Well then, have you had time to catch your breath yet after what can only be described as one of the most bizarre off the pitch dramas the footballing world has ever witnessed?
It all started midday on Sunday as people were preparing for the week ahead when murmurs of a potential ground-breaking announcement in regard to a ‘Super League’ being formed.
Many started to panic, while others faced the rumor head on and decided it was a rumor for a reason - seemingly proved right as the proposed announcement time that was given to the media of 21:30 rolled on by with no such thing as a whisper. A few minutes later, a new leaked time of 22:30 was being spread around in which caused a few more to panic whilst others simply laughed it off and yet again, as the proposed time rolled on by, no such ‘announcement’ was made. Football fans across Europe concluded it was all someone’s idea of a wind up and that it was time to settle in for the evening before the week ahead.
As the minutes ticked down towards Monday, the whole football community was struck with a devastating blow when it was confirmed the new ‘European Super League’ was anything but a rumor and was not only here to stay, but here to revolutionize football forever.
With fans up and down Europe, and across the world sat reading their phones, watching the television, or tuning into the radio with dismay; they were left begging the question - was this the end of football as we know it? Fans of the clubs in question felt stabbed in the back after the realization that because of a few billionaires, they were attempting to rip apart decades of precious history. These clubs were brought about by working class people; built by and for the communities that they play in.
All this whilst making a statement to the fans that they simply were not cared about and if anything, they were left with a sense of being looked down upon with disdain. Fans of the clubs not in question began wondering what this meant for the rest of English football; potentially leaving their own clubs in financial scrutiny and this is all without the mention of completely disregarding the opportunity of success and performances.
The announcement was unsurprisingly met with uproar from football fans around the globe, causing a state of panic as to what happens next. Some believed it was too late and the damage was done, but what was unanimously agreed upon was that it wasn’t going to happen without a fight. Fans of rival clubs, from clubs that play in separate domestic leagues, and even different countries came together to stand as one and to make their feelings known in a spectacular fashion. Protests ensued with the two Premier League games hosted at Leeds United and Chelsea bringing in mass gatherings to make their voices heard.
As the drama continued progressing through the week, it became a civil war as threats flew in from all angles. UEFA threatened to take heavy legal action whilst for the English clubs in question, the Premier League warned that they would not be allowing the clubs to take any further part in the football pyramid and would be subsequently kicked out.
Following this, it was Tuesday evening where plans came to an abrupt halt. A meeting with all clubs involved (seemingly lead by Real Madrid President, Florentino Pérez) saw Premier League sides seemingly doubt the operation as just a few minutes after, all six English clubs announced that they would no longer be associated with the new league and have thus pulled out - which made me question, was this the target all along?
It was something that I felt obliged to dig deeper into, as to why something that had apparently been thoroughly planned out and so swiftly executed, had resulted in a complete turn of events within just the space of a few days. The timing of it all and the manner of which the clubs in question acted seemed an anomaly in such a historic judgement call.
Without speculating beyond necessary means, when looking at the timing of the announcement, it seemed too rash for clubs who had apparently planned for such eventuality so thoroughly. It was almost as though this uproar was intentional, clawing in all the papers to publish stories and all the pundits to analyse proceedings in order to cause panic in the UEFA ranks. This seems like a power play to signify the capabilities of creating a breakaway league and subsequently bargaining for more money from UEFA in return of facilitating their football clubs better than they have previously.
It was not a smooth journey throughout though, with Tottenham Hotspur manager, José Mourinho, parting ways with club in which raised questions as to whether or not there was any correlation between his dismissal and the news of the Super League; especially on the week of a cup final. More recently, executive vice-chairman of Manchester United, Ed Woodward, announced that he would be leaving his role at the end of 2021 - another casualty of the fallout perhaps?
What is for certain is that this issue is far from being over, with the potential of strict punishments from UEFA and the Premier League. I feel, in order for the Premier League to regain the necessary respect and authority from the clubs in question, it is essential that hefty fines are given out to ensure that the threat of anything like this ever happening again is strongly denied. That may rely on transfer embargo's, points deductions, or whatever is necessary to protect the stability of the English footballing pyramid.
The only thing that is not salvageable is the owner’s reputation. Manchester United (The Glazers), Liverpool (FSG), and Arsenal (Stan Kroenke), amongst others, have tarnished any last drop of faith their subsequent fan bases had in them and need to face harsh consequences for the greater good of football.
Lastly, I do not think it can be underestimated as to the sheer impact football fans around the globe had in coming together in unity to deny access to outsiders that could harm the game we all hold so closely to our hearts.
Football is nothing without fans. Some people get it and some people do not.
For those that fall into the latter, they should not and will not be granted the opportunity to tarnish the passion, tradition, and relationships that fans have held so dearly for over a century.