I believe that a football match should be won on the field of play. Does this totally apply in the Premier League? Well, given the Profit and Sustainability rules that were brought in (in 2012-13, I believe), this is debatable.

We have over the years succeeded in creating an imitation Scottish League where we have 4 to 6 Clubs that have a chance of winning the Premier League to their two (Rangers and Celtic) — and I am aware Leicester City did win recently but their squad was pillaged over the next couple of seasons. No chance of them repeating this feat.

At the beginning of the current season, we could confidently predict the Top 6 teams, as has been pretty much the case now for a good number of years. Worryingly, I feel these teams look like they will now stay cemented on this hallowed ground, making even more money, competing in Europe (in the European Competitions where the serious money is) and hoovering up the best talent.

Clubs like ourselves will probably fall even further behind. How can this be a healthy league in the sporting sense and how is it good for football? 

I can’t realistically see a path for clubs outside the current cartel of the Sky 6 seriously competing given the Profit and Sustainability regulations. If anyone can explain how the Sky 6 can be toppled without a serious amount of money, please inform me. At this point, I could really use the expertise of Paul the Esk so, if I am not 100% accurate, please cut me some slack. 

Clubs can (I believe) have losses of £105 million over 3 years (under the Profitability and Sustainability rules); however, an owner cannot write a cheque to cover the deficit. So a club has to increase its income. How?

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Sponsorship, but it must relate to a club's status so, for example Everton couldn’t be sponsored by Elon Musk to the tune of £500 million a year as we are not considered to have a status befitting this amount. An owner now can no longer have an open chequebook. So Income is strangled, no threat there to the cartel. 

Surely changing the rules to prevent competition can’t be healthy. Chelsea are an example. They were quite possibly going out of business before Abramovich dropped in — he was then allowed to spend uninhibitedly to build the club and build income streams. Fair enough… but how is it appropriate that we (and other clubs) are not allowed the same freedoms?

How can changing the rules mid-game be fair? The Sky cartel have all benefitted from this history and have now pulled up the ladder. I read that one of the reasons Man City invested so quickly was to get in position ahead of the financial rule changes.

We now have the situation with Newcastle being the wealthiest club in the world but they are hemmed in by P&S regulations. Chelsea and the others weren’t and it will be difficult if not impossible for the Geordies to break into the elite. Certainly it will take time.

The vast amount of money the Sky 6 have had and continue to gain has removed teams like Everton out of their orbit almost completely. They pretty much have all the best players and squads, they hoover up the best youngsters, use the loan system to their advantage (I really question the sporting ethics of this system), even buingy clubs in other Leagues.

Meanwhile, Everton attempt to build a team but, as soon as we develop a player, before we can get the most benefit and build further, they are plucked from us and the repetitive cycle starts again (eg, Richarlison, Fellaini, Lescott etc) — I am sure we all get the picture.

These players have to move as pressures come from agents, media and pundits. We can’t be seen to be holding back a player's career. Contracts mean very little, apparently. It all works well for the Sky 6 who have the money. We are left with mid-table mediocrity, a nursery for Sky 6 and a semi-retirement home for a fading star's last couple of years (eg, Richard Gough, Gascoigne, Gareth Barry and the rest).

One thing I can’t quite understand is how and why given changes to Premier League rules are voted on. P&S was passed (unless there was UEFA influence) when it appears to be an anti-competitive measure. I can only think some clubs see that, by creating a league within a league, they feel they have a better chance of retaining their position in it? I would be interested in anyone’s thoughts on this one.

I would like to see a healthy Premier League where the Top 6 teams change over short periods and we have ourselves, and say Aston Villa or Leeds Utd spending a year or two at the top. This would truly give us a more competitive Premier League.

We have spent I believe about £270 million net on players under Moshiri over several years but we started from a playing level a good step below the top teams who were also spending and strengthening as well. We lost our top scorer to Man Utd.

While we did it badly, surely it should not come to a club having one shot and then being consigned to ignominy. However, P&S rules have endured, and this is our fate for quite a while — even if Moshiri had more to spend.

So, as we look to move into the new Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, will our fortunes improve? I think they will to a point but, as for breaking into the Top 6, I am not too confident given how the rules stand today.

My feeling is we will require more money, probably new ownership, but more importantly, a change in the financial rules before we can have a Premier League where games are won on the field.

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Reader Comments (68)

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Paul Roderick
1 Posted 12/10/2022 at 17:44:17
Can’t we get Elon Musk to buy £500 million of gear from Everton 2?
Dale Self
2 Posted 12/10/2022 at 17:50:04
Musk is distracted, take the Soros money. It's a much easier ride.
Paul Kernot
3 Posted 12/10/2022 at 20:34:50
Interesting article, Barry, and a topic I'm sure we've all considered now and then.

I'm probably over-simplifying a complex issue but my question is: If the Top 6 do eventually bugger off & create a Super League along with the elite of European clubs, how is that likely to affect clubs like Everton?

I watch the Championship highlights every week and often think it looks a lot like Division 1 used to be years ago. Good, competitive league where pretty much anyone can beat anyone on their day. No consideration for financing and player wages there, I expect.

Kieran Kinsella
4 Posted 12/10/2022 at 21:28:39

(Talking of Barrys, where is Barry Hesketh these days?)

Interesting question. On paper it looks pretty bleak but things can change both on the field and off in terms of rule implementation. Juve had a lock on Serie A for 7 years and all the Champions League money but now their efforts to be part of a Super League seem laughable. So I have hope.

Mark Andersson
5 Posted 13/10/2022 at 02:13:23
Karma... were you moaning when Everton were known as the Mersey Millionaires and would buy the best players from West Ham or Blackpool or Preston?

Football has always been corrupt with dodgy brown envelopes passed on.

I don't care about the Top 6 and the corrupt VAR decisions because karma will see their eventual downfall too.

