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The Week That Was

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Ever since the dreaded Gam£ 39, which the FSF campaigned against, we’ve been keeping a close eye on any plans to restructure the Premier League. Back in November 2009 we thought that Phil Gartside’s idea of a two-tiered Premier League, with no relegation or promotion and the Old Firm thrown into the mix, was blatantly preposterous and the chairmen of the Premier League’s clubs agreed.

We don’t want to give the impression that we just instinctively bash the Premier League though, far from it. Take their newest proposal, revealed by David Conn on Sunday, to introduce a play-off system which would determine the fourth Champions League spot.

The idea seems to have divided opinion among supporters a little more than Gam£ 39, which everyone was against, so we don’t want to jump to conclusions on whether fans are for or against this new idea. We’ll be speaking to our individual and affiliate members to get a feel for that – you can also let us know your thoughts on our poll (see left).

Writing on his BBC blog Sheffield Wednesday’s Michael Gray definitely didn’t like the idea arguing that “it is a brilliant way to go up but there is always the chance for heartbreak too because the play-offs are a bit of a lottery.” We wonder why Michael Gray doesn’t like play-offs and what he could possibly be talking about?

Many FSF members have already expressed their opinion on the matter but we’ll hold our tongue until we’ve consulted more fans. If you’re not a member by the way, join the FSF here, it’s free and we’ll even send you a lovely shiny new copy of tfs 019 so long as you include your address.

On-the-field and the Champions League resumed this week at the quarter-final stage with Arsenal and Manchester United away to Porto and AC Milan respectively while Chelsea will take on the Special One and Inter next week. With Goldenballs’ renaissance continuing at the San Siro the round has a bit of the school reunion feel to it. We’re sure Fergie’ll be glad to see Becks back though.

As it turned out AC’s OAPs were no match for the young guns of Old Trafford as, erm, that whippersnapper Paul Scholes grabbed United’s opener with the flukiest of goals. Some fella called Rooney grabbed a brace as the Red Devils hung on for a 3-2 win while England fans crossed their fingers that little bit tighter and prayed he has an injury free run-in.

Unfortunately for Arsenal their journey to Porto didn’t quite go so well although it has to be said that Tomas Rosicky was denied a blatant penalty. Missing the vertically challenged Andrey Arshavin the Gooners lacked a cutting edge upfront and could have done with some of the incredible Hulk’s bulk. Actually, he’s not that incredible and only gets a goal every four games, but any excuse to mention the Hulk.

Most of Arsenal’s woes were in defence and, while Sol Campbell did actually play pretty well contributing a goal-saving tackle and headed equaliser, he was partly at fault for Porto’s winner. Having sold Fabianski (who had a ‘mare) short with a backpass the keeper stupidly picked up Campbell then went to sleep while Porto scored from the resulting quick free-kick.

Arsene Wenger obviously saw this one and went mental, just like he publicly said how wrong it was when Henry did something similar against Chelsea a few years back. Oh, hang on.

Another manager famed for his one sided view of the world is Crystal Palace’s Neil Warnock who called for assistant referee Trevor Massey to be banned for incorrectly awarding a corner which led to a Villa equaliser in the dying minutes of Sunday’s FA Cup tie.

You have to admire Warnock’s cheek though as he later admitted that “my wife reminded me that in the last round we got a corner against Wolves and it was a goal-kick and we scored the first goal that way." What goes around comes around?

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