REAL MADRID VS CHELSEA, MANCHESTER CITY VS BARCELONA :THE EUROPEAN SUPER LEAGUE WOULD RUIN FOOTBALL
At the turn of the century Manchester City were in Division One or, as it is now called, the Championship. They would end up as winners and thus achieve the second of their back to back promotions, having secured promotion from Division 2 the year before. One year later they would be back in Division 1, before bouncing back in the 2001/02 season.
That may well be the last time Manchester City are ever in the second tier of English football.
Over the last decade, after some heavy funding, Manchester City have shaken off any doubts of relegation, and have achieved four Premier League titles, and have rarely strayed from the top two. They are rightfully talked about as one of the big fish in the pond that is the English Premier League.
But to those in charge, and perhaps fans with short memories, this may not seem enough. As talk of a European Super League disgraces the footballing world again.
A, at least partially, closed European Super League is being considered once again by Europe’s most prestigious teams. The idea being that the world would love to constantly see Bayern versus Barca, and this will bring in lots of viewers, money and prestige for the teams involved. And while this may be true, at least in the short term, it undercuts the underlying promise and nature of football. That is that, at least on the face of it, any team can make it.
A closed European Super League would mean certain teams, on the basis of their name alone, will qualify. That arrogance seems distasteful at best, and at worst, seems to forget the fortunate position that these clubs are in.
Since the Premier League began, English football has had increasingly more and more money chucked at it, and while still maintaining a level of competitiveness, it has also become more and more predictable.
This isn’t to say that certain teams didn’t financially dominate the landscape before. But there was always the risk that the bubble may well just burst. Liverpool of the 80s, Derby and Forest before them, all had significant time out of the spotlight after winning consecutive titles and the latter two have barely recovered.
The current supposed ‘big six’ of English football were all just lucky that when the money really started feeding into British football, in its disproportionate distribution, that they were at the top at the time.
Chelsea, now one of the world’s biggest footballing brands (I hate that word with a passion), were lucky to be picked by Roman Abramovich, as they were a team that consistently defied the drop (sometimes unsuccessfully) beforehand.
So this arrogance to which teams such as Chelsea, Manchester City and even those such as Manchester United believe they have a right to the prestige of a new top division is astounding. And further undercuts the idea of the football, that anyone, with the right tools, can make it, drifting us towards the ugly American franchise model.
It's not as if the top teams in England are easily identifiable anyway. Competition still exists and Leicester City should surely count themselves amongst the top six teams over the last three years, yet are not frequently mentioned amongst English elite, as they don’t have the same brand power. And that is the crux of the problem.
The European Super League would damage football terribly as it would truly cement the fact that football isn’t about the beautiful game, it's all about the money.