Alan J Thompson
6 Posted 13/10/2022 at 06:33:17
We have had our own Elon Musk in Farhad Moshiri but it was all misused and English football finances, in one form or another, have always changed and evolved – from Johnny Haynes to George Eastham to Jean-Marc Bosman, the over involvement of "Super" Agents, player contracts rather than club's registrations, foreign (the beauty of being English, you can't be foreign?) investment, Accrington Stanley to Bury and from the four divisions of the Football League to the Premier League, to clubs winning promotion to the top levels rather than being voted to remain or flung into remote corners.

It could be said that Uefa or European football competitions have never had the influence they have now but it has been around since the 1950s. The amount of money in the game now may have more noughts on the end and the reach of clubs worldwide may have more to do with it than just gate receipts but there always was and will be the haves and have-nots.

I believe it needs fourteen Premier League clubs to have the ability to vote for change but that does include those hanging onto the coattails of others – if each club were to start selling their own TV coverage, how many would be better off?

Change is constant and will come but when and in what form, or for the better, has been what makes millionaires, or is that now billionaires, and until then most of us will ask the almost eternal question, "Are we there yet?"

Colin Glassar
7 Posted 13/10/2022 at 07:35:03
Champions League games are irrelevant to me until the semi-finals. Sky Top 6 (7 now with Newcastle) are becoming increasingly irrelevant to me. International football (corrupt World Cups) are now irrelevant to me.

My sense of detachment from the game increases year by year. If it wasn't for Everton, I don't think I'd bother anymore. Maybe it's an age thing (I used to watch any games available on the box and read every match report).

I think it's more the greed of the clubs. The ostentatious lifestyles of the super rich players. The corruption at the highest levels of football. The pundits with their endless stream of inane comments. The constant belittling of anyone outside of the media created Top 6-7 making the rest of us feel worthless.

Football is getting richer by the day (including Everton) but the soul is withering.

Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 13/10/2022 at 07:37:50
The playing field ceased to be even remotely fair, many, many years ago.

I watched a bit of the Rangers v Liverpool game last night and saw another glimpse into the future, and one which made me think that a European Super League, has got to be (hopefully) inevitable sometime not so far in the distance.

Rangers had fought hard, but Liverpool's superiority was beginning to show, and then they were allowed to bring on five subs – players with massive quality, and subsequently steamrolled their opponents to death.

Totally agree with that post, Colin.

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 13/10/2022 at 08:00:01
I think if you look at most leagues since the 70s (at least).

Liverpool and Man Utd dominated the English one with interspersed interference from the likes of Derby, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea and more recently Leicester. City... before Man City took hold.

In Germany, Bayern dominate with the occasional challenge from Dortmund. A more competitive league in terms of who can challenge for the other places but equally face relegation.

In Spain, it's mostly about Barcelona and Real Madrid with the odd challenge from the likes of Atletico and Valencia.

In Italy, it's mostly been about Juventus and the Milan clubs with the occasional challenge by Roma, Lazio and Napoli.

In the Netherlands, it's all about Ajax, PSV and occasionally Feyenoord.

Not a lot changes other than every so often, someone challenges the elite. I'm thinking RB Leipzig in Germany who literally came from nowhere to be regular Champion's League attendees.

I haven't even done my research here so totally shooting from the hip on instinct, so I stand to be called out and corrected by those more wise with statistics.

Anything is possible. Everton, as an institution of English and world football with our fan base and a new iconic stadium on the horizon, have a better starting point than many before them.

Jeff Armstrong
10 Posted 13/10/2022 at 08:16:23
Colin #7,

I agree with every word; yes, it's an age thing that's been growing with us as the game has grown into the corrupt “product” we see today.

Michael Boardman
11 Posted 13/10/2022 at 08:53:03
Colin # 7,

Well said and exactly how I've been feeling for the last couple of years.

Tony # 8 and Jeff # 10,

Made up it's not just me as I was feeling like a right moaning bastard!

Dave Abrahams
12 Posted 13/10/2022 at 09:19:18
Colin (7),

You put my thoughts about present day football into words.

The only thing you left out was the VAR, unless you included that when you mentioned corruption in the game.

Jimmy Salt
13 Posted 13/10/2022 at 10:09:50
Colin @7,

Thanks for saving me time, I feel the same, mate. I used to watch all games but agree – if it wasn't for my love of Everton, I may have drifted away from football.

Charles Brewer
14 Posted 13/10/2022 at 10:11:53
Colin, well stated. The game has moved away so far from the principles of "a level playing field" that it's becoming more like a Harlem Globetrotters tour than a competition. (No disrespect to the HG's they were very amusing and clever entertainers who brought much pleasure, but it wasn't sport.)

The "Champions" League is nothing more or less than a method of funnelling vast sums to a small group of clubs. I don't think I have ever watched a match in this dreary kickabout designed to maximise the number of matches the "elite" teams play in. Having Rotivator Turnipgrad and Iceflüüme Reykjavik playing simply ups the TV revenues for the likes of the Redshite, PSG and Bayern Munich.

However, it would appear that even the Champions League didn't rig the game sufficiently, so the "Profitability and Sustainability" regime was brought in to make absolutely sure that the lower teams never got a chance to compete. (Incidentally, why does "sustainability" always mean "harmful, useless and destructive"?)

Personally, I'm very happy to see Man City (and to a lesser degree Arsenal) messing up the system because they have a nice bunch of supporters (ie, they aren't best known for murdering people), a club which does not appear to consist entirely of gangsters and on-field thugs and they appear to be disliked by the FA and UEFA.

However, as Colin says, I am getting less and less interested in football, and if it was not for the genetic defect of having a grandfather, father and son (not to mention uncles, nephews etc.) who were all fanatical Evertonians (and it is a 'Y' chromosome thing!), I'd be watching rugby and cricket exclusively by now.

Andy Meighan
15 Posted 13/10/2022 at 10:30:26
Good article that, Barry.

But I'm like Colin, if it wasn't for Everton, I don't think I'd bother with watching anyone else. There was a time when, like Colin, I'd pour over every report in Sunday's and Monday's papers; I certainly don't no more.

Is it over-saturation? Possibly; you can watch a game every night, if you want to now.

Also, the Premier League to me is corrupt, he VAR favouring the big teams time and time again – and God haven't we been hard done-to in recent times?

