TEAMtalk Tirade: A load of rubbish II
Why oh why are people hell-bent on ruining football? Richard Scudamore wants to play a 39th game abroad, Michel Platini is 'open' to the idea of a European Super League, and now Phil Gartside wants to add a second tier to the Premier League. The Bolton chairman is proposing two leagues of 18, including Glasgow Rangers and Celtic, with promotion and relegation of two teams each season. However, only one club would be promoted from the Football League into the Premier League II. Now can someone please tell me how this would improve the state of the game? It's biggest problem is a lack of competition and all Gartside's plan would do is increase the gap between the haves and have-nots. The 20 Premier League sides are on a different financial planet to the 72 from the Football League and £22million worth of parachute payments means those relegated from the top flight are given the best chance of an immediate return. Clubs like Luton Town are docked points for over-spending but those in the Premier League are free to splash out what they want, safe in the knowledge they'll be bailed out even if they go down. Is it any surprise then that clubs like Luton Town have gambled their future to bridge the gap between them and the likes of West Brom, who have yo-yo'd between the top two divisions with their relegation money. Luton's gamble failed and they are now set to play outside the Football League for the first time in their history but it is not their fault - they had to try and every club should have a fair chance of getting to the top table...shouldn't they? Apparently not. The gap between the top 20 and the rest isn't big enough in the eyes of Gartside, who is obviously worried Bolton could be relegated in the next few years. Frankly I find it disgusting a chairman of a club so recently in the lower leagues can put forward such an idea, but you can hardly blame him for not wanting to give up his slice of the most lucrative of pies. He is worried for the future of his club and simply wants a bigger safety net should they suffer a fall from grace. I mean £22million is nothing, is it?! You'd imagine Gartside would have a bit of empathy for once-successful clubs such as Blackpool and Huddersfield - clubs that would have their top-flight dreams ended once and for all by such a Premier League II - but clearly he likes life at the top table too much. I'm absolutely positive that giving this move the go-ahead would see many lower-league clubs fold, and there is no doubt the top division would become even more elitist than it already is, allowing teams such as Bolton to carry on milking the Premier League cash cow without fear of extinction. But Gartside's Bolton would face the same problem they do now. They still wouldn't be able to challenge the big four and they'd still be fighting relegation from the top flight, if they were even in it any more. So I can't understand why Gartside has proposed the idea. Surely he wants to give his club's supporters the chance of seeing their side do something? If he is serious about improving the game why come up with this? Also, let's not kid ourselves that the Premier League II would be any more glamorous than the Championship is now. It would still be the Second Division in all but name and all the money, coverage and best players would still be in the top league. The bottom line is that people can come up with as many ideas as they want o improve the game but its' main problem is a lack of competition and that will exist for as long as the Premier League monopolises the money. Only one thing that can save our game and that is a return to Divisions One, Two, Three and Four with the money spread out more evenly between the leagues. Unfortunately nobody has the balls to upset the big boys so a 39th game, Super League or Premier League II will inevitably happen sooner or later. Shame.
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