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Stop Talking, Dougal

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Where's Kenny's coat and tie?
Where's Kenny's coat and tie?

Or in this case, Ian.

As Rob posted in a FanShot last night, Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre got a little gabby yesterday, and said that he and the club might lead a charge to breakaway and lead a charge toward each club selling their television rights overseas individually. He claims that the Premier League will fall behind their rivals in La Liga -- which he really means are Barca and Madrid -- if they don't do it this way.

While it may sound great in theory, in practice it doesn't work on a lot of levels. The first being that Liverpool are far from the madam of the cathouse. Individual rights would lead United, City, Chelsea, and possibly even Arsenal to cash in far greater than Liverpool would. Well, maybe not far, but the Reds would hardly be in a class of their own. I think Mr. Ayre would find himself in the same spot he is now, figuring out a way to compete with clubs whose cash flow are akin to the river horses Arwin calls upon to chase off the Ring Raiths as opposed to our mere rapids....or something.

Secondly, while the Liverpools and Uniteds are the big draw for those of us overseas, they wouldn't be if they didn't have anyone to play. Dwarfing the smaller clubs is not going make them very happy, and it's hard to see where they'd go along with this. 14 of 20 clubs would need to vote for this, and I can't imagine how if even the top five or six were inclined to go along where they could convince eight more clubs that it was in their best interest. So it's almost a non-starter.

Thirdly, at the rate these rights are growing, everyone's going to get richer anyway. They've grown more than six times since the beginning of the century. Even a rudimentary study of the league's popularity here in the States would tell you that's only going up, and I don't even have to consider Asia to know that.

But most importantly, why would anyone want to be La Liga? Oh I know, I'm sure the club chairmen around would love to rake in the cash those two do (do Madrid turn a profit? Haven't they run out of training grounds to sell to the city in deals that I'm sure are so very well above board?). But no one else does. Spain's league is a joke, and most of their fans know it. How many of their clubs are in simply farcical financial states as they sought to compete with the Big Two with severely less income? Valencia's been in debt for most of my adult life, from what I can tell. That league can't last with that many clubs in ruin for too much longer. Would we want that in England? And what if the smaller clubs were run smartly, and they just gave up on the idea of competing so as not to send their clubs off to the toilet and the waiting hands of bankers (often the same thing)? Why would anyone support those clubs?

And maybe I'm wrong, but it's kind of insulting to us overseas fans that we would blindly accept a Premier League where there are a few haves and whole lot of have-nots (though I wouldn't know what street in London to occupy to protest). In fact, we're all ready worried about City, United, and Chelsea entering a financial stratosphere only they can reach. Didn't we all get queasy over the idea that the title will just be a private discussion between the Manchester clubs this year, both teams bought and paid for? To think that it wouldn't take only a few years before the international fans would lose their passion for a farce of a league just seems ignorant.

After all, look how far baseball trails the NFL in this country.