Chelsea owner Todd Boehly’s big plan for Premier League All-Star showpiece won’t fly in England

Well, the criticisms start comin’ and they don’t stop comin’...

Oh, Todd.

Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd. Todd, Toddly, Toddington, Todd-a-doodle-doo, Todd. My poor, sweet summer child.

Why, oh why, would you go and say a thing like that? Are you so innocent to the embittered ways of this fractured isle that you simply did not know, or are you merely some kind of devilish verbal masochist, a glutton for the sharpest lashings of the sporting commentariat’s ceaselessly billowing forked tongues?

Unless, dear reader, you are fortunate enough to avoid any and all of the hissing discourse that snaps at the ankles of the beautiful game, you will more than likely be aware that Todd Boehly, Chelsea’s new sickeningly-wealthy American owner with a grin like a dealership forecourt of Ford Transit vans, has been floating some pretty, erm, intriguing proposals for English football of late.

The business magnate, who boasts the overly quixotic can-do demeanour and perfectly-coiffed locks of an eponymous Undercover Boss participant, has, to the frothing ridicule of the baying mob, suggested that the Premier League should consider introducing an All-Star Game, pitting the very best of the top flight’s northern clubs against the creme de la Prem, if you will, of their southern counterparts. At least on Undercover Boss the philanthropic interjections occasionally stretch to paying off somebody’s student debts or something, rather than this meddlesome silliness.

Todd’s doe-eyed daydreams of rivalry-demolishing, Space-Jam-cosplaying super-showdowns are so cringe-inducingly misplaced in their naivety that they would feel perhaps even a step too far for his cartoonish god-fearing namesake, Flanders.

Firstly, and logistically, when does Todd Almighty plan to play this intergalactic exhibition match? English football already holds more tournaments than a debaucherous, gout-ridden medieval king, and that’s without the mounting pressures of midweek continental whipcracking and the bleary-eyed soul-sapping of various international breaks.

Factor in insatiable pre-season tours that are starting to put U2 to shame and the matter becomes absurder still.

In American sports, where the off-season is long and players have nothing to do but wander the aisles of Target and drive their hummers around in perpendicular lines, something to quench the boredom makes sense. In England, not so much.

There are also some cultural exports which simply don’t translate well in their voyage over the Atlantic.

Spectacle is a foundational pillar of the American psyche - like apple pie, Mickey Mouse, or ineffective government beholden to neo-liberal ideology that puts the greed of its political benefactors over the wellbeing of its people. Actually, maybe we have that last one in common.

The point is, if there is one thing that our cousins across the pond excel at, it’s showing off.

In that climate of Hollywood fantasy and perma-tanned grandeur, All-Star Games are a natural progression of a greater, lineal thought process. On these sewage-stained shores, an inate, self-loathing modesty would render the whole thing tragicomic.

Put it this way, who wants to see a half-time show consisting of a special musical performance from Olly Murs and Mr Blobby, followed by a segment in which Phillip Schofield spins a bedazzled wheel of fortune to decide whether or not a randomly-selected pensioner from the crowd will be put to graft in a Dickensian workhouse this winter?

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to Boehly’s pipe dream, however, is the inevitable heft of tribalism.

A quiet hatred is the fire that burns the coal that the keeps the British trudging along in gloom and drizzle. It is the beat of the doldrum, the festering carrot at the end of the stick. And nothing stokes the embers of resentment like football.

It might be hard for Todd to understand, given that he hails from a country where franchises blow about like dandelion seeds in the breeze and drafts are conducted with the regularity of dental appointments, but the appetite for a fixture that would force together players from the likes of Liverpool and Everton, Manchester City and Manchester United, or Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, and West Ham is, bluntly, not there. Heck, we barely even manage unity in the name of the national team.

All of this is to say that Boehly’s proposal, while almost endearing in its earnestness, is just not viable.

At the risk of sounding patronising, maybe in time he will come to see why that is the case.

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