FOOTBALL: It’s been interesting to see the reaction to the Premier League’s ‘Project Big Picture’ after its plans were unveiled, writes Mark Hearle.

The big six, including Manchester United and Liverpool, have compiled a plan which would see a more even sharing out of the pot of money the Premier League receives, from the likes of TV rights, with more money distributed down into the  English Football League (EFL) over the coming seasons in return for, among other things, the scrapping of the League Cup and the Community Shield.

It appears initially the proposals have met with a mixed reaction from some members of both the Premier League and EFL, as football continues to try and cope with supporters being barred from football stadiums.

I don’t think these ideas have sprung up in the wake of the Covid situation, they are something I’m sure have been in the thoughts of many sitting in Premier League boardrooms.

The bone of contention is probably shown best in another plan to reduce the amount of teams in the league by two to 18, cutting back on another four games over a season. There is a concern that top flight players will burn themselves out, hence the debate over Harry Kane this week in yet another ‘club versus country’ row that always seems to erupt whenever the national team has a set of fixtures.

For me, this is where the problem lies, with too many international fixtures in an already crowded schedule. 

England games never hold the same attraction as a club fixture for me. Tournaments I can relate to and enjoy but the endless stream of qualifying rounds and friendly fixtures leave me none too interested.

And if you take a look at the number of players who are withdrawn from international squads by their club managers on the eve of the matches it goes a way to telling you the prominence these kind of fixtures are held in by the people who pay most of their wages. 

With all of the problems that have faced football recently the Premier League has been seen by some as a cash cow that can be called upon to bail out others in their hour of need.

However it’s clear that even the great and good at the highest level of football cannot continue to dish out when their own incomes have been slashed for months.

While giving with one hand to those that need it there should be no surprise they will want something in return, in this case a reduction of the amount of games they have to play.

There is much to like about the Premier League’s plans for the future of football. There is also a wariness from some that these are the first moves towards a European super league.

That I really wouldn’t agree with. Nothing beats the top teams going at it over the winter and for the newly promoted to have a crack at life with the big boys.

I suspect we will have to wait to see a final outcome of these proposals but you would think the Premier League will eventually gain the concessions it has asked for so that the cash taps are turned on for the leagues below.

• It hasn’t been the best of weeks for the club, with defeats suffered against teams who made the play-offs last season.

 And after their performances I have seen nothing to see why they won’t do the same this year.

We can take the positive that we kept going from the first to the last whistle and never gave up against two very proven teams at this level.

I dare say there may well be other days like this over the weeks ahead but one thing this group does is learn and the clear week we have next week will give the management team the chance to get the players back onto the training pitch and work on a few things. The season is still in its early stages and there’s a long way to go, in terms of both games and the learning curve.