MARTIN SAMUEL: Die meisten Fans wären es leid, was ohne das Geld von Chelsea und City passiert wäre.

I’m not sure you’re quite right with this one, Martin. Financial Fair Play could well be a flawed system, and may even have protectionist elements in respect of the old money clubs as you say. That said, there is a problem that needs fixing in football and that is one of financial sustainability. In the past you have suggested that providing owners do not load the club with debt they should be free to do as they wish. I’m not so sure of this. The real risk to a football club is sustainability and while too much debt can be a big factor in this, equally damaging is commercially unsustainable income streams. If the owners suddenly decided to sell up at Manchester City, just how robust would their finances be? I’m not sure anyone fully knows the answer to this currently with connected state sponsored revenue and hidden costs. In essence, for me, that should be one of the question FFP asks: ‘If the current ownership left tomorrow, is the club sustainable?’

I agree. That is why I make my point about gifts, not loans. In all likelihood, if Sheikh Mansour left tomorrow, much like Roman Abramovich, the status and prestige of the club should ensure a like-minded high-end investor. That aside, however, the club is solvent, so while they may suffer a reduced status and be unable to maintain their current place among the elite, they will not be ruined. What happened at Portsmouth, for instance, came about because sugar daddy owners wanted their money back, which the club simply did not have. So sustainability is important, but businesses have to be allowed to make mistakes also. Part of the movement up and down in football is because errors are made, not just on the field but in the boardroom. Fulham have invested hugely this season and are currently bottom. They have to be allowed to do that, to make those mistakes. Another club may take their place next season; maybe a better run club. It happened at Queens Park Rangers very recently. The more we place each club in a financial strait-jacket where no chances can be taken, the more the status quo is protected. So I don’t like loans because I think they push clubs into areas that may not be sustainable; but risk is a part of business. All successful clubs have at some time gambled with investment. All of them. So now we’ll talk Manchester City, financial fair play and the staggering entitlement of football’s elite – and their fans – with a bit of ancient history thrown in. But first, a song with a title that sounds like code between some German hackers. But so, so much better than that. And from London.

Without the investment in Chelsea and Manchester City, how many titles would Manchester United have won? Probably another five as Arsenal had to keep a tight transfer budget because of their stadium. Chelsea and City would have remained middling clubs and in effect the Premier League could have mirrored the Scottish or German league with one team dominating, sucking the life out of it. I’m not a City or Chelsea fan but they have brought great players to the league, made the title race competitive and we are seeing that we now could have another three clubs competing for that top four place so any four from seven is a much better option than we have had for many years. Leicester was a fairytale but without investment and especially writing off their debt it would never have happened and every neutral would not have enjoyed one of the best sporting achievements of all time.

Spot on, Flett, and I think you are being quite conservative in your estimation of Manchester United’s titles without Chelsea or Manchester City. They came second to Chelsea twice and Manchester City twice, but think how much more powerful they would be, and the players they could have bought, were it not for those two.

This is all ancient history and relates to matters spelled out years ago. The Bayern Munich fanboy journalists at Der Speigel are now reporting on Manchester City’s purchase of Carlos Tevez from nearly a decade ago. Unsurprisingly they are ignoring Manchester United’s questionable loan deal of the player through a Cayman Islands company. I understand the old elite trying to put the genie back in the bottle but those questioning Abu Dhabi on human rights are quite happy to take money from Turkey where there are 70,000 political prisoners, or Russia’s state airline Aeroflot, or China. Hypocrites and tribalists all. Der Speigel bemoaned the Volkswagen club, Wolfsburg, reluctantly selling Kevin De Bruyne by saying even a 200 billion euro company could not resist City. This is the noble company that defrauded and cheated millions of customers and denied tax revenues to scores of countries through clever software designed to cheat emissions limits. I call bull on this whole sham outrage.

