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Future of Football

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I am going to (I know) open up a can of worms here, but I feel I have to project my voice, about the present state of Football.

I am talking more on British Football, but my solutions for the future, would have to include all of world football.

So my gripe at present, is focused on the English Premiership. Namely the domination of the so called money bags clubs, at the top and always year after year, after year. These teams that stock pile players and are the only ones that can win the title. With the lower clubs just happy muddle and struggle about with no cat in hells chance, of winning the title, or even achieving middle of the table status. Just fighting for survival and becoming a yo yo club, between the premiership and the championship.

This for me is making the premiership, boring and repetitive, year after year. We go into a brand new season knowing who will be at the top, who'll be mid table and who'll get possibly relegated. Why are we putting our self through it.

Why do I say all this. Because I want all teams, to be given the chance to experience glory. To live and realise the dream and to bread excitement into English football.

To support this I say firstly the word 'Parity' I'm a big follower of American sport, especially the NFL and American Football. They have changed and experimented over the years and got it down to a tee with parity. I studied this further and here's what I found and came up with. From the start of the premiership, in 1992, to the present day (about 25+ years) there as only been 6 different winners and 4 of those teams have been multiple winners. With only Blackburn and Leicester City as single champions. In the NFL and the equivalent superbowl, from 1992 to  the present day, there as been 15 different winners with 7 multiple winners. Surely this is better and highlights the adoption of fair parity, in all sport. Which I feel football should be adopting and is severely lacking. I know we can't adopt the franchise thinking, that is part of American sport, as things like promotion and relegation are part of our game, who we are and part of our dna. But I feel we can and should embrace, their business sports model, as they are good at doing it and it can only improve our game.

So to my solutions. I'm not an expert in business models and don't know enough of the infrastructure around World football. But here are my observations and solutions to make football better for the future. It's not a full proof plan, so some whizz kid or even Apprentice wannabee, could take it and make it more feasible and robust. I just feel football needs an upgrade and re-ashing to a more positive model and rebuild.

So firstly there needs to be (like the NFL) team salary cap. So teams can't stock pile players and have the best of the best. This would have to be of course world wide. Remember when you played, when you were young, in the local park and you picked teams. The dominate captains would jump in and say I'll have him, him and him. In other words all the best players. With the other team not so good and making for a boring and blow out game in favour of the dominate one. Okay for the stronger team, but don't those teams really want solid and fair compentition. The only issue with a salary cap is, if it isn't done correctly, it can devalue the league and I'm sure nobody (especially the premiership) wants that. Also what do you set the cap figure to and can the lower teams afford to go up to that cap limit ceiling.

Next plan is to tidy up football and IMO avoid overuse of games. So firstly competitions. Keep the league structure and the FA cup. Move the League cup for Championship down and combine it with the Johnstone Paints trophy (sorry is that still going?) Pardon my ignorance. Each of those competitions (FA,League) no replays just extra time and penalties. Winner of the FA cup gets a Champions league spot, along with the top 3 in the prem. If the winner of the cup is in the top 3 of the prem, then the loser of the FA cup plays the 4th place in the prem in a playoff. If the loser is the 4th place team, they then get a automatic champions League spot. What if the FA cup winner is a Championship team down. They can't have the Champions League spot. That goes again to the fourth place team in the prem, with the lower team winner getting subsidized with money and a bye to next year's FA cup. When the top prem teams come into the FA cup the following year. As another bonus you could give that lower team a home game (next year) against one of the top four(at that time) in prem league, to gain more gate money. You could also do this for the lower league winner of the League Cup. They get a pass to the later FA cup round (following year) to face a top 4 prem team at home, as an incentive and bonus. Then as far as the European competitions and scene goes. Keep the Champions League only and scrap the uefa Europa League competition to avoid again overuse of football, to keep players fresh and ommitt no nonsense comps.

Finally my next idea is based on the American draft system. Please don't feel offended or angry if you disagree with this. Especially if your a top club supporter. Because this is the can of worms bit and similar (as well) to the above salary cap idea.

