Jon Swift
2 minute read
15 Jul 2017
5:30 am

Don’t kill off soccer’s peasantry

Jon Swift

The Premier League is essentially where the money lies. These are the blue bloods of the game, but spare a thought for the rest.

Chelsea's players gather on the pitch with the English Premier League trophy, as they celebrate their league title win at the end of the Premier League football match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in London on May 21, 2017. Chelsea's extended victory parade reached a climax with the trophy presentation on May 21, 2017 after being crowned Premier League champions with two games to go. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. /

It is one thing to take the combined £4.4 billion revenues of England’s 92 Premier League and Football League clubs recorded in the 2015/16 season, according to consultants Deloitte, and surmise that all is well and good with the game.

In real terms, the big teams – the ones who are realistically in the running for domestic and European titles – hold soccer in a tighter thrall than ever was the case in the eras of the landed gentry and the peasant population.

If you have any doubts about that, just balance Manchester United’s revenue of £513 million – never mind the valuation of £2.887 billion put on the Old Trafford outfit – against the overall total and do your own calculations.

The Premier League is essentially where the money lies. These are the blue bloods of the game.

Newly promoted Huddersfield Town will benefit from the windfall “with clubs standing to earn a revenue uplift of at least £170 million from promotion to the Premier League, rising to over £290 million if they survive one season”.

The Premier League continues to boom after competition between broadcasters drove the overall value for domestic TV rights for the 2016-19 cycle to more than £5.14 billion over three seasons.

At the other end of the footballing social spectrum are the clothcap players in the lower divisions.

Clubs like League Two outfit the reconstituted Accrington Stanley lead a far less privileged life – and could suffer even further financial plight if a call to scrap the League Cup gains momentum.

Andy Holt, chair of the Accies, spelt it out.

“Success in the League Cup and FA Cup are the very things that keep clubs like ours going.

“I don’t want anyone scrapping either and we’d be crushed if they got rid of FA Cup replays.

“Without that cup revenue our finances just don’t stack up. The competition might be of little significance to the bigger clubs but it’s massive for us.

“More money has to pass down through the divisions from the Premier League to non-leagues or the skill ladder is broken, and the EFL (League) Cup helps in this regard.”

It doesn’t just help, it is vital part of the lifeblood of the game. Killing off the game’s peasantry cannot help soccer, or the Premier League blue bloods.

Jon Swift

Jon Swift