Message to Bergkampesque Bloggers

Dear Bergkampesque bloggers,

See the source image

I am saddened and ashamed that our mighty club has joined the exclusive club of 12 self-chosen teams aiming to start a new competition between themselves, the so called European Super League. Apparently eight more clubs will join – three permanent ones and five hand-picked ones on a seasonal basis (the cannon fodder).

This goes totally against my deep belief in general fairness and competition open-to-all. I don’t want to be part of a club that goes against my values. The CL was already set up in such a way that the top European teams would be almost guaranteed top European football every season, and the romance of a ‘small team’ ever winning the competition again was nearly dead. In my view, football is based on that romantic principle of fairness and open-to-all competition. Rather than making it fairer, something that almost all football supporters want, they made it almost totally exclusive with the introduction of the ESL.

Bergkampesque.com is suspended until further notice, with no more match previews, reviews, etc, as all the remaining games this season have become superfluous to me. Please feel free to continue commenting below or email me as per usual.

If GN5 wants to continue with our weekly competition than this will be accommodated of course.

I would like to thank all regular bloggers and post-writers for their contributions over the years, with a special thank you to GN5 for all his posts etc.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Frank aka TotalArsenal.

112 thoughts on “Message to Bergkampesque Bloggers

  • Hey Frank……NOW is NOT the time to quit or abandon the fight. The more people you can reach with your side of the argument against such an “elitist” league being hatched by the money-driven boffins in these rich clubs (shamefully AFC is also one of them), EUFA and FIFA, then the better. We need AFC and other clubs to realize that perhaps spectators will NOt want to sacrifice the integrity and financial security of their local leagues so that a few multi-rich owners can create a “super” league. However that said, I am fully in favour of the creation of a woman’s Super league, where the women’s game can be given international exposure and publicity. It is a beautiful form of Football, played in the best sporting spirit and generally free of macho excesses. It is artistic, fluid and while definitely not as combattive and competitive as the men’s game, it is also very pleasant to watch.

  • Oh so sad TA, but respect your feelings. You hit the nail.on head about fair competition and creation of Super League surely ensures that there is no level playing field.
    Take care mate and don’t be sad it doesn’t suit you. You have been an epitome of positivity.

  • Frank, it’s your blog and I respect your decision. For me Arsenal’s choice is just another bump in the road and personally I’m so deeply embedded in my love for Arsenal that I will be with them until I die.

    I just hope that on reflection you might see this as a necessary move by Arsenal to stay relevant. I don’t know all of the facts behind what will happen if the CL and Europa League are cancelled but if they are then it’s highly likely that the financial loss would be crippling to the clubs that have chosen to join the super league.

    Anyway, I want to be the first to thank you for creating and administering BK it’s been a pleasure to have been a part of the group and especially making your acquaintance.

    I think it will be best to suspend the competition – but if others would like me to keep it going then I will be happy to do so.

  • Hey Frank

    I might not agreee with you on Xhaka, but i am 100% with you on this. If the greedy rich Bar stuards want to ruin football let them have it.. I always used to talk about my team, not any more

  • Hi Frank,

    I’m not a fan of the proposed Super League either, just hope it is not a serious initiative, but rather a bargaining chip (maybe both) for the UEFA and the FA to improve as well as share back a bigger proportion of the funds.
    Again, I’m not expecting the ESL to take place, but the reaction from UEFA-president Ceferin showed that independent from who the other parties are in any football-related conflict they are always the bad/worse guys.

  • Hi Frank,

    I share your feelings on this. The proposed ESL is an abomination. I fear that it has been cooked up by the American owners (including the Kroenke’s) as it has all the hallmarks of the way that US sports leagues and so-called “World Series” are organised. A closed shop should have no place in European football. The Kroenke’s have sullied our reputation with this. As others have said, we need to show our opposition to this. Let’s stay positive and optimistic that the ESL can be prevented. I am ashamed that the club that I have supported since I was a boy have stooped so low but, until it has become clear that our grubby owners and their despicable co-conspirators have won, I will support the men’s and women’s squads, their managers and coaches. They are not at fault here and I am sure are as dismayed as we are.

  • Hi OMG,

    When a club makes a decision like this the fight is lost. The only thing it can do is reverse its decision and they will by now have noticed how strong the reaction is of the fans, the stakeholder and our fellow clubs. I have supported this BoD more than most blogs, I think, but now it is time to take a step back and see how this will all pen out. There are very dark clouds above Ashburton Grove.

  • Thank you Madhu. it is feels all wrong and sad my friend. One of the reasons I love Arsenal is for its class and values. There is a reason Arsene did not end up on the BoD… he would never have gone along with this and they knew it. I now know that our values are a thing of the past. Sorry.

  • Cheers GN5, I respect your views and nobody has more time of their life invested in the club than you. Arsenal playing the same sort of exclusive teams week in week out is a living nightmare for me. Solidarity with other clubs and their fans is key to the enjoyment of the beautiful game. Everybody should have a fair crack at it. We are not a business, a plaything for capitalists; we are a part of the whole and have benefited enormously from all the clubs we have competed with over the many years. The club should never have made this decision. I am ashamed.

