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23 Sep 2021 22:16:54
Hi Eds,
Pretty sure this will be an unpopular post but hey ho here goes. So only 5 games into the season and the usual suspects are already starting to pull away (yes Brighton are up there at the mo) . All the 'experts' have already predicted it's a 4 horse race but the order is up for debate. So what's the big problem with the EFL? If its constantly going to be the top 4 dominating other teams with 80% possession and 20 odd shots on target then the 'product' gets very dull (yes I know there is Leicester, West Ham, Spurs, Arsenal, even Everton making up the middle ground) but if it's a foregone conclusion, 5 games in, that it's a 4 horse race - is that sustainable? I suspect in the long run it isn't. I have a sneaky feeling that the EFL or its person child will one day reign.

Agree1 Disagree0

24 Sep 2021 02:48:43
But it’s not a forgone conclusion. The post might make sense if it was February.

24 Sep 2021 04:33:19
France - PSG, Lyon, Lille
Germany - Bayern Munich, Dortmund
Spain - Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletico Madrid
Italy - Juventus, Inter, Roma
Belgium - Brugge, Genk
Holland - Ajax, PSV
Scotland - Celtic, Rangers

We are lucky to have four in England.

Mostly it’s based on money, plus manager, plus reputation / club history. For instance, kiddies in Holland head off to the Ajax academy and the best ones (mostly) make it into the first team squad set up.

24 Sep 2021 06:35:09
Most countries would be ecstatic if they had 4 teams that could win the league.

24 Sep 2021 06:47:07
Aside from the odd exception like Leicester City in 2015 or a bad run of injuries like we had last season, it is more or less a foregone conclusion who the top 3 will be. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in no particular order are the three teams that will be in the top 3.

The only time it starts to get unpredictable is between 4th and 10th.

Villa making some decent signings, Everton managed by Rafa, Manchester United being managed by a clown, Tottenham blowing hot and cold, plus West Ham, Leicester and Arsenal. Perhaps 4th is secured for United, but the rest is more or less a coin toss.

24 Sep 2021 07:01:15
How many times has it actually been a 2 horse race let alone 4 with 2 teams going for the title with 5-10 games left. Answer, not very often - we walked away with it by Feb, City walked away with it last year etc. It's never been a 4 horse race, ever.

24 Sep 2021 07:09:00
There are power shifts over time. During my time watching football the so called top 4 has included Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Newcastle and others irregularly breaking into that group. Let’s not forget it wasn’t so long ago LFC were consistently a top 7 team let alone top 4. I remember being used to getting a CL spot in the mid 00’s, then being happy we got Europa in the early 10’s, elated when we got CL again under Klopp and now sort of expect it again. Yes there is still the usual suspects most of the time as you say, but the PL is far less predictable than most of the leagues in the world hence it’s appeal.
Other than the 2 Madrid teams and Barcelona you need to go back 20 years to when another team won (Benitez’s Valencia), Bayern have won Bundesliga the last 9 years in a row. 9! Same for Juventus in Italy prior to Inters win last year. 1 of 3 teams has won the Portuguese league every season for the last 21 years. Similar in most leagues other than the Pl and somewhat surprisingly the French League. All these leagues are successful and outs even more so because of the variety you find in England, even though it may seem to not be the case, in the last 8 years 5 different teams have won the league. That competitiveness is very appealing and will ensure sustainability for quite some time.

24 Sep 2021 08:22:41
Love it. So people’s argument for our league actually being quite diverse is that it’s less diverse in other countries? As in, we have one or two more teams that could win the league so that makes for great competition. Chuffing nonsense.

Before the advent of the premier league there was genuine competition. The purchase of a couple of players, for modest fees, could quite easily change the fortunes of a club and turn them into contenders. Feasibly, any team could challenge for a title, but now there is no chance.

Ask derby fans what happens when someone tries to compete these days.

The point is

We, Liverpool, if things are as bad financially as intimated, are in danger of being left behind again in the next few years. We’re fine now because we have the squad that was built over the last 4 or 5 years, but the two manchesters and Chelsea are the only ones who can sustain the sort of spending power needed to keep you at the very top. Spurs and Arsenal are nowhere, relatively. Everton have spent massively to achieve mid table and Leicester have spent qute big to aim for europa. It’s madness.

Then you have the argument that people don’t want to watch us play the same European teams every week, because, “where’s the competition”? Has anybody bothered to look at the champions league last 16 since forever? Hell, even the champions league proper. It’s the same teams every year with a smattering of others thrown in. That is exactly what the proposals for the EFL were.

