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Lambert: If Change is Going to Come Everyone Has to Be Involved
Tuesday, 13th Oct 2020 14:46

Boss Paul Lambert says something has to change in football but that there has to be more dialogue in the wake of the emergence of Project Big Picture over the weekend.

The proposal for a restructuring of the game, instigated by Liverpool and Manchester United and supported by EFL chairman Rick Parry, would see, among other things, the Premier League cut to 18 clubs, the big six - the two clubs who have been discussing the plan plus Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City - have a greater say in the running of the game and the potential scrapping of the League Cup and the Community Shield, as well as the FA gifted £100 million and the EFL an initial £250 million and 25 per cent of shared media rights going forward.

The Premier League, a number of its clubs, including West Ham United, the FA and the Government have all been critical of the proposals and their timing in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Lambert admits that changes are needed in the game but believes further discussion is required.

“Something has to change in the game but there needs to be a lot more dialogue,” he told iFollow Ipswich.

“There are a lot of questions to be answered first and I can understand the controversy it’s created.

“I’m old school and believe there should be one body running the game but if change is going to come about everyone has to be involved, get their heads together and be in agreement. If it’s for the good of the game itself then everyone will agree with it.

“There are so many avenues to explore and while it’s clear that money has to be filtered down the leagues, I don’t see why it needs a reconstruction to make that happen.

“Clubs in the lower leagues needed help before the pandemic but Covid is causing havoc in sport and in lots of areas, not just in this country but around the world so something does have to be done or clubs will go out of business.”

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senduntd added 14:55 - Oct 13
Stitch up

TractorRoyNo1 added 15:00 - Oct 13
Palace chairman and Burnley manager also entitled to their views.

Ipswichbusiness added 15:35 - Oct 13
The Daily Telegraph today says, “The Premier League opponents to “Project Big Picture” have declared it “dead in the water”, with at least 13 of the member clubs understood to be united against it ahead of what promises to be a defining shareholders meeting tomorrow”.

ArnieM added 15:39 - Oct 13
This has to be the biggest stitch up in football of all time, and the timing of this “ offer” by PL is cynical in the extreme. What a bunch of greedy bas tards they are.

Their offer might appear substantial and good, but it’s anything but that, ( given the money awash 8n the PL), This is down to utter greed and big clubs looking out ONLY FOR THEMSELVES!

F ck the lot of them!

Northstandveteran added 15:50 - Oct 13
I just wish the "Big six" would form their own league with the top European clubs that was discussed a few years ago and clear off.

Don't let them compete in the domestic cups.

Perhaps then we could go back to 4 leagues where promotion doesn't necessarily mean relegation at the 1st attempt and the dream of an unfancied club actually competing in the now disrespected F.A cup might become a reality.

If football becomes non competitive, with smaller clubs not having any hopes of reaching the big time, the game as we know it, ceases to exist.

Responses along the lines of,

" Move with the times you bitter and twisted Ipswich supporting dinosaur "

Will be accepted.


deano85 added 15:57 - Oct 13
Not keen on this tbh, 18 in the epl, and no efl cup... Basicly if you are not a top 6 club, your season could be as little as 35 matches... Maybe only 17 at home... Hardly sems viable having stadia or a team...

62WasBest added 16:05 - Oct 13
Precisely Northstand veteran. I've always believed the EFL should have taken on the Premier League from the beginning of the split. There are big clubs and clubs with longer traditions all the way down the leagues than the so-called "Big Six". It is only TV that has created the imbalance. I'd encourage the rest of the Premiership to cut loose and join the EFL and let the "Big Six" enjoy what they can. Then restructure the EFL . There are enough TV companies now that could televise the games in times of Covid especially, showing extended highlights and the more highly rated matches in the top division live. And the football is generally more competitive.

The problems for the Football League began when the Premiership formed. Like the idea of a European league (and even to an extent the current Champions League), who really wants to see the same old teams constantly playing each other ad nauseam in what is very nearly a closed shop? The irony is this proposition has come forward just at a time the PL has become a bit more competitive.

