Asked the question: 'Do you think the Premier League was sitting there thinking "I wonder how we can punish Everton"?

I don't think the Premier League agenda is that vindictive or simple as being anti-Everton but people seem to continuously overlook what the Premier League is, it's a cash-generating machine that has a sole aim: to make money.

It's a private company accountable only to the clubs that play in it and the majority of these at the bottom are transitory members with very little sway. Its entire revenue generation model is dependent on TV deals and the sponsorships that come with that and they are dependent on eyeballs and the consumer pound that follows that.

Hence we've seen football teams in the lower leagues of the pyramid go to the wall without any concern from the Premier League or its clubs whatsoever who could have saved any of these teams in the blink of an eye. We've seen plans for the 39th game, the reaction to the Super League teams etc. The Premier League may as well be a big bank, except whilst it can be as equally immoral, it doesn't have to conform to any of the regulations as banks or other large corporations would have to.

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It is in the Premier League's interests for the teams that bring in the most viewing figures to do well. They are historically the teams at the top: Liverpool, Arsenal, Man Utd and increasingly Man City and Chelsea. That is why Google, UPS and Nivea are partnering with these teams and not Crystal Palace and Fulham.

It is the Premier League associated media's interest to generate content that attracts these eyeballs. Pro-Liverpool content is great, anti-Everton content is also pretty good because more people will read that than a pro-Everton piece which might get a few readers in L4 but not much wider.

This goes to a wider scale as well. Uefa and their sponsors do not want to see Everton, Fulham, Crystal Palace in their flagship competitions, they want Man Utd, Liverpool, Man City etc.

You can even take it wider and look at the increasing number of last-day finishes now for the title and relegation places compared to previous seasons. People remember the Michael Thomas goal and Blackburn at Anfield as exceptions but, since Aguero in 2011, we've now had 3 more occasions when the title has been decided on the last day, that's 4 in 12 years, a far higher rate statistically than previously.

Similar is happening with relegation battles too and the Chaampions League places, we are not seeing title winners, Top 4 places, and Bottom 3s being decided in March anymore like we used to.

If it wasn't for the excellence of Sean Dyche, we'd be in another relegation battle now – probably lasting the entirety of the season – which would have sparked new life into the bottom of the table that was looking done by Christmas at the current rate.

All of the news reports about Everton and the points deduction will have driven many many kopite eyeballs to the Premier League's media channels, and it had the associated benefit of making the Premier League look tough in the face of looming regulation – safe in the knowledge they can upset a member that has zero sway on the success of their product.

The customers that the Premier League work for are the consumer fans of Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea and any other team who can get successful enough to sway the Premier League's profit and loss numbers when it comes to TV deals and sponsorship renegotiation time.

Anyone who believes the Premier League is some benevolent administration working for the benefit of its 20 members – that just happens to be a bit incompetent – is quite frankly naive.

You don't become the richest, most successful sporting competition in the world through being incompetent. They know exactly what they're doing – which is what they've always done: favourably ensure the success of the teams that drive revenue on a rotational basis, giving the illusion of fair competition and unpredictability without ever actually having any of these things outside of the favoured teams over a season-long basis.

Sure, Brentford or Bournemouth can beat Liverpool or Man Utd in a one-off game, they might finish above them for one season, but they will never ever be allowed to consistently displace them and deprive them of their revenues (and the Premier League's associated revenues from fans watching them).

There's people basically arguing that the Premier League doesn't conform to capitalism and is somehow some fair moral arbiter. If I had to put my mortgage on whether it's the former or the latter, I know which one I'd bet on.

This was first published as a post on the Grand Old Team forum.

Reader Comments (12)

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Simon Jones
1 Posted 21/12/2023 at 15:17:53
Succinctly put, the money has ruined modern football.

It's why Leicester winning the league was a 5000-1 shot and about as close to a sporting miracle that most of us will ever witness.

