WHO Poll
Q: 2017/18 Brighton (h)
a. If e can stop being the masters of our own downfall we should take 3 points, win
76%
  
b. We seem too flaky at the moment and don't expect an easy game, draw
8%
  
c. We can't put teams away and have a soft underbelly, lose
9%
  
d. Did you know that Eurovision 1974 was held in Brighton and launched ABBA onto the world stage with Waterloo
4%
  
e. I love Friday Night Football, it gives me the chance to show everyone down the local just how big a West Ham nut I am, hat, scarf, shirt, you name it I'll be wearing it
3%
  



Scraper 4:58 Sat Feb 11
Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game

To some of those present, it was the most disconcerting development of the season. It happened at Premier League headquarters in November as the 20 member clubs met to vote on an enormous £564 million broadcast contract offered by Chinese company PPTV. Before the ballot could take place, there were a few unexpected murmurs of dissent and then, from nowhere, the request that representatives of 14 of the clubs leave the room so that the remaining six — you can guess which six — could discuss the matter in private.

In various states of bemusement and disgruntlement, the delegations from 14 clubs — among them Leicester City, the champions, and Everton, a prime mover among the “Big Five” behind the initial Premier League concept and a top-flight club for much longer than any of their rivals — were sent for an unscheduled coffee break while the executives from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur debated whether the PPTV deal was really in their interests. The consensus among them was that it was not. The other 14 were invited back into the room. The vote took place, amid a newly strained atmosphere, and the required two-thirds majority was achieved before an arm could be raised in objection.

These are tense times, though, for a league whose appeal has long been perceived to be based on the strength of the collective. The “Big Six”, as they would style themselves these days, do not see it that way. “It’s not about changing collective selling [of broadcast rights],” Ian Ayre, the outgoing Liverpool chief executive, said last weekend. “It’s about the proportion of [overseas] money, depending on how popular you are.”

In other words, the Big Six clubs — at very least four of them, in any case — would prefer a system where the Premier League’s overseas broadcast revenue (£3.5 billion over the present three-year cycle) was shared according to global popularity. Rather than a model that sees Bournemouth and Burnley join Liverpool and Manchester United in accruing more than £50 million a year in overseas broadcast revenue, the Big Six believe their popularity in the burgeoning markets in Asia, in particular, entitles them to a greater share of the pie.

You can just about see their point — there are not too many players or clubs outside the elite whose names “roll off the tongue in Beijing,” to borrow an infamous phrase from Garry Cook, the former Manchester City chief executive — but it stinks of the type of entitlement that the Premier League elite used to rail against when decrying La Liga’s dominance by Barcelona and Real Madrid.


The Premier League needs to be more equal, not less. Forget Leicester City’s title triumph last season, which has already been shown up as the freakish and entirely misleading outlier we always knew it was; forget the league-where-anyone-can-beat-anyone hype. It has reverted to being a two-tier division this season, as was always likely given the enormous financial benefits enjoyed by the elite, benefitting from the huge global exposure they are afforded in the Premier League and Champions League era. And now they want more money in order to flog those advantages for all they are worth? Good grief.

The greed running through European football’s elite appears to know no bounds. Last season the talk was of creating “wild-card” places in the Champions League for big clubs who missed out on qualification. That idea has been kicked into touch for now, thankfully, but you can be sure it will be back on the table again in future. In the meantime the competition is being revamped, once again, to find more guaranteed spaces for clubs from the elite leagues — England, Germany, Italy, Spain — at the expense of other leagues. This, regrettably, is the way of things in the age of the mega-rich elite, who threaten to take their ball home if they do not get their own way.

Relatively speaking, the Premier League is a bastion of equality and collectivism, but Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s majority shareholder, got it wrong when he declared last season that “there has never been a more level playing field in the Premier League than now.” Tottenham generated £209.2 million last season, the sixth-highest figure in the Premier League. That figure put them far ahead of the seventh-highest, West Ham United (£143.8 million), but well adrift of the fifth-highest, Liverpool (£302 million), who lag far behind the biggest earners, Manchester United (£515 million). For all that has been made of mid-ranking Premier League clubs’ ability to attract a higher class of player these days — Yohan Cabaye and Christian Benteke at Crystal Palace, Steven Defour at Burnley, Fernando Llorente at Swansea City, Xherdan Shaqiri at Stoke City — the gap in spending power is enormous. Just not big enough for the liking of some, it seems.

