7th is 4th is 1st

 Comments (28) jump to end

Well I just had a trawl around the papers and that's what Platini is reported to be saying. Uefa are considering expanding the Champions League from 32 to 64 teams, so coming 7th in the Prem can get you in...

Now personally I'm a dinosaur and think only the Champions should get in but I accept I'm pissing in the wind and 4th is the new first, especially for our younger fans who have known no other way.

So I wonder, say in 5 years, will 7th be the new 1st? Will we be celebrating being in the Sky Seven?

When will all this madness end?

David Stewart, Perth, Australia     Posted 28/11/2012 at 11:53:40

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David S Shaw
684 Posted 28/11/2012 at 14:31:05
Would it be 5th in CL plus the 2 Cup winners?
Antony Matthews
686 Posted 28/11/2012 at 14:44:04
Rest assured, David, the madness will end when a team that trails in 7th in the PL wins the bloody thing! (Won't happen anyway cos the money men will see to it... nudge-nudge, wink-wink – as in what happened to us with Villarreal).

Players like Fellaini won't be able to make the excuse of "I want to play in the Champions League" because if we can finish 7th or above we could be in it. They would only be moving for the money. Maybe if this had happened years ago Lescott might be still with us :).

Probabaly they are discussing it because Liverpool are struggling to get in the top 6!!! Them lot always come up smelling of roses. I say keep it as it is and KLO (Keep Liverpool Out).
Nick Entwistle
688 Posted 28/11/2012 at 15:09:46
Hate the idea, more than the present system. But it would mean opening up the transfer pool of top talent to a wider range of teams. Presently the best in the world don't sign for anyone but the obvious, to contradict my other post, who always enter the CL.
James Martin
703 Posted 28/11/2012 at 16:23:04
The powers that be will think up any rule possible to expand the current top 4 to their Sky Six. Liverpool and Tottenham are the sorts of clubs Uefa want in their top competition and you can be sure that the rule will come in just when they're both in their ascendancy again (ie, not this season) and the old divide between the haves and have-nots that had been temporarily shaken up by Man City will snap back shut again.

For some reason, I can't see the FA/Uefa being enamoured by the thought of West Brom and Everton joining their top 4. Their is too much money behind the brand of the premier league for it to be represented by peniless footballing clubs rather than media friendly bouquet clubs. This is a crucial period for the modern Everton as now, more than ever, we have to take our chance to get to the top table otherwise it may be a long time before it comes round again.

Call me cynical all you like and I'd love to be proven wrong but I just doubt that giving all teams a chance at CL football is ever a more important goal for Uefa than following what their accountants tell them to do.
GJ Butler
723 Posted 28/11/2012 at 17:48:41
Let 64 teams into the group stages, scrap the Europa league and change the name of the single European trophy to The European Cup.

I must add, however, even if it hinders clubs like Everton, an expansion like this should have UEFA put emphasis on getting the lesser nations champions into the group stages rather than a 6th place club in a larger nation. As a Shamrock Rovers season ticket holder here in Ireland, 2 seasons ago Rovers had to play 6 games before getting into the Europa League group stage (before inevitably losing all 6 group games). If they played these group games year in year out however, I'm sure they'd improve, as would football in Ireland. Incidentally, the left full that year, Enda Stevens, is now getting a game at the Villa.

Chris James
725 Posted 28/11/2012 at 18:22:45
GJ Butler you have nailed it.

The Europa is basically a disaster that no-one really wants to play in, so why not make the big thing bigger and more valuable.

John Ford
726 Posted 28/11/2012 at 18:23:51
Money orientated, obviously, also quite depressing really.
Vijay Nair
747 Posted 28/11/2012 at 21:55:54
GJ Butler, that's an amazing idea. Why these muppets at UEFA haven't thought of something like that I wonder.
Bjørn-Ivar Pedersen
757 Posted 28/11/2012 at 21:59:36
I will always feel that only the league and cup winners will have the right to play in CL, after all they are champions.....that competition lost it's charm when it is ok to end 2-4 and still can play there....and the previous winner should not be allowed in unless they win their domestic league or cup again.
Patrick Murphy
764 Posted 28/11/2012 at 22:22:28
No to Cup-Winners going into the Champions League. As for the new format you can bet your house that the draw for a re-vamped competition will favour the usual suspects. Maybe we should have moved to Kirkby – in case that stupid 'one city, one club' rule comes back into play.

Three or four nights of CL football during the week, well Sky will be all for it.

I can also see the Premier League having Sunday games for all PL teams.

Garry Corgan
784 Posted 28/11/2012 at 23:47:46
The ideal, of course, is for Champions to compete in the Champions League and the remainder to compete in the Europa League. Of course, that'll never happen again due to the money the expanded Champions League brings.

As for these proposals – it seems a better system than the current one. The Europa League, as it stands, is a joke. So many matches for so little reward. And the notion of Champions League teams failing to get through the group stages 'dropping into' the Europa League is awful too. What other competition allows this?