Trouble is, the average, football-mad kid in Johannesburg, Rio, Toronto, etc doesn't care about the romance, they just want to see the best players and a game played at a hundred miles an hour.

The Premier League give them what they want at the expense of what dyed-in-the-wool fans like us really want, such as fairness, a more level playing field, and support for the grassroots game across the UK.

Barry Rathbone
2 Posted 21/12/2023 at 17:53:55
Honestly, we need to stop this "woe is me" conspiracy baloney it is fuckin' pathetic.

We are bang to rights on charges brought and whilst entitled to challenge the penalty the bottom line is we are of no interest to any beyond this parish because we're shit.

If Dyche or any mid table manager created a team to beat the Mancs and Liverpool on a regular basis and snaffled a few trophies they would be front and centre of every news outlet. When Leicester won the title the media interest was colossal they just couldn't carry it on unlike those regularly at the top table.

It's no coincidence that the first trophy of the season is yet again headed to either Anfield or Stamford Bridge.

Success is what keeps those at the top table newsworthy and when you dig a bit the reason is clear - oodles of filthy lucre.

We're skint and in all honesty never really had the requisite amount even during the Moshiri "interested" era. Certain wallahs don't like mentioning the requirement for big oil money but until we get it we're done.

Derek Thomas
3 Posted 21/12/2023 at 20:51:26
I 'know' The National Lottery is fixed, somebody worked the odds out at 700 Million to 1, to pick 6 numbers.

Yet most weeks, out of say 'only' 50 Million adults - somebody wins it.

I don't mind it being bent – I just wish they'd bend it my way.

'If I were a rich man dee, dee, dee, d, dee' etc.

Si Cooper
4 Posted 21/12/2023 at 21:24:35
This article misses a crucial element. There is a specific reason for having a limited group of top clubs which isn't actually anything to do with previous history / current marketability. The aim is for the Premier Leagueelite to dominate the European competitions as well.

For a money-making system, it doesn't matter who the top clubs actually are, just that whoever is going to be amongst the representatives in European competition is able to showcase the Premier League brand.

At the end of the day, any successful club will sell subscriptions and attract corporate sponsorship (where most of the money comes from) so there is no real reason to have a completely closed shop.

But the current system does give the top of the table an improved chance of perpetuating their success and offers very little to those who would like to crash that party. I don't think Chelsea were a particularly ‘big' club in terms of fan base pre-Abramovic.

Andy Mead
5 Posted 21/12/2023 at 21:49:07
Slightly off topic, when is our appeal being heard about the points deduction? Its gone very quiet.
Gary Sedgwick
6 Posted 22/12/2023 at 02:41:11
It will be interesting now with the latest decision regarding a European Super League...
Simon Harrison
7 Posted 22/12/2023 at 03:32:27
This article is misleading to me!

Si Cooper [4] I have to agree in the main to the arguments that you posited.

I think that the EPL could actually benefit more from as wide a base as possible of title contenders.

Why, because there'd be more sponsorship (income) attracted, wider and longer held fan/viewer interest, and a good turnover of annual Champions would prompt external investment to be pumped into the league in the hopes that 'team a' can beat 'team b' to the title, along with the ambitions of 'teams c thru to team t' to compete as well!

A closed, or selected customers only shop as it were, is not conducive to the maximisation of profits.

This is where I think the article falls down as whole.

It is titled "The true nature of the Premier League". OK, go on enlighten me please... I'm all ears. (or eyes?)

However, the article goes off tangent immediately by; "Asked the question: 'Do you think the Premier League was sitting there thinking "I wonder how we can punish Everton"?"

Err..? I'm sorry, I thought I was going to be enlightened about the true nature of the Premier League? Not a parochial debate on an imagined slight to 'our' club?

I would contend that the 'disproportionate' points deduction against Everton, was a case of us being caught with our hand in the till, at the wrong time and by the wrong person!

Personally, I would believe that the EPL would have treated any club (outside of the scab six, and NUFC) exactly the same as they have treated Everton.