As for the group stages of the Champions League, cannon fodder lining up to be tonked by the big boys. You could basically predict the outcome of nearly every game. It's boring actually. But mention that to a certain breed of so-called fans across the park and you're accused of bitterness.

As soon as they go and form a Super League and make it more of a level playing field, the better.

Alan McMillan
16 Posted 13/10/2022 at 10:36:28
Great article, Barry; thought-provoking.

We were once part of the "Big Five" and, through lack of vision and perhaps complacency, we gradually let our standards slip until we became just one of the pack.

That just shows the pattern over the years of top clubs being favoured – but it has never been so difficult to change this. It's becoming boring to be honest, matches are mostly predictable. For fans, where's the excitement or indeed value for money in that?

Elite football at the European level has been split into two categories. Those who have, those who want. Those who live, those who dream. Those who expect, those who hope. FFP makes it nigh on impossible to change the status quo.

This is causing me to fall out of love with football. I no longer watch Champions League matches, or any Premier League match in which Everton aren't playing. I now regularly go to League of Ireland games (I'm a Dub) – teams much more closely matched; the football isn't amazing but it's getting better and the atmosphere is electric. Players playing for their livelihoods, making the most of their opportunity.

I would compare it to lower Championship or League One in England. Five different league winners in the last 10 years. So far, greed and money haven't ruined the game here, but that may change as it gains in popularity and crowds continue to rise.

The fans of those clubs outside of the Top 6 (and of other elite leagues around Europe) have copped on to the rigged nature of football at this level. It is a cartel; in some cases, a kleptocracy. Maybe it is time for the top clubs in Europe to break away and form their own league after all...

Dave Lynch
17 Posted 13/10/2022 at 11:26:52
The more global the game becomes, the more likely a Super League becomes.

The Yanks and Saudis will push for Premier League games to be held on their own turf and it will be a carve-up as usual.

Yank owner talks to Saudi owner... let's play home game in your country and away game in ours... etc.

Clive Rogers
18 Posted 13/10/2022 at 11:30:43
Good article Barry and comment #7 Colin.

I am similarly in despair about EFC. We just can't compete any more, especially with countries running clubs in effect.

Add to this that we now have an owner who apparently wants out to protect his personal fortune and will probably sell to anyone who can meet his price. He hasn't been to a game for nearly 12 months as far as I am aware.

Add to this the chairman's main concern is preserving his position rather than the club's performance. I cannot see us challenging again in my lifetime.

Dave Lynch
19 Posted 13/10/2022 at 11:47:31
Some posters are bemoaning that we were once in the top echelons of football... Were you bothered about the lower echelons then? I think not.

Now that we are, for want of a better phrase, also-rans, you're bemoaning the fact Sky and big money has corrupted the game.

Would you be bothered about the also-rans if we were in the so-called top 5...? I think not.

You can't have it both ways; it's dog eat dog and the big dogs rule the roost.

When we were the big dog, we all revelled in it and didn't give a shit about the "small clubs".

Alan McGuffog
20 Posted 13/10/2022 at 11:48:42
I'd be delighted to see a Super League as long as the proviso was that those participants never played in the domestic league again.

I would say that in some shape or form it's an inevitability except for the fact that there would be at least six and possibly seven English teams up for it.

How happy would Spain Italy and Germany be with an English dominated competition?

Danny O’Neill
21 Posted 13/10/2022 at 12:00:57
I was very vocal about the Super League when it got suggested. The concept still sits uncomfortably with me.

But then the more I think about it, and if we think about it, hasn't football always been reinventing itself?

The inception of the English Football League in the 19th Century. Big city clubs backed by money that rise to the top. Mostly always been the case - the Mersey Millionaires. The creation of European competition and the European Cup, when it was really only for the Champions of each nation rather than pretenders. It evolved into a so-called Champions League. On the international stage, the Euros, the World Cup and that European Nations League that I still don't really understand.

Everything in football evolves. You evolve with it or get left behind.

The thing that made me uncomfortable with the Super League was the closed shop NFL style model (sorry US cohort). That is a red line and not our way.

Football, like life, should be about being able to progress to the next level based on achievement and success. Likewise, if you don't succeed, you drop down a level.

First Division, Premier League, Super League. If you succeed, you deserve to rise to the next level and pit your wits against the best. If you fail, you drop down and regroup.

Promotion and relegation. Reward success and accept failure. Enjoy the rewards, but acknowledge when you get it wrong.

A closed door only serves self-appreciation and elitism back-slapping at how great you are. When you might not be.

Christine Foster
22 Posted 13/10/2022 at 12:11:32
Let's be frank: football in the Premier League has been turned into an entertainment business where contact is prohibited, controversy is lifeblood, and the elite are a protected species.

The financial rules are protectionist of an elite few at the expense of everyone else without a resemblance of fairness. The only way, even if you wanted to do so, would be the scrapping of the FFP rules. It has to happen; otherwise, those elite few need to go join another league. One with similar privileged clubs.

Football as we knew it has disappeared in the Premier League... 5 subs is a disgrace, utter disgrace and total bias. I want my football club back. I want a level playing field, that's all.

Nick Page
23 Posted 13/10/2022 at 12:41:42
Danny, your post @9,

I think if you look at most leagues since the 70s (at least):

Liverpool and Man Utd dominated the English one with interspersed interference from the likes of Derby, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea and more recently Leicester. City... before Man City took hold.

Funny how the one team missing from that list that hasn't won a league title since ‘61 (and only two ever) yet is now in the Champions League every season. The only English club that regularly competes without ever winning the Premier League. It's laughable.

So who decided they should be one of these elite clubs just because they've won a few FA Cups in a year beginning with 1? They haven't won a major trophy for longer than us. The media love them nearly as much as the Red Shite.

I can't stand them nor can I stand that greasy prick of a Chairman they have and the other fella that hides in the Bahamas. And they got to use Wembley and the gate receipts while they built their new stadium. Not a word from anyone.

Pure corruption. And it's so obvious but, unless people speak up, it will only carry on getting worse.

David Hallwood
24 Posted 13/10/2022 at 12:51:34
To quote an American saying, the European Super League is the dog that caught the car.

