This is a very good email, pretty much all of which I agree with, especially the part about us all being complicit.
“You’re right that Neville and Carragher were superb tonight on Sky, and it was really interesting to hear them both admit that they’d stayed silent on the owners of their own clubs,” says Charlie Robinson. “Neville went so far as to call them scavengers, and I agree with him. Blaming the owners of these clubs is quite right – but it’s only half true. These owners are acting in their own self-interest in the way that all club owners do, Steve Parish included. But they’re seeking to exploit a system that has opened itself up to exploitation, and which rewards that exploitation. I heard someone say earlier today that of the twelve clubs who’ve signed up, some weren’t overly keen to do so, but felt that they couldn’t be left without a seat when the music stops.
“That for me is the problem, and it’s one that’s inherent to the capitalist system that has for a long time, in one way or another, pervaded football, and not just over the last twenty-odd years since the inception of the Premier League. For ‘normal’ businesses, those that don’t stay competitive lose out and can go under. So they scamper after profits, often doing so by squeezing surplus value from workers, cutting corners, and exploiting new markets. This is what’s happening here. It’s not just the owners who are the problem, but the whole logic of the football system, which imposes systemic imperatives that these clubs ignore at their peril. The Champions League, Sky, and the Premier League are but three examples of this, and the ESL is just yet another manifestation of it.
“So yes, the ESL is a terrible idea, and I hate it. But I also hate the venal system that has been in operation for decades and decades now, the one that has left us with projects and clients and customers and stakeholders and official paint sponsors and hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds. We’ve all participated in this, and ended up precisely where we expected and precisely where it was always headed and precisely where we deserve – the hyper-capitalist end-point of our game.”
Half time: Leeds 0-1 Liverpool
Peep peep! A motivated Liverpool are ahead thanks to a goal from Sadio Mane. They’ve been much the better team, really impressive in fact, and could have scored a couple more.
44 min “Hi Rob, I hope you’re keeping well,” says Niall Mullen. “I don’t doubt that even a cursory examination of football’s history would quickly put paid to the ideas of the sport as some Corinthian idyll. Nor do I doubt for a second that any of the other teams, Leeds, Everton, West Ham, whoever would have joined the proposed Super League given half a chance. Also I know that all things change and that those things that seemed eternal and monolithic as a child are mere transient bagatelles that only imprint themselves thus on your impressionable mind. This still absolutely effing stinks though.”
Yeah, in more ways than one it’s the fat end of the wedge. I’m probably wrong but I can’t see how this can be resolved satisfactorily.
42 min Tyler Roberts sidefoots a first-time shot at goal from the edge of the area. It’s nowhere near the corner and Alisson saves easily.
41 min When Liverpool play like this, it becomes very hard to understand their shambles of a season. At the best, and they’ve been pretty close tonight, they are nigh-on unstoppable.
40 min Meslier makes a fine save from Jota, who read Llorente’s dodgy backpass and tried to lob it over the keeper.
38 min If it stays like this Liverpool will move up to fourth, above West Ham on goal difference, for whatever it’s worth.
37 min Alioski is booked for legging Mane up. Just before that, Dallas floated a cross to Harrison beyond the far post. He could have volleyed at goal but instead tried to cushion the ball back across to Bamford, and Fabinho nipped in front of him to clear.
34 min Alexander-Arnold tiptoes into the area and reverses a pass to Jota, who spanks high and wide from the edge of the area.
33 min Liverpool deserve that goal. Whatever their motivation, they’ve been really good.
Diogo Jota drove an excellent angled pass to find Alexander-Arnold, who got away from his marker Harrison. Meslier came out to the edge of the area so Alexander-Arnold poked the ball square to give Mane an open goal.