Any football fan that has been paying attention to the headlines over the past few days would probably agree with me in saying that we have witnessed one of the craziest weeks in the history of the game.
From absurd statements from club executives to sackings, to resignations – this week has had it all.
The fiasco started late on Sunday night when news started to emerge that some of Europe’s major clubs including Liverpool, would be breaking away from the traditional competitive format of the Champions League and their domestic leagues.
This new competition was dubbed ‘The Super League’.
Thankfully, by Wednesday night, the plan had pretty much fallen apart and things are back to being relatively normal in the football world (for now).
Here are three things we learned from the madness that took place at the beginning of the week.
Some of Europe’s top clubs are in a financial crisis.
The major catalyst that fuelled the Super League, was the promise of a £3 billion payment for the 12 founding clubs. In comparison, clubs participating in the Champions League in 2019/20 share a total prize fund of about £1.81 billion. This amount of money is distributed to clubs based on performance in the competition.
It is quite a lucrative amount of money in comparison to what the Champions League currently offers.
Nonetheless, that does not mean that what these clubs have done is responsible or morally correct.
For a bit of background, it was reported by SPORT in January that Real Madrid are currently €901million in debt. Their arch-rivals Barcelona are even worse, with their debt total sitting at over €1.173billion.
The pandemic has obviously made things worse but both clubs have been mismanaged and driven into the ground (financially) even before the pandemic. This Super League plan has revealed that these clubs are desperate to recover and will even sacrifice the traditional competition structure to do so.
It will be interesting to see how these clubs emerge from this once the dust settles.
Attempts to ‘Americanise’ football have begun.
Four out of the 12 clubs that signed up to the Super League are owned by Americans, including Liverpool. Only one of them is from outside of the Premier League (Elliott Management Corporation, AC Milan).
This plan revealed a deep misunderstanding (or perhaps just disrespect) of the history and culture behind English football clubs on behalf of the American owners involved. It seems arrogant for these men to assume that just because they own these clubs they can do whatever they please.
Football is special because it has been built by generations of supporters. Its roots cannot be found in money or superficiality but rather passion and the unification of communities.
While there were plenty of owners involved in this plan that are not American, I believe it would be naive to think that the current competitive structures in the NFL, NBA, and MLB were not looked at before drawing up this plan.
The closed-off, elitist structure of this proposed Super League is extremely similar to that of the NFL. With owners like John Henry and the Glazers also owning MLB and NFL teams such as the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it is plausible to think that this plan was a model based on their successful American sports franchises.
Liverpool supporters should be forever grateful to Jordan Henderson and Jurgen Klopp.
Even before this Super League drama, I would have made this statement.
Jordan Henderson has captained this Liverpool side for six years now and has done a fantastic job. Through thick and thin, our skipper has always been there, even when he has been unable to contribute on the pitch due to injury.
A prime example of Hendo’s commitment to Liverpool was the way in which he has handled this Super League situation. Henderson took charge and called a meeting between every PL captain.
On top of that, he organised a Liverpool team talk over Whatsapp and instructed each player to post a unified statement on social media. This showed the world that Liverpool players were unified in their disdain for the new Super League.
Additionally, Jurgen Klopp also played a part. Since 2019, it has been well known that Klopp was against any idea of a Super League. When interviewed on Monday, Klopp reiterated the fact that he was against the Super League.
He also mentioned how he did not have much information on the plan, and that he did not appreciate the fact that this major news had broken just before a vital match against Leeds.
Because of Klopp and Henderson, Liverpool players and staff united to show that they were against this idea. With the supporters also voicing their disgust, John Henry had no choice but to retract the club from any Super League plans and apologise.