Soapbox: Premier League, you’re having a laugh

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Why is it that whenever the big guns of the Premier League come up with an innovative new idea, proper football fans smell a rat? Pete Sixsmith is our would-be Pied Piper

The news that the Premier League is considering exporting its teams for an extra game does not seem to have filled footie fans with much enthusiasm. It just goes to show what a miserable bunch of self centred people we are.

Here is an opportunity for the beautiful game to be seen live, all over the world and all we are concerned about is how it will further erode the sport we grew up with in the post war years.

Of course it won’t – it will allow people in the developing soccer nations of the globe to witness at first hand games of such mind numbing mediocrity, sorry, excitement as Birmingham City v Middlesbrough and Wigan Athletic v Bolton Wanderers.

It is also a great chance for the nations that give us many of our underpaid, undervalued Premier League players the opportunity to see them playing for their clubs who have clearly altruistic reasons for supporting this move.

So, we would expect to see Arsenal playing Manchester United in Yaounde, Cameroon or Luanda, Angola.

Liverpool could take a home game to Porto Alegre in Brazil and Chelsea could have a smashing week in Yamoussoukro in Ivory Coast. Talk about taking football to the heaving masses. Then there are cities like Langhzou in China and Bhopal in India that would really benefit from hosting a Premier League game – think of what it would do for the huddled masses in the Far East and the sub-continent.

So, come on all you fans who profess to love their clubs. Let’s share them with the rest of the world.

Don’t believe the negative publicity being pushed at the moment from the jackals of the tabloid and broadsheet press. I believe that sincere owners like Gicks and Hilette, the Glazers and the estimable Davids, Gold and Sullivan are not prepared to let their clubs play games in safe places like Dubai, New York and Tokyo.

Nor are they doing it for money – these are men who have the best interests of the game at heart and genuinely want to share what they have with everyone. Here’s hoping that Niall Quinn and John Hays have half the integrity of the aforementioned.

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1 thought on “Soapbox: Premier League, you’re having a laugh”

  1. While supporters have clung on to the notion that we are just that – supporters, at what point do we concede that we are now consumers? We have adapted to changing and ridiculous kick-off times. We have accepted that we rarely get to cheer a N**c***** defeat at a match, since we rarely play at the same time. We are beginning to live with the idea that football clubs are brands. At what point do we feel that our connection with the club has finally broken and we stop going to games? For me, that point got a step closer this week. But even if enough people felt the same and attendances dropped, it wouldn’t matter to the Premier League. Computer graphics could simulate full stadia. SKY TV could raid the BBC archives to copyright the sound of the Roker Roar, adding the soundtrack to any match that needed some atmosphere. If they are buying our club, why not also buy our history?
    Three days ago I was still thinking that we desperately needed a win against Wigan. Today, I am beginning to question whether I can still use the word ‘we’. Instead, I am starting to think that a defeat, and relegation, wouldn’t be such a disaster. In what would become the new 1st Division we would keep a connection to something more real than the abstract, televisual brand that would be the Premier League – or, as Richard Williams pointed out in his excellent article in today’s Guardian – the EPL.
    For myself, I couldn’t adopt another, lower league club. Football holds little interest for me other than supporting Sunderland. I couldn’t live with the injustice of being relegated because our 39th match was against Arsenal, while our rivals played the season’s equivalent of Derby County. I might just become a regular at Sunderland Reserves. Then again, I might give up altogether.

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