The European Super League (ESL) announced itself with all the subtlety of a loud belch at a polite dinner party and then, two days later, slunk away like a wet fart.
What were the ‘big six’ owners thinking? To any true supporter of football––or legacy supporter as we are in their minds––the model of the ESL as announced was obviously an unworkable proposition. But that is because the true football supporter is thinking in terms of sport. Whereas, the ‘big six’ owners only think in terms of business.
Their model is the Major League Soccer (MLS) in America, where there are no relegations, no promotions, stable financial forecasts, guaranteed revenues, and zero entertainment. It is the complete antithesis of the beautiful game.
On Tuesday evening, I was following the BBC text updates as the team I support were playing a close rival. In all truth, the football was not particularly scintillating, but the knowledge that my team where defending a slender lead, which would send them one step closer to a longed-for promotion made following the match an occasion filled with palpable tension and heart-stopping drama. Not until the final whistle blew could I breath easily; enjoy the victory; relive the emotions.
This entire experience––the unpredictability of competitive sport––would have been missing from the proposed ESL. It is the same reason why the MLS is so boring. It would be more interesting to watch the share prices on the stock market than an ESL match.
Not that it needed restating but, if nothing else, the ESL farrago underlines how far removed is the philosophy of many football club owners compared to the fans.
The Premier League has proved that sport and business can be harmonious bedfellows, but naked greed has no place in either world.
The only three clubs who still remain committed to the idea of the ESL are Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, which leaves the prospect of each team playing each other every three weeks. El Clásico will no longer be a momentous occasion to look forward to; more a boringly routine monthly event. Is this what the ‘future’ fans in their bedrooms in East Asia want to watch? Sadly, perhaps it is.
© Donnie Blake
Donnie Blake stands united with fans opposed to the ESL.
Check out Donnie’s football novel Artie Yard and a Very English Pickle.