Date:Thursday October 20 2011
'Why not send Arsenal to the Peak District' - Budweiser's barmy football franchise premonitions are coming to fruition if the 'foreign ownership' scaremongers are to be believed.
Various media sources have mooted the idea of an end to relegation in recent times and a shift towards a franchised system - but can football afford to make what would be a costly mistake, if not financially then morally.
It seems that overseas ownership has suddenly started pushing the panic buttons for Richard Bevan - chief executive of the League Managers Association - who stated that with a bit more backing from a few more foreign owners, the Premier League may become a closed shop.
Many have compared what would be a franchise system to that of the NFL, but in truth giving the bottom placed side first choice of players being thrown out of Thames Valley University is hardly something to get the pulse racing.
If however they would like to adopt a franchise system, then by all means - we only need one club in Liverpool, and Manchester City? Would your supporters mind tootling off down the road to watch Manchester United, you see they've got a stronger brand worldwide.
The amusing thing is how the foreign owners are becoming somewhat demonised - indeed QPR owner Tony Fernandes has already poured scorn on overtures that he could be involved as an 'overseas owner' - for more madness and controversy, look a little closer to home.
Phil Gartside has been trumpeting the closed shop mantra ever since Bolton Wanderers worked their back up to the flight and to introduce a two tier season that would effectively bring another end to relegation - it will be interesting to see how mentalities change should Wanderers plummet into the Championship.
Dave Whelan has taken the hard-line stereotypically British approach by stating that his side would be pulled out of any closed-shop Premier League, believing - much like I do - that it would ruin the level of competition that makes the game of football such a global phenomenon.
It would be a form of regression that would truly condemn the sport to a robot-like state - which deviates from the culture fostered over hundreds of years and carried by generations of doting supporters - all with their stories to tell.
No more would you see the likes of Wigan rise through the leads and claim a rightful place in the top flight, no more fairytale stories of Blackpool fighting their way to playoff final success. Moreover the world would get to view the same set of teams battle it out for who gets the better share of the troth that has become the football money pot.
There are very few owners indeed that would like to see this, lesser still supporters but dare I say it. However I fear we have not heard the last of those attempting to deconstruct and unravel what makes football 'the people's game' - with supporters that will outlast it all - good times and bad.
End relegation; end football
Date:Thursday October 20 2011
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