Could a new tournament satisfy global aspirations?

Much has been written about the desire of Premier League clubs to increase their fan bases overseas as part of the global branding environment in which we all live these days.

Last season there was even talk of a 39th game for the league, where cities around the world would be able to bid for the right to stage a Premier League match for a fistful of dollars.
While I'm against that particular idea, I'm not against a new trophy being created whereby Premier League teams could share in the revenue from a tournament played in stages overseas.

I know most of you will think such an idea preposterous, but as playing games overseas becomes inevitable for greedy club chairmen, I think it would be more palatable for us fans if it did not contribute to the outcome of the Premier League table.

My suggestion would be a pre-season tournament involving the 17 clubs who survive in the Premier League each year, plus the winners of the Championship, making a total of 18 clubs. Those clubs could be split into groups of three and would be joined by a club from the host city or country to play a mini-tournament in late July/earlyAugust. The winners of each group could then play two further mini groups of three teams each in January/February, with the finalists playing in a showpiece game in the highest bidding city at the end of the regular season.

Now before you start sending the hate mail, just think of how the big clubs view the Carling Cup these days - giving valuable experience to the younger players in their squads. Indeed, look at the FA Cup. I don't agree with the way in which the big four have de-prioritised that competition, but like it or lump it, that's what they have done.

So why not create a new competition that would allow the English clubs to expand their fan bases abroad, put up a significant lump sum for the winners and structure it in such a way that us fans could even plan holidays to exotic places, with the added luxury of seeing our beloved clubs in action.

I've just returned from a few days break and spotted quite a few Arsenal shirts. Admittedly, I was only in the south of France, but I can't recall the last time I went abroad and did not see someone wearing Arsenal colours. Even when I was last in my home town in Scotland I saw a few people wearing the famous red and white - and that's a sight you would never have seen a few years ago.

My point is that thanks to Arsene Wenger and the style of football the Gunners play, the team now has millions of admirers outside of England and if Arsenal Football Club are going to properly capitalise on that situation, then I'm afraid we're going to have to contemplate taking our players on the road. If every team in the Premier League had to do likewise, then the arguments about whether it would damage our prospects for the season begin to disappear.

Barking up the wrong tree, or just plain barking? Let me know what your thoughts are on tapping into the potential of our global fan base. Is a new tournament the answer, or are you in favour of the so-called 39th step? Or perhaps you strongly believe that enough is enough and it's time to put an end to the greed and stick to the traditional trophies - league, FA Cup and Europe. Share your comments here