The past four or five seasons have seen most of that Big Six in transition — Chelsea going through a succession of managers while looking to rejuvenate the ageing squad that brought the first wave of success under Roman Abramovich, Manchester United rushing blindly and erratically into the post-Ferguson era, Manchester City seeking to rationalise and to establish a new identity, Liverpool going through their usual cycles of boom and bust — and, for a time, the door to the top six seemed to be open. Newcastle United finished fifth in 2012, Everton sixth in 2013 and fifth a year later and Southampton sixth in 2016, a season in which Leicester, almost unaccountably, came first.

All things being equal, though — or rather, all things being unequal — it is a two-tier league. As much as Everton might be striving to improve under Ronald Koeman, in seventh place, they are five points adrift of Manchester United in sixth. If the Big Six perform with any degree of respectability, which admittedly they have not always done in recent seasons, then it is hard for Everton, Leicester, Southampton, West Ham or anyone else to get close to them. The glass ceiling that Leicester smashed to smithereens last season has been restored and reinforced. It remains a mystery how that happened in the first place, but the elite seem determined to ensure it does not happen again.

A level playing field? It is nothing of the sort. Yes the Big Six are global brands in a way that few of the other 14 clubs are. For example, Liverpool’s commercial revenue (£119.5 million last season), to say nothing of Manchester United’s (£272.1 million), already puts them on a different level to West Ham (£30.2 million). So too, do those at Chelsea (£122 million) and Manchester City (£178.7 million), two clubs who, until their benefactors came along, would probably have regarded West Ham as equals. The Financial Fair Play regulations introduced over the past decade mean that the Chelsea and Manchester City approach cannot be followed, so the modern elite have emerged in an era when a combination of the broadcast, digital and commercial booms, exploited so brilliantly by the Premier League and the Champions League, has created inequalities that are, realistically, likely to prove unassailable.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

goose 12:23 Tue Feb 14
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
i've not read through the thread, but why did the 14 leave the room when asked?
cant imagine DS just rolling over for them.......... i'd have told them to fuck off.

Russ of the BML 6:12 Mon Feb 13
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Sad reading. When you look at some of those commercial figures and you wonder why the owners of these clubs are not happy and want more. Obviously they are worried about the gulf reducing due to TV money being given to clubs like us but surely they still have a huge upper hand due to their commercial revenues.

Greed is an awful thing.

Mike Oxsaw 8:33 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Sir Alf 7:46 Sun Feb 12

If attendances drop/die it won't matter to TV viewers as they'll simply CGI in the crowds and atmosphere.

CrowleyHammer 8:04 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
I don't care if the big 6 for a Super European League, what will piss me off is when it goes tits up and we let them back in to rule the roost again.

Sir Alf 7:46 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Problem for us is that attendances no longer drive revenue and are minor share :-( Typical as we get to 66000 :-)

The FFP thing needs to be challenged and updated.

But nothing will change until attendances decline. There is a long way to go before that happens. The elite super league will be a development that brings that nearer.

DaveT 7:38 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Mike,
Understand your point but if there is hardly any supporters at the game the game will die, doesn't matter how many are watching on tv especially if the kick of times were of benefit to the far east. As someone else said I wish the other chairmen would call there bluff. I'd even go further and say the money should be shared more between the clubs in the lower leagues but know that will never happen

eswing hammer 6:42 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
And yet little old West Ham get bigger home gates than four of the so called big six ,they don't like that !

Hermit Road 4:24 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Any Euro league will be about including teams based on their ability to generate money, not based on an attempt to be representative of a range of European countries I think. If it ever happened it wouldn't surprise me to see England massively over-represented purely because our clubs have the commercial ability to generate income. Would six be too many. Not necessarily.

Alex V 4:20 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
I suppose it's a big 6 right now because Man Utd look likely to finish 6th. Agreed it's an artificial distinction. You couldn't really make a Euro-league with 6 English clubs in it, so it's not even remotely practical.

Any Old Iron 3:22 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
So now it's a big 6 is it? It used to be a big 4 then a big 5, and now the y*ds are claiming to be a part of this 'club'. And just because they've got the sixth highest turnover. So when does it become a big 7 and include us?

