The return from the front after the first international break following the start of the domestic football season usually brings a sense of renewal and change.

When the football calendar isn't interrupted by a global pandemic, it tends to coincide with the closure of the transfer window and sometimes there is a key injury to factor in so that starting line-ups can look significantly different: like a before-and-after shot in a multi-million pound property makeover.

This time around the whole landscape looks fundamentally different. There will be a residual hostility towards the two clubs who attempted a coup: Manchester United and Liverpool, not exactly beloved at the best of times by supporters of other clubs. A suspicion that we are in the first stages of a zero-sum game.

Make no mistake, the plans by the Glazer family and John W Henry to redraw the boundaries of English football in favour of the big six clubs were not dreamt up in isolation. This was a stalking horse for the entity as a whole. The six are members of an exclusive WhatsApp group that deals with interests germane to those clubs; while not each of them agreed on the proposals contained in Project Big Picture in their entirety, there will have been plenty of other stipulations – such as a greater slice of broadcast revenue and access to rights for their own television channels – that will have made for great appeal.

The proposal failed, of course. Unsurprisingly the rest of the Premier League clubs in England did not react kindly to the elite attempting to take advantage of the financial crisis in football caused by Covid-19 by trying to railroad through the kind of cunning plan Dick Dastardly would have been proud of.

PBP may be dead in the water now but how long before a similar putsch is planned?

The first stone has been cast. The idea of a split has been gathering momentum since the big six successfully bullied their way to a greater share of the overseas broadcast revenue in June 2018.

Led by Manchester City and Liverpool, and backed by Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs, the clubs pushed the case that they are the prime attractions for global audiences and thus should receive the lion's share of the revenue. Two years ago, this was part of a trend for the European footballing giants to demand more money from their respective countries, and against a backdrop of talk about more lucrative Champions League matches and a four-yearly 24-team World Club Cup.

One of the threats hanging over English football in the run-up to Wednesday's vote was that of a breakaway from the Premier League. This is an echo of how the Premiership – as it was known then – came into being: clubs wanting a greater share of the pie and going after it greedily with a ladle.

Back then, at the end of the 80s and start of the 90s, the six were five: Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United while Chelsea and Manchester City were yo-yo clubs. When the Champions League places calcified over the course of the next 15 years, the five became a four and included Newcastle United and an interchanging cast of clubs that did not contain, Everton, Spurs or City. Only the arrival of the latter two as serious contenders to that top four increased the label to the more generous big six – and so with Liverpool and Manchester United falling outwith top four on a regular basis, the concept was broadened

Interestingly, news of the attempted coup broke after United had been thumped at home by Tottenham and Liverpool had been hammered by Aston Villa. Ironically, in a league in which United can lay claim to the title of 'biggest club', they have become increasingly irrelevant as a sporting entity under the guardianship of the Glazer family. But then this attempt to seize control was all about the business and the dangers unfolding before their eyes. How long before the six becomes an eight or a nine? The revolution has been televised before.

One anonymous executive is reported to have said that there cannot be “too many Leicester Citys” and certainly this looked like a naked power grab, a sustained effort to close the door on the likelihood of a Leicester ever happening again.

Everton, who sit fifth on the list for all-time top six finishes and fourth for top-flight titles, also sit at the head of the table as they host Liverpool this afternoon. There is early talk of a title challenge – and it is not such a fanciful idea either given the way that James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure have settled in at Goodison Park since arriving in the summer window. The first two players demonstrate the lure of Premier League money and, with a little bit of clever strategy, how an outsider can stitch together a team capable of challenging for a title on a sustained basis – something that has been significantly lacking at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club.

Everton, with nine league titles to their name, could rightly consider themselves justified to be in the consideration in the conversation over what constitutes the big six. They were among the biggest clubs in the country in the 1980s, a time when trophies, not just financial might, was the barometer for measuring success. The two have always gone hand in hand but today with huge disparities in incomes, TV revenues, transfer budgets and salaries, those who have the most resources tend to reap the biggest harvests.

Yet, the overarching fear for the elite is that money does not ensure it all when those challenging have a hefty pot themselves – what better way to solve that conundrum than by taking even more of their money for yourself – as PBP would have guaranteed?

Arsenal, once seen as the next best to United, take on City this afternoon at the Etihad. Yet, it is four seasons since they last qualified for a Champions League and despite a better start to the season, everyone around them has improved, too.

This is what occupies the minds of those executives who run the big clubs and the suspicion is that despite the 20 clubs – yes, even United and Liverpool – rejecting Project Big Picture earlier this week, it will only be a matter of time before there is another set of one-sided proposals on the table.