Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Tue 13 November 2007

Vision of a Super League future...

Speaking on the BBC TV programme Inside Sport last night, Celtic manager Gordon Strachan made clear his belief that in the not-too-distant future the Champions League would be replaced by a form of European Super League.

In reply to the oft-repeated suggestion that Celtic and Rangers might one day join the Premier League in order to benefit from playing sterner opposition, Strachan said:

"I think in years to come there will be a European league with 54 or 60 clubs. That's the way everybody will get round it.

"There will be a new structure, a new body" he went on. "The powers that be, the businessmen coming into football now, will say 'forget FIFA, forget UEFA - we're so powerful, we'll have three leagues with the best 60 clubs'.

"And you know what? Preposterous and unthinkable though it might seem at the moment, I personally think it'll happen too. By my reckoning, I'll see it towards the end of my lifetime, which in real terms means 'by 2050.'"

Anyway, we here at Some People Are On The Pitch like a bit of prophesying so we thought we'd put our thinking caps on and try and work out what a European Super League would look like based loosely on the best that the continent has to offer right now.

Though this was anything but a scientific experiment, we were quick to realise that there are any number of ways you could calculate such a metaphoric notion. How many clubs would you allow per country? At the moment, the most you'll find is four, so that's the maximum figure we adopted for our own means.

Yet could this figure rise higher? Knowing the way big business and high finance gets involved in football these days, I for one wouldn't be surprised if a European Super League might end up featuring anything up to eight big clubs from places such as England, Germany, Italy and Spain.

And what of the smaller clubs and the countries they derive from? How many places would they be allowed in a system featuring three leagues of twenty clubs? Again, the cynic in me can see the lesser lights on the continent barely getting a look in.

Luckily for us in our fair-minded, level-headed fantasy world, we can put that straight though. What we've therefore done in our allegorical list is allowed at least one club to take part from most, although not all, the main countries in Europe.

So here it is then - your first glimpse at a future world where, according to Gordon Strachan, FIFA and UEFA would look on helplessly as an independent body took over the running of European football's biggest competition. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the European Super League (sponsored by Some People Are On The Pitch...)

League 1
Arsenal (ENG)
Barcelona (SPA)
Bayern Munich (GER)
Benfica (POR)
Bremen (GER)
Chelsea (ENG)
Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)
Internazionale (ITA)
Lazio (ITA)
Liverpool (ENG)
Lyon (FRA)
Man. United (ENG)
Milan (ITA)
Porto (POR)
Real Madrid (SPA)
Roma (ITA)
Schalke (GER)
Sevilla (SPA)
Stuttgart (GER)
Valencia (SPA)

League 2
Ajax (NED)
Anderlecht (BEL)
AZ (NED)
Besiktas (TUR)
Bordeaux (FRA)
Celtic (SCO)
Club Brugge (BEL)
CSKA Moskva (RUS)
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)
Fenerbahce (TUR)
Galatasaray (TUR)
Marseille (FRA)
Olympiacos (GRE)
Panathinaikos (GRE)
PSV (NED)
Slavia Prague (CZE)
Sparta Prague (CZE)
Sporting (POR)
Steaua (ROM)
Zenit (RUS)

League 3
AaB (DEN)
AIK Solna (SWE)
Anorthosis (CYP)
Basel (SWZ)
Brann (NOR)
Copenhagen (DEN)
CSKA Sofia (BUL)
Drogheda (IRE)
Groningen (SWE)
Hajduk Split (CRO)
Hapoel Tel Aviv (ISR)
Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR)
Rangers (SCO)
Ried (AUT)
Rosenborg (NOR)
Salzburg (AUT)
Shakhtar (UKR)
Spartak Moscow (RUS)
Tampere (FIN)
Zurich (SWZ)

A reminder then that this is just a bit of fun - if we've put a team in the wrong league, don't get shirty with us! It's just our spin on how a European Super League might look.

That said, given the lists above, who would you put in which league and who do you think might win or be relegated in each case? Let us know what your imagination's telling you, or if you have an opinion about whether a European Super League is even viable, tell us that too. We look forward to hearing your thoughts...

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