It's Looking To Be A Season Of Struggle On All Fronts

By Bradford City Supporters Trust, Nov 6 2020 07:16PM

On The Pitch

The Bantams appear to be in familiar form to all us City fans as we we watch their frustrating performances from the comfort of our homes on iFollow. We do note the 3-0 win over the Shrimpers who appear welded to the foot of the table. Getting 3 important points on our travels to fellow strugglers Mansfield was the only other victory achieved in recent weeks after the embarrassing one nil defeat at home to League Two newcomers Harrogate Town at VP in front of the Sky tv cameras.

Lets hope we don't see another banana slip this Saturday in front of the Beeb's cameras in our FA Cup first round draw away at Tonbridge Angels. Kick-Off 12.30pm.

Stuart McCall and Kenny Black have a really tough job in drilling fight and determination; qualities necessary needed for us to fulfill this ambition. The pressure to succeed and all the negativity that swirls around it, acting like a dead weight, may feel unwieldy on the management and playing staff, but we believe it can be done and Stuart can do it. More importantly, Stuart and the players have to believe they can do it. We do need long term stability. The damage of short-termism, illustrated in the succession of managers failing to bring success, has had a long lasting impact. Favourable conditions need to exist from within the Club if Stuart is to be successful in leading the team. and that requires a long term vision and resources that compliment and support him.

Project Big Picture

This season has been full of drama already! Not on on the pitch, but off it! The global pandemic has affected us all in a myriad of ways, and it has affected people acutely in a financial way. This translates to businesses and jobs. In essence, the pandemic has brought into stark relief, all the inequalities in society, affecting the poorest and most vulnerable more.

In football the smallest clubs or those clubs whose owners have gambled and squandered money where clubs have achieved a great meteoric rises, only to tumble back down, have all felt the pinch more than others. And of course we have seen the demise of Bury and now Macclesfield.

Since the Covid outbreak we saw drama play out about how to curtail or continue the season after last season' suspension, drama over whether clubs in League One and Two should accept limits to squad incomes, and in April we saw commitment from the PL of financial relief on a short term basis to EFL and National League Clubs to cover the loses due to Covid, see here under 'Solidarity with clubs below PL'. We've also seen the new season start behind closed doors in anticipation of fans coming back to stadiums and then that idea being temporarily shelved. And more recently we saw the Project Big Picture proposals which came to light led by the 'big 6' PL Clubs, and which were believed involved EFL Chair, Rick Parry in secret discussions for as long as three years.

Although Project Big Picture is taken off the table, for now at least, it was essentially an idea to restructure the PL from 20 clubs to 18, whilst at the same time offer a one off £250m to the EFL Clubs, abolish the League Cup and Charity Shield, as well as nine longest serving Premier League teams (the so-called big six of Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, as well as Everton, West Ham and Southampton) would be given preferential votes that would mean just six of them would need to agree in order to approve any change in the rules or, alternatively, veto them. Also broadcasting rights would radically change that would allow the PL clubs to broadcast their own channels via pay per view abroad. There is a very good YouTube video by HITC Sport that fully explains it here.

Whilst these proposals are off the table, the Premier League Statement on the 14th October, commits that the "Premier League Shareholders agreed to work together as a 20-club collective on a strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football, consulting with all stakeholders to ensure a vibrant, competitive and sustainable football pyramid...". It also agreed a financial rescue package for League One and Two Clubs. You can see the statement in full here. From this, we can take that there may be elements of these proposals that will resurface in the future. The Football Supporters Association (FSA), a national supporter led organisation which we are affiliated to, as a stakeholder will be keeping a watchful brief ensuring that the good elements can be realised, such as a £20 away cap on top-flight tickets and subsidised travel, guaranteed away allocations, and safe standing areas.

European Super League

No sooner had we seen the rise and fall of Project Big Picture, the idea of a European Super League had resurfaced its ugly head in October, and it has been reported that PL Clubs, Man Utd and Liverpool have been in talks with Europe’s biggest football clubs about on their secret plans to join a new FIFA-backed tournament that would create a de facto European Super League, with a provisional start date said to have been discussed as early as 2022 worth £4.6 billion to create. You can see the detail of this plan further, here.

These grandiose ideas, are clearly about the richest Clubs in football trying to create new markets to get richer from, unsatisfied with the the profits they enjoy already. They will clearly undermine the legitimacy of existing traditions, culture and ambitions of clubs and supporters at home, and the opportunities for grass roots teams to one day achieve success at the highest level, and would have a long lasting damaging effect on lower league football if they ever get to see the light of day.

The FSA's position is that it is lobbying for a government a fan-led review (which has already been promised) of the governance and regulation of football and that process needs to start as a matter of urgency before the super-rich custodians of the biggest clubs can do any more damage.

The Trust believes that throwing all our eggs into one basket in the idea of a government fan-led review, or even a government bail-out is unlikely to be enough, although in themselves would be a good start. It will require the struggle and collective united action of football supporters on the ground not only to demand change but play a vital part in saving football as we know it almost certain from ruin.

Best wishes and stay safe.


From all of us on the Bantams Supporters Trust Board

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