By now the reaction to a European Super League featuring the richest teams in Europe (who are not the best teams in Europe) is overwhelmingly negative across the UK and Europe. The clubs involved are being threatened with being banned and fined from their home leagues, and the players banned from playing in international tournaments such as the World Cup.
Yet this has been coming for 30 years since football was beginning to be gentrified. Once people any local love for their teams and instead supported the most successful club out there, or that one Derek from accounts mentioned once in the pub, we’ve had a generation brought up in thinking football is just like picking out a nice pair of socks or the bottle of wine you’ll neck this evening. By the time Sky sunk its hooks into the game and working class fans of these ‘elite’ clubs were priced out, and once the stakes were raised once the likes of Manchester City started playing the game with cheats turned on all it needed was one last push to convince these clubs to break away.
That seems to be the Covid pandemic. Clubs are playing to empty stadia which has killed the atmosphere, but people are still watching games which means buying subscriptions which means the audience is there. These club owners don’t care about the fans, just the chance to make money which means a European closed shop and a worldwide audience of people who don’t care about the histories of these clubs. They just want the team they’ve been marketed to aggressively that they ‘support’ to win.
Now these clubs may back down which is unlikely but possible. It could end up with these clubs gaining a monopoly over the Champions League for a few years before this idea returns in five of six years time but the gauntlet has been thrown and UEFA, FIFA, the English, Spanish and Italian FA’s plus broadcasters and governments need to react fast before it becomes too late.
There is however one thing you as a fan you can do which is support your local side. Not your multinational franchise that charges 25 quid for a burger and chips at half time and a tenner for a bottle of warm mildly alcoholic piss,but your local side where you can a pie and a pint for a tenner, and you’re welcomed because they want and need you to survive. Throw the gentrified clubs away, see who your local club are and give them support. They might not win each week, they might play crap but you’ll be supporting an important part of the community and not a billionaire who just wants your 30 quid a month because it means they can buy the Moon or something like that.
Go back to the roots, turn your back on these clubs and find out that actually, things are not too bad on the front lines of being a football supporter where a result means something to everyone in the stadium. Give it a try.