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Time to rebuild football
I loved Alex Keble’s piece today. He’s right, now we need to continue this unity and build on it. For the longest time I must admit I thought people like Johnny Nic, were overly hysterical. No more. Let’s push for 51:49, sign the petitions, participate in the fans inquiry if possible and do whatever we can to wrest control of football to its rightful guardians.
The only thing I would say is please be careful of language in this conversation, we need unity not seperation. Keble in his (quite understandable) excitement goes on a bit of a rant about neo liberalism and capitalism. It is possible to be a capitalist and a decent person (the Forest Green owner springs to mind). Let’s not alienate these people, we may need their assistance down the road. This is a fight we can win, let’s have a more egalitarian football.
We are all as much to blame – let’s do better
So it looks as though the grand plan is dead in the water. The Big Bad Owners have been chased back into their hole and the Class A Banker Ed Woodward is gone so let’s all sit down with a glass of wine and rejoice at the fact that people power has prevailed right? Wrong. This should be taken as a wake up call to us all as we are as much to blame for this malaise as the Snakey Six.
Us as fans complain about extortionate ticket prices and the gentrification of our stadiums one day only to chastise our clubs for not investing fantastical amounts on new signings the next. It doesn’t take an accountant to tell you that when it comes to these collective wishes that the numbers just don’t add up. We have to admit that we’ve invited these foxes into the henhouse.
We see injustices within our game on a daily basis, racism treated with not so much as a slap on the wrist, corruption shrugged off with a paltry ban and systemic abuse of our young deemed barely newsworthy. The game has become a cesspit before our very eyes yet we’ve averted our gaze to only what occurs within those white lines.
All is not lost though, we got lucky nothing more and may now have a chance to help shape the future of our game which we cannot let slip. We must act now and force our place as fans at the top table and say never again. Never again can clubs ignore, never again can clubs forget and never again can our voice be lost in the game that we hold so dear.
One Game, One Voice.
What next for the breakaways?
A fantastic mobilisation by everyone to maintain the foundations of competitive football. However, there are too many issues still there to put it to bed.
Unfortunately, this has strengthened UEFA’s hand and perhaps the Premier League’s. Without sustained pressure on all the other faults with the current set up, there is the risk that no lesson is really learned – financial power plays will still take place, but with committee led organisations. UEFA and FIFA ( who cleverly kept pretty quiet) have now retained their position as top dogs. They are equally not to be trusted in a different way; same goes for the Premier League, La Liga etc.
As for the 6 teams, if you don’t punish them they haven’t lost. If you do, the fans who fought the battle do. Tricky.
Man United – ultimately their ownership was pushing hard for the European Super League (coincidence they were playing when the announcement was made?) They’ve got their scapegoat shot early. Typical US industrial practice. Rumours that Woodward resigned because he knew nothing. As an ex-JP Morgan employee: not buying it.
Liverpool – have rightly got called out for their statement. Have FSG learned nothing? Digging in harder than others is not a good look. Particularly in that city.
Spurs – probably the worse statement. Sorry, but the we are always looking for new opportunities line pretty much states they will do it again. Pure Levy. And I am not an Arsenal fan before you pile on. To which…
Arsenal – yes, apologising is always the best way to go. If you mean it. But your US backer is the constant in this. Pretty sure he didn’t write the press release.
Man City – wasn’t surprised that they were unsure. They’ve built a structure around Pep and when he went full on, I was sure they’d be the first to avoid all losing the goodwill their money had bought.
Chelsea – Roman won’t be told what to do. If it wasn’t him advising the European Super League, heads will roll. Don’t mess with a self made Russian oligarch.
At the end of the day United and Liverpool will be the biggest losers. Glazer’s will continue to strip money out and bizarrely without Woodward, won’t care about investing without return. FSG have created a big mess. Any positivity about their tenure, and there should be plenty, has gone.
City and Chelsea will be fine.
Who knows about the other two?
Of course, it could all go differently. The owners could give up, fan ownership takes over and we will all be in a happy place.
Big shout to Grimsby’s shirt offer. Now it won’t happen, everybody buy one. Look after the good guys.
Stu (North Yorks, but not a Grimsby fan)
Can Arsenal giving the best apology be considered an extra trophy? I’ll take it.
