3 Basic Principles For Fans to Unite Around To Safeguard Future Of English Football League

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By Colin Murray...

I’m asking all fans to unite behind three basic principles that can help safeguard the future of the English Football League, and I speak not only to those who support EFL clubs, but to those who follow Premier League sides. 

One. Stricter, far reaching, improved ownership rules and regulations. The EFL Owners And Directors test must be enabled to go beyond eligibility. It needs power to protect a club's very heart, its assets and its financial sustainability. It must become an authoritative last line of defence against vultures, gamblers and asset strippers.

Two. A more sensible, fairer distribution of parachute and solidarity payments from the Premier League to the EFL. £400m a year is welcomed and vitally important, but £260m goes to a maximum of nine clubs, namely those relegated from the top flight over the preceding three seasons. Just a slight shift in distribution can facilitate real change. The Premier League understandably wants clubs to spend once they arrive, but reduce that annual parachute to £190m, still a huge figure, and that extra solidarity money could be a game changer. Please, just get around a table and talk.

Three. Suitable control of overall player and staff wages across the EFL. The PFA supports more transparency and better monitoring, the EFL talks of wage caps. Either way, we can agree that something has to give. Talk, consult, compromise, but above all take immediate collective action for the greater good.

When we shed our colours we are all the same, regardless of what division we play in. Nobody has a monopoly on the joy, the pride, the pain or the community that football brings. On that, we already stand as one.

Throughout all three EFL divisions, Covid19 has exacerbated an already unsustainable situation.

How can Leagues 1 and 2, without a huge handout, restart next season when the vast majority of their cash is generated from ticket sales? In the Championship, overall wages exceed total revenue. This is madness.

It’s a virtual casino, with many clubs being put at risk by those who roll the dice for a shot at the big time. This must stop, or the football pyramid that flows through villages, towns and cities all over England will simply crumble.

I know we will all have different slants on the above principles, but surely we can concur that these three key areas, implemented cohesively, would deliver real change. Not tomorrow, but today. And that is all I'm asking you to agree with.

Progress is often stemmed because of different interests, business models and circumstances, so let’s scream a clear message to every owner and those in power that this won’t stand anymore.

On New Years Day, if significant change is not evident, we will commit to a weekend of peaceful action shortly afterwards. Each club, through their supporters groups, can decide what form that takes, from signs to walk outs, from silences to turned backs. The 72nd minute sounds just about perfect.

We will not all sing from the same hymn sheet but we don’t need to, as long as we come together through what unites us, rather than divides us.

If they don’t listen, we will shout louder, until they hear our voice. United, we can emphatically state that our friends, our family and our communities are not for sale at any price.

David Bowie once said, ‘Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.’ Right now, together as one, we need to open our ears and take action. Tomorrow for English League Football as we know it, is far from guaranteed.