Let's go back to April, but it could be any year and any domestic league for that matter: 2 teams fighting for the title, another 5 or 6 with a chance of a Champions League spot, plus a further 4 or 5 with a chance of European football.

At the squeaky bum end of the league (and I don't need to remind anyone where we were), there's 5 or 6 teams fighting relegation. All this adds up to competitive football right up to the end of the season. It keeps the interest in the twists and turns of the season.

Then the Super League comes. Firstly, let them break away and not be allowed back into domestic competitions. There will always be in any league the contenders and the also-rans. So let's look at April in the Super League, you have 2 possibly 3 going for the title and all the rest will be playing dead rubbers – and have been since November.

So who's going to pay to watch Inter vs Benfica for example when there's nothing riding on the game, a game played by players in their flip-flops?

Awful idea and can't come quick enough for me.

Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 13/10/2022 at 12:58:33
Half of your post is why I despair so much nowadays about the beautiful game, Dave@19.

Liverpool got hard done by on Sunday, imo, but Klopp moaned about the penalty that correctly wasn't given, which means he would have been delighted to have received a penalty for something that never was.

Rashford got a perfectly good goal chalked off at Goodison, because the interference from the lawmakers has reached diabolical proportions, but people only moan when they feel they are hard done by, whilst taking every decision that goes there way with a big smile.

Danny O’Neill
26 Posted 13/10/2022 at 13:10:24
Says a lot, Nick.

I still remember talking with my cousin after playing Tottenham in the early '80s on how they projected and marketed themselves much better than us considering we were a much more successful club.

It was based on the programme and the press comments. We've never been popular or favourable with the national press. They do that well.

Okay, I wouldn't have that language back then, so I'm using conceptual context.

It's the concept of the Champion's League. Reward failure. Tottenham are benefitting from that. I suppose, now in my early 50s, I'm getting old, but you only succeed by winning.

That season. Until Southall made that save, there seemed to be a desperation for them to win the league and we were just having a good run. We weren't going to see it through and were being played down. That moment changed it and the league was ours, even though we already new it.

Never put a good man or team down.

Shane Corcoran
27 Posted 13/10/2022 at 13:18:28
I'm not sure what people want.

Prior to FFP, the likes of Chelsea and Man City (and Blackburn Rovers before them) came from nowhere to compete and win due to unrestricted investment. Everton tried to follow suit, albeit to a lesser degree, and blew it.

Now, notwithstanding the ability to hire the best legal team to argue otherwise, clubs are restricted in how much trading losses they can accrue.

Surely this new system is better than the previous one? If you want to compete, improve every aspect of the running of your business. What's the alternative better option?

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 13/10/2022 at 13:26:30
Tony (26),

All take and no give – fuck honesty, what do you get for that is the mantra, rolling over and feigning injury. "You are entitled to dive after a mere touch" is another favourite of the pundits.

“I didn't see that incident” by some managers who see every tiny incident that their opponents are supposed to have done. "Where ignorance is bliss it's a folly to be wise" – taken to a new level.

Stinks doesn't it, but that's the name of the game. No wonder many of us are fed up with it.

Steavey Buckley
29 Posted 13/10/2022 at 13:29:49
Everton's main problem, they bought too many older players without any sell-on value and buying players that have a bad habit of losing the ball.

All top clubs usually buy players who have the good habit of keeping hold of the ball and not cheaply giving it away.

Brian Murray
30 Posted 13/10/2022 at 13:46:20
Tony @27.

I don't know if this will come across as bitter or old-fashioned. It's not meant to be.

The penny dropped with me why I fell out of love with the game and rarely watch a match in the early 90s and the Sky format. Richard Keys, Andy Gray, Graham Souness and usual pundits all sitting there in shiny suits probably worth more than my car.

We know after Hillsborough, something had to give and big changes happened but it's gone way too far the other way. Just obscene in my eyes as people were on the brink and even dying this winter.

Anyway we had our chance of a title challenge but, half a billion pounds later, it's gone. Good times… but don't blink.

Tom Bowers
31 Posted 13/10/2022 at 13:47:34
The World will always be an unfair place as long as there is greed.

Capitalism is a two-edged sword that, on one hand, makes the rich richer… but without it we would have mass unemployment.

We older Evertonians remember well when we were called the Mersey Millionaires back in the Sixties under John Moores which transformed Everton for many years. That was back when world television coverage and sponsorship was unheard of.

Today, it has of course all changed and the game itself has become hard to watch because of possession football and many players being very robotic in their approach to the game because of the coaching tactics.

The Middle East and the US is taking over the reins regarding ownership and it will be very hard for many clubs to compete on a level playing field without a share of that sponsorship and investment, if not already apparent.

The Middle East already has had a big impact in other sports – just look at the big split in golf – so I fear a breakaway in football is inevitable.

Danny O’Neill
32 Posted 13/10/2022 at 14:02:49
The '90s was a dark period, Brian. It's when we fell behind having recently been one of the Big 5.

You haven't fallen out of love. I saw the passion in you before the Palace game and will do when we meet before the next one.

Dave Lynch
33 Posted 13/10/2022 at 14:24:33
Your first paragraph sums up exactly what I was saying, Danny.

It's hard to swallow at times. I remember as a kid in the late '60s, every single fan of every single club thought they could win the title or FA Cup at the start of the season.

Youthful naivety? Maybe... but at least hope was prevalent. Unlike today when around 25% of clubs' fans hope they can stay up.

Bill Gall
34 Posted 13/10/2022 at 15:05:19
.How long was John Moores owner of Everton FC?
Jack Convery
35 Posted 13/10/2022 at 15:59:20
Thanks for the article, Barry. Interesting stuff.

Colin — bang on, mate. These days, I can't stand watching MotD. I don't have Sky and never will.

The countries taking part in the coming World Cup should be ashamed of themselves. They know it was won through corruption and built on the back of cheap labour, with Health & Safety an afterthought. Yet they go along with it!!!

As for the Premier League, it's practically a closed shop, which allows teams with no chance to enter it and then take the cream of their players for the Top 6.