Exactly. I’m not one for equivalency – wrong is wrong, no matter if others do it – and I’m not about to defend the United Arab Emirates on human rights but I would argue that with much of football owned by venture capitalists a poke around most share portfolios would find investment in some difficult areas, and alliances with dubious people and regimes. And nobody piqued Amnesty International’s interest more than City’s previous owner, Thaksin Shinawatra – yet few seemed greatly interested in that at the time, maybe because he wasn’t winning many football matches.

To say FFP has lost is inaccurate. The Premier League is winning because of FFP. It’s the reason we have the competition to this point because if it was left to how much your owner was worth then that would be it, game over. It’s the reason a deal like Neymar to Paris St Germain didn’t happen sooner, the reason some idiot hasn’t triggered Lionel Messi’s buy out clause. More to the point, clubs like it in the Premier League including the new money, because it means market rates stay in some sort of control. If someone wants to do another City they can, in exactly the same way as they’ve done it by paying the fines if and when they have to, by being an extremely well run football club at this moment, with money.

I agree to some extent, Lewis, that having light touch controls can stop one club behaving in a destructive manner, but there are controls that occur naturally anyway. The control of only allowing 11 on the field, for instance. Yes, City could buy Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – but where would that leave their current forwards? Unless they were happy picking up the money – and City’s owners happy handing it over for nothing – then those players would have to be sold and other clubs would benefit from the acquisition of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling, for instance. Equally, the clubs that have made themselves so strong and powerful – such as Juventus – are now finding that nobody wants to watch their league, because it is too predictable.

Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world with a worldwide fanbase. Manchester City aren’t one of the biggest clubs in the world and don’t have a worldwide fanbase, but have very rich owners. City as a club can’t generate the funds like United, so where does their money come from? Surely that has to be investigated thoroughly.

I get tired answering this stuff, treading the same ground. Here’s a grand Mufti, with the answer.

So are you saying that only clubs that earn money by selling lots of inflated merchandise to the Far East should be allowed to win trophies? How is that good for the sport in any way? We may as well just cancel the matches and hand the trophies to the best marketing department.

Indeed, and while Redarmy generously uses Manchester United to bolster his argument, I dare say he is aware that his own club, Liverpool, do quite well on that global front, too, and would benefit greatly from City’s neutering. Jurgen Klopp probably knows it as well, hence his comments last week.

So Liverpool who bought all their European success with Littlewoods money in the seventies and eighties can now change the rules to stop anyone else challenging them? That in effect is what FFP does. European and UK law states competitive restriction is illegal. That makes FFP illegal, too. Taken to court, it wouldn’t stand up.

Not just Liverpool, either. Every club in the elite has in some way benefited from investment that would now be under scrutiny. Equally, tax laws vary from country to country, meaning some clubs benefit hugely when paying or recruiting players.

If UEFA spent as much time targeting clubs that are being ran into the ground by greedy useless owners, more than ones that inject cash into clubs for players, facilities and the local community, maybe we wouldn’t see what is happening at places like Blackpool, Coventry and Charlton. City’s owners might ‘buy success’ but I know which type I would rather in charge of my club.

I’ve been saying this about the Football League for years now, MG. Unfortunately, I doubt whether UEFA know the clubs you mentioned exist. Anyone, here’s more from a truly great MG.

It’s funny to see Manchester City fans, including Samuel, defend breaking the current FFP rules. Now, wait and see if United is bought up by Saudi Arabia how much City and some journalists will cry foul.

I’m very careful not to defend breaking the rules. I just point out the rules are bent by the influence of the elite clubs, and choose my side. As for Saudi Arabia, I actually welcomed that deal in the column several weeks ago, just to enjoy the twists and turns of those United fans who feign concern about human rights in the UAE. Like yourself.

The problem with FFP is that when money took over at its inception and started protecting the established elite and forming a cartel, it was clear that bending the rules was the only way to break in. It should hardly be a surprise that when rich owners turned up on the scene, they had two options: either tear down FFP legally, exposing it for what it is or negotiate a slap with a silk glove from UEFA by threatening years of legal action and twist the rules to buy your way into the cartel, becoming one of the protected clubs.

I still wish City had gone route one, though, Paul.

You can’t stop someone putting money into a football club. They will always find a way.

