Now then everyone, I'm sat at home eating my dinner watching Man City v Swansea. It's a match between two teams who when I start moaning I'm not sure I could stop (I'll give it a go though) Also a look at (whisper it quietly) Lincolns recent upturn in form and ways to stop idiots getting into the grounds.
So first to Man City v Swansea and a fine example of everything that's wrong with football. Firstly Man City, you remember them don't you? That team who despite often battling relegation played some good football and gave Man United some cracking derby games despite not always winning. Not anymore though ay? They have become a machine, a business whatever you want to call them. They are no longer a football club. 800m or whatever it is that they have spent has taken them to the top of the Premiership and into a position where every game they play they expect a victory. A win against Man United will no longer be a dream it will become expected by some fans. They will no doubt win a few titles but that comes with a hefty price, the loss of the club they had.
So, how can football fix the problem? The FA have decided to implement a new rule which prevents teams spending more than they earn... what a great idea! Oh wait no, all it takes is for the chairman (like at man city) to sponsor the ground for a few hundred million a year and all of a sudden they are only spending what they earn. Even if the FA stop the chairman's/ owners doing this they will just get a associate to sponsor the club instead and then pay them the money from a different company. The end result will be the same. The only losers will be the teams who don't have the money.
So therefore to stop the problem the English leagues need capping. Let's say £30,000k in the Premiership, £15,000 in the Championship, £6,000 in League one and £2,500 in L2. The remaining leagues will go lower accordingly. This will of course have a huge impact in the game. For starters players in Spain, Italy etc. will no longer be able to demand huge wages as the "i can go to England and earn 'x' amount" will be out the window. Not many English players will go abroad and fewer foreign players will come over here as the money they can earn is less. The benefits don't stop there.... The reduced amount of foreign players would enable English players to be given a chance and slowly improve the national side. No longer will the same 2-3 teams be competing for the league with others miles behind. No longer will teams like City and United be able to buy any player they choose just because they can pay more money and as though that isn't good enough the TV money that is ruining the chance of any outside team getting into the top 4 or even challenging will no longer be as high because money will no longer be the deciding factor in who wins the league. Therefore the TV deals will reduce and football will become a surprise again. Teams like Everton will be able to break the top 4. Crawley and Fleetwood will no longer be able to buy their way into the Football league they will have to build towards it. You may also find ticket prices could be reduced significantly and attendances would rise.
No doubt any side who is in the top 4 or in a position where they rely on paying far more than others will hate the idea as they won't want to have to try and win games without being able to buy everyone else’s talent etc. but then again it would take the FA to actually want it to happen. They don't, sky wouldn't allow it and of course we don't want to upset all the "big" clubs or rather teams with the biggest cheque books do we.... (I did say it would be hard to stop moaning about these two sides)
Onto Swansea and its simple, they should be playing in Wales! Why? Well... They are in Wales, not England! If Swansea, Cardiff, Wrexham and Newport went into the Welsh league it would actually be a reasonable league. 3 of the sides have good fan bases and are big enough to compete in the Europa league. It could become a league like Scotland with a few good sides. It would also boost the other Welsh teams and their income. People argue that they have always been in England, this isn't true. Both have played in Welsh leagues in years gone by. In the same way that Celtic and Rangers should stay in Scotland they should be in the Welsh league, alternatively if they stay in England then they should be governed by the English FA and not get away incident after incident just because the Welsh FA don't punish them for off the ball incidents etc.
Right that's enough of the moaning, onto the positive news which for once is at Lincoln City, a 3-3 draw with Stockport stretched the teams unbeaten run to 5 games. Not only this but within the 5 game unbeaten run was a cup win at Halifax earning the club 12.5k in prize money plus an extra £10,000 in gate receipts and other match day revenue. The reward of a home tie to Walsall is hardly the most glamorous but with their recent form and Lincoln's recent form don't be surprised to see Walsall rest a few players in order to boost their league one survival chances. Speaking of survival chances (and I'm really going positive here) Lincoln find themselves just 4 points from 11th and with Braintree at home and other 'easier' games coming up we have a very good chance of moving up the table a few places and hopefully further away from the bottom 4.
For anyone who goes to Lincoln with their son or daughter I recommend "poachers club" It's free to join and an adult can then purchase an adult and child ticket for home games for just £10. A saving of £8 on the adult ticket alone and the view from the Bridge McFarland stand is actually quite good.
Finally it's hard to talk about football at the moment without diving, racism or fans behaviour coming into question. Everton fans have been accused of throwing coins etc. Chelsea fans also appeared to throw coins at the Man United players celebrating the winner the result of which was a steward requiring hospital treatment. All this coming just a week after a Leeds "fan" and i use that term loosely, ran onto the pitch and attacked Kirkland. To stop these morons getting into grounds isn't difficult, if you are caught throwing missiles or run onto the pitch or cause trouble outside the ground then you get a banning order. Any person buying a ticket for a game (especially away fans) need membership and on arrival at the turnstile must produce the membership card with ID and a match ticket to prove they are who they say they are. This would prevent people with banning orders getting into the ground. It's easy to be ignorant and label all Leeds fans the same as the person who ran on the pitch but by the same theory all Lincoln fans are "scum" after a fan ran on the pitch just a few weeks earlier, all Chelsea and Everton fans are "scum" for throwing coins and all Liverpool and Man United fans would be banned for the small minority who sing Hillsborough and Munich songs. It’s always the minority who ruin it for others and to stop these idiots getting into the ground it requires better checks outside the stadium.
The fan who ran on the pitch at Hillsborough would never have got in the ground had it been for correct checks at the turnstiles by the SWFC stewards. Maybe it's time clubs prevented the idiots getting in rather than being naive enough to think these morons don't still go.
That’s what I believe needs to happen to improve football, not just in England but for football across Europe. Football has become too much of an armchair sport made for those who have never even been to a stadium. Maybe it's time to bring it back to the fans and let them watch their clubs without having to pay ridiculous amounts....