Why Arsenal fans should say ‘no’ to Project Big Picture

Say No To “Project Big Picture” by Dan Smith

So what would the proposal entail? Here are the key points courtesy of SkySports:

The Premier League would be reduced from 20 to 18 clubs.
The EFL Cup and the Community Shield would be scrapped.
Current one-club one-vote principle would be abolished, as would rule that 14 clubs out of the current 20 need to agree on policy.
Power would be in the nine clubs that have remained in the Premier League longest (Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Southampton, Tottenham, West Ham).
Only six of the nine longest-serving clubs need to vote for major change.
A £250m payment up front to the EFL, plus £100m payment to the Football Association.
25 per cent of Premier League annual revenue (up from four per cent) would go to the EFL clubs.

You know at Christmas how a loan shark might knock on the door of the elderly and the poor and offer them money right there and then. The recipient, too fragile to understand the extent of how much they will be paying back long term and the consequences if they fail. Well in this scenario, Liverpool and Man United are the loan sharks and I guess the EFL is the old grandparent desperate to afford presents this December.

The owners of English Football’s two most successful clubs have been working on a revamp of the Football League in what is being called ‘Project Big Picture‘.

The Chairmen of the EFL, Rick Parry has spent all weekend commending the leadership of the two clubs. Of course he has. It’s his job to do what’s best for the 92 clubs not in the Premiership.
At a time when some are facing extinction without matchday revenue and the government hardly making football a priority in terms of emergency funding, 250 million pound up front and a guarantee of 25 percent every year of broadcasting income is not a deal he can turn down. In terms of his job, it would be irresponsible not to say ‘Yes’.

He’s not in a situation where he can say No …..and Liverpool and Man United are well aware of that. They’ve got the poor man nodding his head to everything ….

Reduce the Football League?
Scrap parachute payments?
Change relegation/play offs?

He’s nodding, just write that man a cheque.

Arsenal are not innocent either.

Officially as things stand, we have given zero commitment either way, but it’s believed part of the Champion’s action plan was to have the top 6 on board.

That will essentially become a big 9 with Everton, West Ham and Southampton qualifying for ‘special voting privileges’ due to how many years in the top flight.

This is where long term you see what the big clubs are trying to gain and if, like me, you hate change, it’s kind of scary.

As things stand, any changes to laws in the Prem get voted by all 20 clubs in the Prem with 14 having to agree for there to be a change in legislation. This new format being suggested would see the 9 clubs mentioned essentially have more control then their peers.

Essentially once in power, the status quo can ensure they remain the status quo. They can arrange their own broadcast deals, organise financial rules which suit them, even be able to veto takeover bids.

From a pure business point of view I get it. Liverpool got approx. 140 million off TV rights last year. Norwich, who were relegated, got only 40 million less. Which one are the majority paying their subscriptions for?

Yet that’s what’s always made English Football beautiful. The reason Watford can beat Liverpool 3-0 is that once in the Premier League, there’s integrity and a commitment to a level playing field.
If it was all about making as much money as possible, you could simply follow the Spanish model where Barcelona and Real Madrid have their own contracts, but long term you can’t then complain if interest in the competition dilutes.

If these clubs long term want to break away and have their own European Super League, etc, I hope they have checked how much their audience want to see it because I would suggest many supporters are getting pushed away. The idea of every summer 9 clubs having to bow down to 9 chairmen sitting at the head table is hard to stomach.

My attitude is’ if it’s not broken why try and fix it’.

John W Henry has done some great things on Merseyside without question. Roman Abramovich equally at Chelsea. Yet we can’t trust these people with the future of our national game. You are giving non-football people one of your most precious institutions and then you’re going to be shocked when they turn it into NBA?

I don’t trust Stan Kroenke to run Arsenal, let alone have increased power in the Premier League.

Take the League Cup for example. That’s a competition introduced in 1960 and now the team that has lifted that trophy the most, decide they don’t care about it because they had a successful few years. So because they don’t like it and it gets in the way of their schedule let’s try and just cancel it?