It’s not even can’t, Chris; it’s shouldn’t.

Martin, you have missed a trick. Bayern Munich have been a long time opponent of City. So, is it a coincidence that it happens to be a German newspaper printing the selective leaks to fit their story? Is it a coincidence that the story appears just as City are made favourites to win the Champions League? And that the cartels are negotiating their breakaway league? The leaks then give Bayern and others an excuse to reject City from their new cosy club.

I’ll admit, I never thought of that last part, Peter. Interestingly, though, within City, the topic of whether they want to be part of any breakaway league or not, is producing much heated debate. Let’s say it is far from the unanimous view.

Abramovich has certainly put in a lot of money but Chelsea never made bogus sponsorship deals with his own companies to raise the value of the club or the income. All of Chelsea’s profits, be it kit deals or sponsorship came in slowly with their rise in stature. Unlike City and PSG who get paid way more by their own Etihad and Qatar Airways.

He didn’t need to play around with figures because FFP wasn’t in place when Abramovich came in. It was created to stop another like him. Please endeavour to at least know the basic history of this sport before pontificating.

So you would like a Premier League where all clubs are owned by extremely wealthy individuals, most of which have dodgy accounting practices, offshore companies and some of which may be even involved with human rights abuse in their countries of origin? That would be the fair way would it? The rules are there for a reason and they should be followed there is no excuse and the clubs should be punished appropriately. Manchester City have threatened UEFA and last time UEFA let them off lightly. I don’t understand why you think that fair play rules should be abused.

I hate all protectionist rules in sporting competition and, for the record, yes I would like to see 20 rich men doing all they can – within reason – to help their team win the league. Glad you lumped in offshore companies with dodgy accounting practices, though. So that’s all of Manchester covered, yes?

Martin Samuel is correct. Why do so many of you on here want a system that seeks to prevent £1bn investment in a club and its community and want one which promotes leveraged debt and many millions taken out of the football club and the game? Are you so blinded by tribalism and so desperate to stop City that all reason and morality is set aside?

I think the answer to that, Johnny, is yes.

When rules are made by a corrupt organization they’re not really rules to be adhered to. I think that, when challenged, UEFA’s reluctance to meet Manchester City in a court of law says it all really.

I agree – which is why a legal challenge would have been preferable to the various alleged compromises.

Manchester City and PSG aren’t really football clubs in the traditional sense. They’re more like business models.

And Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool – all owned by American venture capitalists specialising in sport – are not?

Martin seems to be Manchester City’s biggest cheerleader these days . He has been banging on about FFP for a long time now yet sees no problem with a team being funded by the virtually limitless wealth of one man . Fair enough they will not win all the time but they will win most of the time and if there is a problem they will just throw endless millions at it until it is solved. If he is happy with this then the vast majority are not.

The vast majority of what, Manchester United fans? Don’t pretend you speak for the majority because they would be sick to the back teeth of what would have happened to our league without Chelsea and Manchester City’s money. One club would have dominated, growing stronger and stronger each year. So I am not just Manchester City’s cheerleader; I will support anybody who breaks this entitled, elite cartel – and as the rich clubs have made money the only passport, I am not going to judge people for using it.

When Sheik Mansour’s billions have turned the Premier League into a one-horse race where his club can win the title six, seven or eight times in a row, what will Samuel say then? That other clubs should just spend more money to match them? I thought we were moving away from that madness? No-one objects to clubs spending money, fans object to some clubs using national wealth to not just climb to the top of the pile but then inflate football’s costs by driving up transfer fees, player wages and stockpiling youth players so potential opponents cannot sign them.

All subjects I have written about except with solutions, which I note you do not offer beyond endorsing the lamentable and corrupt FFP. City won’t win eight titles on the bounce but, if they did, I would direct you to my well documented views on wealth redistribution in football which would have the richest clubs – including City – howling more loudly than the protectionist FFP. Here’s a taste…

‘The distribution of the Champions League money by UEFA is creating super-clubs and leagues within leagues. The quartet that have a stranglehold on the top four places in England will continue to get stronger while UEFA refuses to address wealth redistribution issues so that a greater proportion of the Champions League money is spread throughout each domestic league, rather than handed to individual clubs.’