Let me explain more. In the NFL they have the draft system. Put simply all the best Collegiate football players are ranked and put into a pool draft. At the end of the NFL season the teams finish top to bottom with best record down to worst (no points system like Football) During the preseason the draft takes place with the worst team picking first in every round (7 rounds) and each round consisting of 32 picks, for all teams. So affectively the worst team, along with preseason free agent signings (salary capped) can pick a top young prospect, build around him and in the years to come win the Superbowl. This creates the parity I was talking about. Okay, as I mentioned earlier, we're not American and our sport culture is different. But can we adopt a similar system, in our game of football?

 How can we do it. So firstly we have a cooling off and notice period, for all clubs, before this system is implemented. Let's say up to 5 years, letting all teams know that it will come, so get ready and prepare for it. At the end of a prem season the teams are grouped into 5x 4 team blocks and from top to bottom. With the higher block of teams not having as much money or cap to spend on signings. You could even produce and grade younger players under 19/21 ? which acts a talent pool and young draft, with again the teams in the lower blocks (including newley promoted) getting chance to pick the better young players. The only issue again, regarding the money cap for the lower block teams is how much money can they stretch to, ceiling wise and been able to buy quality players. This could therefore devalue the league? This would have to be done of course world wide (concerning signings) and maybe there needs to be a way to crowd fund these so called lower teams, maybe from the bigger ones. So that everybody putts into a shared revenue scheme( like the NFL) I know it's controversial and sounds like a tax for the top clubs. But wouldn't this make football better, more paritable, fairer and more exciting.

Finally I have other ideas too. We could include and bring back the foreign players rule, not just only in the first team but the whole club squad. Again controversial and maybe devaluing the prem? I believe though that this would have our teams (no matter what nation) but especially British Football, produce more natural young players, for all our home international teams. By giving them the chance to play in top flight games. Another idea is to make our leagues bigger, by bringing in the isolated Scottish teams. How that would be done, to avoid overuse, I don't know,. But I feel that Scottish football is suffering badly today and needs an injection. More so than English football. Coming together could be the solution.

To summarise finally,  I'm sure and feel that a lot of you may disagree, with my comments and plans and feel like I am attacking the top Prem teams for no reason. So why change it, because it is working. I m sorry but I don't agree. Not for everyone anyway and I feel it should. Maybe you will agree with me, in some parts anyway? Whatever I your thoughts, Ileave one relevant example.

Again it is American sport based, but I feel it is applicable. One NFL owner, who knew fellow owners, who owned prem teams, was asked if he would like to get involved and buy a football team in the UK. His immediate answer was a categoric no, as he felt English football was totally unfair. With a lack of parity and no hope for anybody else. Remember he had a point because he had lived and breathed success and championships, with his NFL team. So he knows what he is talking about.

Some of you might say that the problem is that lower teams need to invest and catch up and if they don't then that's their fault. But as I've stressed earlier, the point is fair competition, excitement at the helm and everybody giving a chance to evolve and develop.

Thank you all, so much, for reading this long thread and I welcome your thoughts and comments. But please criticise the subject, not me and keep your remarks productive, diplomatic, free from profanity and fair.

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I'm in favour of salary cap/transfer cap (and a serious financial fair play system which is actually implemented and is taken seriously as well as anything that reduces the role of player agents), but a draft system seems like a complete nonsense to me (no offense). How would it even work in Europe? You can't compare it to the US where high school and college sports are a big deal and thus serve as a talent pool of unaffiliated players for the professional leagues; we don't have anything like it here and without a similar setup it would be impossible to replicate. It's just a completely different system. Clubs scout, sign and develop players in their academies for years, and even then most of them don't make it at a professional level. A draft system would mean an end to academies and youth networks, as I'm sure no club would be willing to continuously invest into a talented prospect only to lose him years later as a free agent, it just doesn't make any sense. 

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Premier League winners over the past 20 years - 5.

La Liga winners over the past 20 years - 5

Bundesliga winners over the past 20 years - 5. 