  • Cheers Retsub, I actually feel sorry for the players and Arteta. I really liked the way he was building something for us on the basis of a footballing philosophy and tactics, developing players and carefully buying new ones. It sort of all feels in vain now.

    Xhaka, hahaha, yes we will always see him differently. 😀

  • PB, I hope you are right. I feel they are going to push this through if they can so legally. No club can be so stupid to do something like this just to get a better deal. Their reputations are at stake here.

  • Great comment OX10, I do support the team but just think it is superfluous, given the plan to give themselves guaranteed European football from August onwards.

  • With you completely on this one TA. Sickening greed with no thought to the spirit of the game or the heritage of the club. I’ve only contempt for Stan, and hope others in the club hold better values than he. Hopefully this won’t come to pass, but it feels more than bluff to me, so not likely to go away either even if foiled this time round. I couldn’t support another club. But I’d find it hard to take pleasure in Arsenal playing in such a meaningless league.

  • AB, good to hear from you! Hope you are well. Yes taking pleasure in Arsenal would be very hard. It would all become an unbearable lightness of being..

  • As the Good Book says… But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
    Apocalypse now? Or just another step on a highway to hell? In ’92 the Premier League was born with it’s protectionist parachute payments. The previous 30 years had yielded 11 different League Champions. The 30 after ’92 only 7. The ESL is another step, one too far for some.
    Like you, Frank and GN5, I have been in love with Arsenal for over fifty years. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health. Til’ death I won’t part. These present owners have their reasons, some caring, some pragmatic and some darkly expedient. An ancestor on my mothers side (Henry Norris) uprooted the club from its ancestral home and moved it lock stock and one smoking cannon barrel to NL5. What thought was given to those fans left behind? He initially tried to merge with Fulham to form a London Super club but was denied by the League authorities. Our history is replete with both rascals and saints.
    The soap opera will roll on with its lucre and shenanigan’s, but the game itself is still beautiful. It will be played in heaven. And up there, I for one will be wearing an Arsenal shirt (with no sponsors labels).

    God bless you, Frank, and all at Bergkampesque. Your blog has proved a wonderful distraction for me over the past years. Thank you.

  • God bless you, Stuart. Thanks for a very kind and very well written comment. Football being played in heaven with advert-free shirts is a beautiful vision! 🙂

  • As GN5 keeps reminding us, we always have our past.
    Came across this video again and thought it would be worth sharing. Heavenly goals!

  • The new ESL is shameless greed. At the same time the creation of a breakaway money grabbing elite league in 1992 was based on the same self interest and greed, they just called it the Premier league instead of “super” league. Clubs got rich, players salaries rocketed and none of them cared if it priced ordinary fans out of the game. This ESL is just the inevitable next step. All very sad and us fans are the real losers.

  • Sigh. 4 minutes 38 seconds of beauty. Thanks Total. My shirt up there will have a number 10 on the back. Perhaps we can form a Bergkampesque 11. Another joy to look forward to…

  • I was initially under the impression that it would mean that the “super league” were simply creating their own cup competition. But now I see that they are breaking away from English football – if that’s the case then I’m disgusted and question Arsenal’s integrity.

    Football has always meant rivalries between clubs that in many cases has gone on over 100 years – I cannot and don’t want to think about Arsenal on the outside of the football league.

    Small wonder you are so upset Total – if my new understanding is correct it will be difficult (even for me) to continue watching Arsenal at the potential demise of English football as we know and love it.

    A very sad day indeed.

  • GN5, the way I understand it, the ESL would be midweek and those clubs involved would still play in their domestic leagues at the weekend etc. So yes instead of the UEFA competitions.

    There has been a lot of threats issued such as expulsion from the Premier League, expulsion from this seasons UEFA competitions, players of the 12 banned from UEFA internationals, although I’ve not seen too much coming from FIFA.

    The UK government are threatening to get involved and this could involve the licenses for stadiums and Policing of matches, it’s all ramping up.

    As usual nobody cares about the fans, not really, they may pay lip service but in truth we’re a necessary evil to them all.

    I have a lot of sympathy for your view Frank but my club was taken away from me years ago, this is just the next step in its total monetisation, I blame the Premier League, they allowed Ken Bates to sell Chelsea to Abramovitch and the floodgates opened, until then the status of a club was self sufficiently driven, now it’s not and it could get worse.

    When I hear officials from the Premier League, FA, UEFA, FIFA et al, bleating I can’t help thinking we’re where we are because of you lot.

  • The exact details and consequences of this closed league will emerge over the next few weeks. The ESL guarantees Arsenal and the other 14 clubs European football and high incomes, whilst it undermines any other European competition. The impact on the domestic leagues will be immense as the ESL clubs will be much richer and buy all good players. The Premier league will become less relevant for Arsenal as European football is guaranteed and only winning the league will be of interest. The big six will probably even more dominate the competition and the rest will suffer financially and sportingly.

