Green Gartside

Posted by on Nov 6, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Bolton Chairman Phil Gartside has popped his head above the parapet again. An article in today’s Guardian has once again floated the idea of a two tier Premier League. This would involve the co-opting of the current Cocaleague into the EPL structure, with those Bhoys and Gers from Glasgow added to taste. It’s not the first time the 68 year old businessman has weighed forth on the matter, but his previous plan has now been substituted with one that is only slightly less self-interested. This time, relegation from the Orthrus-like beast would be permitted, provided ground and facilities are up to scratch.

Thankfully, that unholy cabal, the Big Four (or is it now Five or Six) are unlikely to encourage tampering with a tried and tested formula and see their television revenues further diluted, although the idea will be on the minutes for the next Premier League club meeting on November 12. It won’t surprise you to learn that such blatant rope ladder pulling doesn’t go down well chez the Two Unfortunates: Aylesbury and Wealdstone have as much right to pretend to Premier league status as anyone, and far more than those two Scottish cousins. If clubs like Portsmouth, Hull and Bolton have survived in the top flight purely by over spending, then they need to face reality and join us back below deck — or even a notch below that. Promotion and status in football should be about merit, not money — an away trip to Parkhead might provide initial excitement but would soon pall at the thought of the injustice. I remember a lower division Burnden Park and the supermarket that blocked one’s view of the corner flag — but that yawning upper tier at the Reebok away end is no less a monument to the Trotters’ small club status. Get back in your shell Gartside.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.


  1. Lloyd
    November 6, 2009

    Deary me, this is all quite worrying, but I'm sure that I'm not the only one who can see through this latest 'proposal', which as it stands still wouldn't do enough to break up the financial domination of the top four.

    A situation where promotion is reliant on facilities cannot be allowed to happen. That'd just be an excuse to keep out 'the likes of' and further the proliferation of cloned franchises full of mercenaries. No thanks.

  2. Matt R
    November 11, 2009

    Well said. This was discussed on 5 Live last night, with a ham-fisted attempt at justifying their parachuting in made by some anonymous no-mark on the basis that admission to the EPL is the only way the old firm will clear their debts. This was put forward as a reason for them being admitted (there's no question of course that it's in their own interests). I texted in that Southend and Accrington had debts too, couldn't they be parachuted in if we were going to abandon all pretence of meritocracy. They didn't read that one out.

    Peter Coates of Stoke City, now firmly established as my favourite top flight chairman, came on and said “what a load of old rubbish” (or words to that effect), adding that he still thought that the MK Dons thing was a disgrace too. Hurrah.


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