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Footy Forum: Should the Premier League introduce bonus points? [Mar. 9th, 2009|12:18 pm]
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With all the predictability of a low, slow, Trinidad wicket, the usual suspects roll inexorably closer to the last domestic prize up for grabs this season, the FA Cup.

Unless a stuttering Hull can halt an Arsenal side revitalised by the return of Eduardo's pace and instinct, this year's semi-finalists will comprise four of the Premier League's top six.

Bear in mind that the missing two - Liverpool and Aston Villa - were knocked out by sixth-place Everton and this season's Premier League script-writers are looking distinctly unimaginative.

David Moyes' side compete admirably in the absence of Aiyegbeni Yakubu, their 20-goals-a-season striker, and creative catalyst, Mikel Arteta.

The infinite dreams of their theatre impresario owner may be curtailed by limited resources but Everton's presence among the contenders is now frequent enough for them to be cast in the role of irritably disruptive step-child.

There are a number of reasons for the impotence of this season's Premier League challengers but in summation: Arsenal have dwindled in vibrancy and physicality; Chelsea are fragmented and dysfunctional; and Liverpool are a limited side over-reliant on two injury-hit players.

Despite the existence of this top-of-the-table cartel, there are as yet no signs of dawn raids on the Old Trafford trophy cabinet but only because the Serious Fraud Office is busy elsewhere (as exclusively revealed by The Independent last week), so for now we must rely on imaginative solutions.

More than the lack of competition, this season's lack of quality is palpably evident; too many teams are so distracted by the prospect of grinding out a scoreless draw that all notion of entertainment is quickly forgotten.

The hard facts bear out this nagging sense of boredom, 29 per cent of this season's Premier League games have provided fans with either a paltry goal or none at all.

To provide some context, the corresponding figure for the German Bundesliga is 18 per cent.

Goals do not automatically equal entertainment and statistics have no relevance when concerned with the game's narrative.

Take Liverpool's smash-and-grab raid on the Bernabeu: a 1-0 victory built on absorption of punishment that rightly drew comparisons to Ali's tactical preparation for the Rumble in the Jungle.

But when twice as many Premier League matches draw blanks as they do in Germany, a bell somewhere is tolling.

The solution to the problem in today's crippled economy is to devalue the worth of a draw in relation to a win.

Clubs must be wealthy or desperate beyond belief if they can afford to celebrate a single point with the relish of Spurs' boss Harry Redknapp or find consolation with that same shared point, like Sunderland's Ricky Sbragia.

It is time to inject some extra capital into a point-poor market.

The way to create the conditions to reward positive football is to adapt from the fan-friendly innovations of rugby and introduce goal-scoring and losing bonus points.

Is it not right that Manchester United's clinical 3-0 victory over Chelsea in January be better rewarded than Chelsea's last-minute squeak past Stoke a week later?

Pundits often fill the air during interminably stilted half-time analysis with the observation that one goal is not enough.

Well it is and it has been on fifty occasions so far this season and that cannot be right.

Drastic times call for drastic measures, but can bonus points improve the quality of Premier League football or are you a Manchester United fan satisfied with a status quo that plays so effectively into your hands?

Answers on a postcard or, alternatively, you can post below.

[User Picture]From: s_rice
2009-03-09 12:40 pm (UTC)

Bonus Points

My fear would be that if bonus points were introduced it would only reward the teams already at the top.

The gulf in class in the Premier League means that the Manchester United's and Chelsea's would be able to crank up the tempo and bang in a few more goals while those lower down the league are already fighting with everything they have just to notch up a narrow victory.
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From: matthew_fearon
2009-03-09 01:13 pm (UTC)

Re: Bonus Points

Point taken but to cite an example that would buck your theory: Manchester City.

They have been infuriatingly inconsistent but at times their play through Robinho, Wright-Phillips and Ireland has been worthy of the Premier League's billing as the world's most exciting league.

Six times this season they have won games by three goals or more and twice have notched five or more goals, yet they share billing with a Wigan side that has scored 18 fewer goals and provided the sort of squalid entertainment reversed for obscure freeview channels.
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[User Picture]From: s_rice
2009-03-09 01:47 pm (UTC)

Re: Bonus Points

A fair point. But this raises a worthy argument for any bonus points system: Should a well managed, consistent team such as Wigan be punished while cash rich teams like Manchester City are rewarded for their ability to buy the best players in the world?