I’ll wait here for the rest of you to catch up. That was published on February 17, 2010, by the way. There were 17 comments, four were about another subject entirely, and not one name do I recognise from the legions now apparently so interested in FFP.

Wrong again Martin. Financial doping is just as unfair as enhancing drugs is to sport. There is nothing to stop City being successful with good management, support and living within their means. Ask Leicester and Nottingham Forest. Pep Guardiola could stay but then I doubt he would as the money brought him here.

While Manchester United managers and players work for nothing, of course. Leicester invested greatly by their standards, and wrote off debt, and Nottingham Forest came from a different time – although still bought the first £1m player. Before foreign investors arrived, City were trying to do it the way you suggest. They had this great little player, who came through their academy: Shaun Wright-Phillips. Chelsea bought him and stuck him in the reserves. That’s the reality. Not your la-la land.

Rumour is they have bought off lots of journalists. Hmm, wonder who?

No idea, bonehead. But here’s something I wrote in The Times on November 7, 2007, before Mansour arrived at Manchester City, and before the introduction of FFP. See if you can spot the difference between my views then, and now, and ask yourself why I would need payment just to remain consistent in my opinion. You know how Martin Peters was 10 years ahead of his time? This is 11.

‘G14, the lobby representing the richest clubs in Europe, has never been big on debates concerning the sport as a whole, so the selfishness of its views is almost an understanding. When G14 speaks, we hear only the voice of the most privileged, elitist faction in the European game and the text is primarily restricted to two topics: money and how they can get more of it. The majority of G14’s causes concern the further channelling of football’s wealth to those that need it least. Yet for all these advantages what bonds the G14 members is fear. Fear that they are not good enough to support their financial ambitions, fear that clubs from outside the group will usurp their position at the pinnacle of European football. They are, in essence, protectionist. They want what they have, and more if possible, while shutting the door on the rest. Despite the fact that the rules of the major club competition in the European game, the Champions League, have been rewritten to ensure the continued dominance of the G14 elite, they are still scared and resistant to even the smallest levelling of the playing field. Only one team from outside G14 has reached the Champions League final, AS Monaco in 2004, and the last champion club of Europe to come from beyond this elite band dates back to the tournament’s days as the European Cup, Red Star Belgrade defeating Marseille in 1991. The last final to be played between non-G14 members was 27 years ago, Nottingham Forest beating Hamburg. And still, the lobby of the super-powerful is not satisfied. In the circumstances, then, it would be some achievement to make neutral football followers side with this alliance of closed shop, closed minds elitism, yet somehow UEFA president Michel Platini is managing it.’

Martin Samuel got it wrong. City may now win the next 10 Premier League titles and become like PSG who are killing off the French league with no opposition, and may win all their matches. This is now happening in the Premier League and will make its attractiveness fall. With no competition and City winning the league on record points each season by January or February the TV rights money will soon fall down and only City will continue spending with the owner’s sponsors and generous revenues.

What absolute twaddle. Monaco won the French league as recently as 2017, and PSG’s four on the spin between 2013 and 2016 still do not compare to the seven straight won by Lyon between 2002 and 2008. And how were Lyon so strong? They were cemented in place by a regulatory body called la Direction Nationale du Controle de Gestion (DNCG), which dictated what clubs could spend linked to revenue. This was the forerunner of FFP and it gave France the dullest league in Europe. Despite this, France’s ministers went all over the continent trying to get other countries to adopt it, and found a sympathetic ear with Michel Platini, then the president of UEFA. We have only got to note the way Platini’s career panned out to see how committed he was to fair play, financially. The French, too. For what is never factored in when we discuss how Europe’s clubs run their finances is state aid. From Phillipe Auclair’s biography of Eric Cantona, here’s how Cantona and another outstanding young player, Stephane Paille, France’s footballer of the year, came to be at Montpelier.

