Morning all – hope you’re all good?

I’m back from a week-and-a-half sunning myself and whilst I haven’t bothered picking up the proverbial internet online quill to pen some thoughts, I’ve been following all the bits and bobs that have been happening in the Arsenal and football world over the last week or so. As expected, most of it was relatively quiet post-Premier League season ended, with a few transfer stories emerging about Sesko and a couple of others, but nothing that was so credible and large enough that warranted me firing up the laptop.

Until yesterday of course, in which man City decided to through the biggest hissy fit a Premier League club has ever thrown, albeit there has been nothing officially confirmed by Man City themselves. Instead it was Matt Lawton from The Times who dropped the ‘end game’ that City are looking to deliver to the Premier League following last year’s 155 charges stuff last February.

As a reminder – ‘Last February’ – i.e. just under 16 months ago, when they were charged with 115 counts of breaking the rules.

So what do you do if you as a club have been pulled up on so many offences? You make a counter offensive. That counter offensive has clearly been for the City Group and their owners to work hard on finding something – anything – that could render the Premier League’s charges irrelevant.

When the CAS stuff happened a couple of year’s ago by UEFA, their tactic was to essentially (and I’m super paraphrasing here because a – I’m not an expert, and b – I don’t particularly want to write 1,000 words on the details of that situation. There’s people far better qualified than me if you Google it that can go through the details of that case, as well as the 115 charges stuff) state that the charges that had been laid against them happened so long ago that they were not relevant any more and they won their case on a technicality. They weren’t ‘cleared’, they just couldn’t be punished, in the end.

That ‘get out of jail’ card couldn’t be used this time (again, see above brackets for why I won’t go in to that in detail), so they had to invent up a new angle on how to get away with it. And now we know what it is, which is essentially:

“The rules were wrong in the first place”

It’s honestly a level of arrogance the likes of which no club has ever risen itself too. Manchester City are saying that the rules they signed up to, the rules they agreed to in becoming part of the Premier League collective of teams to compete, the rules in which sporting integrity are supposed to be designed around, aren’t ‘fair’ to them. They have apparently used words like “the tyranny of the majority” to describe their attempt to sue the Premier League because of it’s majority rule approach; in a quite frankly amazing attack on what is essentially democracy in football. Essentially they should be able to do what they like and spend what they like because they have the money and others don’t. They should be able to over-inflate sponsorship deals because they can (that’s what the whole ‘associated party transaction’ stuff that you might have seen in the media in the last 24 hours is) and everyone else should just accept it.

It’s crass, it’s disgraceful, it’s an attempt to subjugate the Premier League in to dropping charges because of the money and power that the City Group wield and, if successful, it would essentially mean that sporting integrity is dead. It would open the floodgates for state ownership and turn the Premier League in to a shell of a competition, where football clubs become expensive dick-swinging exercises by excessively rich people/countries try to sports-wash their way into society.

Let’s remind ourselves about the Super League for a second on this, because I think it’s relevant, because that was an example of fans coming together to fight against something that was wrong, and the perspective was pretty unanimous in rejecting the idea. So much so that the clubs that all went public with the announcement, not only had rival fans up in arms against them, but their own fans, the Premier League, UEFA, as well as the broadcasters (obviously) all come together to fight what was an attempt to remove competition and sporting integrity from the game we love. Having a closed shop where no promotion and relegation exists, where teams can just spend higher and higher amounts of cash and rake in more and more, where the fans would have eventually have suffered, would have been shameful. So it fell down and died and I think most people suggested it was a win for football and competitive sport.

By showing their hands here, Man City have done exactly what the Super League tried to do; they want to see sporting integrity eroded by essentially saying the ‘haves’ must be able to do what they want.

The suggestions from The Times article are also that City have had the temerity to suggest that they would need to scale back on women’s football, youth development and fan ticket prices, were they not allowed to do this, in a completely and utterly bizarre attempt to wedge some sort of moral trump card into their argument. It’s laughable.

They have been backed in to a corner and they are lashing out by launching something so audacious that it almost sounds like an April Fool’s joke. The Premier League have to fight this. Football has to fight this. Everyone needs to come together to fight this. We all derided the Super League, I wrote against my own club in rejecting it, but unless this situation resolves itself in a way in which City fail in this desperation attempt and are now most certainly punished with their charges, then the game we all know might be gone and dead. I don’t even think that is overly dramatic. We all know football is a sport dominated by money, but at least there are rules in place designed to keep a somewhat competitive nature to the spending, to try to avoid the Premier League clubs becoming playthings.

This has to be stopped and there needs to be a universal campaign to counter what City are doing. From everyone.

Sorry, not a lot about The Arsenal today, but when a story this big comes along that threatens to change the game as we know it, you kind of have to talk about it.

I’ll be looking to do an Arsenal-related podcast tonight as part of our ‘one in, one out, one bangs’ series that we did last summer on the Same Old Arsenal pod. Come and join us at 8.30pm and hopefully it’ll be a bit more on Arsenal, although I’m sure we’ll talk about this too at the start, if only for a little bit. Link here if you want to pop along.

Back tomorrow with more Arsenal-related stuff. See you then.