THERE was only one topic of debate for week's Fans' Jury and that's Project Big Picture. We asked for your views on the controversial plan cooked up by Manchester United, Liverpool and EFL chief Rick Parry, which received backing from the majority of Football League clubs - including Wanderers - but has been roundly rejected by the Premier League, according to reports.

The Bolton News:

I STRONGLY feel that the Project Big Picture proposal will not be a positive step forward for EFL clubs, within the football pyramid.

Whilst officially known as Project Big Picture, I feel that we could easily refer to this proposal as “Project Power” or “Project Greed”, because let’s be honest – this is all about financial gain and control for the “big six”.

In exchange for providing immediate financial support to clubs lower down the pyramid, these clubs have a series of demands, all of which I believe, will negatively impact other Premier League/EFL clubs, whilst also affecting the integrity of English football, in the long run. How can a proposal that provides certain clubs with “special voting rights” based on their status, be fair?

Whilst I do believe that increased financial support on offer for EFL clubs under this proposal may go some way towards creating sustainable clubs in the future, I also feel that this proposal will in turn make the Premier League even more of an elitist league, than it already is.

Having been a Bolton Wanderers fan for as long as I can remember, I’ve seen the highs of our time in the Premier League and the lows of our current campaign in League Two. Despite all this, I still have the belief that one day we will be back playing Premier League football again – a sentiment I’m sure fans of other EFL clubs also share. I fear this proposal will shut off access to the premier league for the majority of EFL clubs.

Unfortunately, I feel the timing of this proposal puts the majority of EFL clubs in a perilous position. Those who have drafted this proposal know that many EFL clubs have their backs against the wall. After all, it has been well publicised that many clubs are on the brink, with significant losses in revenue from gate receipts occurring due to the closure of our stadiums.

Keeping all this in mind, it really does feel like we as EFL clubs are being held ransom. Could it really be a coincidence that this proposal has been put forward now, when EFL clubs are in a position of weakness?

Personally, I feel that there are too many unknowns with this proposal, as it currently stands, to voice any form of support and thus feel that the statement issued by Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday, was somewhat premature.

Whilst I do echo Sharon Brittan’s comments around the need for better distribution of finances within the game and sincerely hope that no other football fan has to go through the anxiety of their club being on the brink of expulsion from the football league, I just feel that there has to be a better way.

It is clear to me that this proposal has been solely drafted with the best intentions of the “big six clubs” and their billionaire owners. I’d also stretch to saying that this proposal personifies everything that is currently wrong with modern day football.

Football has always been a game that brings communities together, and stadiums have been places where fans and owners can jointly share their passion and pride for their club. Sadly, over the past few years, this focus has shifted away from the game we love - financial gain for those at the top, is now centre stage.

Whilst I’m sure there will be lots of debate around this proposal for time to come, I think we can all agree on the fact that something needs to be done and fast, to ensure the longevity of our footballing pyramid.

With this in mind, Project Big picture does not get my vote this time around, however I do fear the imminent need for financial support will force more and more EFL teams to back it.

Harish Rama

Great Lever

The Bolton News:

DURING the 5th century BC, Plato identified the ‘sham’ philosophers who were out for money, willing to say anything in order to win an argument. They were identified as Sophists and the practice of using reasoning that seems plausible on a superficial level, is actually used to deceive. Sounds familiar?

We are already hearing references of a football pyramid’ the ‘top six’; language designed to give the impression of power. Who has suddenly decided that Man Utd and Liverpool are the top dogs of UK football? Accountants? Bankers? or the media? It is certainly a situation which is aimed at benefitting certain EPL clubs.

In 1970, Arsenal, Leeds and Spurs ruled the old Division One; three years later, Man Utd with Norwich and Southampton dropped out of the elite. Replaced by Carlisle, Luton and Middlesborough. This was a significant year because it was the first year that the League introduced a three-team relegation, as opposed to two making the drop.

Go back another 50 years and the elite included Burnley, Bolton, Preston and Blackburn. Clubs such as Merthyr Town, The Wednesday, South Shields and Rotherham County were members of the League. Brighton, Palace and Southampton were in the bottom tier.

The point I am trying to make is that just because you have a larger stadium, a bigger income (via selling more shirts and having a wealthier owner) does not give you a devine right to preach to the so called lesser clubs. It is a sporting competition, yet businessmen / sophists will tell you differently.

All businesses need consistent cash flow; those that have it, protect it. Those that want it, look to see how they can get it. Unless we want a football league where two or three clubs keep winning year on year, the EFL needs to uphold its rules and its integrity. Rather than allowing ever-increasing salaries and fees, (which are unsustainable), the regulatory framework has to be tightened and done so in a way that benefits everyone. I have no problem with a football team who wins a cup, being given £100million in bonuses. But winning through deception, that is not sport.

BWFC, by tentatively endorsing what is going on, shows its desire to play second fiddle to the elite is underlying its decision making. Bolton will never achieve future honours. Why? Because it will sell its youngsters, its model will be to remain, not to challenge, not to rock the boat. The proverbial sparring partner; know your place and accept that the Sophists of UK football (US and Global financiers) know best.

I agree totally that now is the time to change the structure, but it has to benefit everyone. There is much that could be done, but it would mean cutting the cake a bit smaller, will the elite stomach it? Probably not.

Michael Orr 


The Bolton News:

WHO does the game belong to?

It doesn’t belong to billionaires and millionaires who have a few spare quid who might want to become involved, but ultimately don’t want to accept any real responsibility for the sport It doesn’t belong to what’s commonly become known as the Big Six clubs.

It actually belongs to lots of towns and areas and communities of the country who had it not been for football, no one would ever have heard of..

It’s about creating memories, good or bad, going to watch your team the team you support.... That’s the appeal of football.

It shouldn’t be about his much cash you can generate from a TV contract or charging somebody £15 to view a match on TV.

It shouldn’t be about an attempt to be in control and a bid to be an all-powerful controller.

It should be about fans supporters and people whatever age who just want to go and watch the team of your choice at an affordable price.

It shouldn’t be about greed and manipulation.

That’s where football has been heading for years and it’s not a direction genuine fans want to go.

Jack Dearden

BBC Radio Manchester