Saints should make a stand for smaller clubs

10:22am Monday 31st October 2011

LOVE them as we do, Saints will never be considered one of the most attractive of football clubs.

I’m not talking in terms of football played or whether or not we have the players that will adorn the walls of teenage girls’ bedrooms.

There is no doubting the fact that in the eyes of the average football fan in the UK – and indeed the national sport media – Saints are in the also rans of football clubs.

Your Manchester Uniteds, Liverpools, etc will always be a bigger draw, attracting more fans and as a result, more income and (relative to us) success.

It’s not something that will ever really bother most of us. As long as your team is doing well, the rest is all kind of inconsequential.

But that label of being unattractive could hurt the club if some of the more outlandish claims of the last week come true.

As I’m sure you heard, some of the uber-rich owners want to do away with relegation and promotion.

It’s not something that is going to happen any time soon – if at all – but it does underline the way clubs outside the elite are seen.

By pulling up the ladder and the snake, the Premier League could protect itself while condemning everyone else.

Throw in Liverpool’s demand that clubs should be free to negotiate their own TV deals and the strong-arm tactics that forced the Football League turkeys to vote for Christmas in the shape of an overhaul of the academy rules, these are worrying times for the future of football.

Now, Saints are currently in contention for a return to the top flight – something we all want to one degree or another – but should that happen, we have to hope the club does not get carried away with the hype of ‘The Greatest League in the World’ (The Guardian wrote a superb piece questioning the validity of this claim just over a week ago).

I want my club to be a bastion of fairness and a template for other clubs to follow.

Unlike most Premier League fans, we have now experienced two-thirds of the Football League at first hand. Should we be able to go up this season, I hope we don’t forget that and make a stand for the clubs that, like us, are not seen as the most attractive, but are equally as important as any other club in the English pyramid.

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