Stan Collymore has never been one to hold back from voicing his opinion, but in discussing the EFL / Sky TV deal recently he’s slandered the lower levels of the Football League.
For those who haven’t read them already, Collymore was discussing the opposition by 19 clubs from within the EFL to the £500m deal proposed by Sky for the TV rights to all three divisions of EFL football. He’d said he was ‘disgusted’ with Leeds, Villa and Derby for opposing them, but then launched into a tirade about the quality of football at the lower levels.
After branding their decision to ask for more money for what he called a ‘second, third or fourth-rate product’, he went on to say:
“What the clubs, who are demanding more, are essentially saying is that they should better rewarded for failure, which is being in the second tier. They’re wrong. They should earn second-tier money – until they prove themselves worthy of Premier League money by getting back up there.”
Whilst the basis of his argument is sound, in labelling the lower divisions as a lesser product his inadvertently taken a swipe at some of the clubs who didn’t oppose the deal and in fact serve up a decent product on many occasions.
I will concede, a 1-1 draw between Tranmere and Oldham might not be a great spectacle for the TV viewers. but equally would they rather watch Huddersfield play Brighton? Or Palace and Fulham?
The true value doesn’t always sit in the likes of Aguero and Harry Kane, those players and their clubs are just as likely to serve up utter dirge as at any other level of the game. Look at Manchester United this weekend, would you rather have watched that, or had the opportunity to view Stevenage’s remarkable comeback against MK Dons?
Stan Collymore has effectively called all sides outside the top 20 teams a failure, how can that possibly be the case? how can the Championship be deemed a failure when every single side covered by this site would relish a chance to compete there? How can the fourth of fifth biggest league in Europe, one decimated each international weekend by call ups, be a failure?
We have a wonderful structure in this country, a system where any team can aspire to make the Championship or beyond. Fleetwood and Forest Green have proven you can buy your way up the leagues, Burton and Hull have played their way up and even Burnley and Swansea have been to the depth and back again.
Sadly, according to Collymore, they only truly matter when they reach the Premier League.
I’ll let you into a secret. I don’t care for the top flight. I don’t look at the scores, I don’t watch the matches and I don’t interact in any way with it. For me, it isn’t real football, it is a sideshow, detached from reality. there’s only ever one or two teams challenging for the title and it’s frankly predictable, boring and over hyped.
You can’t say that about League One or League Two and I guarantee you this, I’d choose the Sunderland and Barnsley clash this evening over any other match being played in the Premier League, this season or next.