5 ways to improve the current football product and a bit of a mental one chucked in at the end.

Ok, I’m on one. I admit it. After my last blog on controversial views of football really wasn’t very controversial and then me admitting my inner-City fan is flagging a bit in the blog before that and the response was still really good (you bloody softies) I thought a little deeper about what hacks me off about modern football.

Now I could write about that until the cows come home, from shitty Talksport and their cliched boring “lads” views, to the transfer window and that odd Scottish bloke wearing yellow and acting like a lad going on loan to Stoke is earth shattering…  not to mention the insane and preposterous money being pumped into this country’s game, which is so clearly unsustainable buuuuuuut…. nobody cares.

This feels wasted energy however (*Narrator’s voice* “So is this…”) so I tried to focus this little blog on what I think would be some positive changes to make to football, that would improve it as a spectacle and revive some of the past enjoyment that people no longer revel in.

So, here they are… as ever direct all your hate tweets to @thelikesofhull on Twitter and tell me I’m talking an absolute load of old Mark Bright. Or just like and retweet… whatever floats your boat…

Introduce League 3.

Virtually every team in the National League are either pro or have been in the football league, it isn’t the death sentence it once was to go out of the Football League. There’re fine traditional clubs in there like Notts County, York City, Southend, Oldham, Torquay etc etc. Have three up and three down, do the playoffs up to sixth like everyone else and bring this level into the Football League’s umbrella. It’s a pro league anyway and sides are unnecessarily marooned down there as only two go up, similarly a team who comes third bottom of League Two, thoroughly deserve to go down. Move on, football has changed and sort this out.

Radically change the league cup or scrap it.

Here’s a challenge for you. No google. Tell me the last five winners of the League Cup. I would tell you the answers but 1. I can’t be bothered to google it and 2. I don’t have a clue.

The league cup is a load of old tosh, from its odd rule allowing sides in Europe to come in later, to the outdated two-legged semi-finals, to the seemingly earlier and earlier final that nobody really cares about. It’s a waste of time as it is and should get the boot….unleeeesssssss… there’s radical change.

How about this? The EFL work with the SFL, FAI and IFL to have a British League Cup. You start out in four regions, South England, North England, Scotland and Ireland for a round or two but then you chuck them all together.

Now before you wisely say “But didn’t you just say we don’t want to play the Welsh in your last blog!?” I’d counter that with, yes I did… in the league… cup mate? Totally different…

Hearts vs Hull City (Edinburgh beers anyone?) Celtic vs Spurs, Millwall vs Rangers ( I’d put the eyes emoji if I could here) Grimsby vs TNS…

It would be instead of the second cup comp in all of the countries and the final rotates around the four countries. Move the games to Saturday too, and let’s play more league games in the week instead. It would be a lot of things potentially, but boring wouldn’t be one of them and I think people would actually get a kick out of it. Perhaps literally, but, you take my point.

Get some more terrestrial TV games on for kids starting with the FA Youth Cup and U21 league.

I work in a fairly underprivileged area. When it’s the FA cup kids suddenly bounce into school and want to talk to you about football. Why? Because they’ve been able to watch it, as it’s on BBC or ITV. We have a generation of kids who are either priced out of football or come from families that simply don’t prioritise it. But the kids love it. A good mate of mine takes the kids in his school to League One and Champ games and the British Basketball finals and they love it too. The sad thing is football is really quite middle class, especially in the higher ends and we need to give the next generation something to hook them. If kids don’t get taken to live games, it really isn’t their fault, let’s give them a bit more because we really can.

 I love the FA Youth cup and think it’s so under promoted. If I told you tomorrow City’s FA Youth Cup tie at Bradford was live on TV on a Monday night, you’d nearly all watch it. I went to watch a very young Max Clark best a very young Ivan Toney in the FA Youth Cup 4th round ten years ago and it was fantastic. The same is with the U21, in the states college sports are huge because it’s your chance to see the stars of tomorrow. We really haven’t woken up to this. Give these games away on terrestrial TV and it’s a win win all around.

Have a basic identical kids away ticket price across the football league

I was lucky that I had a Dad who took me to games, many don’t or can’t which has led to the third suggestion. But the days can be expensive these days. City have their house in great order in this regard which has helped bring many fans back to the game. I’d love though a ticket for say under twelves to be a tenner for all away games across the league. If twenty is plenty is a great campaign (and I think it is) then a tenner for any kid away is something all clubs can get on board with. I think other football country’s models show that if you bring down those costs you’ll make it up in the concessions stands or the club shops. I’d love to see something like this in place to really attract the next generation into football.

Less is more

Now this one really is pissing in the wind, but bear with me. There’s too many games and I think most people would agree with that, however games equals money equals revenue and the self-same teams who moan about fixture backlogs will then go ahead and totally contradict themselves by taking teams to far flung corners of the world to play “Friendlies”

There’re some things you can’t avoid though in terms of games, but the big one I think is a massive waste is in Europe. Group stages in everything is both a rip off and generally mind bogglingly boring.

Here’s the answer in all three European trophies. 128 teams go in the Champs league, Europa and Conference and are seeded. That goes down to 64, 32,16,8,4 and 2. Play two legs and knockout from day one, no away goals, pens after 180 mins if it’s a draw. Nobody can put out weak teams and take it lightly, you know you have to turn up and support and watch. Play like muppets and you’re done. Teams will go on unlikely runs, big boys will fall, it’s must watch TV. If you’re Arsenal and you get done 2-1 away at Athletico Kebab, you better come all guns a blazing in the second leg.

Less is more. It would change games into totally meaningful encounters. It’ll never happen… but boy would it be fun.

Retro player subs.

Ok this is my mental one, but hear me out.

Every team has eight over forty-year-old players signed on who must have played over 50 games for the club. On the first league fixture of the month you must name your classic retro sub on the bench. On the eightieth minute you MUST put on your classic sub.  You can make other subs as normal. You can bring him on in any position you want. Both teams must do it and at the same time.  You try to keep your classic lads in half decent shape, just in case.

Imagine, 0-0 at City vs Sheffield United in the run in. They bring on someone shit like Michael Brown or Michael Tonge or some bloke called Michael.

We bring on Geovanni Deiberson Maurício Gómez…

He strides on the pitch, the K-Com goes mental… Acun’s Mrs has no idea who he is but good grief she’s enthusiastic… Acun just smiles like the Turkish Simon Cowell and realises Geo will be shattered by the time he makes him play five-o later… with a minute left Geo receives a ball into feet, spins off and hits a Brazillian Rocket…. Straight past a bloke called Michael in goal….


Thanks for reading UTT.