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Supoorters Must Never Give Up On The Game They Love
Tuesday, 4th May 2021 09:01

The recent European Super League is make no mistake about it still simmering and could rise up again, but if the Premier League didn't learn last year when it first reared it's ugly head then it has now.

This weekend showed that football fans do not forget easily and Manchester United fans showed that they still have plenty of supporters who have long felt alienated from their club and have watched in disgust as their owners have taken out a lot more than they have given.

The protests in Manchester on Sunday were needed, no one is condoning the fact that a very small minority used it as an excuse for violence, but the truth is the intensity of the protests was needed to show the World and indeed football club owners that they just can't come into a football club and strip it of it's heritage for nothing other than greed.

The World may have watched in horror, but the message was clear.

In fact the biggest irony for some is that the fight against greed has been led by the fans of the so called Big Six, their fan bases have been swelled over the years by those who are armchair fans, have no real prospect or intention of watching a game live due to geographical reasons and who welcome the likes of a European Super League as all they want to do is support a big club and watch it play big teams.

But although I have seen so many disparaging jokes about the protest being the last 1,000 United fans who live in Manchester, the truth is that it must be awful to support the likes of Manchester United or Liverpool knowing that the days of being able to go to every game if you want to are long gone as their global fanbases are given tickets even for Cup finals ahead of those who still go week in week out.

It was said a couple of weeks ago that all we have done so far is appeasement, that as fans we have won a battle not a war and just maintained the status quo, that is exactly right, the big clubs just took a step back and put things on the back burner, in the meantime nothing changes and aside from the big six who are still getting richer the rest of us are getting farther away from being competitive against them.

Take Aston Villa they spent £92 ,million in the summer , has it enabled them to get into the top six ? NO ! Has it enabled them to get into Europe ? highly unlikely given that 7th place is 6 points away with only 5 games left and there are two clubs standing between them and that position.

What their club will get for their big spending is an extra £14 million is prize money ? is that good business/ I would say no, what business spends £92 million to bring in £14 million, it is a recipe for disaster.

Those who call for their owner to spend money every summer have yet to realise that all we get is the crumbs from the table it makes you feel like a big club to spent around £100 million, but ultimately and the League tables over the years prove this, the status quo is usually maintained and no club outside the big six can afford to spend that amount year in year out with no real return.

I have said this before and apologies to the friends I have who support the Big Six clubs and who are genuine fans who hate what has happened to their clubs, but the only endgame I can see is one where the Big Six leave the Premier League and go into Europe, that will create a Premier League that is competitive.

In any war sacrifices have to be made and we should not be afraid of casting them adrift, although I truly feel for the true genuine supporters of the Big Six.

Do I go to St Mary's to see Mo Salah play for the opposition or any other World superstar who takes the big bucks ? no quite the opposite I am relieved when they don't play and are injured, I go to see Southampton play football and I want to see them win games of football.

All we have is the crumbs at the table, we said this season is different and to a degree it is, but ultimately the trophies will all be won by a Big Six club and the top ten still will contain all of them.

I get ridiculed on here that I live in the past the owners do not take any notice of supporters anymore, wel that has not been the case of late and the truth is we can all sit back and let others do the work, or we can all stand up and do our bit, even if that is just liking social media tweets, signing online petitions or better still joining the Football Supporters Association, it is completely free and you can find out more using the link below.

https://thefsa.org.uk/

So do you want a game that is for the common good, from the lowest tier on the pyramid system up to the top of the Premier League, that allows a degree of competitiveness even at the top and cares about the fans.

Make no mistake although a few battles have been won and a few unlikely allies have rallied to the supporters cause, there is still a long way to go.

Now is the time to stand up and be counted, supporters voices have been quiet for the last decade or so as the big owners have seduced fan bases with money, we cannot allow that to continue.

If you love football and your football club now is the time to show it, we must never give up on the club and the game that we love !

Photo: Action Images



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Block8 added 10:32 - May 4
Couple of points only. I go to St Mary's & away to see the big players in the hope we beat them! No one who has ever played competitive sport wants to be beating the little fish, you want to beat the best, every time! Being the fan of a relatively small club, it's something I can live with, when we don't but absolutely revel in when we do 😇
The other point is maybe they should start looking at a wage cap?
The big sides would probably still get the biggest players but it might just even the playing field?
1

Sadoldgit added 10:38 - May 4
There is nothing wrong with being an “arm chair fan”. I and many of my friends are arm chair fans and we care about the clubs that we support just as much as any other fans. Some of us have been forced out of live football for financial reasons, some for practical reasons and some just because they chose to watch games on tv or listen to them on the radio. A fan is a fan. I really don’t care for football snobbery. I was even told once that my views weren’t important as I didn’t go to matches regularly and this was from the club historian!
5

SanMarco added 12:19 - May 4
Shame that what promised to be a good article rather morphed into a defence of the owner not spending anything. Would Villa have been better off spending nothing and being relegated? If so that is yet more damning evidence about the financial structure of football, not a defence of Gao.

As for giving up on the game we love there is a feeling that the game we love(d) is giving up on us. Ever since Hillsborough and the subsequent Sky takeover the direction of travel has been obvious, The game is an uber-capitalist product and global markets are there to be exploited. I used to shake my head when Fergie would spend the whole season moaning at his team playing too many games, and then during their month off take them to Malaysia to play lots of 'friendlies'. All us 'legacy fans' know why now don't we?

The League Cup and the FA Cup have been undermined for years and we now see the monopoly-capitalists of the 'Big Six' trying to send the English league the same way. My view for what it is worth is that we either have radical reform with wage-caps, revision of the loan system and 51% fan control like in Germany or we take the nuclear option and enable a no return exit for the 'Big Six' - goodness knows what would happen then, there certainly wouldn't be 86 league clubs a few years later, but so be it.

