In the history of stupid ideas, the European Super League was on a par with Fleetwood and Fox at the Brits or the Poll Tax. The slippery, gold-laden toads who undertook clandestine meetings over the previous year will, now it is shelved, revert to plan B, as they pencil out another assault on the game many of us loved but are now growing weary of.

Now it is rare, with any idea, for there to be universal condemnation. But with this initiative there wasn’t a solitary supportive voice. So quiet have the originators of the idea been, that within a day of the news going live, civil warfare broke out intra club as the buck was passed for signing their entities up to this folly.

Watford Observer:

Six English clubs including the big guns of Manchester City and Liverpool, along with smaller clubs like Spurs (sorry, I can’t help myself), decided to sign up, along with six supposed Euro ‘giants’ including both Milanese clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid to form a ‘Super’ League. This is despite neither Milan club winning the title for a decade and Spurs not in my lifetime, as they chose to aggrandise their worth while looking to monetise themselves at the expense of history and the fanbase.

This would form a closed shop where cash is unashamedly the new god. The nearest we have to such a construct at present is the Champions League, which has been a catastrophe for us traditionalists since its inception. In ‘my day’ the top dogs of their respective countries were the only teams, quite rightly, permitted to enter the European Cup. The winner of the magnificent trophy could then truly claim to be the champion of champions, whereas now, the team that may be fourth best in their country can come emerge as the continent’s kingpins. However, it does still hold some appeal: teams still qualify on merit and it gives the likes of Leicester the chance to tackle the big guns and stick it to the establishment.

Watford Observer:

European football competitions are generally dull as ditchwater. Take away the gloss, video editing and razzmatazz surrounding the main event, and the games are generally dire tactical chess matches where the public have been fooled into believing the result is more important that the core product: entertainment. Clubs continue to mercilessly fleece the fans through numerous revenue streams, be it Sky subscriptions, merchandise, apps or ticket sales as they pay obscene monies to those whose demeanour is often one of moodiness and standoffishness.

Perversely, the Premier league are now decrying the clubs, talking of the super league as money-grabbing charlatans as one mob of mercenaries turn on the other pea in the pod.

The argument is that the Super League would ‘kill’ the working-class man’s game, yet it ceased to be that when it became monetised and priced out Joe Average. The days of standing on the terraces and club stalwarts travelling to games on the bus have passed into folklore as we pay mediocre players six-figure weekly salaries for doing little of not much. Thousands are charged for season tickets and kits are outrageously expensive as kids hassle their put-upon parents to continue the family allegiance.

Watford Observer:

The result is all that counts as the crowds are now policed and videoed to ensure the ‘product’ retains its gloss. You are shipped in like lab rats, watch what generally doesn’t pass as entertainment, and are then ejected out the turnstiles without so much as a thank you please. The manager then explains the 0-0 result as a ‘good one’ and the fans, feeling privileged at being afforded entry for £150, nod in agreement in order to justify their ongoing expenditure.

Yet, on the sly, the arrogance of the club suits comes into play. They want to jump from the gift horse and ride the Euro stallion, playing the same teams week upon week in stale, monotonous affairs with no threat of relegation as they shatter the childhood dreams of the Grimsby and Barnet fans who hope and pray they one day reach the promised land.

Thankfully, the Super League project has died, for now. It will however come again and gain acceptance in a future dark time when defences are low and change is demanded. It will enter as VAR did, and the game will become even more clinical as they squeeze the last drop of fun from the empty husk of a once great beast.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher