Sorry, but a ‘North v South’ game is a real non-starter

September, 16/2022 - 08:29
Now I’m not for one minute pouring cold water on Boehly’ business nous, he’s probably lost more money down the back of his couch than I’ll ever have in my bank account, but I think it’s safe to say the Premier League bigwigs won’t be moving forward on this proposal.
THANKS BUT NO THANKS: Chelsea owner Todd Boehly thinks an all-star game would be a good thing for the Premier League. AFP Photo

Paul Kennedy

Good ideas make the best of sense. Innovative suggestions can help a company move to another level. It’s what makes the business world tick.

If during a brainstorming session 10 ideas are asked for, and nine are rubbish, then that’s perfectly fine because it means one of those offered up is a winner.

This week, new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly came up with an idea he feels would improve the English game.

Now, I’m not for one minute pouring cold water on Boehly’s business nous, he’s probably lost more money down the back of his couch than I’ll ever have in my bank account, but I think it’s safe to say the Premier League bigwigs won’t be moving forward on this proposal.

Boehly, a fresh face in the English Premier League but an old hand in the sporting scene in the US, thinks it would be a good idea to have an all-star match each season pitting the best players from the north of England, against their southern counterparts.

The US equivalent is an annual game matching the top players in the American Football Conference (AFC) against those in the National Football Conference (NFC).

Now while this may be a rip-roaring money-spinning success Stateside, in England? I don’t really think so.

For starters, when would it be played? A suggestion for pre-season has been made by scrapping the current Community Shield curtain-raiser and replacing it with this stars and stripes-style extravaganza.

Well, that’s a no-no for a start. Pre-season is all about getting your squad ship shape and in tip-top condition for when the season starts.

I can’t for the life of me see multi-million-dollar Premier League footballers going hell for leather in what would be nothing more than a fluffy friendly.

But the big question for me is would anybody actually care? Would, say, an ardent Manchester United fan, cheer on Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah as he squares the ball to Manchester City’s Erling Haaland to put the Northern Numpties one up against the Southern Softies?

In England, football support is tribal. You want your team to win and couldn’t care less about any other team. And you can’t compare it to international football when fans come together under the flags of their nation.

So sorry Todd, I think maybe you need more than six weeks’ experience in English football before you start ruling the roost.

It’s worth noting that this is the same owner who gave Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel oodles of cash to spend in the transfer window only to fire him a few days after it closed.

And he’s the same owner who in the recent interview where he made the North v South match suggestion, also praised Chelsea’s youth academy for discovering players like Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne, neither of whom were ever part of Chelsea’s youth academy.

Brilliant businessman no doubt, but sorry Todd, we’ll file this suggestion in the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ category.

Any more ideas feel free to speak up, but maybe wait a little while and get to know your new business surroundings first. VNS

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