What a last 72 hours it has been, a 72 hours that saw an incredible level of naivety, greed and self-interest from the ownership and Boards of Directors of twelve football clubs.
On Saturday and Sunday, the football world was rocked to its foundations by the audacious plans of a select group of clubs, and in England, fans, all the other clubs, politicians and even royalty were aghast at the prospect of the game as we knew it being torn asunder.
Come Tuesday morning and Everton Football Club issued a strongly worded statement utterly condemning the actions of the twelve and especially the English six, the remaining 14 Premier League clubs consulted and by early evening two clubs, Chelsea and Manchester City withdrew from the ESL and by late evening, it’s launch had failed, the ESL has crashed and burned as the remaining English clubs withdrew and it was believed Inter Milan were about to too.
On the respected Everton Business Matters podcast, that published an ESL Special Edition on Tuesday, it was strongly recommended and suggested that fans the length and breadth of the country contact their clubs, members of parliament etc to express their feelings and it is that vein that I share here with you, the thoughts I penned to my football club – Everton.
“I trust you don’t mind me contacting you over what’s gone on in the last 72-96 hours with the Sleazy Six and the rest of the Dirty Dozen but, I felt a serious need to let the club know my feelings.
Firstly, I want to go on record in thanking the club for the statement issued Tuesday morning that clearly nailed the Everton colours to the mast. Without question, it was written in the best traditions of Everton FC and I applaud unreservedly all those who contributed to the wording.
In similar fashion, I wish to thank Denise Barrett-Baxendale for the communication she issued and Mr.Moshiri for the sentiments he expressed in his short interview on TalkSport.
As a football fan, I was and still am utterly disgusted and fiercely angry at the actions of the twelve clubs, most notably Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, the latter two’s primary involvement didn’t surprise me in the slightest though if I’m honest. Manchester City and Chelsea probably thought best to sign up, Spurs under Daniel Levy would seemingly sell their own mothers to achieve some form of glory.
Where I really, really, really have a problem is with what happens now and in the forthcoming weeks and months ahead of the 21/22 season?
Are these six clubs going to be reprimanded and how severely will that be if they are ?
A slap on the wrists and everything carries on as previously will be completely and totally unacceptable to myself and I suspect thousands if not millions of other football fans, including fans of those six clubs.
Can their current ownerships and indeed Boards of Directors be permitted to remain in situ – I fail to see how they can as I personally wouldn’t trust a word that came out of any of their mouths. I honestly cannot for the life of me see how the likes of Dalglish and Ferguson as directors of Liverpool and Manchester United were not aware of what was happening over the course of last weekend.
This move by these twelve clubs didn’t spring up overnight, it had to have been in the planning for weeks if not months, and for those two and any other director of the six English clubs, indeed all twelve, to claim they knew nothing is simply farcical to my mind. If they truly were not aware then they are incompetent to be directors of any kind of business, let alone top flight football clubs. And if they were aware and chose to keep quiet about it and await the fallout, then shame on them.
So, will the rest of the Premier League clubs remove the footballing licenses from the Sleazy Six to preclude them from playing and stand together resolutely and demand change of ownerships/BoDs before licenses are issued again, and decisions taken at what their re-entry level might be?
In the meantime, the managers, players and staff should be permitted to seek employment elsewhere it wasn’t their fault, and the clubs barred from PL, FA and UEFA competitions – they simply cannot be allowed to continue as though nothing has happened.
Points deductions and massive fines would be a major starting point to any punishments, and I feel a ban from European competition for a minimum of ten years – or until such time as the complete change of ownership/BoDs is completed – would be completely in order.
Others are talking about whether the Sleazy Six should be automatically relegated to the EFL Championship, and I don’t agree with this and I’ll explain why I would utterly reject this… It’s been suggested that relegating the six would see only a maximum of three return at the first bite of the cherry, it’s been suggested that the six playing in the Championship would make that a more attractive product than present and provide a much needed boost to the coffers of the other clubs with larger attendances and likely a more lucrative TV deal for the Championship.
All of this might be true but, and it’s a huge but to my mind, if this were to happen, then sooner or later the Sleazy Six would be lauded – most probably by Sky first and TalkSport second – as the ‘saviours and benefactors of the Championship.’ In effect they would go from the sleaze that tried to wreck the Premier League through martyrdom to being ‘heroes’ – the very thought of the punishment of relegation springboarding them back to being the media darlings they currently are is utterly abhorrent to me.
And returning to my suggesting a ten-year ban from European competitions for these clubs, it should never, ever, ever be forgotten that amongst others, Everton FC were denied the chance to continue in Europe and compete for the European Cup with arguably our best ever team and one of if not THE best team in Europe at that time when we were banned from Europe by the decision of the Thatcher government following the Heysel riots and deaths.
Only a couple of weeks prior to that as I’m sure you’re aware, we had been to Rotterdam, 40,000 of us behaved ourselves, won the praise of the Dutch police for our behaviour and friendliness, and Everton rightly won the Cup Winners Cup… only to be banned through no fault of our own or making for FIVE years. Our team broke up, we lost the services of our greatest manager – Everton FC, and others, were punished way beyond unjustly.
I know these last few sentences smack of the sourest of grapes and my harbouring a near 40-year grudge but, I do and I will never, ever forget of forgive the action of the Liverpool support on that infamous evening, and the actions of the Sleazy Six culminating in the farce of the last 24 hours have struck far too many raw nerves within my aging frame.
Feel free to pass my thoughts to the Board of Directors and the rest of the Everton staff.