Jim, Arsenal, North London
Surprise, surprise, I’m mailing about the Super League…
Like many fans, I was aghast when it was announced, amazed by the staggering ineptitude, and am now glad it has fallen apart. I’m also amazed that UEFA/FIFA etc. have genuinely tried to portray themselves as the victims, although I know that shouldn’t surprise me.
I just wanted to quickly say that despite the proposal collapsing, there must be actual repercussions for those clubs that chose to take part. Take my team, United – we need an immediate fine (and not a pathetic little one, but a proper transfer budget reducer) with all proceeds redirected to lower levels of football to help mitigate the impact of Covid, a huge points deduction (enough to take us completely out of European contention, and if people felt we should be relegated we wouldn’t have a leg to stand on) and kick us out of the Europa and ban us from European competition for a few years.
None of this would be anywhere near enough, so really can’t complain with anything they do to us, especially since we were one of the ring leaders and would never have backed down due to fan protests; thank god other clubs have a smidgen more respect for fans/their own reputation.
I also completely agree that this needs to be the start of a genuine restructure within football – United have been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the influx of money (and one of the key drivers for it) so stand to lose more than most, but it simply cannot go on as it has been. Like many people I can’t quite put my finger on why the European Super League was the final straw, given it was just the logical next step to the past 30 years, but it will hopefully be used as a first step for significant changes.
Also, hope Perez can see that kids are interested in football still – just look at the photos of the Chelsea fans protesting! All about 12…
Jack (might just be getting old since police also look like children) Manchester
A fit and proper punishment
The European Super League was such a spectacularly bad idea that I never expected it to happen. I didn’t think it would take less than 48 hours to collapse.
There is anger across the whole of the football community about the shameless greed of these club owners. Many people are now calling for some form of punishment to be handed out to these clubs, ranging from points deductions, European bans and transfer bans. I get the anger and frustration, but let’s not lose sight of who are real villains here. Points deductions and bans punish not only the Football Club as a business, but also the players, staff and fans who had no part in the attempted theft of football.
The only fair sanction is to punish the guilty owners and executives. Remove their ‘fit and proper” status, for they have proved to be anything but. Thus will force new ownership of these clubs, hopefully by people who are proper custodians of.our game
Whilst the news of Chelsea and Man City withdrawing from the current iteration of the European Super League is encouraging, I hope that fans will continue to push to reclaim their clubs.
Unless there is major change to club ownership the super league will return again. There will then be more adaptations to the champions league to sate their greed and the cycle will continue until we do have a super league directly or indirectly. Salami tactics.
Fans of the big 6 must unite to force their owners out, don’t buy season tickets, boycott sponsors etc. Take your clubs back. Nobody else will do his apart from fans. And this should be a warning for fans of all other clubs and their owners who would act in the same way if they could.
If this change doesn’t happen right now, when fans are united, it never will and the game in its current form will die.
Why I needed the Super League to fail
I am delighted at the collapse of the “Super League”, and that Ed Woodward is gone. I hope that the Glazers will lose interest in United now and follow suit.
I think what really upset me about this avaricious cash grab most, was how this would have affected my sense of normality. This last year since the advent of Covid has been awful. I work as a frontline healthcare worker and to be quite honest have seen and had to deal with things that will stay with me for the rest of my life. All of our lives have been profoundly affected, in every single way, from massive stuff like not being able to travel to the UK to see my brother and nephews, to simple things like not being able to get a haircut.
But the one constant was football, and the one constant was being able to watch United. To be quite honest since July its basically kept me going. Knowing that I could watch United has gotten through a lot of weeks, just having matches, something even remotely normal, to look forward to has carried me through some really tough times. I essentially constructed my entire life around watching them, and swapped out of on call shifts to not miss matches.
And the things I love about watching United and the premier league is that we can f**k up. We can lose to Sheffield Wednesday and Istanbul Beshakir. We can beat Man City and PSG. We are absolute omnishambles and absolute world beaters, often in the same match. I love watching us play Burnley and Brighton and LASK and Granada. We get rewarded for being good and punished for being sh*te. And this “superleague” flew in the face of that. It was everything bad about US sport. Dead rubbers and no consequences, and billionaires making millions and f**king everyone else over.
I am so glad that this competition is dead in the water. I hope that all the ringleaders are hounded out of football, and I hope we never see the likes of this nonsense again.
