One of the biggest football stories in recent years has exploded in the last 24 hours. Six clubs from England have agreed to join a European Super League.
In an attempt to grab £300m a year and have an NFL-style league set up with no relegation or promotion, proposals for a European Super League have brought widespread condemnation.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal plan to join other European clubs in a breakaway competition.
Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association chairman Alasdair Bell is angry at how the so-called Big Six could have so little regard for fans and the traditions and history of the game.
“I am angry but not surprised,” he said. “I don’t think any supporters’ association is. The penny has dropped and things have gone too far now.
“The greed of the people involved is incredible really. They have no regard or respect for supporters.”
Meanwhile, Huddersfield Town fan and former HTSA secretary Bob Pepper wants action taken against the rebel clubs.
“This new Super League idea is a disgrace really,” said Bob. “It has no thought for the fans of these clubs. It’s all about money now and it’s really sad.
“It will be interesting to see what happens and I hope UEFA and FIFA come down hard on these clubs. I hope they won’t be able to play in anything else.”
There have been many ex-players, sports presenters and celebrities who have had strong words to say.
Football Supporters Europe said in a statement: “Along with the overwhelming majority of fans, Football Supporters Europe (FSE) is wholly opposed to plans to create a breakaway Super League.
“This closed shop competition will be the final nail in the coffin of European football, forsaking everything that has made it so popular and successful – sporting merit, promotion and relegation, qualification to UEFA competitions via domestic success, and financial solidarity.
“It is illegitimate, irresponsible, and anti-competitive by design.
“More to the point, it is driven exclusively by greed. The only ones who stand to gain are hedge funds, oligarchs, and a handful of already wealthy clubs, many of which perform poorly in their own domestic leagues despite their inbuilt advantage. Enough is enough.
“FSE calls on football’s governing bodies to act immediately to protect the European game: first, by imposing sanctions on breakaway clubs; and second, by scrapping proposals to reform UEFA club competitions, which were designed to benefit the same clubs.”
Former England manager Sir Bobby Robson once summed up why football arouses such passions. “What is a club in any case?” he asked. “Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes.
“It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city. It’s a small boy clambering up the stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him, and without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”
That’s why the European Super League is so wrong.