ANDREW NICKERSON is not very impressed by a certain article suggesting that ‘soccer’ could be improved by getting rid of promotion and relegation.
You`ve probably seen already the article on NewsNow by FoxNews “Soccer” Correspondant, Jamie Trecker, attempting to justify why a promotion and relegation-less football league pyramid will be better for football.
It is, in my view, indicative of how the world media has been exposed only to the upper echelons of English football, and is totally ignorant of the passion, excitement, drama and compelling nature that the Premier League, Championship and Leagues One and Two provide.
Let`s take this from all views. From an economic view, promotion and relegation makes massive sense. It ensures that an interest is kept on the entire league and not just the top five or six vying for Champions League spots.
From the viewpoint of Sky, who provide the English league with the vast majority of it`s revenue, it ensures high viewing figures for matches involving those in the relegation mire.
It seems, the viewing public are just as interested in those fighting for their lives as those fighting for success. Why would Sky, who let`s face it, hold the strings of power because of their grasp on the strings of the purse, allow something that draws such crowds to their subscriptions and channels to be abolished? Answer? They wouldn`t.
Sticking with an economic view, it`s also well known that teams fighting for something attract higher crowds. Supporters want to do their bit to cheer on their team. They flock to the games and cheer on their teams in the hope they can pull through and escape relegation or achieve promotion. Clubs are hardly going to agree to abolish something that quite obviously generates such revenue.
Let`s look at it from a fans view. We all know the views of the fans are largely marginalised in today`s game. That`s by the by. Fans will make their voices heard – simply because if they don`t like what`s going on, they will stop paying money to Sky to watch it, or paying money to go to games.
Fans are important to the game. That much is clear. If there is nothing to play for, no promotion or relegation, how captivated do we honestly expect supporters will be? It could well mean a mass migration of young fans to teams who actually have something to play for, rather than watch the monotony and drudgery of numerous teams who frankly have nothing to play for.
Next? Tradition. Why should we change our game that has existed in this fashion a lot longer than pre-pubescant American sports he claims are superior? It has existed in this manner for a great deal of time.
And just because American involvement is starting to filter into the sport does not mean that American traditions will follow. Far from it. The vast majority of leagues across Europe operate a promotion/relegation basis. I see no reason to change that here just because a few Americans buy a couple of clubs.
Still with me? Good. Next, promotion as a concept allows various parts of the country the chance to see the best players in action. This season, Swansea have brought Premiership football to Wales for the first time and Norwich`s promotion to the Premiership means East Anglia has a Premiership team once more.
The opportunity for these areas to see Premiership football is invaluable. It brings a great deal of revenue to these areas and can mean a substantial boost to the businesses in and around that area. It`s ridiculous to suggest that football should ignore the communities they service by closing ranks.
And finally (I could go on for hours, but I think five points will be enough) let`s look at it from a club’s point of view. I heard last night on talkSPORT about Leeds “deserving” to be a Premiership club. Why? What have they done to deserve Premiership football? Not enough on the field, that`s for sure.
Promotion and relegation ensures a focus on a football team`s footballing ability. Without a successful team, you won`t get the revenue to continue your success. Owners cannot ignore the football team to concentrate on making revenue elsewhere. It doesn`t work that way. Those that ignore that balance or go too heavily in one direction face the same fates at Luton and Leeds.
Promotion and relegation ensures a club are at the level they should be based on what should be the most important thing to a football club. Their footballing ability.
If we close ranks, we will face a sport top heavy of supporters of clubs who can achieve something, and an apathy and disinterest in teams that can`t. Premiership football would become even more predictable and Championship, League One and League Two would become so unappetising, their fan base would lose interest.
No, we cannot allow our promotion and relegation system in football to become products of an ever Americanising society. If we do, we might as well call it soccer and start naming our football teams like American sports teams.
This article was originally published on the offofonhere blog. You can also follow Andrew on Twitter via @andrewnickerson.
We want to know what YOU think. Have your say by leaving a comment below, or click here to discuss this article in the forum.
You can also share your thoughts via Facebook (Facebook.com/VitalNorwich) or Twitter @VitalNorwich.