The opening games of the new Premier League season have demonstrated that the gap between the mega rich teams and the rest is now increasing.
With only seven games played the Big Guns are way ahead. Manchester United have won six and drawn one, scoring 24 goals and conceding only five, City have also won six and drawn one, scoring 23 and conceding five. Chelsea in third spot have scored a relatively modest 17 and conceded eight.
Newcastle have risen to the heady heights of fourth spot, but there is little expectation of a move into the top three and virtually no one expects them to be there come the end of the season.
Even the merely rich are finding it hard to compete, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal already know that winning the league is beyond them.
Other clubs like Sunderland have spent significant sums of money (approximately £115 million) trying to get near the top table, but they are now starting to realise that this is insufficient when the top three are spending unimaginable sums of money on transfers and salaries.
What is the point of having a league, in which after only seven matches, only three teams can win the title?
The league is no longer a real competition, it is now a three-horse race from the first kick of the season.
In fact, ever since the Premier League started in 1992 only four teams have won the league. Manchester United have won it 12 times, Arsenal and Chelsea three each and Blackburn once, way back in 1994.
In recent years the dominance of Chelsea and Manchester United has meant that no club other than these two has won the Premier League since 2004 and, as of May 2011, 20 of the last 27 major domestic trophies have gone to either Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford.
I know many United, City and Chelsea fans will not like this said but the Premier League is no longer a competition in any true sense. It is now for the glorification of the top table, those mega greedy clubs who gorge themselves with increasingly obscene demonstrations of wealth and success.
Roman Abramovitch, Sheikh Mansour and the Glazer family have pumped incredible sums into their chosen teams paying massive transfer fees and wages in the process. Spending £50m on a transfer fee and £250,000 a week wages is seemingly pocket-money for those with unimaginable wealth.
Many fans of other clubs in the Premier League are disenchanted with the current disparities and are starting to turn away from attending matches. Many in the Football League have given up hope of ever reaching the Premier League because the distribution of funds within the football pyramid is too locked into the top teams.
So how do we resolve the current impasse and create a football environment where there is a fair and real competition.
Here’s my list of potential ways to revolutionize the Premier League and football in general.
1. A salary cap to limit on the amount of money a team can spend on player salaries. The limit could exist as a per-player limit or a total limit for the squad, or both. Several sports leagues have implemented salary caps, both as a method of keeping overall costs down, and to ensure parity between teams, so the same mega rich teams cannot maintain dominance by signing many more top players than their rivals. There would be clear benefits derived from salary caps – promotion of parity between teams, and control of the clubs costs. A salary cap has been implemented effectively in both Rugby League and Union for some time.
2. Limit transfer fees as well as salaries. The huge transfer fees paid are currently obscene at a time of global economic meltdown. Players should be rewarded for their efforts but frankly the transfer fees (of which the player gets a cut) and salaries are completely out of synchronicity with the rest of society.
The public are getting increasingly frustrated with the exorbitant transfer fees and salaries. Clubs could invest their resources in youth development and demonstrate a long-term approach for the good of the clubs themselves and for football in general. Many Premier League clubs have spent excessively trying to keep up with the mega rich and this has only led them into financial difficulties and in some case even administration.
3. Give cash incentives for home-grown players. Extra resources could be given to clubs with home-grown players in their squads up to a maximum number. This would promote youth development and in turn provide benefits for the home nations international teams.
4. Share the TV money more equally amongst Premiership teams and give a greater share of money to clubs in the Football League. This would ensure that the football pyramid is secure and that the smaller clubs, who are often the lifeblood of many communities, are able to thrive and develop new footballing talent.
5. Premier League footballers contracts should stipulate that they donate a small percentage of their income to local charities and good causes and that they help out at local schools and hospitals on a regular basis. This would help the players to understand how privileged they are and it would ground them in the local communities which support them.
If we want a sport that is truly competitive and that supporters can be proud of, it is about time we revolutionized football. All football fans need to be lobbying their clubs and the football authorities to make the changes.
Now is the time for a change.
Viva la revolution!