Serie A winners over the past 20 years - 5. 

Firstly, I’m not exactly sure how you could possibly decipher that the Premier League was more or less interesting than another of the popularly known “elite” leagues when over a fairly large period, all have had exactly the same amount of different winners. 

Now, the Premier League may well be somewhat predictable but so are the rest of the leagues in Europe. If it’s not Barcelona in Spain, it’ll be Real Madrid or Atlético Madrid, should a relative miracle occcur. In Germany, it’s going to be Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund. In Italy, it’s Juventus, if it’s not them, it’s probably going to be seen as a pretty big shock that they haven’t won the Scudetto. Even the perceived lesser leagues have some form of monopoly by a certain amount of clubs. In Holland, it’s Ajax, Feyenoord or PSV. In Portugal, it’s Benfica, Porto or Sporting, for example. 

I will agree that the Premier League is made up of three or four ‘mini-leagues’ though. There’s definitely some crossover between some of these small leagues but personally, I think you’ve got the teams that are most likely to win the league, the teams most likely to finish in the European qualification places and everyone else.

That ‘everyone else’ category is pretty open if you ask me. Barring probably  Everton and Leicester City at the top end of that crop of teams and probably Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town who are most likely to struggle, you could throw the rest of the teams into a hat, draw them out and if the Premier League season ended in descending order of what you’d drawn out, you probably wouldn’t be that surprised at the order due to the nature of the Premier League.

Three or four wins in a row or five or six games unbeaten and you’re riding the crest of a wave in the Premier League. Conversely, three or four consecutive losses or five or six games without a win and teams are looking over their shoulder and managers names are brought up in the conversation of next manager to get sacked. Follow up the winning or losing streak with a couple of losses or wins and the roles are reversed. 

If you asked me what my biggest annoyance with the Premier League is, it would be the Cup competitions rather than the Premier League itself. I’ve said it before on here quite a few times but I’d like to see some teams really giving the Cup’s a bit more attention, as for some clubs, they won’t go down but they won’t bother the top end of the table and they should then focus on domestic silverware. But I say that as a Football fan and not a Club owner, chairman or employee. Trophies are memorable, they’re what go down in Football Club folklore, not the time they finished 10th in the Premier League and the club pocketed in excess of £50m but that’s how a fan would look at it. However, I can see why club owners aren’t bothered by cups, the financial remuneration on offer for an FA Cup win is dwarved by the money earned for finishing 17th in the Premier League and that’s the priority for clubs. Also, as I mentioned above, the Premier League’s unpredictability could be damaging if you embark on a cup run. If the focus is somewhat taken away from the league, results can turn bad and as I’ve mentioned, a few bad results in succession and you’re looking over your shoulder and your job could be at risk as a manager.

As for some of the things suggested, there is FFP, but that’s a bit of a farce as we’re finding out at the minute and the Football League brought in a rule where clubs could only spend 55-60% of their income. That had as many holes as a teabag and when Bournemouth’s Russian investors arrived, it’s alleged that the new investors brought the naming rights to a stand for an extortionate and hugely inflated price so that 60% of the money could then be spent on investing in the playing squad. Not exactly a level playing field then. 

As for the “Americanisation” of the game. There’s no doubting that American sports that work under these legislations and rules are highly successful, however, they’ve not translated into European sports that well and certainly not Football. 

Edited by Smiley Culture
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The future of football in Europe (in general) is that the gap between the elite and the rest will get bigger which goes in conjunction with the fact clubs are run as businesses these days within a capitalist system and matches the fact that the gap between the elite and the working classes has become bigger with the prospect of widening even more as time goes by.  That's the future of football in Europe because the future of football in general when considering the rest of the world (other continents and confederations is a whole different story right now) is more elusive.

The Premier League within Europe and in relation to our continent and confederation (UEFA) is that (again) it's down to markets and money with the Premier League having had a massive head start in relation to marketing the product that is the Premier League... So the amount of money in this league has meant saturation which gives of more than just an impression of diversity and competitiveness.

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