If anyone does break up the Top 6 (eg, Leicester City), they will soon be decimated as the best players will leave for the fortunes to be made in the Top 6.

Being born an Evertonian, I will always support my team but the Premier League, Uefa and Fifa, as organisations, can all sod off!!

Bill Gall
36 Posted 13/10/2022 at 16:59:27
Money talks… and where there is money, you can find the richest usually come out on top. You can't compare John Moores with the likes of Abromavich as the availability of players has increased, practically worldwide.

To me, the problem was the FA who allowed Abromovich, after buying Chelsea, to buy players and managers from practically worldwide, regardless of cost, for about 10 years, winning numerous trophies and league titles.

This was allowed to go on until Man City suddenly popped up with owners who were twice as rich as Chelsea and started to do the same thing; that brought complaints from other Premier Teams, so changes had to be made.

Sky Sports have also jumped on the bandwagon in their selling of the Premier League to various countries, starting in the early 90s showing the Premier League, but it was usually just Man Utd, so to watch your own team they had to be playing United.

This has been going on for years with Sky Sports getting increased amounts from different providers for their service of the Premier League that showed all Premier League games. This year and for the next 3 seasons it's with Fubo TV in the US.

I believe that the start-up of a European Super League is just another money-making scheme that will ruin the Premier League just to provide more financial gains for the chosen few.

The remaining teams left in the Premier League will lose money from TV sales as Sky Sports will concentrate on the Super League. The Premier League will carry on but will soon develop another top 6 that will have less monetary payments.

The people to me that should be blamed is the FA and Sky Sports, who just see profit signs without looking at the consequences to other clubs and the Football Leagues.

As I mentioned, the root of the problem started with Abromavich and the branches were allowed to grow without being trimmed and looked after and now they are starting to rot.

Rob Dolby
37 Posted 13/10/2022 at 18:01:29
Some good points above. I also agree with Colin though I do think that's a mix of age and experience of actually seeing us win stuff compared to the state of us now.

For the good of the wider game, the Premier League needs to handicap the top teams with restrictions on recruitment and money spent – though that will never happen.

If there is a Super League will that just turn the likes of ourselves and Aston Villa etc into the new big boys?

Wealth needs to somehow be spread amongst the pyramid with restrictions in place for how much money can be spent. As it stands, FFP is just feeding the top tier and preventing anyone joining the club.

To break into the Top 6, we need to have 4 or 5 years of stability with a young hungry manager and wealthy owner.

Clubs in our position are the perfect shop window for the big boys, we sell our best player, year on year, making closing that gap even harder.

The Leicester achievement was fantastic. A bunch of misfits and rejects beat the big boys.

How can we emulate that? Buy players with a point to prove over players that want us as a stepping stone?

Search the leagues for hungry strikers and have an abundance of them in the squad. Goals and strikers should always be the priority. Currently, we have 1 decent striker and at least 5 centre-backs!

I have always been drawn to the Spanish clubs that restrict themselves in recruiting only local players. I reckon we could have a very good team from the region which would instill pride in the club.

Danny O’Neill
38 Posted 13/10/2022 at 18:25:24
I agree with a lot of your sentiment Rob.

But (there's always one or 2!!!).

Everton and Villa are the big boys. The originals as my t-shirt says. Chelsea and City are the new kids on the block.

Leicester was a one off and they could easily end up back to their previous position of being a yo-yo club pretty quickly.

We totally need stability and I absolutely agree with you on the locality thing. I'm doing my Schalke thing again, but it's amazing how many they brought through their own ranks from their own locality. And top, top quality players that you could pick a world beating 11 from.

I'm sure we have a rule in the UK that you can't take a kid too far away from where he lives, but I know a close friend who had his lad in Aston Villa's academy. They used to travel from Haverfordwest to Villa's training ground in Leicestershire at the time, using a post code to get around the distance rules.. And that home grown player rule that was manipulated by many clubs.

All open to interpretation and manipulation, but I do agree with your sentiment. Totally. Focus on what is on your doorstep. Everton in the community with a football focus.

Rob Halligan
39 Posted 13/10/2022 at 18:29:56
Brilliant thread, this, and having read most of all the posts, it seems everyone is all singing from the same song sheet for a change!

Football in this country, and all the major leagues in Europe, is finished as a sport, it is now primarily a business. We've seen this when teams put out a weakened team for cup games, for fear of losing their better players through injury for upcoming league games.

We've seen and heard that teams would rather finish in the top four than win the FA Cup or Carabao Cup. The Premier League and Champions League is where the pots of gold at the end of the rainbow are, and the likes of Uefa and our own Premier League will make sure those pots of gold are filled to the brim by making sure the so-called top sides are at the front of the queue when it comes to dishing the silverware out at the end of the season.

The biggest farce has to be the Champions League. You can almost guarantee the same sides will be in the quarter-finals each year. Clubs are in it that haven't been Champions of their own country for donkey's years.

Sod the seeding, and throw every club in a hat and draw out four teams for the group stage. Imagine Man City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and PSG in a group, and Club Bruges, FC Copenhagen, Maccabi Haifa and Viktoria Plzen in another. Never going to happen because UEFA want the best teams in the knockout stages.

If a minnow does make the knockout stage, then fear not, that other farce, the VAR will make sure they go no further, should they look like they could cause an upset.

Talking of the VAR, I thought that it would finally be a way of creating an even playing field in the Premier League. Silly me, the VAR is a human, not a robot, and these corrupt officials, guided by their even more corrupt bosses, simply make it up as they go along.

Anyone dare question the VAR and they either get an apology or a fine. No good when the most blatant VAR error has cost you a point (or points), which could ultimately see that team relegated from the Premier League.

Talk of the European Super League will not go away… so, like others have said, let them go. There's no way back and there's no entry to any domestic cup competitions.

So Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs, (hahaha, fucking Spurs, one of the so-called Big Six clubs certainly does make you laugh), why don't you just all go and let's get football in this country back to what it used to be, an even playing field!

Raymond Fox
40 Posted 13/10/2022 at 18:50:35
I completely agree, Barry, what's getting a little lost in the thread is that the usual Top 6 clubs have a huge unfair inbuilt advantage at the start of each and every season.