Whether that would be one of the media darlings of Brentford and Brighton with their 'that's the way to do it' narrative, or maybe even high-flying, Aston Villa (who I hope don't do an Icarus!) who are currently 'sticking it' to the 'scab six'! (N.B. The heir to the throne of the United Kingdom's team..?)

Why? Because the true nature of the EPL is all about Power and Control and all the rewards that brings to their table. Nothing else. (What the military would call Cx3, but in this case it is Command, Control and Connivence)

But why? Because of the EPLs current power-hold and some would (could?) say that the EPL is a 'somewhat' Kleptocratic form of governance, of the higher echelon of football in this country.

How so? Because the EPL aren't really interested in money per se, as the Prime movers and shakers in the organisation realise that if they continue to have an unbridled self-governance of the game, the material things like money, and property etc are a natural 'reward' or 'return' to maintaining total oversight of the Premier League.

And? Well, of course, IF the highly trumpeted Government-appointed Independent Regulator (IR) does come into being, then the EPLs monopolistic control the Premier League becomes somewhat curtailed or diluted. Which in turn, means less prestige, less power, less control and less direct returns! The more Power the IR controls, the more the EPL's Power is diminished... Which gives a form of understanding as to why the EPL is behaving in such a Draconian style recently. They wish to demonstrate they don't need or desire help 'controlling' their own.

That is, to my mind at least - and being completely subjective; is why Everton were handed such an entirely disproportionate penalty for in truth, what was a paltry financial accounting error. (Even though we did kick the arse out of the 'adjusted Covid losses' figures!) I'm actually more surprised that more wasn't made of those 'calculations'? Though would it really suit the EPL to drive a 'cash cow' sorry club, no matter how poorly performing, into administration by their actions?

Surely, that would foster feelings of ill-will towards the 'prestige' of the EPL! Additionally increasing the chances of an IR to be formed and implemented sooner rather than later?

Why shoot yourself in the foot, when you can give someone else the weapon and ammunition to shoot themselves in the foot à la Everton (that!)

"Don't worry Mr. Kenwright, Ms. Barrett-Baxendale, we'll work with you to get you thru this!", only to turn round and say... "Gotcha!"

As Si says, the real reason why only a handful or so of clubs are (surreptitiously..?) entrenched at the top of the league, is because, as you say Si, it is preferrable for the EPL to not only be pre-eminent in English Football, but also European, and even World Club Cup football too. [As an aside, If Fluminense beat City, I would be very, very surprised indeed; unless City genuinely have an off day!]

Other more 'less discriminating' observers may see City's current league form, being some sort of trade off for perceived EPL Club domination (and middle-eastern Gulf interests) of the 'Global' game!

If a gulf-state backed/owned Football Club, won the Premiership, the Champion's League, and the World Club Cup, wouldn't that lend credence to the, to me forced, narrative that Gulf/Oil money in football is good? Whilst not allowing City to win the title, helps spread the wealth a little?

Which probably explains that other fish that sticks in Evertonian craws; as to why haven't City been brought to book by the EPL for their 'alleged' financial irregularities yet? Why the delay, why not with the same alacrity shown towards Everton's case?

Answer; Because it is not good for the EPL's current business plans! (A lot of assumption here Michael!)

Bear in mind these charges go as far back as 2010, and A LOT has changed in the footballing 'political' landscape in the intervening 14 years or so.

However I would suggest it is all about Power! That is the answer to everything. No, not money, Mammon, the filthy lucre! That is just a by-product of Power.

Abu Dhabi has nearly as much power as the Saudis do, due to their intrinsic financial, economic, and resource links to the UK.

Which is in turn recognised and understood better now by the EPL than it was in 2010. Maybe all the moralistic EPL employees have been ousted, or 'shown the Light'?

Maybe in 2010 the EPL was actually looking at creating level playing fields for all, egalitarianism for all, fair access to becoming Champions, equal wealth distribution etc, until they stopped being so naïve, as it were, and realised (or were shown) the benefits of their self-perceived hegemony over European and International club football?

