Thursday, 14 February 2008

12th Man, 110 %, 39th Game

The furore brewed by the elitist Premier League (most exciting league in the world ever™) and their talk of a 39th game being played overseas to raise brand identity interest, has got Monkeypipe thinking this week as to what changes to the beautiful game he would like to see undertaken. Apart from the obvious removal of any fan that boos when a team is actually building a passage of decent play, just because that passage doesn’t include a hopeful hit it long ball and quick, quick, QUICK shoot moment from any ground in the world, naturally.

First thing that came to mind is the equal furore brewer that is the FA in general. Firstly, bowing to Jack Warner and his minions to play a match in the West Indies after the several past “issues” surrounding this man highlights the spineless money-grabbing nature of the FA – root and branch, just keep saying it, root and branch. Secondly, the same FA’s failure to admonish Joey Barton in the correct manner, following his violent conduct during the Newcastle match against Aston Villa was a terrible error on their part, in my opinion. Or perhaps just the usual favouritism that one comes to expect from the hallowed halls of FA headquarters. FIFA don’t get off any lighter. Their constant failure to punish countless clubs guilty of terrible acts of racial abuse further than a smack on the wrist and a few thousands Euro fine shows exactly how seriously they are taking the kick racism out campaign. That is another bugbear though. For now, I’d settle with the FA actually undertaking it’s root and branch upheaval, perhaps going as far as removing those guilty of the worst counts of cronyism, luncheon management and general incompetence.

On a lighter note, and perhaps less bitter than the above, the number of clubs falling into administration in the lower leagues is on the increase. Bad management and top-heavy cash flow hasn’t helped, but to be honest, the constant bailing out of clubs that have been run so badly does little to teach a lesson. Perhaps it is time for a club to actually vanish, go broke, bust? Perhaps the romantic notion of watching Billy Hero score his 400th goal from the stands being enough to justify bad judgement needs to be looked into? I’d propose a number of caps – it works okay for the clubs in the US, and in particular the very healthy world of NFL American Football. Firstly the wage cap – dependent on the league a team plays in (players wages would rise and fall as the team went down or up) and which half of the league – at half way through the season, the wage bill would be looked at again – in the relegation zone, well, frankly you haven’t performed well enough, and you should be getting ready for paying less. Manager’s wages would be evaluated too. The second cap would be on first team squad sizes. 30 players maximum allowed to be named – of that 30, 25 would be owned by the club and 5 would be young English players loaned by a club in a higher division, paid for by that club. The loaning sessions would be undertaken in a similar fashion as the drafts used in American sports. It wouldn’t just be a case of dumping players onto clubs either, it would be a system in place that helped clubs fill gaps in their squad, perhaps by trading drafts or something. Youth teams would be untouched. The higher teams get the benefit of having younger players get valuable match experience, the lower teams keep bills down, use younger talents and perhaps have a first choice in buying the players.

Maybe it’s all just a little socialist for a league that prides itself on being the highest earning in the world, but perhaps it might just go someway to helping a) develop young English players b) keep some clubs running that bit longer and c) keep people interested in going to games, rather than needing the gimmick of a Manchester derby played in Dubai.

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