Marcelo Bielsa might not speak the native tongue to the English press just yet: but his comments against ‘Project Big Picture’ from today’s press conference are sure to deeply resonate amongst quite a majority of the large footballing community in England.
Bielsa’s sentiments will be shared by a lot of supporters who support clubs who either struggle to gain promotion to the Premier League, or retain their status in the top flight: or clubs playing in the lower tiers of the English Football League.
“Project Big Picture” is a COVID-19 financial rescue fund when brought down to its bare essentials. The proposal includes a £250 million “prepayment” to the EFL to cover lost revenues for 2019-20 and 2020-21, and £100 million for the FA, of which £25 million is for National League clubs, £10 million for grassroots, £10 million for the women’s professional game and the rest for the FA itself. The Premier League will borrow this money and make it available as soon as the plan is approved.
As a part of “Project Big Picture”, the new potential reform suggested to the English FA, the English footballing pyramid would witness drastic alteration in usual proceedings.
The real chop comes at the bottom of the pyramid: two teams will face the axe as the pyramid has been proposed to be cut short to a total of 90 clubs from 92.
Though the reformation of structure has been unanimously rejected by Premier League clubs, it was a massive talking point in the media ever since it was proposed.
When Bielsa was questioned on the subject of Project Big Picture before Leeds United play Wolves at Elland Park this gameweek, he commented: “A humble opinion of mine is that the tip of the iceberg has a responsibility to the rest of the iceberg. If anything describes English football, it’s Leagues One and Two. It’s important not to forget where you came from.”
Spoke well on the subject of Project Big Picture. "A humble opinion of mine is that the tip of the iceberg has a responsibility to the rest of the iceberg. If anything describes English football, it's Leagues One and Two. It's important not to forget where you came from."— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) October 16, 2020
England’s footballing heritage is a lot more than only the English elite battling it out in the Premier League, with teams with a lot of history struggling in the lower tiers due to circumstances.
It is something El Loco will know a lot about, having had a history of taking over struggling teams looking to go back to glory days: including stints with Athletic Bilbao in Spain, Olympique Marseille in France and Lazio in Italy.
Bielsa has most recently been successful at getting the historical Yorkshire outfit back into the top flight of English football after an absence of sixteen years, winning the Championship in the process.
English football’s most radical manifesto in over 30 years divided a lot of opinion and sparked a frenzied debate only to be unanimously rejected by all the clubs in the top flight, as the proposals stated favoured the current elite in the Premier League much more than their counterparts in the lower tiers who might have had a lot of glory in the past: but have been marred by unfortunate circumstances in the present.
The more traditional supporters of the English game would be happy to see the present structure stay: and it would also help knowing that one of the most influential football tacticians in history share a mutual opinion with them.