Len_Brennan added 16:17 - Oct 13
I really miss the old days when teams like ourselves, Southampton, Coventry or Derby could start a season with every expectation of being in the top 6 of the highest division in the country come the business end. When a Watford or Swansea could have 3 promotions in 5 years & challenge for a European spot AND not have oligarchs or corporations with questionable ethics funding it to multiple degrees of what their opponents can manage.
Good management, organisation, recruitment & smart tactics (yes even Graham Taylor's) being the reason for success in a relatively level playing field; where only the attendances, club shop & fan club subscriptions really determined any financial distinctions between rival clubs.
I know it's a bygone era, but giving in to the power of this big 6 now will only further erode the competitiveness & romance of a sport which dares us to dream of what could be, from when we are small kids right up to when we are old gits.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 17:05 - Oct 13
Northstandveteran: with you all the way! Pretty much agree with most of the above comments, but in the end, I fear money will talk and sod the rest. I wouldn't miss the "Big Six" either if they p*** off to Europe, but how, for example, would that affect the chances of the rest ever playing against European competition? TV money has in many ways ruined the game and turned the players in the PL into a bunch of divas.

Bobbiesboys added 17:15 - Oct 13
What makes those clubs the big six? Its not their records as Spurs have finished second once and third twice in the PL, Newcastle have a better record than them. Its not their average crowds as West Ham has a better average crowd than Spurs, Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea. Newcastle also has a better average than Chelsea. So it must be the size of their stadiums........... Nope not that either, West Ham have a larger stadium than Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea. The only thing I can come up with is they are the greediest six clubs who do not give a monkeys about the rest of the PL let alone the rest of English football.

TimmyH added 17:38 - Oct 13
My old mum use to say 'where there's muck there's brass' and there certainly a lot of muck involving some of the 'big' clubs in the Premiership and all there interested in (and there rich foreign owners) is brass i.e. money and winning.

TimmyH added 17:39 - Oct 13
@bobbiesboys - I think you'll find they have 6 of the richest or nearest to owners - certainly Man City and Chelsea.

ArnieM added 17:40 - Oct 13
Northstandveteran veteran, you’re spot on , so from one dinosaur to another the PL is poison and I’d be happy if they cleared off to their European league and actually left English football. Most of the top 3- 4 Clubs don’t boast that many UK players anyway so hardly reflective of the remaining 98% of the clubs in the EFL .

Suffolkboy added 19:12 - Oct 13
Let’s hope this rotten proposal gets what it deserves ; sadly much needs to be ‘righted ‘ about both our game and the league structure, AND the Alice in Wonderland way some clubs are run , managed and ‘not ‘ funded .
Many will remember Third Division North and South ; at the very least that conserved expenditure ,and almost certainly promoted localised patriotism and earnest competition .BUT in those days Greed , the Money go round , International exposure etc were not perhaps even thought about .
Sadly our game has deteriorated in many ways over the intervening period ; the business of entertainment has taken over , integrity and honesty and reliable sportsmanship have become largely bygones !
ALL these are good reasons not to allow panic decisions , in this pandemic, to shape the future— for its unlikely to be for the better !
Make haste slowly !!

Karlosfandangal added 19:28 - Oct 13
Agree with everyone above.

Ipswich were in the Prem on the very first day and made it for a second time, However I can’t see us every getting there again.

Wonder if we would have the same views if had stayed in the Prem from the start.
I hope so as I hope we have more integrity.

Esseeja added 19:49 - Oct 13
To be fair, judging from last season and this season, it seems as if the premier league's so called 'big six' doesn't even exist right now as:
1) Man U are ****
2) Arsenal are ****
3) Chelsea came third but were ****
4) Leicester.
5) It's just Man City v Liverpool.
6) This season.
7) Sheffield United almost managed to get a European spot.
8) Leeds this season.
9) Aston Villa this season.

Michael101 added 19:53 - Oct 13
Then the next thing will be a winter break so they can go off to America to play a friendly to get the club a few million and the playe rs not getting the rest it was set up for.

britbiker added 20:27 - Oct 13
Receiving an annual share of tv rights may sound attractive now but that income will fall if the greedy six enter a european super league or are allowed to arrange their own pay to view channels. If they gain more power whats to stop them amending future income streams for their own gain.