They have squads now that are worth far more than us lesser clubs, therefore can sell and buy at higher price levels.

They are more attractive to the top players than all the rest of us, add to that they are now bringing in far larger revenues each year, mostly due to European competitions and bigger stadiums, which again allows them to spend bigger.

The main point is that, even if we attracted an owner that was far richer than Moshiri, he couldn't now do a Man City or a Chelsea and buy us into a Top 6 club.

I fear the rest of us are stuck down here without a prayer of becoming a regular Top 6 club.

Dale Self
41 Posted 13/10/2022 at 18:52:03
The only reprieve from the money influence on English football that I've had is reflecting on what shit the American sports have become.

While hockey has not completely followed suit, the other sports are becoming preludes to a celebrity culture showcase. The spectacle of how the stars are dressed is now emphasized, it really is a shit beyond.

So be grateful that you have some class for the Yanks have none in this area.

Brian Harrison
42 Posted 13/10/2022 at 19:13:02
The days of clubs with the most money dominating football has been going on since the beginning of the game. Arsenal paid Bolton the staggering total of £10,000 for David Jack, then a few years after the 2nd World War clubs for the first time started trading players across Europe.

John Charles, probably the most famous of that era, was signed by Juventus from Leeds for the astronomical sum of £65,000. And many followed that route: Joe Baker and Jimmy Greaves just to name a couple.

Then, in the early '60s, John Moores took over Everton and pumped in eyewatering sums of money on players which led us to be known as the Mersey Millionaires. So for people to now get upset and suggesting it's money that's changed the game, the fact is money, as I have shown, has always been the catalyst for success. Yes, now rather than individuals owning clubs, it's states running clubs like Man City, PSG, Newcastle and this over years will be the norm.

What has changed over the years is that players and not clubs hold all the power. When Jimmy Hill and George Eastham lobbied to get the £20 maximum wage changed, then that was when everything changed for the players. And when the Bosman ruling was brought in, it even further enabled players to have the control. So now, the working man's game is still watched by the working man but he is watching multi-millionaires rather than our working-class heroes from days gone by.

I think the biggest problem to the game as I see it is the money going to players and agents has got way out of hand. Unless that is changed, and soon, I see the amount of teams being able to make a profit reducing and the Premier League will consist of maybe 12 clubs as it can't financially support any more.

Or the European Super League will become a reality and that would have such an impact that I doubt the Premier League could exist and certainly we would no longer see any fully professional teams outside of what would be the remains of the Premier league.

Dave Abrahams
43 Posted 13/10/2022 at 19:49:42
Brian (@42),

While money has always bought the best players, you have to distinguish the fact that the players haven't always been paid the top money they should have been earning.

Take Dixie Dean, top player of his time, Babe Ruth the famous baseball player couldn't believe that Dixie was on £8 plus a small win bonus. "You're the big attraction here today, Chelsea were playing Everton, you should be on the top dollar."

Even after Jimmy Hill and George Eastham changed the way players were rewarded, top players like Young and Vernon were only on £40 basic wages plus a win bonus and so much more, not a lot, if the crowd was over 38,000 or more – and this was when Everton were called the Merseyside Millionaires. Jimmy Greaves said in his whole career he never earned more than £100 a week as a basic wage.

The wages have gone up and up at a ridiculous rate and now some are getting close to a £1M a week, young players still in their teenage years are millionaires, and I doubt the wages will stop going upwards.

As you say, Brian, clubs are owned and run by countries, money rules but it doesn't make the game better to watch – more the reverse with too many one-sided matches and lots of fans being turned off with football, as Colin (7) said near the beginning of this thread.

Danny O’Neill
44 Posted 13/10/2022 at 20:18:07
It's a really interesting point, Brian.

Money has always dominated but there has been a shift in balance. And there is probably the problem. The balance. It should be a balance.

It was unfair when the Owner, Chair and Board members took all the spoils whilst players were paid a pittance and had to rely on testimonials to then become a become a pub landlord at the age of 40. No disgrace in that; it's an honourable job that serves communities up and down the country, but you get my meaning hopefully.

The pendulum needed to swing to reward those delivering on the pitch and give them more of their fair share.

In my humble opinion, it just swung too far the other way. And the players now command the monetary power. Influenced by the real cretins of the modern game, the prying agents. I'm a well known dog lover and dogs have loyalty more than any human I know or have known.

The agents are the cunning and sly cats waiting for their prey with no loyalty. They just move on for the next feed, wherever that is or whoever it comes from and move from house to house.

And then forget the fat cats in the board room. Then the media got involved and created an industry.

Probably gone a bit deep there - sorry!!

I'm a moderate. I sound like an activist. As with anything in life, it should be a balance. Those who invest should get the rewards for their investment. But those who deliver success should be rewarded. But for most businesses, it has to be a balance. A fair one. Football now is seeing ridiculous amounts of money paid to players and that cost is being passed on to idiots like me. Be that when I attend or through my TV and internet subscriptions.

Michael Kenrick
45 Posted 13/10/2022 at 21:02:56
Bill @34,

John Moores became a Director in 1960 and rapidly ascended to Chairman by April of that year.

He left the Board in 1977 and his health deteriorated over the next 16 years but he retained an iron grip on the shares within the Moores family, many saying his control, especially in those later years (so the key ones for the nascent Premier League), held Everton back.

He did not technically rescind ownership of Everton until his death on 25 September 1993, age 97.

Bernie Quinn
46 Posted 13/10/2022 at 21:11:42
Great article, Barry, and I feel the same as you, Colin G.

I have previously stated and still believe that most of this problem rests with the advent of Sky TV and the formation of the Premier League.

What now puzzles me is, if they go ahead with a European Super League, has anyone thought about the supporters? How on earth will they be able to afford to travel to away games every other week, all season?

I'm sure the support will soon fall away – especially if there is no promotion or relegation places to worry about!

