Kelvin Thomas gives his thoughts on the failed Super League and why he stands by his views on Project Big Picture

'When you come up with something and FIFA, UEFA and the government are all seen as the good guys, then you know you've probably got it wrong!'

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 6:45 pm
Brighton players wore these shirts before their game with Chelsea on Tuesday evening. Picture: Getty.

Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas has given his views on the sudden rise and spectacular fall of the proposed European Super League.

Twelve European clubs, including six from England, announced on Sunday evening they would be breaking away from the Champions League to run their own competition, from which they could never be relegated.

But that sparked fury and outrage across the footballing word and within 48 hours the plan was scraped with all six English clubs pulling out.

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Speaking on BBC Radio Northampton, Thomas gave his views on the Super League, why it failed and Project Big Picture...

On the Super League

"It was a flawed concept from the start. There must have been some intelligent men and women in the room when it was discussed but I'm very surprised by what they came up with as a solution.

"You have to look at all things in all walks of life from a business point of view and also as a custodian and you have a responsibility to the club or to the company in terms of trying to increase revenue.

"However, that has to be balanced with your other responsibilities to your football club and to your community. It's all well and good sitting here as owners of a football club but are we really? Who actually owns the club? Is it even owned by anybody?

"There is a community, there are fans, there are players, there are managers and there are owners and we all own the club in our own way so any financial gain or loss was always has to be balanced with your custodial responsibilities as an owner.

"I was very surprised that the owners sat there and thought it would work. Of course it might have generated more money for their clubs but you have to look at the wider picture and what it does to the wider game.

"It was never going to work in terms of the closed shop. That will always - always - be an issue and that has been reflected by the reaction and fans have been fantastic in coming out and voicing their displeasure at this.

"There's very few people who thought this was a good idea and when you come up with something and FIFA, UEFA and the government are all seen as the good guys, then you know you've probably got it wrong!"

Being an owner of a football club living in America

"Overseas owners do have different views but the Man Uniteds and the Liverpools do generate more revenue in general so they feel they should get a greater share.

"There are arguments for and against that and the Premier League did already open the door in a way in terms of the difference of share in the television rights.

"This was something that some very intelligent people spent a lot of time on and I'm sure the balance sheet of all those clubs looked much stronger, but this is a sport and there has to be winners and losers

"We've been through it over the last 12 months. We had the high of winning promotion and now we have the fear of being relegated and we might have to experience the bad but that's part of what comes with being a football club.

"I'm not even sure the target market would have enjoyed suddenly seeing Tottenham play Arsenal or whoever four times in a Super League every year. If you look at it from a sporting perspective and a community perspective, no-one could ever understand it. It just doesn't work."

Why he stands by his views on Project Big Picture

"There was some similar aspects but I think Project Big Picture was very different to the Super League. As I said at the time, 90 per cent of Project Big Picture was very good for Northampton Town but nobody in football could accept the other 10 per cent and we wouldn't accept that.

"That erred into the closed shop mentality and the founder club mentality and it would have given the big clubs a greater say in the future of football, but the redistribution of money across the pyramid did work for the whole football league.

"The money that was available was game-changing for the EFL clubs and it would have made every club more sustainable. There is a desire from the top six to be involved in the pyramid and I don't think they missed that point with Project Big Picture - but they certainly missed it with the Super League.

"So while there were some small similarities between the two ideas, there were vast differences in how they impacted the pyramid and ourselves."