This is the direction football is heading in one way or the other, sooner or later. People need to accept it and although I hate this phrase, start looking for solutions, not problems.

How can we embrace the competition AND maintain a presence in English football? What would truly be the issue with 6 teams leaving the main English league setup? Wouldn’t it make it more competitive for everyone else?

And as for having nothing to play for in a closed shop, what about the NFL? 32 teams in a closed shop which every year slog their guts out to reach the superbowl. It is ultra competitive and they have a thriving, fantastically supported collegiate system, with or without the top echelons. As I said, embrace and be creative about how it could work, not why it won’t.

{Ed025's Note - pull the ladder up jack and to hell with the rest, typical nonsense from you im afraid, what about the other leagues like the championship and leagues 1 and 2 and even non league?, a lot of clubs will go out of business and livelihoods lost in the process, but thats ok so long as liverpool are ok hey?
Typical of the selfish attitude that has gained your club a reputation quo vadis, not just your lot of course but it would be the end of football as we know it so the privvy can trample on the rest, bloody disgusting..

24 Sep 2021 08:43:17
Interesting post that and for us to comment it’s easy as we are part of that 4 horse race. Perhaps the millions of fans of the teams who don’t challenge or continually fight relegation or even the ones that season after season finish 12-17 and only get to celebrate winning 9-10 league games a season feel differently. After all the top 4 clubs have a huge following but when you add the other 16 clubs and some of the bigger championship fans together they surely aren’t the minority.

I was a Liverpool fan from the age of 4 because of my father and uncles so I was brought up to be a Red. But for the life of me I massively respect the appreciate the fans of the other clubs who don’t challenge. We have melt downs when we lose a game or don’t spent 80 mill on a player.

These other fans are used to not winning as many games, not always having money, having their players bought by bigger clubs and realistically the ceiling for most is challenging for a europa spot, a good cup run or even to get enough points just to stay in the league.

The answer to the question is football broken for the Chelsea, Liverpool, City and Utd fans is no but maybe for the fans of the other clubs that answer might not always be the same.

{Ed025's Note - good post that JK..

24 Sep 2021 07:45:10
Pl winners since 2011. Man Utd (2), Chelsea (2), Liverpool (1), Leicester (1), Man City (5)

La liga winners since 2011. Barcelona (6), Real Madrid (3), Althletic (2)

Bundesliga winners since 2011. Bayern (9), Dortmund (2)

Serie A winners since 2011. Milan (1), Juve (9), Inter (1)

Ligue 1 winners since 2011. Psg (7), Monaco (1), Lille (2), Montpellier (1)

I think its quite obvious that over the past decade or so that the PL has been the most competitive, even tho City have managed to win nearly half the titles but still less than the like of BM, PSG, Juve and even Barcelona in their prospective leagues.

Even how the titles are spread out in the PL compared to most over Leagues. So you might not have a 4 League title challenge each season but I certainly think 4 are more than capable of winning it at the start of each season. I don't think that can be said in most other leagues.

24 Sep 2021 09:47:20
I don't understand, there's been amazing results in the premier League, bottom beaten top, small teams beating big, how the premier League finishes isn't always the thing to look at, it's the race to get there that shows up some incredible results. You're already assuming how the league going to finish, I'm jealous because clearly you make a fortune betting.

24 Sep 2021 10:55:21
I would accept that modern football - let's call it the "Premier League era" has made money even more of a factor in football than it was before, and makes it more difficult for clubs from outside the established group to break through, but I don't think we're talking about anything dramatically new or different here, and to start a season with four clubs having a realistic change is better than at a lot of times in the past.

Look back through history.

2005 - 2011. It was only Utd or Chelsea. Yes, we had a crack at it and finished second one season but we were largely still off the pace during this period. Arsenal's decline had started and the money hadn't really kicked in at City yet.

1995 - 2004. It was only going to be Utd or Arsenal during this period. We were in the doldrums apart from a year or two under Houllier. The money hadn't arrived at Chelsea yet. City who?

There was a period between 1990 and '95 where it was a bit more of a mix with Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds, Blackburn and Utd all winning the title.

1981 - 1988: Only Liverool and Everton at the races. Utd and Arsenal weren't really serious challenges. Chelsea might even have been in the old Division 2 for part of this period and City were nowhere.

24 Sep 2021 11:09:12
@Quo Vadis - who said that the four teams who might win it makes it a great competition?

The point in response to the OP was that in all of the ‘major’ European Leagues there is a relatively predictable small number of teams who win things - without comment upon either the standard of football in any of the individual leagues or the comparative standards across the leagues.