‘Cantona and Paille’s transfers were financed for the most part by the City Council of Montpellier, then under the control of local Socialist panjandrum George Freche, who topped up the FF10m grant the club received each year with another FF4m of taxpayers’ money. The County Council of the Hrault department chipped in with an extra FF3m in exchange for a re-naming of the club, previously known as La Paillade-Montpellier, and Nicollin [Laurent Nicollin, Montpellier president] himself plucked FF4m from his company’s bank account (a company which specialised in the collection and recycling of domestic and industrial waste in the region and, yes, derived much of its income from the patronage of various institutional bodies). It was a political gamble as much as anything else…’

So that’s France for you. As for your ludicrous speculation about the game in England, it is fantasy. Hasn’t happened, and I don’t think it will, but you write as if it is fact. If City retain the league this season – and they are currently a mighty two points clear – they will be the first club to do it in 10 years. And for much of that time, they have had money. It buys success, but doesn’t guarantee it. Now as one of the country’s leading sports journalists, one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is, ‘Hey, Mart, is the island of Mauritius completely populated by idiots like that bloke?’ And I always reply: ‘Of course not, there are good people everywhere. Claudio Veeraragoo, for instance.’

If City are involved in the talks around a European breakaway league then its disappointing that they now want the same drawbridge raised, once safely among the elite.

Completely with you on that, Nick. Shameful. Shamless. All I would say is that, thankfully, it is not the blanket view within the club.

You may be right that City are here to stay, but if that is the case so are the other much bigger clubs, too. It’s just a shame that you prefer to celebrate clubs that break rulings rather than support the teams in fifth, sixth and seventh in our league that would have taken their place by good financial management and hard work. If we ever meet up Martin, let’s play a game of monopoly. I’ll start with 10 £500 notes and ownership of Mayfair and Park Lane.

Ah, Monopoly. The established elite’s favourite game. In my house we always played Anti-Monopoly. Look it up, it exists. You go around breaking up the monopolies established at the end of a Monopoly game. Far more in tune with my aversion to elites. So I won’t be taking up your generous offer of a wasted afternoon, but I will ask this. Last season’s fifth, sixth and seventh teams were Chelsea, Arsenal and Burnley. Good financial management and hard work got them all there? No, two are elite teams that have had ordinary seasons and been usurped. Burnley got into the Europa League and couldn’t wait to get out of it. I’m pleased they enjoyed relative success, but the ambition and elevation of Manchester City is not something I would readily swap. And even if we look higher up the league to a team like Tottenham, I don’t hold Manchester City responsible for their near misses. Sheik Mansour arrived in 2008 but Tottenham last won the league in 1961, so it wasn’t City’s investment that held them back in those interim 47 years, was it? Or the year Leicester won the league. It’s another if only. We would have won the league if only City’s oil money hadn’t got in the way; and how would Tottenham have fared had their owner Joe Lewis not been a tax exile – because that must have freed up a few quid, don’t you think?

It’s nice to hear someone tell the truth about UEFA and FFP for change. Why shouldn’t a billionaire want to take over a club like Huddersfield, Charlton or Bury and put in as much as he or she wants to make it successful?

And that is the bottom line. Instead of dreaming of matching Manchester United in a cup competition, the hope of the wealthy Jack Walker type coming home to make Blackburn Rovers great again should never be denied by a cabal of elite clubs who want all the good stuff for themselves.

FFP is designed to stop other clubs challenging the tedious old entitled ones that bat on about their history – they all seem to play in red shirts in England – and is also to protect the profits of the owners, mainly tax-avoiding Americans over here.

Karren Brady, West Ham vice-chairman, recently noted that it is the first year in the history of the Premier League that all the clubs have made a profit. And if I was in Karren’s side of the business I’d think that was spiffing, too. Yet they don’t seem very happy with it in Newcastle or Southampton. Maybe they were hoping for more from their football club than capable accountancy.