  • I understand where you are coming from TA, with the club losing its soul and values with the inclusion into the newly created league. This is my thoughts as well.

    Many people have lost their soul and values as well due to peer pressure and greed. This goes beyond religion.. it gets personal.

    I will be looking at the situation further before i make my move.. however, its Arsenal or bust for now.

  • I fully get and support your point of view, Kev. It wasn’t good before and now it is getting even worse. The clubs involved want total security and large chunks of the available pie at the detriment of others. All solidarity is gone. Survival of the Shittiest.

  • Kev, technically the league was supposed to be created due to the need to decouple from the mainstream, and all the FA, UEFA, and the state of the PL refereeing nonsense, but they are not 100% foolproof, and as TA said, the club had lost its values.

    If you weigh the pros and the cons, the cons far outweigh the pros.

  • Frank, I’ve never trusted Kroenke, look at how he lied to the people of St Louis over the Rams, he and his son are not and never will be fans of Arsenal and we can thank the likes of Fizsman, Hill Wood, Lady Nina and even David Dein who brought in Usmanov. All of them have sold the soul of our club to these speculators and we are finished as a sporting institution, we are an arm of an entertainment empire whose raison detre is the accumulation of wealth for a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing…

    I shall continue to support what is left of the carcass of what was my football club but my passion isn’t what it was although I shall carry on as I’m too old to change now.

  • All understood, Kevinski. For me, if this goes ahead, keeping supporting the team will not be possible, however much it hurts me saying this. It would be unethical.

  • I get that Frank, I really do.

    Let’s see how things transpire. Night mate

  • And then there is the audacity to call it EUROPEAN SUPER LEAGUE when at the most 11 different countries of the 44 European countries will be represented in it. The other 33 nations can go and get lost for all they care.

  • I couldn’t even think about supporting another team, except maybe Greenock Morton who were my Scottish team as everyone else was Celtic or Rangers. I don’t really enjoy football unless my team are playing and I am only interested in watching other games if the results affect Arsenal. A friend of mine was a Wimbledon supporter he saw them rise from nothing to the 1st division and they eventually won the fa cup. Only to be to sold to Milton Keynes to become the MK Dons. Does that smack of Americanism or what.?

    Anyway as most of you know Wimbledon reformed and having climbed through the various divisions they now play against MK dons on a regular basis.

    Don’t think I have the mileage left in me for that, but if I was a young bloke like Kev who is about a week younger than me, that would be my only route to salvation.

  • That’s a very strong statement you’ve put out there, TA. I doff my hat to you for taking a stand for the club you support.

    When I first read it online, I was in a daze as I tried to process the implications for our club and football, in general (the governance, state of the competition). Afterwards, I concluded it was always going to come to this, with the way the same FIFA/UEFA tolerated the financial doping introduced by billionaire (usually foreign – no offence intended here) in a bid to win trophies and gain a reputation amongst fellow billionaire owners; for them, it is money ball and with the way they have navigated (read circumvented) the FIFA FairPlay rules, this matter won’t be a problem. They have those UEFA officials where they want them, with their hands in the till.

    So, for me, this is going to happen (let’s not forget Arsene Wenger did state this development as the “next big thing” in European football in that interview); the stakeholders will reach some compromise, involving the increase in the stakes and other parties playing their hand. With the big six (or, should I say the other five?) of the EPL all in it, I’d rather we aren’t left behind than to find us challenging Burnley for the FA cup, league or the “new UCL”.

  • Having said that, if something were to be worked out by all the parties to put an end to this silliness, I will feel much better. The sanctity of the game is being destroyed on the altar of financial gain. Will it ever stop?

    GN5, as has been clarified, I believe the clubs intend to remain in their respective domestic leagues, playing the ‘ESL’ midweek. Every chance they swap places some time afterwards.

    Early reports stated this as the reason José Mourinho was sacked at Spurs yesterday. I know that’s a spin to give the failed manager something to stand on. JM is a man with no scruples so, I don’t see him in that mould. Smiling to the bank he is…..again.

  • GN5, a quick observation: isn’t Bayer Leverkusen the home side this weekend? I feel that’s the case because I recall Frankfurt played at home in the reverse, early this year, beating Leverkusen. They got their revenge in the German cup not long after, and a thumping one it was.

    Do confirm and update as that may affect selections. Cheers, everyone.

  • Kids grow up dreaming to win the World Cup and the Champions League – not any Super League. The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week. Really hard to understand for all football fans out there…⚽💔

    — Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) April 19, 2021

  • Nice set of comments, Eris. You are clearly also trying to come to terms with it.

    Nothing is inevitable except death. The rest is still down to choices. The club has gone way too far and I am saddened and ashamed.