If you took the solution you propose I actually think the situation may become worse - you would still have a small elite at the top of the new league, probably based on the relative economic power of the team (franchise) owners. You would also cause considerable alienation in the countries that lose teams to the hybrid league (rooting on the streets of Manchester, calls for the removal of owners) .

For me the only feasible way to level the playing field is to regulate finances that are paid in terms of transfer fees and players’ wages and (as they are gradually implementing) implementing measures to promote ‘home grown’ players.

24 Sep 2021 11:26:27
Without getting dragged too much into the Super League debate, i’ll keep it simple for you Quo Vadis. As was the case in the late 1970’s when Britain was a basket case, the answer is reform, not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We should be looking to make football a more equitable, sustainable venture that shares its rewards, not gatekeep its spoils through the accumulation of capital. The idea that the Super League is somehow the answer and not a rancid symptom of the problem is nothing more than neoliberal Thatcherite tripe. The public and the politicians back then made the wrong decision, i can only hope that football will not be the same. People will not be complacent in accepting such lies any longer.

24 Sep 2021 15:47:47
Quo, the Super League was a disastrous idea and anyone supporting that should be ashamed of themselves. We have 4 teams that can potentially win the PL this season for the first time in decades and I for one, am happy LFC is part of the pack.

If you are part of the elite society then, I can understand that the Super League is your thing BUT if it is not, why would you think it is a good idea? Fans are already being fleeced on ticket prices as it is and it is only going to get worse were this league to go in effect. I don't get it, man.

25 Sep 2021 09:22:28
Right, I didn’t make myself clear on a few fronts in what was already a long post, but I’ll try and make it clearer. I am not in favour of a super league as being the only or best solution to what is an ever increasing problem/ situation, ie the separation between rich and poor, but in the simplest terms I think it would be the best option for the other 80 odd teams. Forget that I am a Liverpool fan, but more a football fan and you will see where I am coming from. Let the so called big boys naff off to the ESL and that will redress the balance somewhat for the rest.

We are the best supported country in terms of numbers, but the great big elephant that is the premier league where owners come in to try and make nought but money so that skews the market and ruins clubs. The fans stay consistent. Their gate receipts will still remain so sustainability is perfectly viable without so much desperate overspending. It is ambition and greed of owners in trying everything to reach the holy land of the premier league that is the issue.

Make it so the holy land is out of reach and the rest possibly wouldn’t have to spend outside their means to keep up or be competitive.

As JK23 said it’s interesting what fans of other clubs would think. Not miffed also fans like Evertonians who don’t make the cut, but the championship, league 1, 2 fans. I listened to a radio phone in on bbc 5 live when the ESL was announced and funnily enough, most of the lower league football fans thought it was a good idea.

I also agree, west derby wanderer, that reform would be far the better option, unfortunately I think that is never going to happen. There is too much money at the top. We are past the point now. I mean, does anyone expect after the amount of money that the top teams have invested to stay at the top to just accept having everyone else able to catch up through caps and restrictions? Not going to happen I’m afraid.

So, with respect to those who struggle see beyond the end of their nose, the option we are left with is to embrace change in some form of this closed shop or else we continue with the other closed shop. I reckon Crystal Palace fans would much rather have a chance to compete for titles every year than compete for mid table. Or maybe have a chance to qualify for top European competition more than once in a generation. We effectively already have a super league, this would give more options for the rest.

I know that people who want chuck neoblahdiblah buzzword buzzword primeministerbeforeIwasbornisms around and accuse me of selfishness will always be there just to moan, but I can’t help those that have no ability to entertain any thoughts other than those they’ve always had. Open mindedness solves problems, not defensiveness and derision.

Maybe no one else sees a problem with only 7 teams winning the PL in 30 years, with 3 of those teams having won it once. Personally, I’d prefer it didn’t happen, reform could take place with caps, limitations and an even playing field but that ain’t going to happen. So instead of hiding away from the inevitable, embrace it and be part of the change instead of forcing these figures to hide all dealings until it suits to make it public.

{Ed001's Note - you are wrong though, as the reason the lower leagues are sustainable is not gate receipts. It is the trickle down of monies from TV revenues etc. I do agree though, there is an issue with so few teams winning the league, but FFP blocks off the avenue for other teams to catch up by investing heavily. It has to be remembered, and often gets overlooked, Leicester got where they were by completely breaching FFP in the Championship with heavy investment. If they hadn't, it would be 6 teams.}

25 Sep 2021 09:28:29
If or when the super league happens, one shining light from it may be that a lot of people pick up a 'second team' and pay to go and watch them. Let's be honest, the majority of LFC fans aren't going to be able to fly across Europe every week!



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