Alan Pattullo of The Scotsman, ladies and gentlemen.
Guilty of exactly the nonsense I talked about yesterday when I wrote about the Super League issue. Wetting his pants with excitement over spotting a unicorn. Although what he actually saw was a deer with a fake cone stuck to its head.
I really didn’t do this issue justice yesterday; I was dismissive because I was angry.
Now I’m calmer, I can present the reasons why this won’t happen – why it shouldn’t happen – a bit better.
His article is one of those that is begging to be dismantled in full. So here goes.
“Super League will never go away – Celtic’s and Rangers’ antennae will twitch, as will Hearts’, Hibs’ and Aberdeen’s.”
That’s his headline, and right away there is a very big claim in there.
Two actually, but we’ll start with the first one, which is that this concept will never go away.
It won’t, he’s partly right about that, but nor will it ever be more than a pipe dream. The only thing is, this time those behind the pipe dream have put some money behind trying to make it into more.
Like alchemists trying to turn base metal into gold, they are perfectly entitled to try.
But all this will ever be is a fantasy.
As to antennae twitching, the only thing twitching here … well I don’t even want to go into it, but the writer certainly sounds excited. I know this; Celtic is well aware of these proposals and know what I’ve repeatedly said.
That they are both dangerous to us and completely barmy.
“One thing is clear from a resuscitated bid to form a so-called European Super League: these attempts will never go away.”
So reads the sub-heading. As I said a moment ago, they won’t go away. As long as people can build their own version in the Football Manager Official Editor some version of this will persist, and as long as gullible hacks believe in it then there will be news stories about it. Greed and ego and ambition never go away either. A pyramid scheme is born every minute to take advantage of those facts, and as Pattullo will see in due course, that’s all this is.
“The walking corpse … twitches again,” was how Football Supporters’ Association chief executive Kevin Miles greeted the latest news. The prospect will be with us until the concept is actually signed, sealed and ready to kick-off, with new specially commissioned overwrought classical anthem blaring tinnily from stadium speakers.”
What utter rot that whole paragraph is, except for the bit at the start. But that was only the spokesperson for football fans in England talking, and who gives a shit what ordinary fans thing of something like this, eah?
Not the writer, that’s for sure.
He thinks this is inevitable. The only inevitable thing about it are the hefty sanctions UEFA will slap any club with which involves itself in it. You can take that to the bank. The idea that this will happen fails to take into account a number of key factors.
Leagues don’t want it. UEFA will scorch the Earth to protect its own fiefdom and if they’re not running it this really will be the ditch they pick to die in, or rather kill the clubs involved in, as that’s how it’ll go if they push it to the limit.
Players won’t want it because they will be banned from playing for their national teams or competing in any officially UEFA sanctioned competition, anywhere.
And fans don’t want it, perhaps most important of all, as they recognise it for exactly what it is; a money and power grab by a handful of clubs … whose own supporters were appalled and mortified by it when this thing popped up like a serial killer in a movie in April 2021.
“It’s not the Champions League but it is the Champions League. It’s Zadok the Priest’s new clothes. But few are rejoicing. No one can really believe that a multi-division, pan-European league competition, comprising a minimum of 14 matches per club, is the way forward, especially at a time when clubs are meant to be becoming more environmentally conscious. As Duncan Ferguson recently pointed out after his unveiling at Forest Green Rovers: “The earth’s warming up, isn’t it?”
I care about the planet and I am scared of what we’re doing to it (and even more scared of what it may do to us) and yet I have no idea why he thinks environmental considerations are going to be a part of the deliberations.
This makes me think the writer is a complete idiot. If what he’s saying is right then European cross-border competitions are, themselves, heading for extinction. And let’s be honest, they aren’t. So what in God’s name does global warming have to do with this?
“Forest Green Rovers aren’t likely to be one of the team’s originally invited to join. Who knows what the criteria will be? But the premise does seem very clear: offer as many teams as possible a slice of the pie. The number of clubs reported to be involved could reach as many as 80. That’s enough to form four divisions of 20 clubs, which is reportedly the format being proposed. Not only will Rangers and Celtic’s antennae be twitching, so, too, those of the likes of Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen: ’80 teams? That could be us.’”
It’s just as I said, there really is a mug born every minute and two scams to take advantage of him.
The premise is pretty clear, as he says, but it’s nothing like what he described it as. Instead the premise is, show as many clubs as possible the cake, but in the end a handful of them will get the big slices and everyone else will get crumbs.
If that’s not readily apparent to this moron, then it should be.
It’s the basis of every scam in history.
He clearly has not read the “proposals.” They make it clear that these are rough ideas and concepts. The idea that 80 clubs will be involved is pie in the sky nonsense.
Nobody credible – which counts him out – realistically expects this proposal, which is about a handful of clubs, for their express benefit, to be the catalyst for changes which throw open the doors of the Promised Land to another six dozen sides. Which part of the original proposal didn’t he get? This is all about money, money for them, money in their pockets. And nothing else.