Why would the EPL 'promote' or have as it's Champion a club that only managed to get to the pinnacle of the Sport (sic!) by 'financial doping' to put it bluntly?

That would not be self-serving, that would be self-destructive, as there currently isn't a club able to pick up the baton if City were forced to drop it. This especially applies to Liverpool, as FSG have already indicated that they wish to reduce their investments in LFC. (Thankfully!)

Hopefully, this could give (if attestable) a better, or should I say, a more apt understanding of the nature of the EPL? Or would the disjointed, parochial positioning of the original article. with some poorly aligned arguments regarding internecine relationships with external broadcasters etc still stand up to scrutiny?

Mentioning broadcasters, IF the EPL does indeed rely on external broadcasters to generate wealth; then why doesn't the EPL revoke broadcasting rights, and set-up their own EPL Broadcasting arm, with the proceeds of that going straight to the EPL's coffers? Not to mention the highest market-bearable tariffs to go with it?

Now that could be worthy of an article in itself...

Si Cooper [4] hinted at the issues and faults of the original arguments (again, with me being bored, and incapable of doing much more than read currently), I hope I have managed to add some positive contribution to the case the article wanted to answer, rather than asking questions?

All done with the best intentions of course.

Lastly, after having re-read the article, I would agree, that the EPL is NOT vindictive.

I think in that 'feeling' analogy, it (the EPL) is uncaring. The EPL is all about self-serving interests, and very little else.

If a club doesn't align itself, or just isn't aligned to those interests of the EPL; the club is just ignored plain and simple, or dealt with dispassionately. Relegated to the hind-most thoughts of those within the EPL.

Any club could theoretically gain entry to the EPL, and receive their EPL share. The League itself I wouldn't think care which clubs are in the EPL, as long as member clubs act according to the wishes of the EPL, or perform to the EPL's best interests.
Yet, woe betide a club that does not behave in the desired fashion. E.g. Bringing the EPL into disrepute, or worse, costing the EPL Power and/or money!

That will definitely bring some form of punishment or retribution to said club, IF some form of connivence, or cajoling isn't possible.

Again, as nearly always, apologies for the length of the post.

Should I just have typed "Bollox"?

I can her those 'Yesses' you know! That's just hurtful! Hehe

Jon Wit
8 Posted 22/12/2023 at 09:20:44
Thanks for the article.

I think you are a bit harsh on the layman, I expect most fans realise how money-driven the PL is.

I also think its wrong to say that the PL is some sort of capitalist free market too - FFP as an arbitrary rule is anti-competitive and favours monopolies.

FFP is very different to introducing an actual rule of the game - in fact it has nothing to do with football and dictates constraints on how a business must be run.

In another context, imagine if only Google was allowed to invest large amounts of money in its business and a start-up was restricted to investing a tiny amount because it had no turnover.

FFP sounds illegal to me - and it probably would be in a court - but perhaps it is too awkward to rock the boat.

For sure the PL is an autocracy - not just in how it manages the rules of the football competition - but now seemingly on which businesses can win it - because that is what clubs are.

Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 22/12/2023 at 10:44:00
Because I’ve got you down as a wallah, Barry, I was wondering if your terminology was the same as mine, mate!
Mike Gaynes
10 Posted 23/12/2023 at 00:39:48
Simon #7, we're just concerned that your carpal tunnel injuries will not heal properly... or that you could be poached from TW by an MP requiring a speechwriter.

But in answer to your broadcast question, I read a fascinating article not long ago regarding the Premier League having exactly that idea – set up their own broadcast arm and reap all the profits. They did their research and "swerved" (to use the UK expression) because setting up a broadcast network is a massively complicated enterprise requiring a great deal of expertise that the Premier League doesn't have.

And they can't "revoke" the current rights for obvious reasons – the lawsuits would melt them down.