My attitude is, if you don’t like the League Cup, simply don’t enter it. Yet the fact that you have the option of fielding your youngsters anyway, what’s the issue? Why do you think though, that the top 6 don’t just walk away? Because while they don’t want to play in it, they don’t want someone else winning it and taking one of their European spots.

From a finance point of view the argument will be that with the new deal, the EFL no longer need to bother about the added revenue of a Cup tie.

AND THERE IT IS… I’ve just given you a very Stan Kroenke or the Glazers answer. They will say that because they don’t love the sport.

Put the emotion into it …. Everton fans would love to lift that silverware this season.

Chelsea fans will always remember Jose SSHing Liverpool Fans.

Liverpool fans equally will remember beating Man United.

Did you not hurt when Birmingham beat us?

In those moments, how many fans were thinking about finances?

We are going to swap that to have the rich become richer.

Make zero mistake, scrapping the cup, reducing the Prem, it’s not due to concern about players over playing. How would you feel if the League Cup was abolished and in that spare midweek, Man United took a quick trip to Asia to sell some merchandise?

Because that’s all this is. Helping brands grow – but not the actual sport. The only reason clubs have grown into that brand is the love of the sport.

Tell you what, if Mr Kroenke can name our entire squad, give him more power. Yet if you just read that and said ‘he can’t’, isn’t it scary that he could be about to become a major influence on how our game moves forward?

Dan Smith

20 Comments

  1. Declan says:

    You lost me at “Arsenal are not innocent either”.
    Yes it has been declared the plan is to have the ‘top 6’ on board but as yet none of the other teams including Arsenal have made any comment at all and as far as anyone is aware been involved with United and Liverpool in hatching the plan. I’m not at all saying we won’t be up for it just that it’s totally wrong to make the statement you made.
    Anyway, moving on, I personally think it will be totally wrong for the game, the rich will get richer and the poor will fade away and die. Killing the minor cup competitions will lead to Prem teams jetting off to play lucrative friendly games abroad. Promotion and relegation will eventually be scrapped and, heaven forbid, it will evolve into a European Super League. I want to play the likes of Leicester, Norwich, Wolves etc week in week out rather than Madrid, Barca or Bayern.

    1. dan Smith says:

      not innocent in terms of greed
      eg , one of 19 clubs to vote for ppv idea
      i also said it is believed the champions will get top 6 on board , never said it was a fact

      1. Declan says:

        Perhaps you should have explained in your article why Arsenal are not innocent instead of the bland remark.

      2. towny254 says:

        It is greedy billionaires that want more and if we say NO you are not changing our beloved game then sell up and sling your hook back to the USA

    2. Highbury Hero says:

      “I want to play the likes of Leicester, Norwich, Wolves etc week in week out rather than Madrid, Barca or Bayern.”

      Couldn’t agree more. As much as I enjoy watching other leagues when time is convenient, I am not very fond of Champions League (Cup) or Europa League (Cup).

  2. Sean Williams says:

    Good article Dan and I agree with the jist of it. I remember when football was run for the fans, now it is run for various world oligarchs. Some oligarchs are greedier than others, but as far as you and I the supporter they give not an iota. For these people the results of karma is inevitable and certain.

  3. McLovin says:

    Smells like greed and money to me.

    So no from me.

  4. lcw says:

    Arsenal fans will fall in line and go with the flow. The average person wants to belong and be part of something rather than defend his/her own interest. That’s evident by the ferocious and blind defense of the club whenever you criticize it.

  5. jon fox says:

    My thoughts in no special ordedf are these: This plan will fall an not have hope in hell, mercifully, of being carried in a vote.
    The powerbrikers behind it, John Henry and Galzers, plus almost certain Daniel Levy and probably on board , though only privately at present, also Kroenke, Sheikh Mansoor and Abramovitch will not stop plottingsomething else once this DISGUSTING plan hits the buffers. SNAKES REMAIN SNAKES, EVEN WHEN THEIR FIRST ATTEMPT AT A POISONOUS BITE TO KILL FAILS.