I've wanted the clubs outside this 'club' to call their bluff for years and tell them to shut up with their demands for more money or fuck off and join a Euro league. Because unless you do this they will never be satisfied. They don't care that they're already earning hundreds of millions more than most other clubs, they just want more.
I think they'd shit themselves if they were faced with leaving the most popular league in the world and a Euro league would be a disaster for them.

eastend joker 3:10 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
i can see Arsenal now 4 years into their european super league finishing 3rd/4th from bottom most of the time , no relegation , the ground about 20,25000 most weeks if their lucky and everyone on Arsenal tv will have topped themselves !

Mike Oxsaw 2:56 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
DaveT 2:03 Sun Feb 12

As mentioned earlier, the Asian input will have a big influence. Having spent 10 years working out there, (my experience is) they don't give a flying fuck who "their" team is playing, so long as they're playing, and, if not smashing the opposition, they can make a bet on a familiar name.

Brand Premier is supported by brand England is supported by brand English (English as a 2nd language is a sign of education).

As such, Liverpool v Inter St. Gladbachona each week would keep them happy and the money rolling in

Alex V 2:55 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Agreed a breakaway just won't happen. The premiership is a supremely successful product - they'd be mad to change it.

DaveT 2:03 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
I bet these owners never discuss their vision with the supporters. I've got mates who have supported Man Utd for years, and go, who say if there was a breakaway then they'd give up, same applies to a European super league as it would be as boring as hell. And Chelsea mates who went in their bad times who say yes it is nice to win all their trophies but know they have been bought. And both hate the new supporters that have attached themselves to their clubs.
I know that's a minute sample and change will always happen but a top six and European super league won't happen. All IMHO of course

Mike Oxsaw 1:26 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Pagey 11:02 Sat Feb 11

An "Elite super league" would be "ultra-popular" for 3, maybe 4 seasons, then the novelty will wear off (no relegation/promotion on merit, naturally) and you'll basically be left with a group of show-boat ponies playing exhibition matches around the world - the football equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Sven Roeder 12:32 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
You just know what would have happened if a Hull striker had punched one in like Sanchez and it had been an Arsenal striker flattened like Markovic was.
No goal and and an instant red card.

Am sure refs know that the decisions against Hull will be forgotten by Monday morning but if Hull had played 30 mins against 10 Arsenal men at 0-0 and won it would be a story all week with Wenger whining. I notice he didn't seem that bothered by injustices this week.

BubblesCyprus 11:49 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Maybe I have a slightly distorted view living Overseas fpr so long but only comment would make is to the OP That it should read ''has killed'' NOT '' will kill ''

Sir Alf 11:31 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Its why the big six get the benefit of doubt on decisions IMO. Refs are paid a pittance in comparison to everyone else (and it shows I know) but they are feeling the pressure of organisations worth multi millions. Do you think the decision against Hull yesterday and Clattenberg apologising at half time would have happened to Chelsea or United? Would it fcvk !

Its a cartel, the table is tilted, the game is rigged. Its why I want Leicester to survive. An annoying reminder of a season when the same clubs did not dominate everything.

Until attendances drop nothing will change and even then it might not if foreign subscriptions continue. But the top 6 in empty stadiums in their own elite league would be nice.

I want Everton to overhaul Liverpool. I want United to not make the top 4 again. I want to see these clubs fail more than anything. Support any club against them.

Arguably Spurs are the outsider in the bunch. We wont get there without different owners and even then it sounds like the barriers to entry are being strengthened.

Seems to me the "yellow man will inherit the earth" phrase is coming true as the Far East subscription power takes hold.

West Ham should recruit 6 of teh best Chinese and Asian players asap ;-) Would be fun picking the team on match days.

Mex Martillo 10:47 Sun Feb 12
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Sad reading, we need to take money out of the game and make it more availed to us all, but it is catch 22 and I guess we cannot change it
Greedy bastards are both making the decisions and taking the money and will not change
The only way to change them is for us (all around the world) to stop paying them for TV, impossible to achieve, but needs to be done.

Pagey 11:02 Sat Feb 11
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
I'm not disagreeing with that Miike! We'd have two shit boring leagues but one would be ultra popular with all the money and best players and the other would be skint and full of players aspiring to join the elite.

It sounds romantic and nostalgic to be in a league without the top six, but the novelty would soon wear off.

Takashi Miike 10:49 Sat Feb 11
Re: Greed of ‘Big Six’ will kill our game
Pagey, a six team league would be boring as fuck. Its the other teams that make the league. its why the Champions League is so fucking dull now. the same half a dozen teams in the latter stages, an absolute fucking snoreathon

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