For God’s sakes, this is how a pyramid scheme works; invite all your mates, whatever it takes to keep the money flowing up the chart to where the founders want it.
And everybody involved sees them getting rich, and you know what they tell themselves?
“That could be us.”
“Dave Cormack might well use it to try and sell the idea of Aberdeen to the club’s latest managerial targets following Jim Goodwin’s exit. Dwight Yorke has already been quoted as saying he could take Aberdeen to the final of the Europa League. Even this pledge could quickly become dated if plans to create a new European midweek competition can avoid the outraged backlash that quashed an earlier guerrilla attempt by 12 clubs to form a European Super League. Nine swiftly found the reverse gear.”
Wow. Isn’t that incredible?
You wouldn’t get that on the daftest blog.
Aberdeen can entice their next managerial hopeful by selling him these moonbeams.
They will get laughed out of every meeting if they even attempt it. Their names aren’t even in this, so it’s not even pulling rabbits out of hats now, it is diving down the rabbit hole and looking for Wonder Land.
“The three who remained – Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid – are driving this latest idea, which has been tailored to make it more palatable. “Participation should be based on annual sporting merit,” is the relevant line in the new 29-page document prepared by A22 Sports Management. One of the main flaws on which the most recent Super League proposal foundered was its intended closed-shop nature. Once you were in, you were in. No thank you, said football fans.”
The first problem here is that when an organisation has “founder members” and a specific charter appealing to them “annual sporting merit” only applies several rungs down the ladder.
Honestly, is this writer too moronic to understand that although “sporting merit” is the watchword that UEFA itself – the organisation I’m defending – has made damned sure that the big teams will always have a seat by giving sides from the Big Five leagues so much representation?
How does he think “sporting merit” would manifest itself here?
Some teams from England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy and everyone else left to scramble.
And oh what a desperate scramble it will be.
Because, of course, the numbers just do not add up at all.
The Champions League Group Stages right now has 32 teams.
That’s twelve more than will be in this tournaments “top tier.”
Anyone can do this math, it’s simple stuff.
And there are 80 teams in the competition, overall right?
Well add the Europa League to the Champions League, all the teams that already play in their Groups.
That’s another 32, for a total of 64.
So right there you’re down to just 16 places in this competition left, which is less by half than the 32 teams who played in the Conference League Groups. So half of their Group Stage teams won’t be at the party at all.
So instead of being bigger, and throwing its doors open wide, this is smaller than the current competitions we have now.
So if Aberdeen and Hearts and others think this means them, they are already sorely mistaken.
Besides … you know what those plans actually say?
They refer to “between 60 and 80 teams”, so the number that’s been quoted in the media is actually the top end figure.
The other end would restrict the size to less than the Champions League and Europa League Groups combined, so smaller again and if not a “closed shop” something pretty near it.
Because, here’s a question he’s plainly not considered. How many nationalities are represented at UEFA?
In case this guy doesn’t know, the number if 55.
So are they all going to get representation?
Of course not, so it’s not “merit based” at all is it?
It’s a replacement for European football which will not include every nation from European football’s family.
Invites only, in other words, whatever way you slice and dice it.
“It’s clear the new proposals are trying far harder to appeal to supporters. Financial sustainability rules, for example, will be implemented – a relevant detail given recent charges brought against Manchester City by the English Premier League. There have been talks with 50 European clubs and football stakeholders. It’s hard to imagine Rangers and Celtic not being involved in these discussions.”
No, these proposals are trying to appeal to the two sets of people who any con-job is always designed to appeal to; the gullible and the greedy.
Financial sustainability rules might be promised but promises are only as good as those making them, and they only hold up as a realistic possibility if they are … realistic. I could promise that if I ever get a date with Mary Kate Olsen that I’ll secure Pattullo a date with her sister. How realistic is that you fine people will bump into us out on the town?
Say they do follow through and put in place “financial sustainability rules.”
Do you believe that they will be robust?
That they will even be worth the toilet paper that they are printed on?
Will Man City’s oligarchs wear that? Or those at PSG? For God’s sakes man, has this writer swallowed their “manifesto” whole? Does he intend, at any point, to think for himself?
The claim is that 50 clubs have been consulted.
But notice that not one of them is named.
There’s a reason for that. No club not already deep in it will publicly endorse this madness.
I could claim to have had talks with 50 publishers about my life story with Mary Kate. If that story never comes out, it’s not because there wasn’t sufficient interest in it. Trust me.
I can assure him of something though; Celtic has not been involved in these discussions in any way, shape or form at even the most basic level.
Peter Lawwell sits on the board of the European Club Association. They released this statement last night.
“ECA notes the latest dispatch from A22’s alternative reality.
