Let’s revisit the European Super League idea

Remember about three years ago, when several (or more) of the top clubs in Europe thought that they should leave their respective leagues and just play against each other instead?

That idea included six clubs from England, whose bosses thought that they were too big for the puny challenges of the domestic arena, and clearly needed something bigger and better.

And more lucrative.

But the project fell apart pretty quickly amid acrimony, recriminations and legal action. The six EPL clubs involved apologised, got a baby slap on the wrist, absolutely no-one got banned from the Champions League as threatened by UEFA, there were no points deductions as threatened by the FA, and we went on with life as usual.

As soon as I heard about it, I was immediately against the idea of the ESL. It was clearly formulated by the boards of the teams involved with no thought for the grassroots support of the clubs, and the traditional values and history of football. And while there’s still some rumbling behind the scenes, and the idea does seem to have gone away for the moment, I’m still against it.

But also, I’m actually not.

That idea that the ESL would ruin the tradition and values of football, and that the project was only about making money for “the suits upstairs” rings a bit hollow when you look at where we are now, three years on, because actually it’s happened anyway, just in the domestic league setting instead of a continental one.

The “Super League” ethos and its money already clearly exists within the Premier League.

Liverpool’s three goals last night (the first one gifted by our useless keeper, the second an absolute thunderbeagle after a very helpful clearance, and the third one just showing how squad strength in depth (via – *gasp* – money) is such a huge thing), came at a cost of £190,000,000.

That’s far more than our entire club is worth.
Not just the players on the pitch last night.
Not just the squad.
The entire business – the ground, the staff, the infrastructure, the training academy, the women’s teams, the name, the history, those solar garden gnomes in the gift shop: everything. All of it.
Versus three players.

Erik Ten Haag took charge of Manchester United less than 2 years ago. He’s spent almost twice as much on players in that time than we have in our entire 135 year history.

Arsenal shelled out just under a quarter of a billion pounds on three players this season.

Chelsea: it’s just billions. Billions and billions. A never ending pot of cash that is carefully spent over almost complete decades to avoid breaking the rules… maybe.

“It’s not sport if you can’t lose”, said Pep Guardiola, in his criticism of the ESL idea back in 2021.

That comment was about the limited relegation possibilities for ESL teams, but it’s steeped in irony now, given that his club are facing 115 charges for breaking financial fair play regulations. Charges which they will likely never actually face given that they have more money than the Premier League, can afford some ridiculously expensive legal teams and are already adopting a Stalingrad defence*.

And even if they ever do get punished, it won’t be in any meaningful form, thanks to new regulations conveniently just announced by the EPL.

How can we, or anyone else without money (or ok, yes, any sort of regard for the financial fair play regulations), ever hope to compete?

We can’t. And that’s why the Premier League is broken.

And before anyone points out plucky “little” Aston villa and their amazing league position, well yes, it is great, but even they’ve spent almost half a billion quid over the last 4 years.

The Premier League is clearly hugely divided. There’s absolutely no chance of relegation for the “Big Six”, they buy all the best players, they win all the trophies, and they have pots and pots of money. For them, most games are pretty much a foregone conclusion. The only interesting matches are when they play each other.

And that’s exactly what the ESL was going to give us.

But with added Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

So actually, why not go and do that and make domestic football better again?

Why are we allowing our domestic game to be ruined by letting these clubs to do exactly what they were trying to do anyway by inventing their runaway league? If that’s the way it’s going to be, let them go.
It’s broken and it’s not going to get any better while they’re still here.

Sadly, of course, that will never happen.
Because of – you guessed it – money.

[sighs deeply – gets on with his day]

Last Night

Didn’t win.
Actually unlucky to lose.
Tactically very sound.
Defended well.
And a couple of… let’s say… “convenient” decisions for the opposition:

Lol. Diplomacy with sarcasm. I love it.
Someone doesn’t want to get himself into trouble on his first day back.

But he’s right, because, for example, while we all love a good tackle, that Darwin Nunez scissor action on Jayden Bogle was clearly a foul in the modern era. And by “the modern era”, I mean last night.
On a muddy pitch with jumpers for goalposts and clodhopper Mitre boots back in 1986? Sure. Fantastic.
But there are a lot of things you could do then that you simply can’t do now. And that was certainly one of them.

That said, we were playing a good side with some quality players. And Joe Gomez. It’s always a bit of a wake-up call to the reality of the other world in the Premier League when the opposition bring on a €45m Dutch signing to replace their other €45m Dutch signing because they needed some extra cover for their defence for the last five minutes, but for once this season, we punched above our weight and there were plenty of positives too. It was good to see a return of some passion and some drive. The confidence was clearly still missing: when you have young strikers who have proven that they can score goals and they’re not shooting, well, we know why that is. But a few more of those performances, a goal or two, and maybe it’ll return.

We move away from football for a short while now, ahead of the next round of fixtures which are [checks notes] a whole 48 hours away. I do so hope that everyone is happy with that situation.


For one reason or another (but mainly one reason), I haven’t been checking out much of the pre-season football that’s been occurring over the last few weeks. This has left me rather behind the curve with the annual fantasy football draft night coming up this week. And that’s why I have hijacked the TV for the afternoon and am doing some swift reconnaissance watching Manchester City and Liverpool.

Early days? Sure, but I think that it’s fairly clear that I won’t be selecting any Liverpool defenders -or midfielders – because apparently they simply don’t exist. Or maybe they’re just still on holiday. Either way, I can’t see them making a big splash early on in the season if they’re not even going to turn up.

