As an avid Gillingham fan, I’m often heard moaning and groaning at my team’s inability to defend, poor attendances due to our League Two status, and a lack of money. Yet, I marvel at the club’s ability to exist when the team I supported as a boy is being taken to the cleaners by two comic American hillbillies and whose trials and tribulations in courts across the globe would make even Judge Judy scratch her head. The Premier League’s greed is to blame for Liverpool’s current state of demise and it’s senior management must surely be forced to resign after one of the country’s greatest sporting institutions has been brought to its knees by foreign owners who unsuccessfully and inevitably failed to juggle the immediate debt they snowploughed in to Anfield.
When the Premier League launched in the early nineties, we were promised a new form of professionalism in sport. With it came the stars… Yeboah, Cantona, Klinsmann, Bergkamp, Henry, Ronaldo and the great TV coverage. What it has now become is the most poorly run professional body in the history of sport. The Premier League makes the Delhi Commonwealth Games crew look as in order as a North Korean political rally. The TV money of the 90s is still there, and it grows year on year. But it’s not sufficient to satisfy the whorish desires of the Premier League. No. Without control, Scudamore and his croons have pimped our sport out to the highest bidders (or in Liverpool and Manchester United’s cases, Yanks with not a lot of money but a huge yet undoubtedly unwarranted credit rating). Scudamore and his mob at Premier League HQ have bathed in the ‘glory’ of English football’s top tier for 18 long years, dined at the tables of Oligarchs, Sheikhs, American capitalists and hedge-fund managers. The whole thing wreaks of the highest form of stomach-churning greed and it has cynically made our beloved game, a sport we grew up dreaming of being a part of, a disgusting, completely off-putting money-spinning exercise. And it has spun well out of control.
What do we see now? Liverpool and Manchester United… The country’s two greatest footballing clubs left flat broke, unable to compete on and off the pitch with relatively historic minnows Manchester City and Chelsea. And we see clubs like Wigan, Everton and Stoke exist in comfort in the Premier League. Happy to be a part of it, but rightfully not willing to take the risk of overseas investment to reach the so-called promised land. I feel for clubs like Portsmouth and Leeds. They take the plunge to reach the next level, the latter doing it with no overseas investment. Some fans may argue that an FA Cup win or a Champions League Semi-Final place was worth years in the wilderness, but you’d be hard-pushed to find more than a handful.
And it has now come to pass that Liverpool, England’s most successful ever club, is on the verge of going into administration, dropping to the bottom of the once-vaunted Premier League and sitting on -3 points. The unbelievable irony is that it is the Premier League dishing out the 9 point deduction.
I don’t know about you, but this whole saga – and the story yet to unfold its ugly ending at Old Trafford – has utterly turned me off Premier League football. It’s League Two all the way for me! Up the Gills!