Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughCharles Green exposes the single-mindedness of the elite. - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Charles Green exposes the single-mindedness of the elite. - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Charles Green exposes the single-mindedness of the elite.

After a universal mini-break in domestic competition for want of World Cup qualifying, this coming weekend sees a return to the spotlight for the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A et al as the majority of Europe goes back to the day job. The English Premier League also gets back to business and Aston Villa, one of its ever-present clubs since its 1992 inception, will travel to Fulham.

Nothing suspect about that you may feel, but not to Charles Green, the Chief Executive of Rangers, who filled the news vacuum usually created by such international breaks by describing Villa as “totally useless” as he put the self-serving topic of the European Super League back on the agenda in a blaze of grandeur.

Rangers, now residing in the third tier of Scottish football following their flirtations with bankruptcy, Green feels, deserve to be competing with the elite of European club football, not the likes of East Stirlingshire, and has dusted down the idea of a breakaway of UEFAs top clubs from the archives as part of an ambitious plan to compete at the very top once they have secured an investment of £20 million.

The basis of Green’s plan is centred around a rather selfish supposition that the biggest clubs in Europe no longer want to share the same table with the run of the mill likes of Southampton or Villa, whose rich history and standing Green conveniently chose to forget, and are willing, once more, to explore the idea of leaving their native leagues to play against each other in what would be effectively, a constant Champions League.

Rangers’ high-thinking Chief Executive will not be the first man to propose such a breakaway and neither will he be the last. A super league first hit the back pages around the turn of the millennium as a mid-90s renovated Champions League became a success. UEFAs compromise was to stretch the competition out to a wretched double group system which swelled the fixture list and decreased the interest further than a single group system that recently threw up Dinamo Zagreb against Dynamo Kiev.

It has also been mooted numerous times in Spain by Barcelona and Real Madrid who have grown bored of jousting with each other in a painstaking duopoly in La Liga, yet they will not entertain a re-think of their preposterous imbalance of television revenue which sees the two giants take home a 60% share while the rest enjoy a slice of the remaining 40%. Rangers did use to enjoy a similar hegemony with Celtic in which all other SPL clubs could not dream to threaten the Auld Firm dominance and when the blue half of Glasgow finally returns to the top table of Scottish football, they are reluctant to return to the status quo.

Green uses the English Premier League as the justification for his argument, saying Manchester United supporters are no longer drawn to a match with, to use his example, Southampton, but in a league that has seen 3 different champions in the past 3 years and could have, realistically, any number of 7-8 teams challenging for the top four Champions League spots, it is rather bizarre to suggest fans will advocate the abandonment of their clubs’ soul in search for entertainment when they already have it in abundance at home.

Southampton may also have something to say about a Super League having seen huge investment from the late Markus Liebherr in order to rise from administration and back to the top tier in two years under Nigel Adkins. Having been to places like Yeovil, Scunthorpe and Doncaster, Saints supporters will appreciate the wonder of Anfield, Old Trafford, the Emirates and Stamford Bridge and see how lucky they are to be there. Yet, if Green gets his black-hearted way, those trips will be stricken from the fixture list and competition for a Premier League promotion will see an incentive of more games with Wigan, Fulham, QPR and co.

Charles Green has been since forced into an apology for his remark about Aston Villa but will probably not be forced to say sorry for harbouring pie in the sky plans of leaving behind the likes of Elgin City and Clyde behind and floating off into the sunset together with Celtic to play against Barcelona and AC Milan on a weekly basis. Sadly however, as they propose to trawl through Europe, they will search for competition, money and a place to bury football’s soul.

Adam Gray