Hugh Jorgan
809 Posted 29/11/2012 at 04:29:10
John Ford 726 John why do you and some others fire in "Money orientated, obviously, also quite depressing really" like its some sort of moral high ground.

Money is what makes football exciting, just because Everton have slipped away in recent decades, does not give us any moral high ground over Chelsea and Man City. In the 60s and 70s we rode on the back of John Moore's millions taken from gullible pools punters. We beat the likes of Leeds and Liverpool to Alan Balls signature because we could afford his wage demands.

I bet if Everton could afford Messi, Iniesta and Xavi now, non of us would complain about money and football.

Football has always been about money from its earliest roots as a professional sport, money is what made football great and will always be the key ingredient in any top class sport.

Get used to it, for heavens sake we have had long enough.

Mike Powell
834 Posted 29/11/2012 at 09:29:41
It depeneds were the RS finish: if they finish 16th, it will be the top 16 that get into Europe. If the get relagated, it will the top 20 who get in to Europe. I don't want to sound bitter but they will do anything to get them into Europe.
Ged Rickett
841 Posted 29/11/2012 at 10:42:34
Hugh (#809):

The transfer record was broken by many other clubs before & after we signed Alan Ball (who wasn't a record transfer when he signed for us, and indeed, became a record transfer when he left for Arsenal).

We might have signed players for what was then high fees, but we didn't break the transfer record until Bob Latchford in 1974 and that IIRC was the only time we broke the record under the Moores's ownership.

The 'Mersey Millionaire' tag given to us then doesn't mean we were out spending like Chelsea or Man City do these days. It just didn't happen like that then.

When you look at trophy winners in the 60s & 70s (and even early 80s) you'll notice that there's a spread between several more clubs than there seems to be over the last 10-15 years. That's because it was a leveller playing field. You can't say we have no right to complain about the dough ruining the game today, as it's concentrated on the 'elite'.

While we may have been one of the 'elite' back then, other, 'smaller' clubs still had spending power that could match ours, if necessary.

Between the first £100k player (Denis Law in 1962) to the first £1m player (Trevor Francis in 1979) the transfer record was broken by no less than 10 different clubs, including Leicester, Derby, WBA & Forest.

Today, that'd be like Norwich, WHU, or Fulham shelling out for Messi (whatever his price'd be).

Thomas Windsor
869 Posted 29/11/2012 at 13:56:39
Bring back the Cup Winners Cup. Rotterdam 1985 was great. What shite this 7th in the league is... just a money rip-off for the fans.
Anto Byrne
976 Posted 30/11/2012 at 06:25:33
Why don't we just have the best teams in Europe making up a Euro Prem? Once we get in, we have this knack of staying there... what — 60 years in the top flight. Next week, we play Bayern then Inter then Real... or we could look forward to playing Norwich or Stoke or QPR or whomever. The Euro Elite League... and if you finish bottom of Division 3, you come back to the EPL.

Needs a bit thought though? Never gonna happen.

Ged Rickett
980 Posted 30/11/2012 at 07:36:10
Never understood how one team can lose to the same team twice, and then go on to win a trophy in what's essentially a knockout competition. Even more puzzling is how 4th place can be constituted as 'Champions', thereby denying/usurping/whatever, the smaller countries' champions' qualifying places. If 4th in the Prem equates to winning the Welsh League, let the Prem team play in the Welsh League!!

I've never understood why Uefa ditched the ECWC, and have always said Uefa ought to go back to the three tournaments (EC, ECWC & Uefa Cup) and that they should be knockout only.

And instead of a one-off 'super cup' between the CL & Europa winners, there should be a 'round robin' between the three winners, and held at the participating clubs' grounds, rather than at Monaco, where the Uefa 'elite' like to show off their (undeserved) wealth, do their shady deals while there, all on freebies.

Also, the winners of the round-robin should automatically qualify for the EC the next season whether they were the previous season's domestic, or the EC winners or not. IMO that should be the only 'backdoor route' into the EC – not 7th bleedin' place; or even 4th for that matter.

Paul Mackie
990 Posted 30/11/2012 at 09:59:25
"Let 64 teams into the group stages, scrap the Europa league and change the name of the single European trophy to The European Cup."

Agree 100% with this. I really hope it happens. It would make it much, much easier for teams like ourselves who are always around the top 7 to actually have a realistic shot of attracting and keeping our best players. We might not get the really top players, but if we could offer European football *and* a regular starting spot...

Ciarán McGlone
991 Posted 30/11/2012 at 10:11:55
Not a big fan of Platini... but this is one of his better ideas.
Nick Entwistle
993 Posted 30/11/2012 at 10:46:29
A single European tournament would be better than the mess of the Europa League, but not as good as how it was before it was messed around with. Three tournaments, with their own prestige and meaning.

As above it would be far better to have more smaller countries have entrants than to increase the numbers from the likes of the PL. But then money rules that decision too.

