A dull goalless draw permits me to expand on the sudden demise of the European Football League with all 6 clubs from the Premier withdrawing some with abject apologies.
Although the football world is priding itself on its unity, the project was always doomed.
To have any chance it needed to be secretive but that means all the stakeholders who were not consulted and who objected could castigate the prime movers with deceit.
The American owners in particular failed to anticipate the depth and degree of fan resentment.
Neither Chelsea nor Brighton are American-owned but 1,000 Chelsea fans mobilised outside Stamford Bridge last night to voice their objection.
It seems to me that the prime movers have been astonishingly naive.
They now have now lost their best bargaining chip with UEFA – the threat of a breakaway.
Indeed this very week the Champions League competition was expanded to 36 teams.
The media coverage was very much orientated around the 6 clubs from the Premier.
At half-time I tuned in Radio 5 and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague identified Real Madrid’s president Fiorentino Perez as the prime mover.
He enlisted Manchester United and City and Chelsea joined, albeit reluctantly.
The Agnelli family, who own Fiat and Juventus, were embarrassed as their member had a clear conflict of interest as he is involved in UEFA too.
Barcelona said that, as a members club, the members committee had to ratify the EFL decision but as Balague pointed out this is a formality.
Brighton’s owner Tony Bloom comes from a local family – his grandfather and uncle were/are on the board. He financed the new stadium and training ground, lending the club £100 million and in the pandemic put in another £58 million.
A shrewd man, he has imposed a salary cap of £50,000 a week and has no loanees.
In the end Brighton survived comfortably. In their four seasons in the top flight they have never been in the bottom three. In the summer they may sell Yves Bissouma and Ben White but this might lead to signing a 20-goal striker they need .
Finally I must congratulate Sussex CCC for their win County Championship win over Glamorgan this week.
Ollie Robinson took 13 wickets and must surely make the England Test squad.