One final point: I know a lot of you hate 'politics' being brought up but, in a week where the people of Hartlepool are about to give an enormous thumbs-up to Boris Johnson, it is worth stating clearly that anyone who trusts the government on any of this weill be in for an enormous disappointment.
1

SaintNick added 12:20 - May 4
For clarity I was referring to armchair fans as those who do only follow their teams from afar, have never been to a game and are only interested in watching t on tv, not those who now have to watch it on tv due to being priced out etc
1

Colburn added 13:21 - May 4
Any war has sacrifices..? Perhaps, but the level of sacrifice you are suggesting is like a nation offering its most skilled and intelligent people to the enemy for the sake of the continuity of a weaker, poorer nation.. I'm not sure your idea is reflected in the book 'the art of war', but I could be wrong.
We all know now Nick that the reason for your view is the lack of silverware and chance for success in the Premier League for Saints whilst the big 6 are around so you'd be happy to cut them loose.. Whilst there may be an air of inevitability about the Super League, I am sure there are ways to stop it, including exposing the criminality of those behind the league but firstly, we have to all come together and support the fans of the big 6 who clearly don't want this super league, rather than offering up solutions of cutting them adrift. I am shocked by the cheapness of this notion and like others, want to see us playing against and trying to beat the big teams. How many times have we completed the double over the Champions? How many times have we completed the double over Liverpool? We have that chance this weekend and I personally wouldn't want to change these moments and to be fair, as Leicester have shown, with the right owner who is interested in the club and the city can break into the top 6. If this super league were to go ahead next year, would you be cutting adrift Leicester and West Ham? The fact is, the Premier league is now too competitive to guarantee the big 6 a spot in the top 6 each year and the big bankers who have invested in these clubs don't like that as it clearly threatens their investment. This is why I think they are so desperate to make the move now, behind the backs of all (except the dishonest big media) because their investments are under annual threat as all clubs close the gap (villa 7,Liverpool 2)
The only positive solution is for these bankers who want this super league are told where to go, enough times that they pull their puppets out of the big clubs. This is an obvious power struggle between JPMorgan and friends and the supporters of the beautiful game and we must go to war united and determined Nick, not cutting loose the crown jewels along with the history of a wonderful institution!
2

halftimeorange added 13:48 - May 4
We already have a super league with two divisions - the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. The Champions League is dominated by those clubs who want to form the breakaway league and cut UEFA out. The minnows who feature in those leagues to make up the numbers and ensure it looks "European" make money against star opposition in their early games before they're eliminated - remember Saints v Inter? And therein lies the problem. Money dictates football and the only way to change its future is a unified boycott of all matches featuring the big clubs by both home and away supporters including the armchair fraternity. After a while the TV companies and other sponsors would find other avenues in which to invest their money rather than in and around empty stadia. The current football circus was officially allowed to continue throughout the pandemic. Why? To give viewers something to watch, to cheer everybody up or because of the influence wielded by the money men at the top? I know which one my money's on.
0

PaleRider added 14:25 - May 4
Nick - a thought provoking article. However:

1) Our owner is part of the problem, not part of the solution;
2) The genie is out of the bottle and cannot be put back in;
3) The gravy train is massive as it includes the media, pundits etc. - really anyone who makes money out of the Premier League;
4) You say "Now is the time to stand up and be counted, supporters voices have been quiet for the last decade or so as the big owners have seduced fan bases with money, we cannot allow that to continue." and give a link to a petition. Do you believe this is enough or should something else be done?
4)
-2

underweststand added 15:41 - May 4
" armchair fans " (or whatever you may call them) are no less fervent than others because they can't manage to attend every game. As a life long fan, born in the city, my dedication to the club is perhaps even stronger than when I was a fan in the 1960's ...and the 6 decades thereafter.
Nowadays; health, finance and geography all play a large part in my lack of opportunities to watch live games, and so I go along with " sadoldgit " above and support the right to have a say regardless .
Football in Britain (or in this case England ) is a grass roots sport supported in the main by "the man in the street, " who follows the team and buys his club shirt and he has a right to an opinion about the game. Those men who own " Big money clubs " see it a " money -making hobby" that they can boast about amongst their billionaire friends.

I know who I enjoy being amongst at a game, and they don't all have fat wallets either.
3

davidargyll added 17:42 - May 4
Good article. But I would only caution to be careful what you wish for.
Can anybody guarantee that if the big 6 say goodbye, that the remnants of the PL don’t end up in a Scotland situation, ie competitive it maybe but anything like as much media rights money coming in? Somehow I doubt it.
Like it or not, the likes of Sky and Amazon will continue to pay shedloads because of the presence of the big 6. Without them, well at least the value of average players will fall to much more reasonable if not bargain basement levels…
1

Block8 added 18:29 - May 4
Whilst I sympathise with fans that can no longer attend matches, it doesn't alter the fact that most of whats wrong with football is TV related!
The SL is a plan to maximize TV revenue, VAR was introduced after major TV influence, dates & times are frequently changed to suit TV and rules are constantly changing through TV intervention. AND who suffers from all this, the guys that stump up their hard earned cash because they love their football club.
As I said I do sympathise with some armchair fans but NOT at the detriment of the fans who attend!
2

saintmark1976 added 01:02 - May 5
Correct me if I’m wrong Nick, but didn’t the so called big six want to remain in the Premiership at the weekend and play in a Super League during the week also? I don’t recall that they suggested that they could function playing in the Super League alone. If in fact I am correct then it’s surely hard to see any attraction to them in your suggestion of casting them adrift.
1


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