That group of individuals aside, I do have a strategy for picking my players this year. And obviously, I can’t give that away just yet. Although, given my performance in previous seasons, I doubt that it would make any difference anyway.

Draft night is always a fun occasion, full of power banks, pizza and pisstaking. This season, with our league spread across four continents (although only three for the actual event), will surely be no different.

I’ll let you all review my team once it’s set in stone, so you’ll be able to predict just how routinely disappointing my fantasy season will be.

Pathetic fish and chips

BIG NEWS from Liverpool: the most pathetic serving of fish and chips ever has been served there. And it’s made it as far as (one of) the overly desperate national newspapers.

Furious diner Tina Doherty was stunned when her order arrived and was made up of just SIX chips.

No wonder she was furious. That’s a pathetic number of chips.

Tina had gone out for dinner with her husband, Kevin, and two friends to the Jolly Miller in Liverpool after a night out bowling.

The pals had ordered ordered their main meals – two hunter’s chickens and two portions of fish and chips – which they chose off the two for £10 menu.

It sounds like the evening had got off to a great start. Nothing to see here, folks.
And Tina and Kevin and their friends were looking forward to rounding it off with some decent food at the pub on the way home when disaster struck.

However when the server handed Tina, 53, her meal she couldn’t quite believe she had been given just SIX CHIPS with her fish and peas.

No wonder she was furious. That’s a pathetic number of chips.

(I may have mentioned this before.)

Care worker Tina, from Aintree, sent a picture of the pitiful portion to her husband who told her she should complain.

Well, he would. He’s from Liverpool.
But wait. What?
Why didn’t he just look at what was on a table in front of him?

Husband Kevin, 60, said: “She sent the picture on Whatsapp and I must admit I laughed. I was at home with our son and daughter and we were just sitting down to our man-sized portions of curried prawns, rice and real homemade chips.”

Oh. Were you now, Kevin? And where else were your son and daughter? Were they also at the Jolly Miller with their mum? Or perhaps they were in another local establishment which also serves miniscule portions?
How were you in two places at once, Kevin? Are you a twin? Mind you, this story suggests that if you are, then you are called Kevin and Kevin and that’s going to get confusing from a very early age. And are you both her husband? I’m not sure that’s 100% legal. Even on Merseyside. And we all know what they’re like there.

Kevin (the one at home) (or actually maybe the other one) (I really have no idea which one is talking anymore) continues:

I don’t know how anyone could justify or explain that as a portion of chips.

Justify or explain? Rice and real homemade chips? Kevin at the pub and Kevin at home?
There’s something very duplicitous and tautological about you and your mysterious ways, Kevins. And he (they) goes (go) on:

It looks like a toddler’s meal and even they would be able to polish off more than five chips.

Well that’s ok, isn’t it, lads? Because there were six chips. I’m happy to admit that it’s a pathetic number of chips. I already have, twice (once for each of you). But it’s still more than five chips.
Any other chip-based comparisons you’d like to make?

You wouldn’t even have enough to put on a butty with that portion.

No, Kevins. You wouldn’t. Are we done now, because I have other stuff I need to get d…

Kevin, who works for Jaguar Land Rover, also joked that maybe the Jolly Miller was “aware of the pending interest rate rise” the day after the meal was served on Wednesday – so cut its portions down.

Actually, just shut up now, Kevins, you pointless, double starch-consuming, potato-portion calculating, conspiracy-theorising, crap joke-making waste of a Scouse doppelganger.
I’ve had enough of you, you, your wife and this stupid story now.

More tomorrow. Not including pathetic chips or anyone called Kevin. Or Kevin.

And Today’s Word of the Day is “Unrepentant”

Just a quick mention for a superb column from Irish journalist Ian O’Doherty, who upset several (or more) people from Liverpool when he made the outlandish suggestion that their namesake football club should feature a permanent black armband on their kit because the club:

… goes through so many commemorations of disasters and deaths

Cue – you guessed it – outrage.

When I heard that he’d written a column for the Irish Independent on the matter, my heart sank a little. Another brave soul who stuck his head above the metaphorical parapet and was now being forced back into submission at the hands of an angry mob and a spineless editor.

None of it!

Because today’s Word of the Day is, as we mentioned in the title of this post: Unrepentant.

Ian fights back ‘gainst the naysayers, the terminally offended and what he (quite rightly, but somewhat clumsily) terms “the Outragerati”.
There are abjectly acerbic, decidedly defiant and unashamedly unapologetic soundbites galore:

What a pity we have taken perhaps the most important technological tool ever created and decided to use it to mainly share pictures of kittens and form electronic lynch mobs who dribble with righteous and incoherent fury whenever they are exposed to something they don’t like.


Liverpool fans have a widely established reputation for being a humourless lot (while at the same time saying they’ve the best sense of humour of any group of fans), but this was just the latest drizzle of stupidity in what has become a downpour.

Oh, and let’s treat ourselves to just one more:

It’s no longer enough, it seems, to disagree with someone. You now have to completely shut them down. It’s a sort of intellectual blitzkrieg, which means even the most innocent remark is now seen as “hate speech” and so must be obliterated before it gets a chance to gain traction. Most western countries have a system of political checks and balances to protect people from the tyranny of the government. But what we now have is the tyranny of the people as these unelected, self-selected commissars stalk the land, deciding what everybody else can see, hear or say.

Invariably, this is done in the name of the suffocating, intolerant brand of dumb illiberalism that currently holds sway in society.

Preach, brother!

If you read one thing this week, read his column, inoffensively entitled: If I had set out to deliberately offend the Scousers, I would have gone a lot further, because it is absolutely beautiful.