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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

"Make money your God and it will plague you like the devil." Henry Fielding.

By now you have all heard the ludicrous suggestion of the Premier League to consider staging domestic fixtures abroad once a season (spot the oxymoron there). Others have already touched upon the obvious folly it invites to the integrity of the competition. It is safe to garner the immense sense of dissatisfaction this has provoked from the majority of supporters, both UK based and from foreign shores. What I want to get across in this meditation on this proposal (which is as much a way of getting to grips with the whole thing myself as it is a call to arms), is just how dangerous this suggestion is. Not to us, the supporters. My personal slant is that if the Premier League wishes to sanction this move, they do so without me. This will not affect my person in the slightest; I will not be traipsing across the continent to watch Arsenal play Derby County. Simply, I will not be watching or following Arsenal or any Premiership club at all, whether on my doorstep or for any "Thriller in Manilla." If Scudamore and his chums want to exclude me and my ilk from a product that I and others like me have been instrumental in building, then they can do as they will. My angle here is also not sympathetic of pampered, tired, over travelled footballers playing too many games. The threat here rests not on you, or I, or the Ronaldos, Fabregas` and Danny Mills` of this world, it rests squarely on Scudamore and his merry band of fat cats.

"A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart." Jonathan Swift.

When I heard the first murmurings of this proposal in the wake of the NFL match at Wembley, I dismissed it fairly swiftly. Another harebrained scheme, much like last year`s penalty shoot out for league fixtures suggestion, a fart in a boardroom somewhere destined to fizzle out and die as quickly as its foul stench was propelled into collective conscience. But the fact that all Premiership chairmen have unanimously agreed to explore the suggestion sets serious alarm bells ringing. I have long since discarded any notions of romance in the running of the national game; we all know money is at the heart of every decision. From the puerile and laughable mess that is international football, to inflated ticket prices. But while the game is certainly not run by the people, Scudamore and his merry band of solicitous pigs need to take their snouts out of the trough long enough to realise the game is still run for the people. Whether they wish to believe it or not, without us the game is nothing, which means no Lexus for Scudamore, Hill-Wood will be forced to smoke Hamlets, no more golden dildos for Sullivan and Gold. The Premier League has been buying my happiness for years, but, and I make no litigious promises of larceny, if they keep pushing, I will simply steal it back and reinvest it elsewhere. I`ve a feeling this particular Robin Hood will be joined by bands of thousands of merry men.

"Endless money forms the sinews of war." Cicero.

This morning, I had an e mail from a Millwall supporting friend of mine who, in reaction to the proposal, said, "You know, sometimes I`m really glad I support a crap team." Overseas interest in the Premiership has seen it flourish commercially, and the benefits have been there for all to see. Whilst jilted kick off times and prohibitive prices have soured the milk, we still have a product that works. Disenfranchised splinterings have emerged, but largely there have been enough fans like myself, who have gritted our teeth and coughed up the readies. I feel a move as dramatic as the one proposed, the Premier League will have a mass mutiny to deal with, similar to the one that Serie A still reels from. For the domestic supporters are your lifeblood. The people who buy the tickets, the programmes, the burgers, who cart their kiddies off to the club shop and buy the new club endorsed teabags. If you alienate these people, you have a serious problem on your hands. Already we are seeing decent sides such as Blackburn Rovers playing in front of decimated crowds. The Premier League is inviting a revolution, not a revolution of anger or bloodshed; there will be no riot shields in reaction to voodoo economics. The people simply will wilt away. Is it not safe to assume, Mr. Scudamore, that if you continue to dump on your own doorstep, people won`t want to come around for tea anymore?

"Numbers is hard to feel and they never have feelings/ but you push too hard, even numbers got limits/ Why did one straw break the camel's back? Here's the secret: the million other straws underneath it - it's all mathematics." Mos Def.

What this proposal will invite is a dystopian scene for the Premier League`s future, something allegorically similar to a scene from Mad Max. We are beginning to edge ever closer to the Thunderdome, to the precipice of extinction. Because when you lose the base of your product, the fans that turn up week in, week out, there is an inevitable domino effect. Clubs lose revenue, which in turn means they cannot attract the best players, which means the overseas interest they seek to cultivate disappears. That means lucrative television deals become less lucrative, the peasants have revolted and long left you. Mr. Scudamore, what does this leave you with? Low quality football games, watched in empty stadiums. Which satellite station or commercial enterprise will salivate for a piece of that pie?