Kieran Fitzgerald
000 Posted 30/11/2012 at 11:10:01
If you increased the number of teams in the group stage you would dilute the amount of money each team currently gets for getting that far. Can you really see he current top teams who are regulars in the group stages agreeing to this? There would be uproar and all it would take is another threat of a break away super league to quash this.
Nick Entwistle
004 Posted 30/11/2012 at 11:30:49
There would be more knock out rounds and easier to come out of the group stage though so I'm sure it would be easier for more of the usual teams to make more than their usual levels of cash. The big teams will still make it through to the latter stages.
Patrick Murphy
015 Posted 30/11/2012 at 13:01:26
Of course they could always make the Europa a straight Knock-Out competition over 2 legs... oh yeah. that was the old Uefa Cup, wasn't it.

Denis Richardson
020 Posted 30/11/2012 at 14:05:53
I wish Uefa would just come clean. Whilst everyone knows that the Europa/Uefa cup died a long time ago because the money in the CL dwarfs that in the EL (group stage participants in the CL currently get about 3 times more money than the eventual EL winners!), their eventual aim is a european super league.

Expanding the 'champions' league to the top 6 or 7 clubs is just a big step towards creating a super league. Next step will likely be a complete break off with the top teams in the main leagues reducing the numbers of games they play at home - probably citing having to play 'too many games'.

It will likley only happen onces its too late, but the future of the game lies in a more equal share of the money amoungst all clubs - regardless of size. The bigger clubs simply get bigger and the rest stay where they are. The chances of an Ajax or a Porto winning the CL these days are pretty slim - although in saying that am loving what Dortmund are doing at the moment - breath of fresh air. Young squad which is mainly home grown or cost buttons (Reus excepted), sticking it to te likes of Real and Citeh with great fast attacking football - would love for them to win the whole thing. (Admittedly they are not exactly a minnow with an 80k stadium and won the CL in '97, but they have come back from near bankruptcy with a solid internal youth development policy and a great manager in Klopp - nailed on German manager sometime in the future).

Sorry, am drifting now - long term the game is just fucked! The increased TV money will just lead to higher wages for players and managers.

Gareth Fieldstead
093 Posted 30/11/2012 at 23:43:58
That will never happen Patrick, can you imagine Utd allowing that or Spurs and Chelsea if City and Arsenal finish above them? Good question David as it would be a joke if the likes of Millwall or Cardiff were to win a domestic cup whilst playing in the lower tier as they have reached finals recently. I think the answer would be no which would render a once magnificent competition useless. The push for a top 7 finish would be all that mattered.
James Martin
536 Posted 04/12/2012 at 09:04:34
They should weight it so that all of the money that now goes to the Champions League goes to the Europa League instead. That way the top teams would be in the Champions League for prestige only rather than this ridiculous money train keeping them there at the minute.

Those who had dropped into the Europa League would get lots of money to have a crack at qualifying for the Champions League next year, whilst those at the very top would struggle to stay there because of financial reasons.

This would stop the Europa League being a joke and would stop all of this ridiculous 'I want Champions League football' from every above average player in the Prem. Any team would feel they had a chance of getting there and you'd get a continuous upheaval of teams with the money being spread about. Then again, spreading money around has never been in Uefa's interest.
Tom Bowers
567 Posted 04/12/2012 at 16:21:50
The Euro leagues obviously generate revenue but, when teams that have already quailified for the next stage play weakened sides whilst charging the same ticket money, it becomes a sham. Sure, it gives experience to lesser, maybe younger players but that doesn't provide the top class attraction like it is supposed to. Both competitions do the same and clubs should be fined heavily for doing this.

The Champions League should mean Champions only but at the very least should not allow teams in from very weak countries and islands who do not have the same standard of players as the major leagues.
Jon Ferguson
900 Posted 13/12/2012 at 16:05:53
I think that people get too hung up on the term Champions League. It’s just a name for a competition involving the biggest teams in Europe. They also live too much in the past with a straight knock out. I am all for European group stage competition followed by a knock out tournament. There is something special about going to Goodison and watching the blues play under the flood lights against teams from the continent, big or small.

I think a group stage made up of 16 groups of 4 teams sounds good. The teams that win go on to play in the Champions cup knock out whilst the runners up play in the Europa knock out, those that don’t qualify, better luck next year.

Plus, of course it should be weighted! England, Spain, Germany and Italy have plenty of big teams. Holland, France, Portugal and Russia have more than most, and then most other leagues make up the rest. The champions of every league should get the opportunity to qualify of course, but the Finland league (for example) shouldn’t be on equal footing with the German league. There’s no comparison.

I’d rather play in the Europa than not at all, but it is not a draw in the same way as the Champions League. If we were playing (semi) regularly playing in a single European tournament then there wouldn’t be an excuse for players to leave to achieve that. Plus the money is spread across more teams encouraging more competition.

I really can’t see the arguments against. I’d be gutted if the Champions League stayed the same and the Europa turned straight knock out. Gutted!

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