We’ve said for a while now that the structure of English football will lead to less competition as each year passes by, and we’re already seeing that.
Paul Sturrock addressed some of the problems over the weekend when he said:
“The three teams coming down have brought a distance between themselves and the rest of us.
“Something has to change, something is wrong. “
“You can look at leagues around Europe and name the teams who will finish in the top three. That is not a healthy situation to be in but it is the reality.”
“You may get an outsider challenging but that is all. Money talks.”
There are really at least 3 groups of teams in England:
- The Premier Top 4 – maybe top 5 after this season
- The rest of the Premier League
- The remaining leagues in England starting with the Championship
And the fact that the 3 relegated teams from the Premier League last season are now the top 3 sides in the Championship, is simply an indication of the increasing gulf between groups 2 and 3 above.
In American sports they balance things, and try to level out the competition and the playing field, if you will, by giving the worst placed teams in their leagues, the first round draft picks.
This means the worst teams get the to choose the best players coming out of college.
But college sports and draft picks do not exist in countries outside the USA – and the USA are the only country we know of which has big time college sports.
Other counties concentrate almost completely on academics in their colleges, to the exclusion of sports, which very much take a back seat in college life.
So there’s a growing tendency in English football of the rich getting richer – and therefore better.
And the only way this can be changed right now, is for a multi-billionaire to come in and buy a team for say £200M, as we have witnessed recently with Man City, and before that with Chelsea.
But there’s something very wrong and distasteful with that.
The current system in place with English football (the same applies to European football), is that it is moving away from competition – and it’s hard to argue with that premise.
UEFA President Platini’s recent announcements to force clubs to balance their books withing 3 years and then only spend the money they make in the game, will help.
And is was almost comical when Man City’s manager Mark Hughes came out against that idea – well surprise, surprise.
That’s part of the “I’m alright Jack – so don’t change anything” thinking.
And Platini’s changes will probably stop multi-billionaires coming in and buying a team – maybe.
But again bigger clubs make bigger money, and therefore will buy the better players and the trend will continue.
At some point this need to be addressed by the football authorities before things get even worse.
A salary cap on each club seems inevitable – it’s just when it will be implemented – and that will all help – but the problem will not be solved completely.
Somehow more of the money earned by the PL clubs through word-wide TV rights, needs to be distributed downstream – trickle down economics if you like.
We don’t know what the solution will be – but something needs to be done – and soon.