    The present football structure can not remain for much longer and , in contrast to this evil plan it needs to move in the opposite direction, starting with a wage cap at ALL levels.

    This would be challenged in court if it happened and so careful planning would be needed to push a wage cap through, involving government support. Would a Conservative government support such a move? Possibly, esp iN the midst of this plaque but the time to instigate a wage cap is NOW, as in normal times a Tory government would never agree, I believe!
    Withouit a much fairer distribution to all including the very lowest in EFL, any new deal will be widely ostracised by far more fans , myself included than the football authorities have bargained for.

    In these bleak times there is huge and widespread fan (and non fan) antipathy to corporate and private greed. Greed, if left unchecked will prove the ultimate down fall of Prem football and of the Prem itself.

    I HAVE BEEN INCREASINGLY DISCOMFITTED FOR MANY YEARS ALREADY, AT SUPPORTING A FOOTBALL CLUB THAT IS A KEY PART OF THE POISONOUS WAY TOP FOOOTBALL IS RUN.
    I can foresee a time not far way when I abandon supporting top level football. and if this plan or something like it succeeds, I am not going to support it ever again. If that means leaving Arsenal then so be it. I will be far from alone, mark my words! The last straw that would break the camels back is coming down the line; so it is either change, in the OPPOSITE direction, or I am off for good!

    1. jon fox says:

      Apologies to DAN for not having the good sense(in my above post) to even mention what a wonderful article this one is , once again!

      I am heartened but not at all surprised to see that all the posts on this threasd so far are of broadly similar opinion about this evil and dreadful, but doomed, attempt to takeover football by the elite few. MAINSTREAM FAN OPINION IS WHAT WILL ULTIMATELY DEFEAT THIS HOSTILE TAKEOVER ATTEMPT!

      1. ozziegunner says:

        jon, professional football, like all sport, is a pyramid, where the quality and number of those who reach the top is dependent upon the width of the base. If players aren’t coming in at school pupil level, graduating into amateur, semi professional, professional lower leagues, then the top with whither and die. That is why the EPL clubs must support the association to redistribute the bounty during this pandemic to help the code to survive.
        By the way jon, comparing the people you cited to snakes is a disservice and insult to snakes. Having worked in areas populated by 9 of the 10 most venemous snakes on the planet, it is my experience that they pose no threat if left alone. They only strike if trod on or threatened, so you tread carefully. They want to keep their precious venom for prey to eat.

  6. durand says:

    Too often a compromise is not a compromise; it is yet another step in a slow march towards their true purpose. With incremental changes over time, soon it will become a monstrosity we no longer recognize.
    The fact that nowhere are the fan’s opinions considered, referenced, mentioned, or even sought after. This to me sets off alarm bells and red flags.
    They offer “cake” to the lesser teams while silencing their voice. Politicians never let a crisis go to waste, and the powerbrokers in the PL are seizing the opportunity during this pandemic to create a league as a tribute to themselves.
    IF this goes through, PPV fees and charges may become the new normal; this is being considered even now. They forget where the money comes from, the fans, it has never grown on trees.
    These leeches kept overdrawing from the well, soon enough it will dry up; and hopefully so will the fan’s patience with these greedy sots.

    1. jon fox says:

      Durand Great to see the usual worldly wise sense from you. I much like your analogy of the well, as that is precisely what the ugly folk with power in top football do.

      They care nothing whatever that EVERYONE needs water, only that they can have all there is. If these corporate thieves are allowed to steal even more from the smaller and helpless clubs AND squeeze the pips of we fans til our money well dries up too, then these thieves will have killed top level football.

      We fans must NEVER let them steal our game and its honour from us. AND WE WILL NOT EITHER! I bet all those USA billionaires who control some of our Prem clubs, including Kroenke, vote for Trump. Which says it all!

