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.