Man Utd and grasping Glazers are willing to act as lap dogs to supposedly bitter rivals Liverpool in Project Big Picture
WELL, we can all see the Big Picture now.
For all the pungent guff which surrounds them, we can see the deep cynicism at the heart of Liverpool Football Club, under the ownership of John W Henry’s Fenway Sports Group.
And we can see the willingness of Manchester United — under the shambling, grasping Glazer family — to act as lap dogs to their supposedly bitter rivals at Anfield.
Project Big Picture, authored by Liverpool’s American bankrollers, supported by United, and peddled by their useful idiot, former Liverpool chief executive and current EFL chief Rick Parry, is an extraordinary piece of work.
It is a scheme of naked greed, unconvincingly dressed up as charity, and concocted with the supreme arrogance of people who take the rest of English football for fools.
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We have all heard the idea that Liverpool FC are not just a football club but some sort of spiritual and political movement, a force for the common good.
And we have all seen the club’s misty-eyed ‘This Means More’ marketing campaign.
Well, after the revelation of Project Big Picture, we certainly know that this means more power and wealth for Liverpool and their new best friends at United.
This is the same Liverpool ownership, presiding over one of the wealthiest football clubs on the planet, who announced they would apply for government furlough cash to pay staff after lockdown in the spring — only to be forced into a U-turn out of sheer embarrassment.
FSG’s plan would see the Premier League reduced to 18 clubs, the League Cup scrapped and — crucially — future voting powers concentrated in the hands of the ‘Big Six’ — in return for a much-needed bailout of the crisis-hit EFL.
Remarkably, the plan would also see clubs being able to receive back-dated rebates on building work.
This means Liverpool’s potential allies Tottenham could claw back £125million against their new stadium, with the Reds able to trouser £30m for Anfield’s new Main Stand.
And the ‘Big Six’ would have the ability to vote through vastly increased shares of Premier League TV revenues.
No wonder the current Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, no patsy for the ‘Big Six’, countered with a strongly-worded condemnation of the plan concocted by Liverpool and United.
The proposals also include the idea that the ‘Big Six’ would be able to replace the league’s chief executive with somebody more amenable.
Ooh, and who might that be? Perhaps former Premier League chief executive, Merseyside’s very own man of the people Parry — who now claims that democracy in the top flight is an outdated idea.
What makes this story so fascinating is not that it will happen. It won’t. There is no way two-thirds of Premier League clubs will vote as turkeys for tinsel time.
And it’s not that we didn’t know the ‘Big Six’ have been plotting for years to grab greater TV revenues, as well as space in the fixture list to compete in an expanded, roped-off Champions League or European Super League.
What’s interesting is the spotlight this shines on the motives of FSG and the Glazers — these modern-day Robin Hoods, stealing from the reasonably rich to give to the poor — while giving far, far more to their filthy-rich selves in the long term.
Covid is a depressing and worrying worldwide crisis for most of us.
But for venture capitalists, like those who own Liverpool and United, it represents a wonderful business opportunity.
This attempted power grab has been in the offing for some time.
But it seems particularly rich that it should come to light so soon after the Anfield club were hammered 7-2 by Aston Villa, one of the clubs Liverpool’s owners are attempting to stitch up in the name of charity.
Villa won the summer transfer window, recruiting superbly after a hard-earned promotion and a successful survival.
Leicester went down a similar route five years earlier, as you might remember. It was probably the most remarkable and joyous achievement in football history.
But Liverpool and United don’t want a repeat.
The rest of the ‘Big Six’ were apparently unaware of this plan until the story broke on Sunday.
Manchester City — whose chief executive Ferran Soriano wants to use Covid to bastardise the Football League with B teams — are hardly an innocent party.
But they will hate the ‘Big Picture’ idea of introducing Uefa-grade Financial Fair Play regulations.
Spurs would clearly benefit greatly from the stadium rebate plan, while Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke is cut from the same cloth as those running Liverpool and United.
Chelsea, it seems, are against the project. And when a money-making scheme is too toxic for Roman Abramovich, Liverpool and United might start wondering whether they have misread the room.
The Premier League’s unique selling point, which makes it a global phenomenon, is its competitiveness.
Unlike any other major league, England’s top flight has had five different champions in eight years.
And the elite are given better games far more often than elsewhere.
Project Big Stitch-Up would stop all of that.
Because Liverpool and United do not want domestic rivals, they want cannon fodder to tune them up for regular fixtures with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
If Liverpool, United and their potential allies are so keen to support the English football pyramid — as they would be if they understood the strengths of the game in this country — then why not bail out the EFL without back-stabbing clubs who have ambitions of gatecrashing their elite?
Yet FSG and the Glazers are not as charitable as all that.
This is a ham-fisted attempt at emotional blackmail, emanating from Liverpool — the club of sentimental old tosh, trite slogans and self- proclaimed ownership of the moral high ground.
We can all see the Big Picture now, though, and we can see right through them.
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