“However, in the real world, this rehashed idea has already been proposed, discussed and comprehensively rejected by all stakeholders in 2019. This is just another deliberately distorted and misleading attempt to de-stabilise the constructive work currently taking place between football’s real stakeholders to move things forward in the overall best interests of the European club game.
“As the sole organisation recognised by FIFA and UEFA representing clubs at European and international level, and the only body through which clubs have genuine representation in their decision-making, ECA reiterates its long-standing opposition to the European Super League and any breakaway project.”
Ouch. That’s not just designed to slap their spin doctors but every eejit parroting their lines.
“A22 Sports Management are a Madrid-based sister company of the Super League. Concern in the heart of Europe at the might of the English Premier League is very real. The value of English transfers in the recent window completely dwarfed the rest of Europe combined. Twenty years ago, Barcelona and Real Madrid were the super clubs. They still are in terms of reputation but the only thing truly exceptional about them now is how dire their finances are.”
And that at least is close to the truth, but these clubs would better spend their time trying to sort their own mess out than following unicorns down this rabbit hole.
I wrote a couple of pieces this week on the English transfer window, and European clubs and leagues are worried about it, but I suspect, as I outlined already, that EU competition regulators are the means by which this issue will finally be wrestled to the ground.
“Will the likes of Manchester United, themselves loaded with debt, want to be part of their bail-out plans? Maybe not. Rangers and Celtic? Perhaps.”
First, if the likes of Manchester Utd won’t want to be part of it then the whole thing is already rendered utterly pointless, isn’t it?
And secondly, I wouldn’t even presume to speak with any confidence about what the desperados at Ibrox might do at some point but I cannot say this enough times; Celtic wants no part of this and will play no part in it.
Alan Pattullo might just have penned the stupidest article on this subject yet.
I have a feeling though that this will have some serious competition before the weekend is out.
Because the people who put those plans out there knew there was a willing audience for this stuff in the medias of various countries; cut and paste merchants and writers so used to being spoon fed stories and swallowing them whole that they don’t even look to see what it is they are having shoved into their mouths anymore.
But if it looks like it and smells like it, you surely don’t need to taste it to recognise what it is.
Tony B says:
February 10, 2023 at 12:05 pm
February 10, 2023 at 3:03 pm
February 10, 2023 at 3:30 pm
February 10, 2023 at 4:31 pm
Scottish meedjitry at its finest. There is no difference these days between the broadsheets and the tabloids. All with as much integrity as a Tory politician.
I would rather see Celtic involved in an all inclusive Superleague than be stuck in the backwater that is Scottish Football dining on scraps from the Champions League as and when we do qualify as “Champions”.
Never say never.
Stranger things have happened in Football.
5 way agreement anyone?
Man City and Chelsea circumventing FFP ?
Blatter and Platini Corruption ?
I have no doubt that this A22 organization reached out and spoke to 50+ clubs. They need the support to get this project off the ground and they know it. The opening question would have been along the lines of: “what would it take to get you to support a Super League in lieu of Champions League or Europa League?”. And I’m sure many of them would have started by saying that any such project needs to be run under the jurisdiction of UEFA among other requirements.
I read the manifesto yesterday, and most of it was to be expected given that they need broad based support to get this project moving. A broad set of vague principles that they’re supporting, and interestingly most of them explicitly contradict the original Super League proposal. So they seem to have learned at least one lesson. But the last principle really stuck out to me – the requirement that non-sporting disputes should be resolved in European courts rather than in a closed shop disciplinary panel. They explicitly want to neuter CAS and the entire regulatory regime that currently exists at both UEFA as well as national associations. So UEFA’s rules around FFP, sustainability, and spending will supposedly be adopted, but then immediately challenged in European courts by the likes of Manchester City and PSG? And all these claims to believe in sporting merit and an equitable revenue distribution… that will only last until they’re challenged in European courts which will be about 2 minutes after any such league officially begins. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that a very large number of national associations within UEFA don’t come under the jurisdiction of European courts anyway. Are they supposed to file complaints in their own national jurisdiction, or will they be forced to file in European courts only for the case to be dismissed due to lack of standing? This part of their proposal makes zero sense beyond making their objections to CAS and the UEFA regulatory system clear, and I can’t see any way 25, much less 50+, clubs will sign up for this nonsense even if they agree with all the rest.
If they really want to get this project moving, they need to come back to the ECA and work with them on a viable proposal that can work under UEFA’s umbrella. The discussion needs to be centered around the fact that ESL – the English Super League – is already up and running and gaining strength each year, and the goal of any reform is to tear down the English Super League and replace it with a more representative European Super League.
Clubs have been circumventing UEFA rules on FFP for years and to date none of the wort offenders have been denied access to the CL.
It’s a farce.
They are more inclined to fine a Club for waving a flag (not a Ukrainian one obviously) than ban a Club for waving their own rules on FairPlay.
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