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From: smeeagol
2009-03-09 01:40 pm (UTC)

Great Idea

Any ideas on how the bonus system would work?

I could imagine 4 points for a win, 2 for a score draw, and 1 from a goalless draw would work to an extent, apart from the fact there would be the temptation for both teams to immediately conceded a goal from the off.

Anyway, I agree with the sentiment. Having watched Everton's pathetic defensive display at Anfield this year, I can fully support any system which forced David Moyes' boring Blues to actuall play some football.
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From: uslol
2009-03-09 08:52 pm (UTC)

wealth at the top

The gap at the top will only grow unless attention is paid to equalizing the ability to "buy" deep squads. Here in the US pro leagues have some form of salary cap which limits spending to and also allows for a "luxury tax" on teams who exceed the cap.
Would this work in football?
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From: europeanson67
2009-03-10 12:05 pm (UTC)

Re: wealth at the top

The NFL has 32 teams, The NHL has 30 teams, The NBA has 30 (as far as I can work out).

These teams exist with a single economic country (apart from some of the NHL teams which are in Canada) so a salary cap etc is viable. They effectively exist in a bubble.

Football in the Premiership is not like this. There are 32 teams in the Champions League group stages alone from many different countries and many different economic systems.

To try to impose American style structures onto this is ludicrous .
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From: bluecat78
2009-03-10 10:02 am (UTC)

Premier Boredom and Bonus Points

The tedious precession towards the apparently inevitable Premier League season conclusions - same top four as always, two from the usual four beneath them, FA Cup won by one of the top six - continues for one simple reason, the stakes are so high that the risk of losing your position outweighs the lure of achieving more. The stakes are so high because the player's wages and transfer fees are so astronomically high and no amount of tinkering with league scoring rules is likely to change that.

The simple truth is that as much as Arsenal and Liverpool would like to seriously challenge Manchester Utd and Chelsea the potential cost of dropping out of the top four and losing Champions League revenue matters more to them as a business than their ambition as a club. For those club below them, especially in a tight league as this season has produced, the risk of dropping into a potentially catastrophic relegation battle far outweighs their ambition to challenge the top four. That is true even for Aston Villa and Everton, who have spent years cannily making the most of their resources and building teams of excellent quality and spirit. But those resources may still not enable them to produce squads of the depth that can currently sustain a season long challenge to any of the top four.

The massive wealth and ambition of Manchester City's new owners is the joker in the pack an more ways than one. Sustained and sensible investing of that wealth over a period of several seasons and minus the farcical financial show-boating attempts to sign players beyond their reach, could just see them alter the balance of power and that could have a knock on effect.

It is unlikely that Premier League player's contracts will reduce in size and increasing the value of a win compared to a draw was supposed to inject more spice and thrill before but it has not. The mini-league format of the Champions League group stage guarantees a set bulk of income to those clubs involved and perhaps the only way to upset that apple cart is to abolish the group stages and effectively randomize the net gain for a club playing in that competition, for the sake of the leagues that feed it.

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From: europeanson67
2009-03-10 11:56 am (UTC)

Bonus point for winning by 3 or more goals.

Imagine Arsenal v Everton is 2-0 with 10 minutes to go, 4th spot is still achievable for both teams.

Introducing a bonus point for winning by three goals or more would cause a number of things to happen.

- The team winning by 2 goals in the final period of a game is encouraged to push on for a 3rd goal (and an extra point) rather than hold back and defend for the simple win.

- The team losing by 3 goals in the final period is encouraged to push on and try to get one back to prevent the opposition from gaining an extra point, rather than sitting back and accepting the loss.

There is a danger that a team 2 goals down will just sit back but this would be balanced by the winning team pushing on whereas at the moment there is no incentive for either team to try to change things.
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From: cozzer
2009-03-10 01:41 pm (UTC)

Footy Forum: Should the Premier League introduce bonus points?