The NFL may have its faults but st least every year the worst team gets to pick tge best young talent and thus gives each team a chance to shine.

budgieplucker added 20:53 - Oct 13
A European franchise super league is probably the answer with top six being allowed to leave the existing structure to join on predetermined conditions and only allowed to rejoin if another domestic top team buys out their franchise. Revert back to our domestic top league still qualifying for an extended Europa cup competition (no super league teams allowed), Super League teams not allowed to enter domestic cups. Some of their games can be played abroad, a percentage of their TV revenues be levied towards the domestic game as they still have to be jointly accountable to our own domestic FA. B teams allowed to compete in lower leagues without promotion. See How many seasons before fans get fed up of the gluttony of their favourite dish (steak & chips) served up all the time playing Malmo or another side not exciting as a local derby with the likes of West Ham or Everton!!! See the passion drain out of their existence to a highly technical game which eventually sends everyone to sleep. The Dutch game of total football which everybody became excited about in the 80’s ended up like a boring game of chess as everybody tried adopting the same style, top league attendances in Holland plummeted to 3,000/4,0000 and many Dutch fans ended up taking more interest in foreign sides, many following English clubs fortunes and eagerly adopting Frans Thijjsen and Arnold Muhren’s English team.

ITFC_95 added 08:48 - Oct 14
The excitement of football is slowly being eroded by greed, money and even VAR. I have a feeling a lot of lower league clubs whose only concern is short term survival will be in favour of this but it signals the end of football for me. If the best anyone team outside the top 6 can hope for is avoiding relegation from the PL then really what is the point. Soon we’ll have an American style franchise system with no promotion and relegation and years of tradition and community will be ruined.

VanDusen added 09:43 - Oct 14
Kick them out. Never let them back - don't allow them cups. Certainly don't allow B-teams in our league! You'll get a bit of resistance from a handful of clubs who lose a lot of income they currently get from riding on the coat tails (Newcastle/Everton/West Ham), but overall it's the right solution. These brands bear no relation to what we all know as a 'football' club anymore.

Ironic that cultural appropriation is condemned everywhere, except when it involves the world taking and ruining English football culture...

Razor added 10:05 - Oct 14
Basically this is just football blackmail by the big fish and once they have the power can we trust them not to change the rules in the future and reduce or cut off money to the pyramid---what do you think!?

Europablue added 10:37 - Oct 14
VanDusen, this is absolutely cultural appropriation from the people to the money men. I'd love for the government to step in, maybe with a bailout and make all clubs 50% owned by the fans. The clubs leech off the loyalty of fans because of the emotional attachment, but they don't take responsibility for preserving that special status. Football has been treating fans as income streams without running as a business.

Europablue added 10:46 - Oct 14
I'm all for reducing games that are played by premier league teams, especially the top sides in Europe, so I suggest
1) Change the Champions league to a knockout format played over two legs.
2) Make the UEFA cup a knockout tournament again, and have no Champions League losers entering.
3) Get rid of all mid-season friendlies and ban all friendlies outside of Europe apart from a short period of a week or so in late July/early August.
4) Remove the clubs that qualified for European football from the League Cup
5) Get rid of premier league clubs from the EFL trophy.
6) Make all clubs 50% fan-owned
7) Get rid of parachute payments and redistribute 25% of Premier League money
8) Get rid of VAR.
9) Bring back standing sections

Europablue added 10:54 - Oct 14
There is a case for reducing the number of teams in the Premier League, even if I think it is invalid, but what is the reasoning behind putting the third from bottom team in the championship playoffs? That's the one that is not even trying to hide the big 6 supremacist agenda to keep competition out of the Premier League as much as possible.
What these money men do not understand is what brought their cash cow into existence. It's the depth of the league system in England along with the passion of the fans and the place in the local communities for decades. Having no games on free to air TV has already shrunk the potential fan base. The Premier League needs MotD to stay relevant. Just look at F1. That was a big deal, obviously not so woven into the fabric of our culture as football, but it has become so irrelevant on Sky.
For the first time in my life I am thinking it might be time just to give up on football. If it stops being the game we love, and we can't fix the current system we should restart the league with a proper constitution that puts fans and community at the centre.

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