sextuple trophy season including the European Cup with a goal scoring melee that may never be equalled.