The Mangle: Time to give up the Premier League dream? Gary November 1, 2011 The Mangle 19 Comments About six weeks or so ago I considered writing a piece about whether we should assume a point has passed where we’re never going to be back in the ‘big time’ again, and just accept some sort of joyous mediocrity – something like yo-yo club at best. I even took the pains of contacting fans of our beloved Sheffield neighbours on the same subject, but as it turns out they hadn’t abandoned dreams of the top at all. All in all, it seemed like I was ploughing a silly little lone furrow of resigned negativity. Coincidentally, we were doing much worse then. But recent events mean I’m coming back round again – I’m starting to think that maybe we should amicably give up on a return to the ‘EPL’, as it’s known to its prime marketing audiences. Now, this is not because we’re not capable of making it there, oh no (the generally tosh nature of Championship opposition and the actually-not-that-badness of LUFC has been covered in Mangles previous), but because I’m coming round to the opinion that, much like guy who dumps his better-looking girlfriend just as she’s starting to feel she could do better, the Football League should turn the super league debate on its head by announcing its disaffiliation from the top tier. I find agreeing with Shaun Harvey’s views and then taking them even further a hard thing to stomach or even compute, but it’s way past the point of fair comment to suggest that the Premier League are perhaps a bunch of overinflated despots plundering the greater mass of teams for the continued rude health of their own profit margins and egos. And yes, I’m more than prepared for the ‘bitter Leeds fan’ barrage from opposition trolls. That no relegation thing was bad enough – but as totally believable as it was, it lacked Venky’s, I mean ‘foreign team owners’, actually coming out and nailing their w*nky colours to the mast. It was the flagrant blackmail that led to the abolishment of the youth tribunal system last week that marked the point of no return. It’s as if the Premier League only just realised there was one quite fair rule still left in the statute book and felt impelled to clamp down on such unbridled freedoms. The Championship is the fourth most-watched league in Europe. Secession by the Football League, whilst they have the likes of LUFC, the Sheffields, Forest, Leicester, Birmingham, West Ham et al on their books, and the Premier League has, well, a load of poorly-supported and/ or goal music-playing drudge-meisters on theirs, could be a cunning move. Of course some of the above, perhaps even us, could be back in the ‘promised land’ by the time any such move could legally and structurally take effect – but there’d be plenty of sizeable sides still around. From a purely cynical ‘brand strength’ point of view they’d have a strong hand. F*** it, they should invite Celtic, Rangers, and a couple from Ireland along for the ride too. But assuming we’d be part of the rebellion, what about the points deductions that our potential allies in rebellion gleefully dished out to us? No way we’re putting it all behind us, naturally. But what good league system doesn’t feature elements of rumbling bitterness? Sky Sports would have you believe there were no good old-fashioned bad blood outside the opinion pool of Gary Neville – but there’s plenty of the soap opera angst everywhere. Sure, far more Football League outfits hate us than we ourselves can be bothered to hate, but that’s just life as we know it. All we need to be united with the rest on is the view that with the Premier League sitting in the executioner’s position, sustaining a relationship with the hangman is just not healthy. Yep, that’s right; a piece not so much about LUFC directly but the state of football in general – just putting it out there. You can begin vitriolic critique after just one more paragraph. I would also concede that it’s almost certainly not actually going to happen. The desperate suckling of the League onto the ever-drying Premier League teat of prawn-scented sustenance will likely continue until it falls off, but I can’t help feeling we could be key players in a beautiful breakaway, if the men in charge would only show a little imagination.