Ah yes, Martin. Thank God for PSG, and how they have enriched football, especially the French League. Before PSG and their oil dollars took over, the last five years had five different league winners. Since PSG were state sponsored by the Arabs, they have won the league five times in six years, with only Monaco managing to get one in between. Apart from the league, they have won 15 out of a possible maximum of 18 other domestic titles. I am sure the French totally agree with you on the enrichment of their domestic football.

Yes, but the first of the five you mention was Lyon winning their seventh straight title. The reason PSG have taken over is that years of DNCG red tape left French clubs in a weak position. So when one became strong, as PSG did – and Lyon before them – there really was little resistance. Before the DNCG controls, French football was very open indeed and no team retained the title between 1994 and 2002. Equally, the financial crash has greatly limited the state aid from which many French clubs benefited, again helping PSG cement their position. Now, did you want a real debate about French football or were you just stating the obvious based on a shallow analysis of recent results?

Why not work with sporting rules that are easier to police? Tighten them up and no need for financial detective work. If someone wants to step up and spend all their money improving a football club, I’m struggling to see why they shouldn’t be allowed.

Agreed. As I’ve always said if UEFA were truly interested in financial fair play they would address Champions League wealth distribution so the majority of the cash went to the domestic leagues, not the individual clubs, to ensure greater competition. I’d propose that just to see the look on Uli Hoeness’s face. It really might finish him off.

I love that once more Chelsea are being dragged into this. We’ve witnessed an orchestrated media campaign against the club for daring to sell to a billionaire who actually put his hand in his pocket to make the side better, and we’ve been accused of all sorts – from being the first team to field an entirely foreign side, to buying players to stop other teams getting them, to breaking transfer rules. Meanwhile City are actively seeking to operate fraudulently, getting other clubs to pay their managers wages, getting the owners’ brother to stump up imaginary cash just so they don’t fall foul of the rules. The media should be outraged by the cheating, financially cemented in the ethos of the club, but the media say nothing.

Well, this is weapons grade gibberish. The City story has been everywhere this last two weeks, reported in every newspaper. And Chelsea weren’t dragged into it. I simply pointed out, in my column, that FFP was brought in by the elite clubs as a reaction to Abramovich’s purchase and success with Chelsea. By the time the rules were applied, however, City were a bigger threat and Chelsea so much part of the protectionist cartel that they actively supported FFP. And why is it great when your guy puts his hand in his pocket, but outrageous when City do it? Just because you’ve changed the rules? Like most fans, you are completely in denial about your own club’s history. Didn’t break transfer rules? What, so the Ashley Cole tapping-up scandal was imagined? Weren’t the first all-foreign starting XI in the Premier League? Try finding one before December 26, 1999, Chelsea v Southampton (De Goey, Petrescu, Thome, Lebouef, Babayaro, Ferrer, Deschamps, Poyet, Di Matteo, Ambrosetti, Flo). What outrages me more than anything City may or may not have done, is Chelsea supporting a system that would have stopped the very advances that the club made under Abramovich, to protect their newly-entitled position.

But Chelsea stuck by FFP and reduced their spending. If they could do it and still win things, why not City and PSG too? Both these clubs must be punished for blatantly breaking the rules they agreed to abide by.

Chelsea can do it now that they are established, just as Manchester City and PSG will have few problems with FFP from here. Could Chelsea have abided by FFP in 2005? Of course not. They were just fortunate it was not around when they were making their strides.

The real enemies of football are Martin Samuel and Oliver Holt. They have the most laughably shallow and superficial understanding of FFP, yet they claim that FFP is broken and clubs like Manchester City and PSG should break the rules. Why? These lazy football hacks aren’t real journalists. They just want the easy headlines of clubs with sugar daddy money spending ridiculous amounts in record time. These are acts which distort market economics. Most ridiculously, they claim the moral high ground about wanting small clubs to become big. But look at Monaco – fantastic coach in Leonardo Jardim who built a great young team that won the French league and terrorised big clubs in the Champions League, yet were destroyed by Manchester City and PSG buying their best players and wiping out their team in a mere season or two. Three of their best players, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva and Mbappe, went to those two clubs. The rest like Tiemoue Bakayoko, Fabinho, Djibril Sidibe, Jeremy Toulalan, Anthony Martial, Yannick Carrasco, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Layvin Kurzawa, also went to bigger clubs. .

