Date: 5th April 2010 at 12:09pm
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Guest writer adlington2 wonders what to do about the cash divide

There is a firm line in the Premier League, a barrier that half of the clubs cannot pass. It’s not based on race, nationality or geography. The line is between the global rich and the proportionately poor.

Bolton aren’t really poor, they’re backed by a rich man, and so are Wigan to take just two examples. But compared to the Sheiks of City, Russian Roman, and the Glazers, we’re potless. It doesn’t even matter if the money is borrowed, United and Liverpool are in debt but they still have access to big funds.

Getting back to that line in the league table, it means that the bottom ten teams will nearly always get beaten by the top six. Of course there will be rare exceptions and the odd scrappy draw but it’s a sad outlook for the lower half teams.

Let’s immediately say we are the worst in that respect. Against a top side we are rubbish. We don’t compete. Look at United last week, look forward to Chelsea and shudder. We haven’t a chance. A few seasons ago that wasn’t the case. We must admit that with Allardyce we got lucky. His talent meant we could compete beyond the limits of our wedge.

It isn’t a healthy situation and not just for us, the other nine teams too. Because when you get that sort of predictability the fans switch off, literally. It’s not just gate receipts that sink, the TV audience shrinks and advertisers put their money where they can get better value. Less money for Murdoch unfortunately means less for football. It begins to look as if the argument for a cap on money for players is getting stronger – but that will be over the dead body of the free marketeers and the Premier League.

Perhaps the only hope is for a generation of managers and players who can smash that barricade of cash through sheer will power, brain power, talent, spirit, determination and every other quality that is supposed to win the day. The question is, do we at Bolton have even the beginnings of that revolution? After some displays you would say no, on others, maybe. But revolution is the right word, there has to be something very different to smash that cash barrier.


7 Replies to “Apartheid of the Premier League”

  • yup, all a bit depressing now, the CL didn’t help, in fact the wealth the few got ********ised the league and Abromivich’s mad money and now Man City = a real watershed for football and the fans.

  • Football does need to be revolutionised, but I can’t see how it’s going to happen, unless the business as a whole busts. But for that to happen, things are going to have to get alot worse before there’s any hope they’ll get better. The Americans have got it spot on over there, the way their major sports are organised. But to implement that model on the current football set up would be impossible, and even if football did go bust, because of the global nature of the game, it would be devilishly difficult to implement.

  • Limit debt that a club can carry and make the Champions League for champions ONLY. How the 4th place Prem club qualifies is beyond me. I’d support a closed-shop approach, but the game without relegation/promotion loses something, IMO.

  • The sentiments in this article are entirely right. Uefa’s financial fair play rules will go some way towards reducing the distortions but at the same time it also reinforces the status quo to some extent. Little confort but it’s worse in Spain and Italy where Real, Barca and the Milan clubs benefit from individual TV rights though I think that is shortly to change in Italy. For it to be a more even sporting playing field the financial pot needs to be shared out far more evenly. Sadly the chances of that happening are absolutely nil. There is a greater chance of the top clubs eventually being hived off into a European League. Does that make it financially better or worse though?

  • Well, well, Amos and I find ourselves in agreement on something. Taking his last point about a European breakaway by the top clubs that is the logical next move. It makes the point that real money is held by corporations and individuals who are global, basically rootless and able to operate wherever they see an opportunity. Football has never been an American or Middle East sport but as a product it has a use. Hicks admitted, before he realised it was a mistake to say so, that Liverpool was just like a cornflake brand to him. A breakaway would probably lead to real animosity between the top clubs and the rest, especially if they made it a closed shop. I think the left behind clubs would be OK, operating with less cash all round. It might even be a good thing, especially if a rule was introduced whereby only players from home based clubs could play for England. That would stir the pot and make the point that the breakaways were no longer part of the English game!

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