  • Thank you for pointing out my error Eris Leverkusen are indeed the home team.
    Here are my corrected choices for the weekend – remember that the Arsenal game is on Friday so please make your predictions by Thursday evening.
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Arsenal v Everton (correct score game)
    West Ham v Chelsea
    Sheffield United v Brighton
    Wolves v Burnley
    Leeds v Manchester Unted
    Bayer Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

  • Arsenal vs Everton…………. Draw 2-2
    West Ham vs Chelsea……..Home
    Sheffield Utd vs Brighton… Home
    Wolves vs Burnley…………..Draw
    Leeds vs Man United………Home
    Bayer vs Eintract………….. Home

    Not that it means as much as it did, but thanks for the effort GN5

  • I must admit that I’m still a tad confused about the “European Super League” but if English teams do indeed stay a part of the Premier League then that is more palatable to me. Obviously the financial implications to English football are of a major concern to me, and given that that is still an unknown at this time I will hold back on my final opinion until everything becomes clearer.

    Given the amount of American capitalist billionaires owners it was inevitable that they would be looking for a way to milk their “cash cows'”

    During my business life I was an executive on major American companies in Canada for close to 30 years and frankly they show very little concern for anything other than their ROI (return on investment) and everything else paled in comparison. They tend not to see their companies as a physical entity – all they really see is a pile of money and look for the best way to increase their pile with no compassion shown or concern for the human factor and the effect on those around them. To ingrain this goal all of their management teams were compensated based on their department adherence to budget and their contribution to the overall company ROI.

    I was very happy to retire and leave that all behind me.

    More later.

    Please post your competition predictions.

  • Arsenal v Everton (correct score game): 1-1
    West Ham v Chelsea: Home
    Sheffield United v Brighton: Home
    Wolves v Burnley: Away
    Leeds v Manchester Unted: Home
    Bayer Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt: Draw

  • Here are my predictions:-

    Arsenal v Everton (correct score game) – H (3-1)
    West Ham v Chelsea – A
    Sheffield United v Brighton – D
    Wolves v Burnley – D
    Leeds v Manchester United – A
    Bayer Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt – A

  • Hi TA and fellow gooners!

    TA – I sincerely hope that you will return to blogging soon. I understand that emotions are high currently. But I think you created something wonderful via this site and have really provided much needed positivity while allowing space for criticism instead of the sea of negativity that surrounds us all today. Not having you and the others share your thoughts, analyses, and opinions on the site would be a loss.

    I must raise a slightly contrarian view here to ask what really would be changed via ESL for us as fans. What values are we really giving up? We have always been for arsenal expanding its Fanbase and becoming the #1 club in the world. Naturally for us it was the way we play and the trophies. But it is safe to say that today the means to achieve this is by ensuring the top talent is grown (ideally) or attracted to the club and then nurtured at this club. Money does play a big role in this. So what is inherently wrong in arsenal seeking to ensure its financial stability? I don’t think that the way we play will change just because we join the ESL. I certainly hope that arsenal will continue to be involved in the community. Hopefully more so given that they will have more money. And that they will be bringing people through the Academy rather than simply buying players on the market. I am not anticipating tat these will change. Or will they?

    In the current set up we can expect the top 10 clubs to effectively be unchanged in the Premier league for decades. That number has now increased to 15 in the ESL. They are going to have new clubs joining and being relegated. So while the numbers might be different, isn’t the structure still the same? A key difference, I hope is that the competition would be even stronger than in the Premier league.

    Not that this is a model to aspire towards , but in the US, all the major sports have the same group of teams playing all the time. That hasn’t stopped me from rooting for my club. I am not sure that I will drive greater enjoyment by having the fear of my club being relegated to a lower division. I believe that’s the case in many other countries around the world. From a fan perspective the competitiveness of the games have not changed. From a club perspective if I were a lower division club manager I would still aspire to keep moving up to the higher division. That has not changed is my understanding. I think there will still be a great desire to play against the Arsenal or Barcelona.

    We don’t meet clubs that play in the championship or the lower divisions frequently. Unless the FA really does something vindictive, we will still meet them in the league cup or the FA cup.

    Money going to the lower division clubs – that is a very major con in my opinion. I don’t know how or if the ESL would contribute at all to the revenues for the lower divisions. Does anyone know? From what I have read this seems to be more driven by the imbalance in the revenues being sucked up by UEFA relative to what is going towards the clubs. If true, that is a fair point to be raised. What is UEFA doing with all this money (besides putting the executives bank accounts)? And is that sufficient reason to not want to change the existing structure?

    I hope I’m not annoying all of you. But I would genuinely like to better understand why we should be upset about this development. Peace ✌️ Victoria concordia crescit.

  • Thanks for the kind words, St. Henry.

    I am all for having a strong financial base and being able to compete financially at the highest level, but there needs to be a level playing field. Fairness and open-to-all competition is key – the ESL is the opposite of this. Clubs are suffering and now it is time for solidarity rather than greed and exclusivity. Could the club have read the zeitgeist any worse?

