Tuesday, 20 April 2021

There will always be fans to watch a 'super league'

All through the days of Martin O'Neill I had a season ticket at Leicester City, I loved sitting in the kop at the old Filbert Street and watching my generation of legendary players: Steve Walsh and Muzzy Izzet, Matty Elliott with the dishevelled Ian Marshall and Steve Claridge up front.

Every football fan has their 'generation'. I carried on having a season ticket into the days of Peter Taylor and Craig Levein, but for me the departure of Martin O'Neill was always going to be the end of my real love affair with Leicester.

I kept watching them of course and occassionally I would a match at the new Walkers Stadium, but my heart was never really in it again.

When Sven-Goran Eriksson rocked up in the late noughties my interest perked up once more and following his arrival in October of 2010, as Leicester lay at the lower end of the Championship, I thought there may be an opportunity for him to build something.

At the close season it seemed as though the board had given SGE a bottomless pot of money and he made signing after signing after signing. Things were looking up.

But the 2011/12 season didn't start particularly well and only a few weeks in, almost a year to the day since his arrival, Leicester were lying just outside the playoff zone and the Swede was let go 'by mutual consent'.

That was the last day I would ever claim to be a Leicester City fan. What was the point in spending all that money and not seeing the project through? Was a year the most anyone would ever get? Did I want to give my hard earned cash to a club without a plan? What pathetic short termism I thought.

Leicester City have done well since. I usually check the scores and at a push I could probably name a handful of the players, but that's as far as my interest goes.

I was pleased when they won the league, but I could never claim to be part of it. It's good they've reached the FA Cup Final and I would like them to win. But almost certainly I won't watch it, if I'm lucky I will be at a village cricket match, if not it will probably be digital box set of Criminal Minds for the fifth or sixth time.

A decade after SGE left Leicester City I'm no longer a football fan, to be honest these days I'm completely ambivalent to it. It has the same impact on me as the weather in China or who is at the top of the Brazilian hit parade.

So the news of an emerging Super League is, to me at least, irrelevant. 

I learnt years ago that the only thing that matters in football is money. And short term money at that.

If those 12 'super' clubs believe that they can make more money by going it alone then they will do, it's not about history or the purity of sport. It's about a cash and dividends for shareholders. 

And what each of those 12 clubs know is that is the view of the supporters too.

The fans will complain but eventually they will follow their club and pay a higher premium for it too - as long as they see star players from all over the world. And there will be plenty more in the global market willing to do exactly the same.

Because the truth is very few fans ever say that enough is enough. Almost none will ever say 'that's the very last penny my club every gets from me'.

And even if they do there is always a generation coming through with disposable income and nothing to do of a Saturday afternoon, they are searching for their 'special' generation of players. They just don't know it.

In October 2012 I said 'enough is enough, they don't get another penny' and, believe me, almost a decade later I would much rather be sat watching S4E2 of Criminal Minds on a cold winter Saturday afternoon than freezing my bits off at whatever Leicester's stadium is called these days.