Simon Harrison
11 Posted 23/12/2023 at 02:21:16
Hi Mike, yep I'm up again, I've just had a long coughing spell. So, I've come downstairs to make a honey-tea. Green tea, sweetened with honey and a little cayenne pepper... Sounds odd, it is, but it just helps the throat a little.

By the way, Mike, thanks for reminding me of your illness; and I hope that you are still in complete remission my friend?

Quick aside, I was diagnosed with Lung Cancer following a flexible endoscopy in 2007. Fortunately, probably due to inherent fitness levels at the time and some excellent advice from the Oncologist's number 1, I have made a full recovery.

In a little under three months, I'd managed(?) or rather acted in a way to get a 4.8-cm 'growth' down to a 2-mm scar... With follow-up checks revealing all is well! The last one was in 2013, and still all clear.

Anyway... For me I'm glad you're still here, Mike. 😀

BTW I'm sure most TWers, were actually hoping I do get an injury... 🤣 Just to stop me posting.

Firstly, my terminology, ie, 'revoke' is wrong. Though I'm sure that there'd be a break in contract clause somewhere? On reflection, I should have said, not offered a renewal of contract when the next round of negotiations are due.

To answer your paragraph here:

"But in answer to your broadcast question, I read a fascinating article not long ago regarding the Premier League having exactly that idea -- set up their own broadcast arm and reap all the profits. They did their research and "swerved" (to use the UK expression) because setting up a broadcast network is a massively complicated enterprise requiring a great deal of expertise that the Premier League doesn't have."

Yes, I've read this quite recently, and also about four years ago I believe, if I recall correctly?

However, £6.7Bn over four years (using the latest negotiated TV deal) can buy you a lot of expertise; or even do a Microsoft, and buy a company who does have the expertise and the infrastructure, and then incorporate into the Premier League stable as it were. and rebrand it.

Bear in mind, once the initial UK deal was brokered and resourced, theoretically, the Premier League could then gradually expand into the International markets too.

So as an example, instead of Canal+ Sports showing the Premier League games in France, it would be Premier League Broadcasting Corporation (International) [EPL-BCI] given the rights by the Premier League themselves, and then able to broadcast in France. Thus, if a French fan of the Premier League wished to watch a Premier League game, he'd have to subscribe to EPL-BCI to watch the game legally.

Also, once the Premier League had it's own broadcasting arm, then I'm pretty damn sure that all these 'free' streaming site would be closed down PDQ!

Oh, regards being a speech writer for an MP. Currently there isn't a single MP that I'd write for; also, if there was, I'm pretty sure they'd hire a pro to do the job. However, thank you for the backhanded compliment, Mike (I think?) Hehe.

Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 23/12/2023 at 03:40:52
Yes, Simon, we are a member of the same fraternity of survivors... several more here on TW who have gone public, and more than a few I suspect who have chosen not to share, but all special and lucky "buggers" just the same. (Yep, I'm still in remission, one of the very first of what are now many thousands.) And I'm glad you're starting to shake off your current bug.

Regarding Premier League Broadcasting, yes, the potential of the business model is dazzling -- if you can execute on it. But it's not just broadcasting and streaming technical expertise that the Premier League lacks, but production ability, the political skill to navigate international rights negotiation, the legal nous to untangle international broadcast rights, and most of all the cash resources to survive something going seriously wrong (like a pandemic).

NBC, which shows Premier League games in the US, is owned by Comcast, which generates over $120 billion in annual revenues and has assets of $375B. If their soccer contract goes wrong, it's pocket change down the sofa cushions.

The Premier League generates about $8 billion a year and has a net worth of $18 billion. If they mess up, the league goes down.

Interesting you should mention Microsoft. They were the greatest, smartest technology company in the world when they decided to expand into cell phones. Great idea, wave of the future, in-house expertise. Made perfect sense.

And so they bought Nokia. Oops. Crashed and burned.

I can well understand why Masters and his cadre have looked into becoming a broadcasting company and decided... nah.

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