Michael Farrow's sports blog

A collection of new and old writings

…on Stan Collymore and what people should learn

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Stan says things, which is much more than his contemporaries

Oh you can see it now. Mad Stan, the guy who pissed it all away, the wifebeating dogger is just so mad that he suggested that the Premier League adopt an NFL-style franchise system in his column in the Daily Mirror.  Mad, absolutely mad.  Sensible, absolutely and thoroughly sensible.

Stanley Victor Collymore is rare amongst ex-footballers in that he is willing to say things and try things and potentially look stupid doing it.  Compared to his peers, when Stan says something, we should at least consider it without dismissing it out of hand.   I think Stan has an interesting point to discuss, however his reasoning is way off. We compete with and beat Spain and Italy for top quality players but Spain and Southern Italy have better weather. I’ve been to Liverpool and I’ve been to Madrid, the former cannot compete with the latter when it comes to attracting players. In his article, Stan says that if it were a closed shop full of big teams, we’d be able to keep big-money players, citing Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso as departing for Spain because of the money involved. Why? And why would we even bother?

The main advantage to a franchise league would be that you could control costs. The mid-table treadmill would be over pretty quickly. Why spend milions on average foreigners when you now have the time and the freedom to bring through your own players with far less pressure? I agree that teams could attack more because there will be no more rush for 40 points, playing percentage football to get to mid-table and safety. You could take a young team and have them develop for next season. It would make the league more financially stable, improve the entertainment value and develop better players for the England team. If you can also control costs, you can reduce ticket prices so more people can afford to watch a game. Higher attendances means better atmospheres, which also makes a better TV product.

Like Stan, I also have similar grievances over benefactors bowling up at lower division clubs and buying Premier League status. Madejski didn’t spend 100m in a season but there was always money available to make sensible buys. A lot of teams wanted Dave Kitson but very few could spend the required money at that given time. Wigan’s natural level is at least a level low than they are currently. Certain teams come up for a couple of seasons, get on the Premier League treadmill, fall off and fuck themselves for a decade. If they were at a level where they could compete, they would live more within their means rather than mortgage the future to keep the dream alive.

However, we couldn’t go to this system without playoffs, revenue sharing, salary caps and developing relationships with lower division clubs. You need playoffs to replace relegation, revenue sharing to make the league more competitive, salary caps to keep the biggest clubs in check and nursery clubs to help clubs develop players to benefit themselves and help sustain the lower divisions. Getting rid of the domestic transfer window would help too.

Nobody would agree to it though. For the bulk of clubs, it’s like turkeys voting for christmas so it’s all a moot point.  In the meantime, I hope Stan ignores the criticism because he’s interesting, even when he’s not quite got the point right.


Written by Michael Farrow

October 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm

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