"We will claim nothing, we will ask for nothing, we will take, we will occupy." Situationist graffiti seen in 1960s Paris.

Mr. Scudamore, Premier League chairmen. A revolution is at your doorstep. Invite it at your peril. Because this is a revolution that will not be telelvised.LD.

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Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Friday February 8 2008
Time: 12:31PM


Excellent piece Tim!!! What more can I say?!
08/02/2008 12:39:00
Very bad idea and too many negatives to even start mentioning why. Sign the petition against it -
08/02/2008 13:01:00
I hope, perhaps vainly, that the Premiership chairmen are beginning to get an understanding of just how damaging their deliberations to squeeze a little more out of their 'product' has already begun to damage the product itself - as the eloquently controlled anger in this piece aptly illustrates. Generating more money that as someone else has said ends up as vomit in Ashley Coles cab or an outrageously expensive car that a player like Pennant has driven into a wall does nothing for the value of a sport that ceases to be the entertainment of the masses and simply becomes just another soap opera.
08/02/2008 13:10:00
Agree with Rocky, a brilliant piece! But what a complete load of old horse manure this idea is. The 38 games we have currently are fine. Play every team twice, home and away. With this extra game however, although we would be seeded as to avoid us meeting United, Chelsea and Liverpool, we could conceivably draw for example Spurs and United could draw Derby County, Which is the easier game? Those games could mean the difference between the title and or relegation. AND to cap it all off they want to put it in the new 'winter break'?! WELL ITS NOT A BREAK THEN IS IT!! Id love to know what these guys were smoking when they came up with this one. Can you imagine it? A long board room table, smoke lingering undeerneath the ceiling. Scudamore and Barwick slumped up against the wall, joint in mouth, Sergent Pepper Album playing in the background, it all fits.
08/02/2008 13:20:00
It's also a question of etiquette really. If you plan to cook your friends a really nice meal and buy a really nice bottle of wine, is it not reasonable that they come to your house to enjoy it?
Little Dutch
08/02/2008 13:45:00
Love the analogy Littel Dutch. Great article Tim. The General (a director at Villa) has said those in power at villa have heard the message loud and clear, I'm sure the PL and all clubs are slightly shocked at the fans reaction and on this one, they'll have to back down. Villa LISTEN & HEAR Concerns If I may be a soft git for a moment, it is days like this that make me very proud of the community we have here on Vital.
The Fear
08/02/2008 13:56:00
LD.. agree with above, excellent piece. But what next? ANYONE FOR TENNIS? OMG, what would the days be filled with if not to watch and debate the beautiful game?
08/02/2008 14:07:00
A mutiny towards the lower leagues. Orient are a club I've always ahd a soft spot for..........
Little Dutch
08/02/2008 14:12:00
when your nearest lower league club is Port Vale, thats a bit of a daunting prospect :>(
08/02/2008 14:35:00
LD, unfortunately Orient will still charge you £25 or so to watch their game!

top piece, and cannot disagree with any of it.

The message is clear to the Prem and club chairmen - do this at your peril. Should the fans walk away, you will be left with a lovely big garden, but no beauiful flowers to put in it, just barren soil. If you push the fans away, there won't be enough income coming in to pay the wages of the players, or the Prem board.

Saturation point may be being reached here, and so many fans are almost up to *here* with the amount of money they are being milked for, and the vast sums of money being paid to young men, some of whom do not behave with any form of humility or semblance of respect and responsibility for the position they find themselves in.

Who remembers when rail and tube passengers in britain and london ceased to be 'passengers' and became 'customers'? Well, how i *love* to hear of my game being referred to as a 'product', whereas I was always under the mistaken illusion it was a game, a sport.

Where do you go from here, Premier League? push that little inch too far and you could well tip the scales and everything will come tumbling down crashing onto the floor.

»»Arsene Knows««
08/02/2008 14:55:00
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