Before Project “Big Picture” was muted by Liverpool, Manchester United, receiving the backing from former Liverpool chief executive and current English Football League chairman Rick Parry and then ceremoniously dumped by the Premier League, the idea of Premier League B sides entering the Football League was floated.
The idea came in 2016, could it be proposed again as part of a larger restructuring of the English football pyramid post the Covid-19 global pandemic?
Written by kirsikka
No matter how stupid an idea, if you talk about it enough it can sometimes gain acceptance. Look at the support of the flat earth theory that has bizarrely sprung up over the past decade or so.
If you’re in a position of power and you raise a ridiculous idea it can start to gain traction even if it’s only for your concept to be seen as possibly legitimate by people.
If you use your influence to pressure people when they’re in their worst ever place, telling them you have the answer to their problems but they need to accept their solution you’re likely either the mafia, a religion or, it’s starting to seem, a Premier League football club.
The idea of B teams in the Football League has been floated by representatives of the Big Six for many years as a solution to what they perceive to be a problem for them. When it first came up it was laughed at as totally at odds with the football culture in this country. That didn’t stop it coming up here and there, different voices from the same cabal so now there probably isn’t a football fan in the country that hasn’t been exposed to this concept several times over the past ten years or so.
That slow, slow, slow insidious creep of the idea before has been picking up pace since the pandemic started. If the Big Six don’t come across like the football business equivalent of comic books baddies already then taking advantage of this situation to further advance their own agendas at the expense of all other football in the country puts the final touches to that characterisation.
I mentioned way back here that I thought somehow the usual suspects would try and use their roles as ‘saviours of English football’ to actually get this in through the backdoor.
I’m quoting myself now, but only to show it’s been bothering me since March :
“…given the unedifying and unending appetite to dominate the game in this country from the top six, I’m sure they’d use it as some kind of leverage to later force through either B teams in the lower leagues or letting them take over smaller clubs as feeder clubs.”
In a bizarre twist, a senior official at Brighton came out in support of it back in May.
It’s like he’s already forgotten where they came from and somehow remains blissfully unaware that his team are merely cannon fodder in the PL battlefield whilst the Big Six generals sup team from bone china plates with no real danger to themselves. Only the power to wreak destruction.
For all the bluster back and forth between our fans, there are actually things to like about Brighton. However, it was utterly despicable to try and advance this agenda in return for helping clubs in trouble and makes me hope they get relegated more than anything that’s happened on the pitch between us.
Then there was talk it was raised during conversations between clubs during May:
Once again, keep tapping that stone time and again and maybe it’ll crack in the end.
This week Man City have publically stepped into the fray. Not being a fan of one of the other clubs in their little special club I don’t give that much of a monkeys how Man City stepped into their powerful position, displacing silverware, revenue and fans in China away from the other five. That isn’t my fight and is voiced plenty by the media supporters of the big clubs. However, I do object strongly that, now they’re entrenched as part of that inner circle, how keen they are now to try and pull up that drawbridge in every way they can and attack smaller clubs with an avarice bordering on gluttony.
They try to play the outsiders to UEFA and the European football power base but they’re exactly the same wolves even if they try and dress themselves in sheep clothes.
Here’s the latest little addition to the debate, this time from the Man City CEO:
Looks at how he couches it. ‘Challenges developing players in England’. They really have managed to turn themselves into a Man Utd doppelganger in their approach to football in this country. Burn it all down as long as their own needs are being advanced.
There’s another article covering it here:
I realise I’m very old school in my approach to football. It’s become a global game with global brands (note, not teams but brands) where following a small provincial team because you have some connection with the area is less and less what the game is about.
The Bixg Six have managed to engineer the top tier in England into a mockery of a competition which is all but closed to anyone outside of them, where you can view the Leicester year as the exception that proves the rule. However, if they now get to rip the heart out of the lower leagues by infecting the competition with their B teams then I’m out.
The sad thing is that’s probably what they want. Move on the middle-aged and old duffers that remember what it used to be like and instead cater only to the new fan who only see PL stars in their eyes.
I might be wrong but I have this horrible feeling it’s on the way. When a few clubs start to go under over the next few months watch them extend their ‘hand of friendship and support’. If you let them in and accept their conditional help then, unfortunately, like with the mafia once you’re in – you’re in. There’s no getting out.
That’s my rant done. I thought I’d create a quick thread with a couple of links to specifically track this threat but once I started typing in anger didn’t stop until I’d fully purged. Well done if you made it to the end.
This is an exceptional post. Thanks for being so on top of it. We might not be able to stop the tide but we can try, right? I don’t think it’s a populist stance to try and protect the community-building potential of lower league football.
The mad thing is we’d probably be a little blind to the utter codswallop the premier league is if we hadn’t posted up there for a while. – Join the conversation, click here.