    The PL shares out its money reasonably well and clubs like Wolves, Everton, Leeds etc are starting to make inroads on the basis of smart player management, good use of resources and picking strong managers: any team can beat any team on the day and top four does change a lot now. Naturally one or two teams will dominate for a small period but there is enough competition now to provide diversity. Jeopardy, fairness and offering all clubs a chance to reach the top is key for me. I get what your saying but this does not work for me. I am not desperate for success at all cost.

    Furthermore, playing in a competition with a few other European top teams week in week out, year in year out without any consequences is not appealing to me. Where is the adventure of playing new clubs in far away countries? And the likes of Ajax, Porto, Aston Villa, Forest, Feyenoord, and many more, who all were once European champion, should also have a reasonable chance to reach the top again. Going it alone and fattening ourselves up whilst others are left to starve is against my values. Sorry St. H.

  • I can’t wait for the bomb to drop – these billionaires need to be put in their place and forced out of football – by the government ordering them to sell their interest in our game.

  • Guys my two cents. ESL is nothing but Americanisation of European football. But UEFa and FA by Thier policies have actively encouraged this behaviour. The day they allowed club’s ownership structure to change and take over by rich owners this was bound to happen. The German model of putting a cap on ownership makes Bayern think twice about joining such a league. Now if you allow corporate to take sport they will only look at it as a way to generate more revenue. The ESL is an exercise towards that.
    The reason I hate this concept is that there is no level playing field and sport is not enjoyable if you don’t have a semblance of level playing field. With ESL places confirmed for 12 clubs they will have assumed revenues which makes them more powerful than the rest.
    Since I come from India and have seen the way Cricket was bastardised by IPL which was again a Americanisation of domestic league I know how ESL will be a distasteful exercise. I don’t watch IPl at all as it’s just not Cricket.
    Where I have some hope albeit very minimal is the stand taken by players, fans, coaches, ex players and even Govt. Govt can if they want reject visas to players and make it harder for these teams to play. But then again there may be pressure from other Govts on British Govt to not interfere.
    I feel that UEFA , Fa and other bodies as corrupt as they are will probably take thier pound of flesh and let this slide away. The only hope it widespread condemnation and Govts strong arm tactics may delay this inevitable for some years.

  • One more point is the tradition of English and European football clubs that makes this more abominable. The work that these companies does at the community level and the strong bond with fans provides that emotional bond of fans with the club. Americanisation of European sport is not necessarily good and desirable. It’s worked for America and that’s great, but to impose that on every other sports is making it very monolithic and quite frankly imperialistic in nature. That is a strong reason I reject the concept.
    I also think that as an Arsenal fan I don’t get a choice either from these owners or the Fa since they are resorting to banning Arsenal for domestic league. Either ways as a fan I am being robbed of the right for me to enjoy my clubs ebb and flow.

  • I meant in my previous comment clubs work with local community and not the Companies.

  • Good points TA.

    My impression is that under the current proposal a club like say Leeds / Ajax can qualify for the ESL and win the ESL league. Or am I mistaken in my understanding?

    Just wondering how this is different from 1992 when the Premier league was first constituted? Then too, clubs in the Football league first division broke away from the Football league to form the EPL. There were cries then that this was elitism, greedy clubs, how the game would be ruined, and how lower divisions will vanish.

    The main differences between the ESL and EPL (aside from being international in make-up) from the limited reading I have made on their “plan” seem to be the security provided for the founding members (they will not be relegated; but other qualifying clubs can be) and the lack on clarity on how this would help the lower division clubs. My impression is that the ESL clubs would still play in some of the domestic competitions. By suggesting playing the ESL games mid-week I think the clubs are basically targeting not playing in UCL and Europa League games but retaining domestic league, FA cup, etc. interest.

    Please correct me if I have misunderstood the proposal entirely. Thanks.

  • Just something from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premier_League#Foundation_(1990s)) that I was trying to compare to try and make sense of the ESL proposal. Looking forward to learning why the comparison between EPL and ESL is inappropriate. I feel like I am missing out on a key element in the ESL plan based on the opposition from the UK prime minister. If anyone could please clarify this for me, I would greatly appreciate it.

    “At the close of the 1990–1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring more money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the game’s top-flight clubs, established the basic principles for setting up the FA Premier League.[30] The newly formed top division was to have commercial independence from The Football Association and the Football League, giving the FA Premier League licence to negotiate its own broadcast and sponsorship agreements. The argument given at the time was that the extra income would allow English clubs to compete with teams across Europe.[15] Although Dyke played a significant role in the creation of the Premier League, he and ITV (of which LWT was part) lost out in the bidding for broadcast rights: BSkyB won with a bid of £304 million over five years, with the BBC awarded the highlights package broadcast on Match of the Day.[26][28]”

    “The First Division clubs resigned en masse from the Football League in 1992, and on 27 May that year the FA Premier League was formed as a limited company, working out of an office at the Football Association’s then headquarters in Lancaster Gate.[15] ”

    “This meant a break-up of the 104-year-old Football League that had operated until then with four divisions; the Premier League would operate with a single division and the Football League with three. There was no change in competition format; the same number of teams competed in the top flight, and promotion and relegation between the Premier League and the new First Division remained the same as the old First and Second Divisions with three teams relegated from the league and three promoted.”

