Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Premier League change would end 'fairytales', says Blackburn manager Allardyce

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce believes changes to the existing structure of the Barclays Premier League would "kill the fairytale of football".

Clubs today overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to allow Celtic and Rangers to join the English top flight - an idea which was neither "desirable or viable".

However, other suggestions put forward by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside - including having a two-tier Premier League - will be fed into the league's ongoing strategic review.

The new proposed structure is believed to include limited scope for relegation and promotion from what would remain of the Football League depending on finances and stadium suitability.

And for that reason Allardyce, who worked under Gartside's chairmanship after he appointed him manager of Bolton in 1999, is not a fan.

"If it's still promotion and relegation for all divisions then maybe it's something of a possibility, but if it stops promotion or relegation then absolutely not," said the Rovers boss.

"That would just stop the fairytale. Football is a fairytale industry in terms of going to a cup final, like Cardiff and Portsmouth, the fairytale of getting to the Premier League, like Wimbledon and Wigan, and in many ways Blackburn and Bolton.

"It's an entertainment industry and we must have the fairytale.

"That's what makes football loveable moving from one division to the next, going to the highest level that you possibly can. Football shouldn't have that taken away.

"It's about football and the dreams of football, the fact that as many kids as possible should be able to play out on that green.

"If you start not having promotion or relegation more clubs will cease to exist.

"At every football club, whatever line they play in - amateur league or semi-professional or professional - every players looks forward to competing and winning and trying to improve themselves. That's the whole excitement."

Gartside has expressed concerns that too much money continues to flow into the coffers of the top four clubs and in his annual report, published last week, made it clear he believed addressing the big differences in income was the league's greatest challenge.

Allardyce, however, does not believe drastic change is required.

"We have the best football in the world at the moment on a league level, with the most professionally run league and most professional leagues in the world," he told the Lancashire Telegraph.

"It's usually well organised and structured and pleases millions and millions of people on a weekend.

"People sometimes want change for the sake of change rather than the need to change.

"We need to enhance all football in entertainment, improve and develop it to make sure more young players develop into those leagues .

"To have that taken away, based on finance, is totally wrong for me."

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