• Oliver Barefoot


The Europa League, the Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup, do we really need another?

I didn’t back Brexit, but I sure can back this European exit.

It’s been in the works for years. The brand new European Premier League. A league with all the best sides from around Europe. A league where the best of the best fight it out. If only we had something like that already…… oh wait.

Doesn’t this whole new league seem familiar? Top European teams fighting to be the number one side. It doesn't half sound like the Champions League to me. And while that's all well and good, the magic of the Champions League is that it isn't every weekend.

Right now we have the best of both worlds. Domestic competitions most weeks and the excitement of European football for those that qualified midweek every so often. It’s the best combo football can buy.

But not according to those money-hungry club owners, seeking that next heavy payday, no matter the cost.

It is rumoured by Sky Sports that ‘financiers are assembling a £4.6 billion funding package’, to assist in the creation of the potential new league.

Therefore, with the league hoping to consist of 16 to 18 teams, each team involved could receive a hefty fee.

If the billion-pound war chest, was to be split evenly between 16 clubs, each side could earn up to £287m - basically meaning a big payday could be on the cards.

I do believe English football needs freshening up however. A bit of a fresh take on the world's number one league. I mean nobody can deny it isn’t. They have laid down all their cards in an act of helpless begging to sway our country's top sides to join a league they have called, the European PREMIER LEAGUE. What an original name.

But my fresh take on English football isn’t removing the country's best sides and leaving the runts of the litter to battle it out. In fact, it’s giving them small teams a league of their own.

Forget the European Premier League and welcome the league between leagues. The name hasn't quite been ironed out yet….

For years, we’ve seen the same old teams get promoted and relegated straight back down. Their moment in the sunshine is short and well…. not sweet. Look no further than Fulham.

They seem to be a team too good for the Championship, but too mediocre for the Premier League. They are one of many sides in between the levels of football. Homeless and in search of a league that isn’t a simple stroll, but one that isn’t a hammer blow to the morale of everyone involved in the club, every week.

I propose giving these Premier League strugglers a league in which they can prepare themselves for England’s and the world’s top division.

The college between high school and university. The lunch between breakfast and dinner. The halftime whistle in their bid to join our country’s elite.

And yes, many people will argue that that's exactly what the Championship is, a middle ground between the best and the second tier.

But is it really?

We constantly see teams get relegated and trapped in the unforgiving league. It’s a league with three outcomes.

One, you get relegated down to the Championship or promoted up and that's where you stay. You can’t battle with the big teams, but you can breeze past the worst the league has to offer. Leaving you at the end of the season, with just enough points to survive. And then the cycle repeats itself. So basically, you become Stoke, Swansea or QPR, or whatever other team has been stuck in English football's Bermuda triangle for the past few years.

Secondly, you get relegated from the Championship. This second-tier league becomes too difficult for you and you crumble at the pressure. Either you got a lucky escape from league one, the league where you belong and so head straight back down, or your parachute payment from the Prem, just isn't enough to save you. Either way, this is a slippery slide into relegation addiction. I like to call these the Sunderland’s.

And finally, as already discussed you have the likes of Fulham, West Brom and Norwich. The teams that have been and always will be trapped. Stuck in a never-ending circuit of promotion followed by relegation, followed by whatever the latter wasn't. Maybe the odd survival year, to whet your appetite. A shock survival or poor promotion push, but nevertheless, the following season the circle will restart.

So now you see, English football needs that middle ground to even the playing field. A league where the Championship winners but Premier League strugglers, can improve and develop their craft. A league to prepare the newcomers for what life in the Premier League is really all about.

I mean would you just chuck a baby into the deep depths of a swimming pool and let them drown, or do you teach them, build them up and then let them swim and succeed?

Unless your football’s hardman Vinnie Jones, I hardly doubt you’re the type of person to dive before you can paddle.

So why should we send our newly promoted teams in for slaughter?

Does anyone really find it fun, to constantly see the same old teams fall down the same old rabbit hole? I know I’d rather see the Premier League relegation battle be a surprise once again.