European Super League - Right or Wrong?
Much has been made of the involvement of the Big Six clubs in the proposals laid out for the European Super League. But many seem to forget these proposals are being led by owners who perhaps are as out of touch with their own clubs as they are with Football as a whole.
We sat down with Anthony Stonelake (@antstonelake) from The Anfield Talk (@TheAnfieldTalk) and @TheUnitedLink both of whom have a large social media presence with Liverpool and Manchester United fans respectively.
So firstly, what have you made of the proposals set out in this new “European Super League”?
AS: Where do I start? It's a complex scenario with so many complicated people and massive egos right at the top of it. The proposal is all about money and more money for the top clubs in Europe and that is absolutely wrong. Perez seems like some sort of Bond villain in all this and it just seems like a huge bad idea.
UL: The proposal is simply to establish a elite culture on a big platform. A place in the Champions League is earned on merit. That's how elite status should be earned. By playing well on the pitch.
More specifically then, how do you feel seeing your clubs as the driving forces for the proposals?
AS: Awful honestly. I'm not sure I'd consider it Liverpool being the driving force more than it's John W Henry. He's looking to Americanise football and can't seem to grasp the level of tradition we have in European football. Franchising the beautiful game is a horrible idea. I'm incredibly disappointed with the club and Klopp and the players have been thrown under the bus by it all. They're running like cowards now that the backlash has been the size that it is but there's nothing more we can do now.
UL: Hurts to see United being part of this process. A club like Manchester United should thrive on competition. Now is the time to support the community as these are tough times for sport. To discuss a big billion proposal at this stage is not in touch with the reality.
It certainly does seem to be the owners who have driven this single handedly. What would you like to see happen? Is there anything the managers and the players could do for example?
AS: I wanted them to just not play against Leeds last night. I wanted them to make a proper stand against it. I understand it's an awful position to be put in but they could have given us a sign. I suppose they did after the game especially with Milner's comments. I just want it to go away and football to stay the same as it is now. A meritocracy.
UL: The players and manager have little say as seen from the reactions. It's the owners who have decided to form this league. Better sense must prevail and all parties concerned should try to find a middle ground. This concept is elitist in nature, which is against equal opportunity in sport.
From a Liverpool and Manchester United perspective, what are your current feelings towards the club’s ownerships? And how serious do you believe these actions are?
AS: I can't stress how serious it is. It's so out of touch with the history and values of the city and the people who live here. It's out of touch with the way the team is run under Klopp. It's out of touch with the history of the team and the working class roots that we have not only on the footballing side but in the City. The way people feel towards the club's owners has been sketchy at the best of times but now they've finally broken everyone with this and there's so much distaste towards them in the fanbase. FSG should go.
UL: The club has been built with blood, sweat and tears. The fans are the lifeline of this club. If they are not respected, the value of sport greatly depreciates. This is a huge step which has been taken in an extremely swift manner. Discussions with fan forums and the PL would have been a good way to speak on this topic. This all seems extremely rushed. My current feeling towards the ownership is that I have no feelings at all. It's a numb feeling which every fan is experiencing at the moment.
Is there any way back for the owners after this? Would a u-turn for example ease relations with the supporters?
AS: Not at all in my opinion. The intention was there and they'll be hard pressed to even thinking about backing down. It should be over for them at the club. Let the fans own 51%.
UL: At the moment, all owners are under extreme scrutiny over this proposal. This time it feels different. Maybe it's because of the magnitude of the actions.
It's not going to be easy but the first thing that must be done is to sit down with the stakeholders and find a quick solution to this issue. Fans must be respected again. The game is nothing without the fans.