Rob Halligan
47 Posted 13/10/2022 at 21:15:28
Bernie, don’t be silly. Since when have the football authorities cared about supporters?
Bernie Quinn
48 Posted 13/10/2022 at 21:32:28

I think the Authorities would soon become concerned as they see the gates start falling away after a month or two - 'cos people can't afford to travel. And I'm sure the Clubs would want their supporters to cheer them on.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
49 Posted 13/10/2022 at 21:45:17
Sorry to mess about with this thread as it is a pretty interesting discussion related to the main post.

But as ever, it took a left turn at some point, going into one of Danny's oft-repeated topics, grassroots football (and Schalke FC).

Now I appreciate there is a connection, and that is money from the highest levels trickling down the pyramid – which is important to the structure of the game in England. But the topic of the main post, I believe, is fairly narrowly focused on the top of the football pyramid.

The other discussion has been moved to this weekend's Toffeehouse Chartroom.

Derek Knox
50 Posted 13/10/2022 at 23:10:01
Having been in self-imposed exile for a little while, I seem to have come back in on an interesting thread. My old virtual mate Colin G, has made some very valid points again, which echoes most of our sentiments and attitude towards the 'modern game' which personally I have seen so many changes in, which go against my expected 'vision for the future'!

It is unfortunately a situation, which has been allowed to disrupt and divide, with the spoils in favour of the few. I guess the tip of the Iceberg was where football agents (maggots) were allowed to encroach and infest with very little resistance, and a lot of encouragement from certain players, clubs, and media platforms.

I have always believed that strength is in numbers, and if we were to protest vehemently, and I don't mean just TW, the whole of grass roots football, against the corruption, the immoral amounts of money going to the selected few, something may have been done about it. Aye there's the rub, apathy wins over positive action every time. Something has to change, but it is too late? I fear so!

Christy Ring
51 Posted 13/10/2022 at 23:11:59
Great article, Barry, isn't it a kick in the teeth, the so-called Top 6, who gave the fingers to the FA, the other 14 Premier League teams, and every league in England, and most important of all, their fans, tried to sneak away for 30 pieces of silver, but had to apologise and crawl back. What sanctions did UEFA and the FA take against them? A warning and nothing else.

How is the FFP supposed to be the way forward? It stops the so-called smaller clubs from playing on a level playing field. PSG, Barcelona, Man City, broke the rules, nothing happened.

At least under the old system, Blackburn, Chelsea and Man City won the league because they were able to match the big clubs at the time. FFP definition, we are all equal, but some are more equal than others.

Rob Dolby
52 Posted 13/10/2022 at 23:13:37

The only people that care about the supporters are the supporters. TV money and sponsorship is king. The fans are there to make some noise and not much more.

Hypothetically when the European Super League loses its charm, the powers that be will have a world league.

The Premier League had an opportunity to make examples of the breakaway clubs and shied away as they also know they don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Brent Stephens
53 Posted 13/10/2022 at 23:30:34
DK #50 sorely missed! Back at last. Go get 'em tiger!
James Johnson
54 Posted 14/10/2022 at 05:30:05
I may be informing a lot of people about matters that they are already aware of, but I look at the Australian Rules Football League (AFL) over here in Australia.

All (?) safeguards are in place for selection of players to go to certain clubs by way of the annual draft system which takes place at the end of each season. Clubs lower in the league table get first pick. No money involved. Not a perfect system but nevertheless a very good one.

Player wages are capped and club expenditure is monitored. However, corruption always finds a way in under the door. Some players may be given a car (or even a house!!) by a sponsor, but small biccies!

Just by the bye, I didn't notice too much complaining from Newcastle fans once the final offer came in, with the infamous mass-murderer remaining in full control. A very sick joke.

Notwithstanding the influence and control exercised by Sky globally, I believe personally that the main corruption channel over here is via online betting organisations.

I'm not exactly sure of the numbers, but I believe we have in Australia 493 betting ads per week compared to 11 per week in the UK. (Numbers were quoted on our ABC network.) The nature of the ads is quite moronic, but they know and understand their audience.

The politicians are spineless here and, much like the hierarchy of the Conservatives, who all know full well where their bread and butter comes from for party donations.

Anyone who contributes to one or all of these so-called forms of entertainment helps in various ways to enhance every opportunity for the manipulators in our so-called democratic way of life to feather their own nest.

Europe ditto, take PSG as an example of many. As Trump said, “I just throw lawyers at them”.

I say, “Roll on, European Super League, and watch them get a different haircut every week with a different car every 2 weeks to match their hair. Good riddance." Let's go back to the real game away from it all.

Beneath the layer of the ultra-rich there are, inevitably, yet another layer of people who aspire to that richness and wealth, and would you believe, another layer of aspiring people just below them... and would you believe another layer, ad infinitum!!!!

As a 40s Corporation Road, Birkenhead lad, I would recommend switching allegiance to Tranmere Rovers.

Rant over... for now.

Tony Abrahams
55 Posted 14/10/2022 at 07:11:46
A brave decision, Michael.
Bernie Quinn
56 Posted 14/10/2022 at 07:17:21
Rob at 52. What can I say - You are so right of course.
Danny O’Neill
57 Posted 14/10/2022 at 08:27:02
I apoligise and will take my medicine and yellow card, Michael!
Rick Tarleton
58 Posted 14/10/2022 at 08:54:57
I'm with Colin Glassar and Tony Abrahams, Everton are my only link with football these days. I don't care about any of the rest of it.

World Cups? Take England out in 1966 and the same teams win every time. Champions League? Unless PSG get competitive, it'll be Real, Bayern or Liverpool.

My sons bought me a year's subscription to BT Sport as I was missing all the European football. I've yet to watch a match: Chelsea v AC Milan, do me a favour?

Football, like Truss's mini-budget, is designed to protect the rich at the expense of the poor. There's a seachange taking place, probably with Thatcher and Reagonomics in the world's attitude.

It means that the rich in every environment, including sport (cricket and rugby union are the same) are encouraged and expected to protect their interests above all else. The breakaway European Super League attempt was one such effort. It'll come and domestic football will become second-tier stuff.

"If you know your history" will be as irrelevant in football as history now is as an academic subject in schools and universities. If we learned anything from history, we'd have learned how to avoid economic idiocy and stop wars.

