OPINION: European Super League makes the Premier League season a waste of time for England's breakaway clubs

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Or so said Gordon Gekko in the 1987 movie Wall Street.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:05 am
Liverpool; Manchester United; Arsenal; Chelsea; Manchester City; Tottenham Hotspur; Real Madrid; Barcelona; Atletico Madrid; Juventus; Inter Milan and AC Milan will form the new ESL.

He was wrong.

Greed leads to some of England’s biggest clubs, and Tottenham, deciding that they want even more money and want less challenges from “the little men”.

Only one team out of twenty can win the Premier League title. After that, it’s a race for the top four. There’s six, seven, eight teams challenging for those positions and it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out that some of the big teams are going to miss out. It’s one of the most competitive aspects of the Premier League. Or at least it was.

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Now it won’t matter. Manchester City might win the league but for the other five breakaway clubs, what will the point have been of their domestic league season? 38 games played for essentially nothing. They already know they’ve got their place at Europe’s top table secured. They’ll soon stop caring about the Premier League. It’ll be the final nail in the coffin of the FA Cup. All their focus will be on doing well in their new European Super League.

It’s not hard to see why Manchester City and Chelsea would sign up for something like this, there’s always been something a bit hollow about them since they became the clubs we know today.

Liverpool however are a club that are emotionally and historically tied to the Champions League. So much of their club identity is built on their six wins in Europe and those famous nights at Anfield. This completely destroys the legacy of Shankly and Paisley.

I also wonder how Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford feels. A young man who has rightly received praise for his hard work making sure that those in need get help, playing for a club which is looking to form a breakaway league which is driven by a desire to make the rich richer and could have devastating consequences for the smaller clubs further down the English pyramid.

And then there’s the two clubs from North London. Arsenal, a shadow of their former selves, scraping a 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Fulham to take them up to the dizzy heights of ninth. A club that has been so mismanaged for years now that they appear to be getting worse. As for Tottenham, much of the narrative surrounding them over the past few weeks has been about how Harry Kane might leave to win the trophies his career deserves. It doesn’t sound like something which should be happening at one of Europe’s elite clubs but then again, they last won the “Premier League” in 1961. A shiny, new stadium can hide a lot.

The arrogance of the whole thing stinks. The fact they also want to take part in the Premier League like normal. They want the best of both worlds but won’t open up their special club to anyone else. Five teams every season will be invited to take part by the generous founding fathers but they won’t be given a fair share of the money pot.

I feel sorrier for those clubs who are challenging the status quo. Clubs like Leicester, who have actually won the Premier League more recently than Manchester United, Arsenal or Tottenham! They’re one of the best run clubs in the country. West Ham are having their best season in many years and could break into the Champions League places. If the six breakaway clubs had their way, both Leicester and West Ham would get back in their lane and stop being such a nuisance.

In an age where society seems so divided, where those in power stir up culture wars to further widen that divide, where social media can appear to be a dumpster fire of hate, anger and bitterness, the one shining light out of all this is the way in which football fans have come together as one to send a clear message; they do not want this to happen.

It’s not just fans. The government are jumping on the bandwagon and even Prince William has spoken out. With UEFA and the Premier League also putting the pressure on, it feels like this could end up falling through but the fact we’ve even reached this point is bad enough.

Fans feel betrayed by the clubs they love. They now know full well that the owners of their clubs only care about one thing, and it isn’t the fans, or the club’s history or that sense of identity.

I started this by quoting from the film Wall Street and I’ll end by quoting from another classic 80’s film, Scarface; “Lesson number one: don’t underestimate another man’s greed.”

Football won’t be making that mistake again any time soon.