The Super League came and collapsed super fast. Here's our take on what a proper league of the future could look like for clubs, players, and fans.
It's no surprise the Super League, a league built upon the foundations of wealth, power, and greed, ceased to exists a mere 24 hours after it's official announcement. The fans were upset, the pundits were livid, and players and coaches alike were in the dark about how this decision between some of the world's biggest clubs would actually come to fruition.
While the footballing world has now shifted focus towards the EURO 2020s and Copa America, the masterminds behind this poorly planned Super League will have some time to decompress, check their bank accounts, and remove themselves from the limelight. Let's not be fooled though, these same masterminds are plotting for a Super League return and I do believe it will happen whether we like it or not.
Like any idea, I believe it's important to start with the problem you are trying to solve, outline opportunities, and then action against something you think has the most potential for growth. Super League ambassadors and clubs will argue, "the people want to see the best talent and the best teams competing on a week in/week out basis." True statement, but while this is true for the fans, ownership, and investors, what about the players, coaches, and teams who put their bodies on the line every day to provide 90 minutes of entertainment? The problem we should be trying to solve is, "How can we better manage the minutes and travel of players, coaches, and teams so they can perform at their highest level week in and week out?". Herein lies the opportunity and herein lies how we can foster the best talent playing at the highest level.
Managing a player's minutes in today's world has become increasingly more difficult, not just for football players, but for athletes in general. With multiple matches, tournaments (domestic and international), and shortened seasons, its no surprise we see managers diving deep into their rosters early and often to ensure their teams can make it the full length of a season. The easy fix would be to shorten the season or reduce the numbers of games during any given year, but we all know that's wishful thinking. So, is there actually anything leagues can do to push for innovation, while also taking care of their players?
While the majority of folks will focus on new leagues, or amendments to current operations, part of the fun involved with innovating is finding something so you can do it better. The reason the Super League was met with such opposing force was because it threatened to fundamentally change the way in which clubs associated with their domestic counterparts. It was going to (and may still) reward the rich, perpetuate an elitist mentality, and dismantle the very foundations that got these clubs to where they are today. The ceiling for leagues to innovate has been reached and the proposed "Super League" was anything but innovative. I guess the only thing it did accomplish was instill fear in others and let the world know that change is imminent.
While I do believe competition leads to value-driven innovation, my proposal doesn't go head-to-head with the largest leagues in the world, it complements them and gives players, fans, and owners a new, fresh take, on what football can and should be.
The biggest clubs in the world often play in pre-season tournaments to ease back into things, get in shape, and give their global fanbase something to get excited about. For the avid football fan, the opportunity to get to see your team play on home soil is pretty cool and if you're lucky you may be able to stop by one of your local universities to watch them practice.
Often times, practice is where you really get to appreciate their level of professionalism, technical ability, and team culture. You're able to get so close to the pitch that you can hear the banter, the coaches giving direction, and see first-hand, the speed at which the game actually moves. This has always been where I find the most value as a fan, player, and promoter of the game.
From a players and coaches perspective, pre-season is often used as a time to test out new formations, evaluate performance, and think critically about the health and wellness of your squad going into next season. It's the reason why teams don't bring all their super stars and the reason why you'll typically see new signings and young stars getting valuable minutes under their belts.
For the clubs, going on a pre-season tour is about getting the lads back together, engaging with their global audience, and generating a little bit of revenue to kickstart their season. It's a good opportunity for everyone to get excited about the season ahead, while also enjoying a little bit of sunshine before the real grind begins. So, what if we gave fans, players, clubs, and owne