The 48 hours between the 18th and 20th of April have been some of the most hectic in recent football memory.
Many fans of the clubs involved believed their owners had huge monetary interests when it came to running the club but the European Super League proposal affirms the harsh cold fact that the pursuit of wealth far out weighs and even eclipses the glory of success on the football pitch.
What was the proposal?Embed from Getty Images
The proposal as stated by the official Super League website reads that:
“The Super League is a new European competition between 20 top clubs comprised of 15 founders and 5 annual qualifiers. There will be two groups of 10 clubs each, playing home and away fixtures within the Group each year. By bringing together the best clubs and best players in the world, the Super League will deliver excitement and drama never before seen in football.”
In participating, Manchester United, along with other clubs who are considered “Europe’s elite” would turn their back on the European cup. The new Super League would see the clubs compete on a midweek basis.
Why didn’t the proposal work?Embed from Getty Images
The Proposal of the super league seemed doomed from the beginning. When European Champions Bayern Munich along with fellow German club Borrusia Dortmund as well as PSG all supposedly rejected invitations, there’s no way the league could be what it promised – the best going up against the best.
Another key area in its swift demise was that it disregards competition, the very essence of the sport. Pep Guardiola’s reaction to his own club’s possible involvement spoke volumes. The Spaniard said: “It is not a sport where the relation between effort and success does not exist.
“It is not a sport where success is already guaranteed, it is not a sport where it doesn’t matter when you lose.” He added.
The founding 15 clubs (AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur) would be stalwarts in the league without the prospect of relegation, simply because the clubs are huge. This means the joy and ecstasy of Champions League qualification based on the merit of domestic performances was dead.
Or so we thought…
The power of the football fan.
Gary Neville was a key component. His rant following United’s victory against Burnley went a long way into providing insight into the motivations behind the Super League’s introduction. What you could call the “average fan” now had the power of knowledge.
Many flocked to social media instantly and within minutes hashtags like “SayNoToSuperLeague” was trending. However, the official announcement soon followed that evening and it fanned the flames of its reality.
Fans didn’t rest though, with the first wave appearing outside Elland Road, ahead of Leeds vs Liverpool. Despite the game being played behind closed doors, fans of both clubs United in their displeasure of the proposed “competition”.Embed from Getty Images
A day later, Chelsea fans protested prior to the game and while they heard that their club was wavering after City’s exit from the league they chanted “we saved football”.
Hours later, it was official, some clubs apologised and others like United simply stated that they wouldn’t be participating. In a statement from the Super League themselves, they suggest “fan pressure” is why the English clubs pulled out. Fans won.
What about Manchester United?Embed from Getty Images
United’s owners along with Ed Woodward were some of the main driving forces behind the league. Ed Woodward announced his resignation, with many believing the Super League cock-up was central to the news being released prematurely. Whatever the circumstances, their actions prove they can’t be trusted.
It’s definitely the end of the road for Glazer ownership at Old Trafford. Whether they outstay is another issue. But the fact that they had the decision to turn on the very fabric of the football club and its values struck a huge line between them and the fans. The sooner the Glazers leave United the better.