22 May 2020 08:58:07
Hi Ed, you have been an advocate of the restructuring of the lower league's for some time, do you think we will see a movement to make this happen now as in leagues 1, 2 and national league level it appears the damage the C. V has done may lead to many clubs facing going under?
In turn, do you see the European breakaway league happening sooner due to all of this?

{Ed002's Note - (a) The lower tiers are aware that clubs could drop away very quickly without supporters paying for entry which means paying professional players will become an issue. Clubs at that level will struggle and the answer is to restructure if they wish to survive - and they know that now. I am sure that will be considering options over the coming year. (b) There has been no discussion to that end but the clubs have forced UEFA trying to bully clubs. They have had three calls and the subject has not come up. There is another call next week.}

1.) 22 May 2020
22 May 2020 15:04:28
There are way too many professional clubs imo. There is no way they call all be sustainable going forward they were not even sustainable really in the past. Many clubs limping from season to season. Losing money.
They will need to cut their cloth accordingly like any other sustainable business.
Perhaps semi pro is the way to go for some and others will just close i'd imagine.

2.) 22 May 2020
22 May 2020 18:32:14
Thanks Ed for that info.

3.) 23 May 2020
23 May 2020 09:42:51
What does that restructure look like Ed?

{Ed002's Note - Football needs to decide what sort of restructuring is required. Putting aside any "breakaway" or counter proposal, my fears have always been the vast number of professional clubs there are in England well below the Premier League. I hold a reasonably strong view in terms of the need to restructure football in Europe in any case. Previously I have said that the eventual "breakaway pan-European league" would force the restructuring of many of the national leagues, possibly resulting in a British league with perhaps only a couple of professional tiers and then regionalised amateur leagues below that. Now we have a situation that will change the financial paradigm and may make clubs and authorities look at the situation with lower tier sides regardless.

Financially I do not see that so many pro sides can be sustained within the sport which, like it or not, will see more and more money going in to the highest levels of the game. Governments will ensure that grassroots sport get funding but everything in the middle (Southern, Northern, Conference, Division 2, Scottish Divisions 1-3, League of Wales will not get the funding needed to continue on any sort of professional basis. For me, clubs should already recognise this and put their efforts in to getting their finances in order to see if they can make it to a British professional league that will need to flourish without perhaps six sides that have eventually gone down the pan-European route - and have gone for good (it would be two or perhaps three initially) or even separation from the Premier League and Championship.

Clubs like Accrington Stanley will need to carry on as amateurs or face extinction (yet again) like Bury. Recently Hartlepool has been struggling - again it needs to adapt. The mighty Third Lanark have started their long journey back to the top - it can be done. These are all proud clubs with a history.

The game has changed significantly and will continue to do so whether the supporters of certain clubs like it or not. Football at the highest level is big business and attracts the sponsorship it does because the sponsors wish to tap in to the disposable income of the fans and ride the back of the advertising that flows naturally from the success some clubs achieve. Long gone are the days of the cloth-capped, hobnailed-booted, chimney sweep making his way, rattle in hand, to cheer on his team at Anfield on a Saturday afternoon. I have explained that there will be changes, probably within the next 8 to 10 years, which will force the restructuring of all of the leagues in Europe and likely do away with the likes of UEFA. The situation we have now could force the restructuring regardless. You will have the opportunity to see the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus and the other major European sides play in week-on-week regular competition at The Emirates, St James Park, Stamford Bridge or wherever. Fans of the sides who take the plunge will have the opportunity to visit cities such as Milan, Barcelona, Munich, etc. every couple of weeks to watch their team play. If you want to don your cloth cap, have a pint of wallop with your chums before going off to the local match through the grim, wet and cobbled streets of the Northwest of England where there is smog, dead & dying pit ponies laying on the street and only chips and fried curry to eat., perhaps one of the sides from the suburbs will have survived so the Liverpool and Everton supporters can go and watch them?

This will be a case of getting with the game. I will try to referred to this as the "Post Apocalyptic Zombie Scenario" from now on.}

4.) 23 May 2020
23 May 2020 10:57:40
Ed002 - A very informative post, thank you.

Are you in favour of a European League or do you just see it as an inevitable evolution of the game at the highest level?

I would imagine there would be strong opposition from many Clubs especially if it's a closed shop!

{Ed002's Note - I am in favour of it as it is the natural next step in any case. It might benefit clubs from the top divisions across Europe in any case - it will open them up to being more competitive.}

5.) 23 May 2020
23 May 2020 15:55:24
Ed002’s Post Apocalyptic Zombie scenario of a European weekly league and the devaluing impact that may have on the bulk of clubs in the remaining English pyramid has been talked about before the Premiership came into existence. I see it as the logical evolution. One ultimately forced through as Adidas, McDonalds, Coca Cola etc will pay more to advertise United v Barcelona or Juventus v Bayern Munich matches every week to sell-out crowds both on the gate and via subscription or pay per view. So there’ll be little concern whether a club like Preston can ever reach the current Holy Grail of the Premier League or what happens to the bulk of teams we have now.

C.V. will act as a catalyst to fast forward some of that I think.

Who makes it into the breakaway and not least whose left behind will be fascinating to see though. Where does the likes of Villa fit etc. The format of any European league will be interesting too given I can’t see 20 clubs from the Prem, similar from Spain, Italy and Germany etc all merging.

I think UEFA (and FIFA for that matter) are a busted flush. They are in power now but as soon as United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern chose to combine together no broadcaster etc will want to screen anything without such big clubs in it. Not an exhaustive list obviously.

I personally think the likes of Amazon and Facebook could takeover teams and streaming broadcast rights will dictate which leagues are played and which are left to dwindle.

Not a Zombie Apocalypse from my perspective - more an evolution that was always going to happen. It will be sad to see some clubs fold and others see great rivalries discontinued though.

6.) 23 May 2020
23 May 2020 17:38:55
Its the cornerstone of many communities, people underestimate the British resolve,

7.) 23 May 2020
23 May 2020 20:29:57
Ken, its easy to say there are too many professional clubs when you are not a supporter of a club on the chopping board. Many of these clubs are the centre of their community.

{Ed002's Note - So they will go out of business completely then.}

8.) 24 May 2020
23 May 2020 23:48:12
Money obviously is the major driver for all clubs but especially the elite ones. Predictable but very very sad

As we can now see, from the football currently being played in Germany without fans, the atmosphere at grounds does contribute hugely to a match. Having weekly matches with teams from different countries playing each other will inevitably dilute the number of opposing fans attending.

This will lessen the atmosphere. Only the wealthier people will be able to afford to take time off work and the expense of travelling abroad every other week to support their team. Also the lesser clubs like Burnley and Watford must suffer. There will no longer be any romance in football.

The divide between the top division and the rest will become almost unbridgeable. Money will win out in the short term but longer term football will be irreparably damaged. The lower league teams will fold and that will have a major impact not only but especially on the supply line of future players. If we should learn anything from C.V. regarding football it is that we need to look after all the football family.

9.) 24 May 2020
24 May 2020 10:46:47
In a European League there will be "no away fans" it will be like American sport . NY yankees can fill their stadium twice over for a game but how many of those fans then go to the next game in Texas? that's why if you watch a PL game in an American bar they love seeing it e.g Arsenal v Utd, a full stadium both sets of fans singing etc etc . I think it will actually kill a lot of interest in the game -EL games were a big thing once it becomes routine to see the big names and big teams then it loses something . let's be honest, if UTD, Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Celtic were in a European league would any of them finish top 6, you just become a mid table team.