No, Everton are a casualty of the modern obsession with protectionism of the rich. As an aside, I wonder how Tottenham conned their way into this elite?

Thank God I saw Young and Vernon, the Holy Trinity, the great eighties team; how people under fifty keep their faith sometimes amazes me. My son (43) and grandson (13) are devoted blues, but they've been fed a very meagre gruel by successive owners and now the system is irreparable.

Alan McGuffog
59 Posted 14/10/2022 at 09:06:52
Bernie, if (when) the European Super League comes about, there'll be little away support, especially as the days of cheap flights around Europe are coming to an end.

But will it matter to the organisers? I'd doubt it; maybe one of the American Blues will correct me but the peculiar games that they play over there don't have many away fans in the stadiums.

As long as there are face-painted, replica strip-wearing, gurning knob heads grimacing into the cameras with clenched fists, all will be okay...

Brian Harrison
60 Posted 14/10/2022 at 09:45:04
Dave @43 and Danny @44,

Dave, I agree that, back in the day, players weren't paid the money they were worth, and certainly that needed changing. But what's happening now is that players are bankrupting clubs with their unsustainable wage demands, and I see the same problem as permeated through to Rugby Union were two well-established Premiership clubs have gone into administration.

Take our own club: the last lot of accounts showed that over 90% of our income is paid in players wages, completely unsustainable. That's why you have oil-based countries who are awash with money taking over football clubs, as they are the only ones able to pay excessive wages. Thats why a European Super League will have to happen as the owners of these top clubs will want guarantees of returns on their investment.

So, while the last attempt failed because the supporters of the British clubs involved believed that, without promotion and relegation, it wasn't right. But they will come back and include a relegation and promotion element which appeases the complaints.

Danny, you are absolutely right that agents have bled the game dry. I was listening to a journalist a couple of years back who was explaining how perverse the agent system worked. He cited one agent who not only received millions from the buying club but also millions from the selling club as well, now how wrong was that? That is money that's not recycled into the game, just goes into the banks of greedy agents.

Dave Abrahams
61 Posted 14/10/2022 at 10:29:44
Brian (60),

Yes absolutely true that the players are demanding and getting far too much now. Once, they were treated very badly in regards to wages; now, they have gone well beyond reasonable in their lust for money.

Agents, Brian? I doubt you will get anyone going against your argument with them.

Tony Dunn
62 Posted 14/10/2022 at 10:58:50
I wouldn't mind if the big boys took their ball and pissed off to Europe. Football life would change, they'd get their same matches every season and the money that comes with it.

New fans wouldn't care. It'd all be a shiny new product for the brain-dead masses. We'd play in a competitive league for about 10 years, then the new elite clubs would be allowed into the European Super League 2, where you have to win the league 3 years in a row to qualify for promotion...

Ian Hollingworth
63 Posted 14/10/2022 at 13:51:48
Great original post and it seems many have the same views on football these days.

I still love going to the match but it's the day out with mates, not just the 90 minutes, for me. I very rarely watch any other games and, even though I am very patriotic, I rarely watch England anymore.

I think age does play a part in it but it's accelerated now with all the issues in the OP and comments above.

Barry Rathbone
64 Posted 14/10/2022 at 14:27:21
The best footballing period for many a year was the Covid Lockdown. Never missed a minute of what present-day footy is and not having weekends ruined by turgid Everton was a blessed relief.

But threads like this compound what I've known for years – never analyse football using sane rationale. The game is about sentiment, myth and delusion – once you mix in real-world thinking, you are on the road to questioning your sanity.

Andy McNabb
65 Posted 15/10/2022 at 03:21:39
It's great when someone else writes my thoughts and better than I could scribe as well.

Colin #7 and Barry #64 – my thoughts exactly. Sad but true.

Dave Evans
66 Posted 15/10/2022 at 07:50:40
I see someone has forgotten the choccy digestives in God's waiting room again. Dear lord... what a whinge fest.

Our young fans have never been so passionate and you know what? They are still making their own heroes and memories. Just as real and intense as the oh-so-great days of the past.

When they fill the new Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, it is going to be a fantastic gig. Their gig. The best in the whole fucked-up Premier League.

Danny O’Neill
67 Posted 15/10/2022 at 11:07:23
The young supporters - the lost generation - deserve the utmost respect Dave.

My days of chanting are long gone. Yes, I revert to Danny age 10 type when we score, but I mostly watch and observe these days.

And watching those young supporters who have never known success but showing the same passion I and many other always had fills me with pride. Their belief in Everton surpasses mine.

They will be marching with spirit today as they always do.

Barry Shearer
68 Posted 18/10/2022 at 19:59:44
I may be in the minority but I disagree with pretty much everything about this article.

It is still 11 v 11, right? It is not P&S that is the problem. To me, nothing to do with it.

Is Idrissa's poor touch against Man Utd anything to do with money? What about Onana's dribble against Villa? Doucoure's rugby tackle against Chelsea? Bull crap.

Yes, we are light in areas, but mistakes have cost us this season. We were terrible against Spurs, yes, but their starting 11 is a similar team to last season under Nuno and they were terrible. Even when they won their first 3 games.

This is about coaching, confidence and decision-making along with scouting and recruiting. Conte is a fantastic coach who has made Spurs a great team.

Are you going to tell me Bissouma made such a difference when he came on that say Davies or Garner could not do for us? Can Frank can make us competitive? Yes, give him time.

P&S? We've spent millions on players who should have been nowhere near our club.: Niasse, Tosun, Bolasie, Schneiderlin… the list goes on, but management has been to blame for the cost spent with no returns. That is nothing more than poor scouting and poor recruitment.

What about bringing youngsters through? If they don't make the grade, sell them for good money. Nothing to do with P&S.

I'm fed up of hearing about it. We got Damarai and Andros for virtually nothing. The have talent. Could they take us to the top? Sure. Just like Martinelli and Saka. But, so far, they have not, but that still is not P&S.

When Liverpool are allowed a 12th player to our 11, then come calling foul. Up to that point, it is the management of the club and the players to take us where we need to go.

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