    Seems to me that they are following the exact same playbook. And most likely looking to resign from the UCL and europa leagues? The teams that will play in the ESL are likely to secure a lot more money compared to playing in the UCL.

  • ESL seems to be a deathknell for Champions League as well. If its allowed to go ahead then Super League effectively will replace Champions League. champions League will effectively become Europa League and which then becomes the Europa Conference league.
    The problem is that ESL with 100 games mooted for midweek will be an additional load on players which means the ESL team will forego domestic cups or will.paly the reserve team.

  • Good comments, StH.

    Under the current proposal of the many hundreds of European clubs just five will be able to enter each year. On which basis this is to happen nobody knows; rumours are that this will be on invitation basis. These five teams will not have the financial cloud of the self-chosen 15 teams who’ll keep fattening themselves up with more and more money and of course the best players. It is a token gesture and I would imagine that sooner or later the ESL will exist of 20 permanent clubs.

    What happened in 1992 is less relevant for me. But key for me is that everybody can be relegated in the EPL and every year three new teams will join it. It is in principle open to all and nobody has a special, protected status. The ESL is fundamentally different: 15 self chosen teams protect themselves for life on the basis of exclusiveness. Of all the other European teams just five teams are allowed to join on an annual basis. It is fundamentally unfair, there is no jeopardy and it will be boring as hell too imo.

    These ESL teams will be mega-rich and totally dominate their national ‘weekend’ leagues. Everybody will hate their guts and I will not be part of it.

  • It’s not a good sign when the club with the big bad Russian at the helm notifies its withdrawal before a traditionally Conservative and by-the rules club as Arsenal.

    Come on, just pull the plug on this silliness while we still have some dignity. Or is Kroenke a leading force in this move?

  • GN5, here are my predictions:

    Arsenal vs Everton – Draw 3-2
    West Ham vs Chelsea – Home
    Sheffield Utd vs Brighton – Away
    Wolves vs Burnley – Draw
    Leeds vs Man United – Draw
    Bayer vs Eintracht – Home

  • Panic over Total, it’s business as usual, all systems go for more posts please… 😉

    Mind you, if contracts have been signed then I wonder if there are penalties for pulling out and who will pay for them?

    As if we don’t know…

    And now that Stan has seen that he cannot make the killing he was always in it for will he now change track and look to sell? We can only hope…

    Night all…

  • Guys with all the dust seems to be settling, iam relieved and at the same time Iam worried. While it’s a victory for fans that the Americanisation of football is SUSPENDED for the time being, what about these calls form fans for relegating the six premier League teams? Is that a possibility? Why as an Arsenal fan iam punished for something that I haven’t done?
    This is the time FA acts fast and make changes to the ownership structure and do something about salary caps. That would make the premier League even more competitive.

  • 2 good news for the last 24 hours: Arsenal withdraws from the ESL and Bergkampesque continues!

    Arsenal v Everton – 1:0
    West Ham v Chelsea – draw
    Sheffield United v Brighton – away
    Wolves v Burnley – home
    Leeds v Manchester United – away
    Bayer vs Eintracht – draw

    Eris, your observation and memory are remarkable for remembering the reverse fixture in the Bundesliga.
    Let me demonstrate my observation skills: your predictions for the outcome and the precise result of the Arsenal-Everton fixture are somewhat contradicting. 😉

  • Excellent news, can’t say I am proud to be a Gooner at the moment, but then again who was responsible for this .?
    Kroenke? He certainly isn’t a Gooner and never was

  • Great news indeed! I am still shocked the club wanted to do this but at least they saw sense just in time. I don’t think this ugly beast has been put to bed for good, but for now we can breathe again.

  • Great discussion TA and everyone! Thank you for clarifying multiple points on this topic. Besides the pullout of the English clubs, It looks like UEFA has made some changes to the UCL qualifying criteria and format. Is this a hybrid between the current UCL format and what was proposed by the ESL? Any assessments on this?

  • Morning all, the negative reaction from all fronts scared the clubs involved into submission – it’s over at least for now.

    The best thing for the football would be for the Government , FA and fans to drive the American owners out of our game, or to put rules or legislation in place to ensure this type of hijacking will not happen again.

  • StH, those changes went a bit under the radar. There will be more games and four teams will be added. I believe two of those will be picked on the basis of their past achievements/presence in Europe… read a couple of English clubs. I don’t think it is much of a hybrid as the principle that all should have a realistic chance to quality for the CL based on performances in their own league remains the case. No teams will be guaranteed a CL place indefinitely. I would much prefer a more open-to-all system, with no seeded clubs and say a start of 128 clubs with all national champions in it and then a number of teams who finished second, third or fourth in their league, with the bigger nations having more representatives to reflect the strengths of their leagues. That amount of jeopardy and risk is clearly of no interest to the big clubs in Europe, who want security and predictability of income streams and take out any risks… the very opposite of what sports is all about.

