Alex Miller's Sheffield Wednesday column: Nothing is sacred in this broken football world - just save us the bull****
Well-fed vultures patiently waiting out the final, whispering breath of the football league. It is what it is, as stomach-turning as it is inevitable, a clever business move in this heartless world of hyper-capitalism.
‘Project Big Picture’, a joyless, dystopian new way forward for our national passion, a power swindle dressed-up as a rescue mission, is just the latest finger-clicking towards a waiter across three decades of gluttony that will see yet more lobster thrown into the gullet of the well-fed while the starving are thrown gruel.
It’s much-needed gruel, sure, gruel that will keep the desperate peasants alive while the bourgeoisie wind-up the drawbridge to their castle. It’s gruel that holds off any spirit of resistance or revolution in a pastime that used to revel in it; “Yes, m’lord. Thankyou, m’lord. Good luck against PSG.”
This cash-for-power swindle will move on to the next grand move towards a European Super League or a Premier League 2 or whatever is crunched-up to be the most lucrative roadmap for the top clubs in years to come. It’s nothing new.
A push for 18 teams? It’s no effort to protect the welfare of players – otherwise known as ‘assets’ in the corridors of football’s decision makers – but rather a calendar clearance to allow Chelsea and co more time to head out on tour to Asia or the US, collecting their millions on the way.
It may not be this time, it may be tempered or bent in places to look more beneficial to the grateful gruel-gobbling proletariat, but the power of football in this country is going the way of the mega-rich one way or another. It’s nailed-on, a certainty. This latest development merely shines a torch on murky waters.
My only request now is that they do us all a favour and save us the bull****.
The two clubs said to have pioneered Project Big Picture are Manchester United and Liverpool.
United are a club whose spirit has openly been sapped away, much to the pain of supporters, since the arrival of the Glazer family all those years ago.
But Liverpool – the club this writer has supported since he was a boy, by the way – are a club still in part sold on a rhetoric of pseudo-socialism, who wave the socialist principles of Bill Shankly as advertising slogans in one hand and throw gruel in the face of neighbouring Tranmere with the other.
‘This Means More’, says the LFC advertising slogan, placed over images of 1960s supporters on salaries that would render them mere nuisances to those in suits that paid for the advert in the first place. It’s bull**** at its hottest and most pungent.
Could this Big Picture stuff save the short-term future of football clubs in this country? Certainly. Is it possible that this is the best deal EFL clubs can expect as the matter trudges towards an inevitable conclusion? Absolutely.
Is this swirling rise of top tier gluttony a world Sheffield Wednesday supporters should continue to be so desperate to join? One for another day perhaps.
Go on with you, lobster-hoarding vultures, do what you do. Plate up your gruel, build your walls.
But do us a favour and save us the bull****. Because for some of us, this actually does mean more.