Hello good people and great to chat again!
Last Monday’s Freedom Day meant no column on Tuesday and it’s probably just as well as I was still reeling in the wake of the attempted American takeover of football as we know it.
I was disgusted that my club, Chelsea, formed part of the attempted Super League (ESL) breakaway, but relieved that they were the first to stick up their hand to say “no”.
As it turns out neither Chelsea or Manchester City were really in favour of the split, but went with it for fear of being left behind financially. That was an embarrassing decision at Stamford Bridge, advised by infamous Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck – yeah, see his surname!
Last week great news broke that, alongside four other Premier League bigwigs, including Ed Woodward, he’d been walked out of the club.
Is this the start of some kind of revolution? Perhaps the beginning of the end of the monster money that’s taken football from a sport to a business? The era that’s created consumers instead of fans? Naaaah, not a chance.
It reminds me of recent politics in the States. Donald Trump was such a diabolical orange president that when he was voted out most of the world cheered for Joe Biden like he was some kind of shining geriatric hero.
Ok, sorry, so what I’m getting at is, just because the ESL was broken down before it ever started, it doesn’t mean that football’s governing authorities like Fifa and Uefa are suddenly our saviours.
They’re a bunch of smiling thieves who have no interest in anything but the billions in revenue football produces every year. It’s a mad power struggle and it’s easy to see why mega-corps are so interested.
Think Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple or any of the world’s giant brands, or look at the world’s biggest religions, none of them have anywhere near the amount of ‘customers’ football has. There’s an estimated four billion of us, that’s over half the planet. That’s frikkin powerful!
So no, it ain’t changing. In fact, two weeks ago Uefa announced the restructuring of the Champions League from 2024/25.
It’ll mean more teams, more fixtures and more top team head-to-heads. Now I know there’s a lot of people, like Capetonians who walk around in ‘Barca’ or ‘Inter’ tops who believe watching top teams playing each other is what it’s all about, in usually boring technical wank-offs.
But for me, football is about ‘dreaming’, getting an unexpected result, drawing an elite side in the cup, ‘giant-killings’, etc.
Super Leagues, reworked Champions Leagues and the structure of European domestic leagues just to accommodate the rich clubs getting richer and ensure the competition to them is weaker.
The ESL was a natural progression, taking any remaining ‘soul’ football had and burying it for good.
Was great to see the fury evoked though, the coming together of fans, players and pundits, the demonstrations and the outcome. Gave me a bit of heart. It ain’t all lost yet.
Sunday’s protest at Old Trafford against the Glazers may have been slightly violent but again I have to agree with Gary Neville (especially about the [email protected] stadium ).
He said: “If you think about the club that they [the Glazers] picked up in 2004, it had the best stadium in the country, probably the best in Europe.
“You look at the club now, this stadium – I know it looks great here but if you actually go behind the scenes it’s rusty and rotting. If you look at the training ground it’s probably not now one of the top five in this country.
“They haven’t got to a Champions League semifinal for 10 years.
“We haven’t won a league here at Manchester United for eight years.”
It’s amazing, like Arsenal, these American owners have let it slip. Two of England’s biggest clubs reduced to average performers.
As much as the rivalry goes, I’d love to see these bastards out of our game. Right then…
On the subject of top-end football, what amazing performances by Manchester City and Chelsea in the Champions League. It’s back on tonight and tomorrow…
Could we see an all-English final? And if we do, do you think they might consider switching the final from Covid locked-down Istanbul to Wembley?
Naaah, Uefa innit. Stay safe people, Keep ya’ distance, mask up and wash dem handies.
Chat next week.