  • Eris has a plan, some would say a cunning plan as he taps his nose with his index finger and winks 😉

  • Total, there’s a post in your email, it’s your choice if you wish to issue it.

  • Last commented on here years ago. I read le-grove more, aware that they had a hand in stoking fan aggression and anger towards Arsene, which I didn’t agree with. Before all this ESL rubbish came to the fore, I have been encouraged as well as extremely exasperated with the appointment of Arteta. I was very pleased when he was initially hired, but some of his decision making, from the extreme outside vantage point of mine, is baffling…Anyways on to why I comment now…

    I only comment now, because someone as dedicated and full of integrity as you Total…shouldn’t feel as helpless and disillusioned from the actions of a select few people, who feel no true connection with the common man, let alone Arsenal supporter.

    You should carry on as the curator of this blog. You shouldn’t give up. This is a one of a kind, memory and memorial to the greatest player we have ever had and keeps the ideals of his and Arsene’s alive, in it’s tiny, but significant way. The world would do better, to have more cyber, and tangible communities, such as this one.

    If possible, you should keep going.

  • Hi Milo, so good to hear from you. Thank you for the kind and supportive words.

    As the club has made a U-turn, I will make one too. Tomorrow we will issue a match preview and I would be delighted if you were to comment more regularly on here. 🤗

  • I stopped posting because I got too intense and really wasn’t at a healthy point in my life. Nothing a good marriage and becoming a father to a beautiful boy couldn’t solve, though haha. I just had some growing to do on all fronts.

    I’m mostly with you on Xhaka by the way. Big fan of his watching his type of player, even if his type could very well be outdated in the modern game. Their is something oddly graceful and majestic about his actions. Like a tall ship on the water. He’s a team player at the very least, which still has a place in modern football. Self destructive at times, but always with the best intentions. The deeper lying playmaker/defensive midfielder is my favourite position, so call me biased. I’m also slow…Yeah I’m biased lol.

  • Thanks for your power of observation, PB and Kev for telling on me so. It takes brothers to know when one is up to something cunning. wink wink. 😉

    GN5, here is my revised submission featuring the correction:

    Arsenal vs Everton – H (3-2)
    West Ham vs Chelsea – Home
    Sheffield Utd vs Brighton – Away
    Wolves vs Burnley – Draw
    Leeds vs Man United – Draw
    Bayer vs Eintracht – Home

  • Arteta has quite an interesting selection decision to make on Friday, that is who replaces Lacazette as the focal point of the attack?

    The popular choice would probably be fans favourite Martinelli as it seems that he is the probable successor to Laca if, as expected, he departs in the summer.

    Some of the more adventurous among our fan base would like to see Balogun given the gig and I personally wouldn’t have an issue with either Flo or Gabby leading the line vs the Toffees.

    But if Arteta decides to rest a few prior to Villarreal, such as Saka who has been well knocked about a bit recently then I reckon Mikel might spring a surprise and go with Nketiah.

  • The furore over the ESL might be behind us now, in the short term anyway, but it really brings into sharp focus the financial difficulties we have presently at Arsenal and at most other clubs in the EPL and beyond. So when I read some of the comments on other blogs about sell this guy and that one and those two so we can raise £100m and go out and spend it on 3 or 4 new top players I tend to scratch my head and wonder if people realise what’s been going on?

    I can’t see Arsenal doing much business this summer if I’m honest, despite all the agent inspired rumours put out on social media and in the press, Arsenal might have a few players to sell but getting full value for them is going to be problematic and without sales I’m doubtful that there will be be many if any purchases.

    One thing seems fairly certain and that is that Stan is very unlikely to make any extra finance available…

  • Good comments, Eris-Kev 🙂

    I would imagine there is little money available for most clubs and therefore very few players will be sold by Arsenal, or indeed bought. Maybe a few will go out on loans to save on salary costs. I guess a lot will depend on qualifying for the CL or not. I reckon the squad is good, especially once Willock and AMN return as men. A cover for Xhaka would be clever but that now be AMN or even ESR.

  • Yes Total, in a different climate both Niles and Willock might be sold and may still be if the offers are there but as you say more loans seems to be the order of the day, I guess it depends on how much time is left on the players’ contracts?

  • Eris-Kev, I think we are lucky to have so many half-decent to great youngsters to come through. Do we really, really need to buy?! Odegaard for another year would be great, I think…

  • Guys, how about starting a “column” on the topic of evaluating the existing “club assets” (first team and squad members, players on loan and academy starlets) by position? It could be 7 pieces of posts (GK, CB, FB/WB, DM/CM, AM, wingers, CF/ST – or we can make it 8 if we split DMs and CMs) which could help us on having a balanced opinion on the transfer wishlist as well as fill the summer break / pre-season with interesting and useful posts before the next campaign starts?
    I would be more than happy to volunteer for 1 (max 2), but would make sense only if there are enough fellow volunteers to cover all positions. What do you think? Could it make sense? Or shall we take a break in the summer and focus on the EC, hoping for GN5 to start a separate prediction game? 😛

  • Odegaard on loan for next season would be a great move Total, I’d vote for that.

