What If A Specially Chosen (By You) Specially Adapted Version Of State of Origin Made It Big in England?

national teams
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Imagine if for one month every year each top player from England 'came home' and represented the local area where they grew up instead of their usual club, imagine how refreshingly different it could be to see them line up in these affiliation teams, and away from the usual big v small shopping trollies club football routine.

There are 150 main local council areas in England (metropolitan boroughs, shires and unitaries of 200,000 to 1 million inhabitants each), so there would be 150 teams (idea A), maybe playing in divisions or in a pre-seeded ladder of likely-to-be-fairly-evenly-matched opponents (the best way to do the seeding process is another gr8 discussion topic by the way!), and rather than have the top seeds play the bottom seeds, I suggest we would design a cleverly imagined opponent allocation system just for this, that gives out more than one trophy (best improver and best in comparison to population ‘little giant’ might be two trophies of the to fight for). We’d have a total break from the usual clubs all playing at completely different shopping trolley budget levels.

There are some wonderful opponent allocation system ideas and format ideas to contemplate … who might do particularly well and who might wear which colour?

I like to picture a team in white going up against a team in green, at your local stadium, and it’s two of the boroughs or shires and unitaries nearest your house squaring off, a bit like a world cup game, but this time WE control the whole thing and can make changes wherever improvement is possible. Such as rebalancing how many teams could finish first with the trade-off considerations of bringing in separations that bring about more evenly matched pairings, and the other competing influences being those of wanting to put teams up against opponents who are not too far away, probably getting more tickets sold if we can set all later opponents in advance rather than leave the determining of the next opponent dependent on the outcome of the first game, wanting to let teams who are lower down have big opportunities, and wishing to make use of foreign-born players in a way that makes the top seed unable to use them but other areas can use them when playing against the top seed ...

Version B of the idea is to have only two opponents per team per year 1v3, 2v4, 5v7, 6v8, … & 1v2, 3v4, 5v6, 7v8, 9v10, …. so one Friday and the ensuing Sunday might suffice. This way, we could use just the biggest stadiums, get a bigger percentage of the games onto the top TV channels, and all games would feel more like they matter in playing for the top positions.

If it makes the contest better, the top one and the bottom one seed might, from year 3 onwards, be given slightly different rules in terms of the top one having to have a set number of younger players on and the bottom one being allowed some players from outside their area .... (in case this is the only way to give the others a chance).

Either way, this new third allegiance period could make life better by bringing in something new and different and something for those who are not followers of any club, while also building friendship bridges between the derby rivals for a short but special time.

OR Version C of this idea might be to have only 16 teams in total, one for each of the top 15 seeds (or by population?) police force areas, and an alliance of all other parts, and we make it a tournament with a groups stage and QF, SF & a trophy game. This way we could use just the biggest stadiums and all games would feel more like they matter in playing for the top positions.

We might even do the most shocking and controversial thing anyone has ever done and bring in a points system where the team that (with clean fair play) makes the best forward passes in each 10-minute part of the game is worth one point each, and a goal is worth 10 (or so …. Let’s improve on this a little and make it more specific before we kill it dead! Would it help to give a bonus point for hitting the post, for a missed or never awarded penalty or yellow card, or for the best sequence of forward passes of the half … is there some way to end the practice where a team that is ahead keeps the ball stuck at the peripheries? Or maybe the 10-minute segments would already contain all of this adequately), so this system/game could maybe be called Football 2 = only really good if we stick to our main wish list presumption that we get to use all the top (eligible) players, and that we get impartial judges for the scoring. Or we delete this mad paragraph, pretend it never happened and let our tournament games go to penalties to decide who advances, as usual?

Idea A would give every area an important official representation game to look forward to every year, and in which new and old stars could vie for some well-earned local stardom in their home town boroughs.

This way, we could use just the biggest stadiums, get a bigger percentage of the games onto the top TV channels, and all games would feel more like they matter in playing for the top position.

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