The 39th step too far?
Not sure about you but events on the pitch for the U`s are getting a bit too depressing of late. As soon as we`re starting to look like a decent, balanced side with a set first XI looking good - they start to drop like flies.
Yeatesy`s shoulder pops out, Whitey`s elbow follows suit and goodness only knows what happened to Chris Coyne. Perhaps he was trying to out do Dean Gerken in the "Who can most seriously concussed this season?" stakes.
Following my last column, insisting we avoid looking at the table at least until the end of March I`m going to have to find something else to fill my time - and my word count!
So what have I been doing with myself whilst stringently avoiding league tables (and most U`s match reports in the national papers, as they tend to mention the "relegation threatened U`s")?
Well, I`ve had to read all the other football and sport content in the papers instead. There seems to be a lot of coverage of this egg-chasing game at the moment. Dafyd at work is getting very excited about it too, so I`ve read a few bits about that. I still can`t work it out - they seem to get points for putting the ball over the bar? If there were a Turkish team Kem Izzet`d be a shoe-in!
Aside from that and the ongoing saga to find out if Andy Murray`s knee knack will overcome him before his hair swallows him alive there`s a lot of talk about the Premier League`s 39th game proposal.
I have to admit, when I first heard the idea I thought: "The money-grabbing, little sh…" but then I learned I wasn`t alone as phone-ins and letters pages were filled with vitriol attacking the idea. Even that lover and inventor of woeful ideas Sepp Blatter attacked it. If that`s not a bad sign for your idea I don`t know what is.
But I can at least see why they`re trying to do it. The NFL is spreading it wings worldwide, with great success. The World Club Championship and all those other half-baked tournaments are a marketing man`s dream. Whether you work in football or foot spas, everyone says you have to "Crack the Chinese market."
There are sound ideas behind even this crackpot scheme.
We all know money`s not everything but tell that to Luton, Bournemouth and now Rotherham.
So if we take the best bits of this idea: improved reach of English football; more money; greater audiences; added excitement and 'reach`. And stand them up against the pitfalls: Premier League grabbing all the money; unbalancing the league; money won`t trickle down - it gave me a few clear pointers.
You can`t have a 39th game, that has to be a given. If you do, one team ends up playing Man United three times when another plays a Derby County three times - that`s just not fair, financially as well as in terms of points. So that`s out, it can`t be a league game.
So what if it was a Cup game? Which is the most famous Cup competition in the world? What if (and bear with me) it was the FA Cup Fifth Round matches being hosted overseas?
Hear me out - it`s probably only the fixture list on the next page anyway.
The FA Cup Fifth Round. 16 games, 32 teams and all with something to play for. No bias, no unfairness, if anything it would bring more fairness with a neutral venue. No Premier League only tunnel vision all teams playing in England (and Wales) would have an equal chance of tapping into this seam of money.
I`m sure it`d help focus the minds of those flippant oiks at the likes of Reading who denigrated the world`s best Cup competition, saying the Premier League was more important. £5m from Dubai enough to grab your attention Misters Kitson and Coppell?
Now, I know what you`re thinking. You`re thinking: 'What about me? If the U`s draw Man United in the 5th Round, I wanna go and watch and I don`t mean on $ky.` But I can fix that too.
These games are set to be bid for, right? The clubs will be taking home millions of pounds each. Why not give back to their loyal fans? 2,000 fans, all paid for and delivered to Moscow to watch the match. Bulk book, say £500 each? £1m quid.
The fans are happy (a trip to Moscow, paid for by your club?) it could be a season ticket holders` draw; the clubs are still clearing profit; all of the English game is profiting; fans overseas get to see competitive games with something riding on them, two teams desperate to win and they get a wider choice than just the Big Four.
It would be painful for those fans that don`t get to see their team in the FA Cup, but tickets are always limited - and wouldn`t you be pleased, deep down if the U`s suddenly found a rich vein of fans in Asia, America or Australia?
Up the Super White and Blues or should that be the White and Blue Kangaroos?
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