This editorial featured in Issue 6 of The Football Pink available HERE
Since our last edition’s release in early August, the regular football season has – like the Titanic’s monstrous engines on its doomed maiden voyage – cranked up to ‘Full Steam Ahead’ and the thorny issue of the Premier League’s proposed ‘39th game’ has been spotted once more bobbing up and down on the horizon; lurking like a potentially destructive iceberg ready to puncture a fatal hole in football’s unsinkable ship.
As Captain Richard Scudamore navigates his colossal vessel through the usually becalmed seas, clouds are gathering, as a swell of popular opinion threatens to rock football’s gravy boat out of its smooth passage to true global omnipresence.
Yet again, Mr. Scudamore’s vision is being impaired by the Pound, Dollar, Yen, Dirham and Yuan signs in his eyes as the Premier League chief continues to champion his organisation’s attempts to whore out English football to the multitude of wealthy, salivating foreign punters willing to take a peak under its petticoat.
Despite shelving the proposals to add an extra Premier League fixture to the already congested calendar – played in various neutral destinations around the world – a couple of years ago following vehement opposition from various supporter groups, it’s believed that the vast majority of club chairman, unsurprisingly, were – and still are – complicit in the plans to realise the idea; once again flying in the face of objections from their traditional fan bases at home.
The fact that the idea of a ‘39th game’ never really went away points to one inevitable truth – it will happen. And sooner rather than later.
With such examples as the NFL’s ever-growing number of money-spinning decampments to London and the similarly increasing amount of European clubs partaking in lucrative pre-season tours of North America and the Far East, Scudamore and his cronies have set out on yet another mission to throw the history and tradition of top flight English football down the khazi – a perverse notion given they are two of the most marketable features of the ‘product’ they’re flogging to the highest bidders.
As the old saying goes, “the pursuit of money is the root of all evil” – with regular fans continuing to be treated as mere numbers on a spreadsheet and prices of tickets and ‘matchday experiences’ spiralling out of control, those words hold more credence than ever. Evidence suggests we are now moving into a whole new era of the Premier League’s selfish governance.
What may be interesting to observe, should the venture finally get the go-ahead, is whether it will only go to serve as an experiment for the elite clubs to determine the viability of a World or European Super League even further down the line in football’s future. And although the ‘39th game’ might seem like a great idea to Scudamore and Co. now, should it become the template for a global franchise league containing only the biggest and wealthiest clubs from around the world, it may well be enough to rip right through the Premier League’s apparent impenetrable hull.
Sorry Captain Scudamore, you’ll have to go down with the ship.
MARK GODFREY – EDITOR