I’ve had migraines that lasted longer than the European Super League in its original form — and that’s a fact. The breakaway competition, initially featuring 12 top clubs from Europe, was announced on Sunday evening, created a flurry of backlash on Monday, and had all six Premier League teams pull out by late Tuesday.
By Wednesday, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan also pulled out, with Juventus publishing a statement questioning the viability of the competition.
Real Madrid and Barcelona have yet to respond to backlash at time of writing, but English football certainly triumphed this week, after fans took to the streets in their numbers to protest.
Players and managers stood up and spoke out — from Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola calling the Super League ‘unfair’ to Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp saying his opinion from 2019 (that he hopes the Super League ‘never happens’) hasn’t changed.
Fans have now reversed their protests and taken to the streets to celebrate.
But, a quick glance at Twitter shows #KroenkeOut is still trending, as Arsenal fans appear to be planning another showing this weekend at the Emirates Stadium to push for club owner Stan Kroenke’s removal. United fans have meanwhile trended #GlazersOut.
Before the dust even settled, Ed Woodward – who stepped down from his Uefa roles during the fiasco and was, more or less, called corrupt by the Uefa president – resigned as chairman of Manchester United and will step down at the end of 2021.
It was never unusual to see shaken trust between fans and clubs – but now the world has borne witness to internal cracks. It’s not just dirty laundry on the hanger. It’s dirty laundry strewn across the front lawn, whipping in the wind with a few upturned bins to boot.
The process to rebuild trust, and possibly restructure, begins now – within fan communities, within clubs and within governing bodies like Uefa and Fifa.
Perhaps the proposed breakaway was intended to poke a sleeping beast, to provoke change, to rewrite the narrative. But it’s hard to say today that any bargaining chips have been gained from it.
Fans are agitated and mobilised, and it seems like, for a select few clubs, the fall-out from the Super League could be much more daunting — and long-lasting — than the ESL itself.