    If Arsenal were to cobble enough together to make a bid for anyone I’d be inclined to go for another player who can take on the Partey role, someone we can rotate or play alongside him and Xhaka, because if the Fulham game proved anything it’s that Elneny isn’t that man, certainly not from the start of a game. I like Mo and still think he has something to offer off of the bench but as cover for Thomas, I’m not sold on that one?

    Maybe Niles could be that man?

    PB, I can do a couple of those.

  • I think we should have already been giving ample minutes to Azeez l, as well as trying Smith-Rowe in a midfield three with Partey and Odegaard. That is my main concern regarding Arteta’s stewardship. With economics being what they are, we need to truly guage what type of talent we possess. Azeez, on his current trajectory, looks to be the future of our central midfield. I’ve been wrong about plenty of our youth, but I also know it doesn’t take me long to know talent, when I see it. I’ve only seen short clips, but I’m sure that most will agree, he has the makings of a special player. I will give up all evaluation of our youth, if he isn’t a first team regular in one to two seasons, in all seriousness.

    Smith-Rowe has the quickness, aggression and stamina, as well as the press resistance to play in the middle of the park. He’s deceptively tall as well.

    Living thousands of miles from London, I realize I can only speculate and along with my opinions, resides the knowledge that Arteta, or ANY manager or member of staff has a better grasp of how best to utilize our players…I think of my opinions as quasi-wishes almost.

    My head isn’t in the clouds, in all sincerity!

  • I second the motion for Azeez, but could support involving Cirjan and Cottrell from the current U23 setup.
    Akinola plays sometimes resembling Partey, but too often invisible, so I think he should get another year with the youth setup, then a loan spell and in 2-3 years – if everything goes well – he could be one of the challengers to become Thomas’ successor.

    Kev, I also like Mo a lot, but I think he is not balanced. He is great against a strong – possibly a superior – midfield as he proved it against Manchester United and Chelsea, but against opponents of inferior midfield he is half a man advantage – as he also “proved” against Fulham, Olympiacos (2nd leg), Southampton (FA Cup), etc.

  • Great comments, all with merit. I would expect that Azeez and Balogun will be next season’s ESR and Saka. If we can integrate two youngsters every season, we would do well.

  • Yeah, I gotta say I’m very excited to see what Azeez can do. Two academy graduates per season is the dream, for sure TA.

  • Nice offer, Eris-PB. I don’t do those sorts of posts but if you, Eris-Kev and others want to do them then Bob’s your uncle 🦒

  • I think that there’s every possibility that we’ll see both Balogun and Azeez earn their debuts in an Arsenal shirt before this season ends.

    Cirjan and Cottrell are great shouts Peter, in fact we might have even seen Cottrell on the 1st team subs bench by now but for some inconvenient injuries.

    The depth of talent at our club is amazing, quite amazing, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Arteta thinks and does this summer when he has all his youngsters back together in pre season, it could quite possibly shape his transfer plans as he sees what he has and what he can do with them?

  • PB, I will be more than happy to run a prediction competition for the Euros.

    It will be the same as the EPL competition with 6 games per week and 4 bonus points to the winner plus the occasional correct score game. Then we will have 4 games for the quarter finals 2 for the semi’s and then the final.

  • Well total, I’ve been married for almost 3 years. We have a four year old boy, who will be starting school in September!

    We moved about 200 miles away from St. Catharines Ontario, Canada, to a small town called Midland. Before the move I was finding sporadic work as an orchestral musician, but nothing that was sustainable or stable enough.

    We moved and I found work at a Creperie, as sort of an all-round paid apprentice. Front and back of house. I worked there for almost a year, when my wife and I were offered the chance to buy the business. We have never owned a business and I had never taken an interest in owning one, but I knew it could be my family’s big chance and my wife had always wanted to own a small business, so I figured we should give it a chance! We were offered the business before covid hit, but I still don’t regret the purchase.

    We now proudly own La Baie Creperie in Midland. Covid has been hard on us, but my family is healthy, and with immuno compromszation afflicting two members of my household, that is all I can ask for really. We are healthy, above all else. Our landlords are exceptionally supportive and flexible and without them, we would have had to close quite a while ago.

    How about you?? Where are you located now?? I forget what your job was, when I we last talked. What is your email?? No one else really needs to see more content like this! Hahaha 😀

  • Great news all round, Milo. Congratulations on the marriage, your son and having the courage to buy a business! Very impressive. Would love to do some email exchanges. Email is name of the blog@gmail.com (name all underscore).

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