Football Features

The Internet shows no mercy as Super League plans start to crumble

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:23, 20 April 2021

That world-shaking tournament drawn up by 11 of the game’s biggest clubs (and Spurs) and formally announced on Sunday night already looks like it’s collapsing.

Two days later, Manchester City confirmed they have “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League” in a 25-word statement. Then one of their own players made fun of the whole thing.

Super League chairman Florentino Perez’s interview on Spanish TV last night went down like a lead balloon and today, in addition to a scorching condemnation of the competition by both Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin and then later Pep Guardiola in a pre-match press conference, scores of other footballing figures spoke up against the competition, joining Gary Neville, who has been spewing invective at the idea of a Super League non-stop since Sunday.

And then as the sun set, news began to filter through that Chelsea would follow Manchester City in pulling out of the competition. At the time of writing, there are unconfirmed reports that Atlético Madrid will do likewise and that the Super League itself might be disbanded already.

Essentially it’s kind of all happened at once, and as you can imagine, Twitter has gone wild.

And as if things weren’t incredible enough, reports have emerged that Ed Woodward resigned from his position as executive vice chairman of Manchester United. Which set Twitter off again.

The rumour was then made official by United themselves. There are suggestions he was going to step down at the end of the 2021 anyway but although they don’t mention the Super League anywhere in the statement, it absolutely has to have been a factor in the timing of their announcement at the very least.

Not to be outdone, Liverpool players have all posted an image on social media stating their firm and unified opposition to the Super League. So even if Fenway Sports Group did not intend to pull out of the competition, the Liverpool players will not accept their involvement.

“I don’t see a future for the ownership of FSG at Liverpool,” said Jamie Carragher on Sky.

More rumours began circulating that Andrea Agnelli, one of the major driving forces behind the Super League, was set to resign from the club. However that was swiftly debunked (and never likely – Agnelli is part of a family that has controlled Juventus for almost a century).

Meanwhile over in Catalunya, newly appointed president Joan Laporta had not said anything one way or another about the Super League. The club was even late to post confirmation and many wondered how Laporta would square his previous opposition to a Super League to joining one. Well, by keeping his counsel he may have ridden the storm out, and reports were coming in that he planned to leave to the Barcelona’s members to vote on whether or not they join the Super League (falling back on the democratic process which governs the club and thus ensuring he doesn’t have to be the one who makes the call).

And then finally it happened. After all the rumours, reports and memes; one of the Super League’s 12 Founding Clubs broke away as Manchester City became the first club to officially remove themselves from the competition.

A move which was greeted with great joy by Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin.

 

Ultimately, the message taken from the Super League’s imminent collapse has to be that worker solidarity is the key to defeating vast engines of injustice. The Super League was a terrible idea, and by banding together; managers, players and fans from different clubs, even hated rivals, have managed to push back against the money-driven whims of a group of billionaires.

P.S. don’t forget to have a chuckle at Florentino Perez.

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