‘Project Big Picture’ has been a major recent talking point in football circles following recent proposals to radically challenge the English game as we know it, a concept pushed by Liverpool and backed by Manchester United dividing opinion.
The proposals include a number of major changes including reducing the number of teams in the Premier League from 20 to 18, as well as abolishing the League Cup and Community Shield.
The reform plans have been backed by the EFL, principally because it is proposed to hand 25 per cent of all revenues from the four divisions combined directly to the Football League, as well as providing a much needed £250 million bailout.
Whilst there are benefits to the proposed changes, the proposals would include controversially handing the Premier League’s biggest sides greater power in influencing major decisions, with plans for the division’s nine longest serving sides to take on ‘long-term shareholder status’.
This would include being able to make decisions and changes with the support of (somewhat suspiciously) six of the nine clubs, with many fearing this is the start of the league’s traditional ‘big six’ taking complete control of the division and potentially the first steps to facilitating a European Super League.
As always the world of Twitter was on hand to react to the latest news, and we’ve taken a look at some of the varied social media reaction:
Whilst there was a general concern of an opportunistic power grab, there were many quick to point out the potential benefits of the proposals.
Taken a bit of time to weigh up the @TelegraphSport exclusive on Project Big Picture.
Plenty to worry about but lots of potential positives too. Don't just dismiss it out of hand. Should be a starting point for discussions about fixing English football. Devil is in the detail
— Ross Gregory (@rossgregory9) October 12, 2020
Whilst others questioned the government’s stance, given their recent pleas for the Premier League to bring financial aid to the pandemic-threatened lower leagues.
Government to Premier League: Please help the 'football family.'
Man United & Liverpool: The Premier League should give £250m to the EFL now, then share 25% of our TV deals with the EFL, plus £100m for FA & more for grassroots.
Government: We are surprised and disappointed.
— David Conn (@david_conn) October 11, 2020
It was an assessment that notable names, including Gary Neville, agreed with, the former Manchester United defender and Salford City co-owner urging for the controversial plans not to be dismissed.
Correct from @david_conn . Their are parts of the proposal that require negotiation but their is too much good in this plan to dismiss it. Let’s get round the table please PL / EFL / FA / FSF
If it suits 9 PL clubs and maybe 72 EFL clubs then let’s work with the other 11 🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/BJJRo6eyR9
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) October 12, 2020
Despite the financial benefits for EFL clubs, however, ‘Project Big Picture’ – in the eyes of many – was largely viewed as an attempt to grab further power and control by the game’s elite and their owners.
“Do we want Joel Glazer to run English football? I don’t want him running #MUFC!”
“They’ll say to #AVFC & #LUFC that they don’t really count.”
“The sport belongs to the people, not to someone in Boston & the Everglades.”@HenryWinter reacts to ‘Project Big Picture’ proposal pic.twitter.com/FdB82jbO7L
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) October 12, 2020
Anyone who only notices the positives and overlooks the dangerous negatives of Project Big Picture ironically isn't looking at the bigger picture. #bbcfootball
— Jonathan Ridgway (@AVFCJono) October 12, 2020
The Premier League moved quickly to condemn the plans, warning the proposals could have a ‘damaging impact on the whole game’.
Premier League statement on ‘Project Big Picture’ pic.twitter.com/3mIkIDU44G
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) October 11, 2020
Liverpool – whose owners Fenway Sports Group are behind the changes – came under fierce criticism from supporters fearing the worst should the division’s top six assume greater control.
As a club, you've always demanded respect from other teams regarding Hillsborough and Heysel which we've generously given. Now, with Project Big Picture, you've disrespected every fan of every club with this power grab. Once a respectful club, you're now of a disgrace. #lfc
— Phil Hook (@PhilHook71) October 12, 2020
Whilst big backers Manchester United were treated to similar treatment.
Fuck @LFC Fuck @ManUtd Fuck #ProjectBigPicture
— Coxy (@JamesEnzoCox) October 12, 2020
'Project Big Picture' is a movement spearheaded by the owners of Man United + Liverpool to restructure the entirety of English football.
It accommodates the richer clubs and fuck over poorer clubs. This is disgusting and needs to get trending.
This will kill the game. pic.twitter.com/3O9wYvje1q
— Jhughead (@__Yousouf) October 11, 2020
The change to a governing body of nine elite clubs and away from the one-club one-vote system would leave the majority of the Premier League in a precarious situation.
fans of clubs outside the 'big 6' right now. #ProjectBigPicture pic.twitter.com/upMjHwQZfs
— Gary Paul 🏴🇬🇩 (@GaryPaul73) October 11, 2020
Unless your West Ham or Southampton, of course.
The duo sneaking into a potential power group as the Premier League’s equivalent to a high-school newbie with a hard as nails older brother…
The biggest outrage to #ProjectBigPicture is the idea that Southampton and West Ham get enhanced voting rights. Southampton are alright but nowhere near a big club and West Ham are an absolute basket case, whilst Leicester get nothing. They won the bloody thing recently!
— Tom Erskine (@erskinetom29) October 12, 2020
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See also – 90’s Football Hall of Fame: Dennis Wise, the combustible Chelsea icon