Never been to Monaco, have you mate? Don’t know anything about their history, previous or present day. So you wouldn’t know that Monaco are the epitome of the plaything club. That they enjoyed success because of royal patronage in a stadium that holds 18,500 and was frequently far from full, even at their peak. That in 2003, the DNCG rules relegated them to Ligue 2 for running up debts in the region of £50m; and that they got back on their feet after being bought by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev – via a trust in his daughter’s name – in 2011. They were bottom of Ligue 2 when he took over yet in 2013, while returning to Ligue 1, spent £140m – and all still on gates of less than 20,000. That is how they built the squad that won the league and made inroads in Europe. So while on the subject of shallow understandings, maybe you need to do a little more research before spouting your drivel. Oh, and on the topic of superficiality, Sidibe is actually still at Monaco and Kurzawa was one of those who went to PSG. So City took two, PSG two, and Chelsea, Liverpool, Bordeaux, Manchester United, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid one each. But that’s all right because they’re big clubs. By the way, does such a fire sale of players suggest Monaco were a sustainable miracle as you imply – or the top heavy toy of a Russian billionaire? Ooh, I can smell the shallowness and superficiality in your reply from here. By the way, I haven’t spoken to Olly, but knowing him I guess he’d have you down as a bit of an A-grade, too.

Chelsea have never broken the FFP rules. When Abramovich came in, there was no FFP and ever since Chelsea have done everything to comply to it. One thing is investing money, but to do so against the set rules in place is different, you dumb noob. Manchester City had every chance to comply with FFP, but they just blatantly decided to make a joke of it. What a load of tosh this is.

Indeed it is, dopey. Listen to yourself: Abramovich came in, didn’t break any rules that weren’t in place, spent wildly, then helped pass a load of rules to stop anyone else doing the same. Yes that’s fair. If you’re really very stupid.

So, it’s OK to blatantly circumvent rules that don’t suit your agenda? How far would you go with that? How about a wee bung now and again to officials that will assist your team? Just where does rule breaking end and chaos begin?

I didn’t write about rule breaking; I wrote about the ones I consider football’s truest enemies, and I stand by every word.

The only league in Europe that has six teams than can win the league is Spain, buddy. Look at the table. Plus three teams that can and will win the Champions League yet another year. Stop posting crap. Delusional English.

For a start, I’m not your buddy. Secondly, name the six. Here’s a history lesson for you. In most of the major European leagues there have been six winners over the last quarter century or so. In Italy, it is six clubs starting with Sampdoria 1991, in England the six begins with Blackburn in 1995 and in Germany six clubs since Kaiserslautern in 1998. Not so very different. One league, however, has to stretch all the way to 1984 to find its six winners: La Liga. Athletic Bilbao in 1984, then Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia. So, again: name the six. There may be six in and around the top right now, but they are far from equal. Football started before you looked at last weekend’s league table.

You wrote: ‘We must hope that one day all the greatest leagues of Europe have six or more teams who start each season thinking they can win it. We’re blessed over here. We’ve got a competition.’ I don’t get you sometimes. You rail against the way the big six are so far ahead of the rest and how it isn’t good for football, and then you write that it is good that we have six teams that can win it and that we are lucky. I support a team currently in the Premier League but outside of that six and can tell you that the league is really quite boring and the Champions League a complete irrelevance.

It’s not that difficult. We are lucky relative to Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Our top division has proved far more competitive than its foreign rivals over recent years. Of course it would be great if it became more so, but don’t forget a few years ago when we only really had a big four. The point is the situation here is far from ideal but at least we’re in a better position than others. Despite, rather than because of, FFP.

Thank you, Hilts, saved me a job. Also, don’t forget, there is always the hope that a wealthy investor will change your club’s fortunes – always providing, of course, he is allowed to by the regulators. Until next time. I’ll let my favourite City fan have the last word.


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