      1. Durand says:

        Thanks Jon, I merely articulate what I both feel and fear. These owners forget their main premise; they provide a commodity in the public marketplace; no more.
        These antics show them to be more akin to robber barons of the early 20th century. They forget money is in control, not the owners. The game follows the money don’t doubt me! Whether television rights, exponential growth of transfer fees, even world wide branding.
        Everything follows the money unfortunately; less are the values, morals, and we are all lessened for it.
        As we scream for “more” in all things, hence the consequence.
        We freely give over our money, our time, our emotional investments to a game we love, but who’s owners neither love nor respect us.

        1. ozziegunner says:

          Undermine the base of the pyramid and the quality and number at the top is greatly reduced.
          Damage the roots and the tree whithers and dies.
          No one cares about the fans, provided they pay. The main power they have is their vote, so write to your parliamentarians.

  7. NWL Dan says:

    I have for ages thought about and discussed with my friends the idea of dropping 2 or 4 clubs out of the Premier league.
    The reason I think this is to give players and non playing staff a winter break at Christmas.
    A lot of them are from countries abroad and a break will give them a chance to travel back to their homelands to spend the holiday period with their family and loved ones.
    It could also give the national team a chance to meet up and train together for a few days.
    I would be against it though if clubs used it as an excuse to travel abroad to play lucrative friendlies.

    Also I am totally against the big 9 having the power to decide what happens with the other lower clubs because simply it is just not fair!

    If having a winter break means sacrificing moral values and to the detriment of other clubs then No! The Glazers, Henry and the other fat cats can jog on.

  8. SueP says:

    My overriding concern is that the Premier league will become like American leagues, where it becomes impossible for clubs to be relegated or promoted.

    What incentive is it for any club outside of the Premier league to bother, if the country’s greatest prize – winning the EPL – becomes an impossibility.

    Being an older person contributing on JA I remember my youth going to the game with my parents and then as a parent myself being able to take my boys. As time has gone on, the chances of getting a ticket and the spiralling costs has made it a financial choice.

    World domination appears to be on the minds of the top of the EPL tree and that is a tragedy for the future of the sport.

    Another way forward to help the lower leagues needs to be found, but not by greedy foreign owners who are just out for themselves. They are showing not a care for the tradition that is part of football in the UK as a whole. We are a sovereign nation…just about! and hope that this plan fails in its current form.

  9. RSH says:

    Superleagues aren’t interesting, this proposed plan doesn’t sound interesting either. I mean, I’m up for removing League Cup honestly, but that’s about it. Everything else is clearly to maintain status quo, but the ups and downs of football is part of the reason to watch. Having a side like Leicester usurping the status quo is great and i’d hate to see an end to that

  10. ken1945 says:

    Spent some time with this topic today and how, in essence, it relates to Jon’s second article.

    I remember Arsene Wenger implying the self same scenario becoming a reality if the big clubs allowed it.
    The suggestion of a smaller PL from NWL does make some really good sense and it will not be the first time the top division has taken such a step.

    But apart from that, I can see no merit in this whatsoever.
    It’s all about greed and power and we have enough of that already.

  11. jon fox says:

    What is immensely heartening AND, in thefinal analysis, will prove the defence against this grab for total power by thr disgusting elite billionaires , including our own clubs evil owner, is the solidity oftop clubs fan power being almost 100% against it. Not a single post on this thread wants it and Other top clubs fan sites which I have looked at are very similar.
    This shows how much powerwe fans have when we band together. The irony is that our very intense rivalry and disdain for our competitors clubs is holding us back from banding together in the common cause against this evil powr grab.

    But, despite that fact, when the chips are down we fans are theones who will defeat it. Initially the Prem vote will be against what is precisely proposed today, but those vile snakes will come back with other plans hoping to wear us down.

    We will never give in! Fight, my friends, forthe values we all hold dear and defeat these vile billionaires.

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