At last a worhty debtate which if achievable, would seek to stimulate the somewhat stagnant premier league.....and most importantly for the fans.
With the economic down-turn coupled with the growth of digital subscription to premier league matches there is no wonder that attendances have dwindled for the less well-supported premier league clubs. Obviously the larger clubs will always receive good gates but for smaller premier league clubs, such as Blackburn, attendances are gradually diclining.
So for the sake of the game, as well as the fans i agree that drastic measures must be taken (such as when the Premier League was intoduced in the first place!)and i also agree with the point suggesting 3 or more goals for a bonus point would be a good way of supporting this?

I do think that this should only apply to the Premier League, as competition to be relegated and promoted allows for a more balanced and competitvie league anyway?

Great debate...
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From: matthew_fearon
2009-03-10 02:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Footy Forum: Should the Premier League introduce bonus points?

Of the replies so far, one thing seems to be evident: the quality of play that fans are getting for their £45 a game is piddling.

I think bluecat hit the nail on the head with the observation that clubs are now at the mercy of their astronomical outgoings but I see no immediate (or even medium-term) solution to the stranglehold money has over the game. Well, at least not unless we systematically dismantle the entire Premier League structure.

I see other potential solutions: we need 20 managers with the mindset and philosophy of Rinus Michels (Tony Mowbray aside, I can think of no other manager - excepting Fergie - who eschews pragmatism in favour of entertainment and look where it's got him).

The other solution and one I really would like to throw out to the floor is to make the Premier League a closed shop of 16 teams. No relegation, a more equitable distribution of prize money and I guarantee the quality will gush forth.
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From: torina82
2009-03-11 09:40 am (UTC)

Added Interest!

As a girl regularly made to watch football the introduction of bonus points would in my opinion definitely be a good idea. It would encourage teams to attack rather than defend once in the lead, making games far more interesting to watch.
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From: minkypiglet
2009-03-11 11:40 am (UTC)
I agree. As a Liverpool fan it has been frustrating at times during the season to watch my team play rather average football in the league and then to see them come alive in Europe. Perhaps it is because they know that they can't play the long-game in cup competitions- they have to go out and try and win at all costs.

If the league were changed so that 4 points were awarded for a win, there would (you would hope) be more incentive, indeed it would be necessary, for Liverpool to apply the drive and determination they showed last night against Real against teams such as Stoke and Portsmouth.
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From: john6877
2009-03-11 11:27 pm (UTC)

Bonus Points Premier League

The game of association football has evolved over almost 150years, and I have been an avid observer of this fascinating and wonderful game for almost 50 years. Football has always been and hopefully will continue to be a conservative sport, the watchword is evolution not revolution, and in my opinion the "tinkerers" should be resisted. People talk about the many changes in the game - 3 points for a win - wonderful new stadiums etc, but in fact the event which defines the modern game was the abolition of the maximum wage in the early 1960's, for which we should be eternally grateful to George Eastham,Jimmy Hill and Cliff Lloyd. The abolition of the maximum wage was in fact pure revolution, and nothing has come anywhere near this event in the past 50 years.
Bonus points in my view are not the answer to the number of games producing zero or one goal. The situation this season is just "one of those things", and next season it will be different. The awarding of a bonus point for scoring 3 or more goals (for example) is both arbitary and subjective, and evolution is what has saved football from itself over the years.
A far more worthy cause would be to consider the use of sin bins for abusive behaviour (Respect campaign) or violent conduct.
Incidentally the best "tanner" ball player I ever saw was the late great Bobby Johnstone!!
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From: joelavelle81
2009-03-12 02:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Bonus Points Premier League

The introduction of bonus points to reward attacking sides is an interesting argument, but isn't it a bit simplistic to suggest that a dearth of goals means a decline in the quality of football? Stoke have scored more goals than West Brom this season, but any sensible football fan knows which of those two sides plays the more attractive football. Indeed, just because a game does not produce a goal does not mean it has not been an entertaining game.

Following Euro 2004, commentators and journalists were very critical of Greece's tactics and wondered if it was a signal of the disappearance of the beautiful element of the game. Four years later, we enjoyed the best international football competition since USA 1994. I'm sure the fall in entertaining matches this season is just part of a cycle.
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