Oisín, MUFC, Kildare, Ireland
It looks as if the house of cards is collapsing. Digging a little deeper, we enter the murky world of football finances and we find a clear reason for the European Super League proposal. Sid Lowe, writing for ESPN, states that Barcelona’s total debt is 1,173BN euros and Real Madrid’s total debt is 901M euros. Juventus appear to be carrying an 850M euro debt, whilst Internazionale are not far behind. Combined, the three founder European Super League clubs from Serie A are, according to reports, operating with 2BN euros worth of debt. Deloitte estimate that the top 20 Money League clubs have experienced a 2BN loss in profit between them in 2020 mostly due to the pandemic.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out their existing losses would not have been covered had the pandemic not occurred.
Scratch the surface and you will find that the three European Super League founder Italian clubs and the three European Super League founder Spanish clubs are now in very real trouble if they were not before. Before anyone feels sorry for them, Cristiano Ronaldo’s salary is reported to be 1M euros per week, and Lionel Messi is on 2.1M euros per week. Their squads are remunerated accordingly to a lesser degree but still to astronomical levels and they operate supposedly at the top end of transfer fee purchasing.
The only possible conclusion is systematic and deliberate reckless financial irresponsibility. I believe the financial health of Bayern, Dortmund, and the Premier League sides is reasonable by comparison. Due to their ownership models, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, and PSG are not so much affected by market forces.
Now that the idea is coming apart before our eyes, the unavoidable conclusion is that football finances as the elite end of the game needs regulation by international independent government. In reaching this situation, FIFA and UEFA have proven themselves incapable of regulating their own sport. The heads of FIFA and UEFA should be viewed as complicit by systematically bowing to pressure put on them by clubs who threaten to change the very foundation of football rather than be seen for what they are: financially incontinent.
For the record, I would like to see a European Super League based on sporting achievement with bonuses based on success rather than through private salaries. I don’t want to watch Fulham-Burnley every week and I would welcome watching more elite sides playing each other more often, but this is also a problem of the elite sides’ own making in robbing the football pyramid below them of competitive talent with money they appear not to have.
Rich (not many want to watch us Baggies either…), Cambridge.
A few days ago (before the madness) I made an email about how city and Chelsea were insulated from external effects of the world due to their rich sugar daddies.
A sentiment I still stand by, in fact we could see it in action. In the event that points deduction is given to all the “big six” which will see arsenal skirt relegation and everyone else drop out of Europe (dependimg on how many points) you know who won’t give a sh*t?
Chelsea and city because they can buy their way out of trouble at any point. Lack of European football for a few years would absolutely cripple Liverpool and I imagine we’d see a return to the hodgeson days of literally always losing away and buying konchesky and voronin as our “marquee” signings. The loss of sponsors would be massive and that expensive new shirt deal with Nike will be worth virtually nothing.
But city’s sponsor….is themselves. City will still go right out and buy a new striker a few midfielders,.probably some defenders and sink a couple of hundred million and next season they’ll win the league again. Chelsea can do the exact same.
Uniteds glamour has fallen a little recently so while they can spend their way out they’ll end up with old timers and mercs looking for that big pay day.
I really do think the game needs some controls on finances. Or if we’re gonna allow teams to bend the rules then just allow every team to be owned by the Saudi family and then we’re all on even footing.
I feel for Newcastle fans, I really do. Why should they be denied the exact same thing city did? And it’s not as Roman and his money conned from a broken, desperate and corrupt russian government was any better. Yet Newcastle are told no, we must keep these new owners out because… F**k you that’s why.
Maybe that is the answer. If every team has a billionaire sugar daddy then what advantage does anyone have? Actually I’ve just convinced myself. Let’s get rid of maximum spending restrictions and enforce minimums instead – any new owner must commit to spending 1bn a season on wages and transfers..that’s the new fit and proper test.
At least we’d all be even…
The biggest winners
Well the biggest winners in this fiasco are the German Clubs and PSG. I am pretty sure they wouldn’t have expected this to unravel so soon, but kudos to them for reading the mood correctly. They can take the moral high ground now and claim how they were custodians of competitive European football!!
Next biggest winners are Man United fans. Who would have thought this is what is required to get Ed Woodward fired.
It’s so much fun watching this unravel. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of people.
Arun, AFC, Toronto