There have been few topics that have united fans across the continent like the European Super League proposal. From pundits to fans, the idea of an exclusive and closed league on offer to only those who could afford entry left a bitter taste in many mouths. Whilst the league itself was quickly abandoned, the ripple that is still running from its epicenter is giving rise to some of football’s most important talking points. Fans are starting to protest against the actions of super-rich owners and ex-players are starting to reveal what life is really like inside some of the world’s biggest clubs. The issue of football reform has even made it to the Houses of Parliament with ministers promising a review of English football. We are here to look at the effect of the European Super League and ask: is this the shake-up football needed?
Football started life as the sport of the masses. It was accessible and enjoyable to all. Every town had a club, every street had a fan community, and the terraces were an escape from the hard graft of the working week. Bet slips in hand, supporters spent their time swapping betting tips for football and enjoying the ups and downs of the best game in the world.
From humble beginnings sprang the world’s most lucrative and revered football league: The Premier League. In the 90s the league gave us the likes of David Seaman, Patrick Viera, and a young Beckham. There were five different winners and the league offered excitement up and down the country.
As the league grew, so did the lure of money and fame that it offered, and into the 00s English pitches were graced by the likes of giants like Ronaldo, Petr Cech, and Thierry Henry. The shirts were still slightly on the baggy side and there wasn’t a roll of kinesiology tape insight.
The 2010s glittered with gold as clubs got richer, tickets got more expensive and the stadiums that had once been community pitches behind local houses turned into mega-structures endorsed by the richest companies in the world. Still, we were entertained by Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, and Vincent Kompany and their dazzling talent.
The explosion of the league and its clubs caught the attention of the world’s super-rich, and before long a Premier League club became the ‘must have’ accessory for Arabian princes and oil barrens across the world. The football was as thrilling as ever, the fans more loyal than ever before, but behind the scenes, different cogs started to turn and football’s humble beginnings were lost in the financial fog.
The very idea of a league into which a club can buy its way is a violation of the roots of the beautiful game that we all know and love. The European Super League has prompted a much-needed review of football that reminds those at the top that they are mere custodians of clubs and have no right to use them as a way of exploiting the fans that built them and support them.
Everyone enjoys watching football, betting on their favorite, and building accas, and we must all take part in football reform in order to ensure that it remains a game for the fans, and not for absent and silent owners.