Ever since the first Super League rumors hit me at Wembley for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final (the one without the participation of superclubs), I consume an incredible amount of opinions. While my colleagues are taking apartrational and financial the reasons for the appearance of the atomic bomb in European football, it is interesting for me to think about alternative universes: in 1998, the year of the first appearance of the idea, the superpartisans would have got, for example, Lazio, and Bayer The 2025th place of Tottenham from the Premier League could very well be taken by Leicester.
It is even more exciting to watch the reactions: from the rage of fans to the bewilderment and despair of football players and club coaches. In a world where most decisions are made in Zoom and private WhatsApp chats in dozens of rounds of negotiations, such a harsh and, apparently, not fully considered ultimatum, thrown out to the public in the middle of the night, turns us into one big focus group, which took zealously speak out on the proposed topic.
And it seems like never before have opinions been so unanimous.
Vadim Lukomsky says that the idea of a Super League with permanent membership is inevitable: Big clubs always want financial guarantees and a sense of elite.
While I am waiting for a tactical analysis from Vadim "How many zero draws between top clubs we will see annually in the Super League", I suggest you read excellent text about West Ham... Denis made me once again see on the back of my eyelids Vietnamese flashbacks from Lingard's goals (I read it after the defeat of Leicester at the London Stadium) and tense up nervously (different counts of tables when throwing out of the Premier League "six" put in first place then "Leicester ", Then" West Ham "). But in reality I can only quote Klopp (more on him below): “I love that West Ham can play in the Champions League next year. To be honest, I don't want that (because we want to play in the Champions League ourselves), but I like that they have a chance. "
Since childhood for West Ham, so don't wake me up. This season is just a wonderful dream
Passing the championship purgatory club with the club, in order to eventually get not even to the Champions League itself, but only hopes for it, is a wonderful path, a story of overcoming, which makes sport a sport. Translated into the financial language that people like to operate in the context of the super-idea: the idea of a guaranteed income is great, but the pleasure of it is incomparable to the feelings of suddenly winning the lottery or deserved reward as a result of hard work.
The Super League cuts off the link between effort and reward. Grandfather Perez does not drink his pills and speaks indistinctly about five clubs that will gain access to the elite, but so far all logic follows only a wild card based on financial, not sports awards: otherwise I have no explanation as with my trophy cabinet in Tottenham climbed the Super League.
If you cannot lose, but just every year you are going to see who performs a little better, then this is not a sport, but the Eurovision Song Contest.
Last year I talked to Liverpool fans a couple of rounds - and in the end, several months - before the championship and saw how 70-year-old men well up tears when they talk about 30 years of waiting for the championship.
I saw Tottenham reaching their first semi-final in the last seconds, and then the Champions League final (this was only their third season in the tournament), and Pochettino sobbing, falling to his knees on the lawn of Johan Cruyff Arena.
The most powerful example I've seen for 5 years is how Leicester is becoming the main miracle in the history of football, makes his way into the elite, and Jamie Vardy, who, with all his incredible merits now in life objectively needs nothing but a Red Bull can and a keen sense of humor, cannot hold back his emotions from reaching his first FA Cup final. And all Twitter jokes about the Super League and its abbreviation, "ESL - Effect of Seeing Leicester (win the title)" - it was the appearance of such a miracle that shook football, and now leaders want to prevent such upstarts from reaching the bags of gold.
Leicester is the main wonder of the decade. His championship changed the attitude of the whole of England
These stories are about overcoming yourself, as well as about the chance to jump higher, achieve more, and then even more. The value of football lies in its instability, the ability to be where you could not have imagined yourself five years ago, to hold on to the conquered line - and then, if you suddenly retreated from it, to work even harder.
The Super League, on the other hand, seems to be telling the rest of the world: never dream, don't hope, and know your place. If you are outside, you can never get here, no matter how hard you try. If you hit, you will never be able to fly, no matter how seriously you screw up.
In a series of endless English lockdowns and streaming content revisions, for the third time I stumbled upon the excellent TV series In A Better World (Netflix's The Good Place, if you're watching, skip to the next paragraph, although there are no direct spoilers). The clever sitcom about life after death talks about Good and Bad Places - cute alternative names for heaven and hell. The idea of an endless existence in paradise seems fine, until by the end of the third century it hits you with the feeling that it really is INFINITE. You can't finish this, because it seems like it's impossible to die in paradise. And it turns out that you can get tired of riding unicorns, and if you eat your favorite dish 7 days a week, in a month you will start to feel sick from it: be it elite foie gras or your mother's favorite cutlets from childhood.
The whole essence of sport is in the idea of such "mortality", which alone gives the awareness of the fullness of life. In this context, Crystal Palace came up with a slightly insane response to the Super League, offering as an alternative to endless games with Juventus the romance of relegation to the Championship. The guys exaggerated a little, but I agree with the meaning: you don't understand the price of victories if you haven't gone through defeats.
The pain of relegation.- Crystal Palace FC (@CPFC)
The joy of promotion.
The elation of the unexpected.
That's football ❤️💙
The rage that has consumed football fans in the last 24 hours finally exploded on Monday evening, when a direct speech was finally given to the players and coaches of the "super clubs".
Liverpool were the first to come under fire, facing condemnation from their opponents and the anger of protesting fans (theirs and others). Klopp had to take the rap for everyone, who both before and after the match gave exemplary keynote speeches about the Super League. Jurgen is opposed, but most of all struck by individual lines:
“I heard about it yesterday when I was preparing for a very difficult game against Leeds - so I don’t know very much yet. Everything that you already know from the newspapers.
Everything is very difficult. People are unhappy with this, I can understand them, but I cannot say anything else, because we were not involved in any processes: neither the players, nor me, we knew nothing. That's all the facts, so you have to wait and follow the development of the situation.
What can I say? It's very difficult ... But what I want to say anyway is that I've heard a few things and I don't really like them, because Liverpool are more than decisions.
I do not have all the information available. I don't know why 12 clubs did what they did. I know that some things will change in the future - and they must change, I have no doubt about that. The way power is distributed now is simply wrong. "
Klopp keeps his word against the Super League, Leeds came out in "Earn" jerseys: protest in the Premier League
On Tuesday, journalists will also torture Tuchel, on Wednesday - Harry Kane and Guardiola. There is a feeling that the answers will be very similar to Milner's exhaustive phrase: "We do not like this idea, I hope it does not happen."
And the point is not that the players and coaches were not asked: it is unlikely that Solskjaer is consulted when Manchester United signs a new title sponsor. And given that the management of 12 clubs perceives the Super League as primarily a financial decision, in their opinion it hardly required coordination with the players.
But after the game, Klopp summed up the main complaint: “I'm used to dealing with owners who make decisions without my participation. I am a football person. It's not that someone let me down. I'm just a football coach. I want to do this as long as they allow me. When difficulties arise, I hold on. I feel responsible for the team, for the club, for the relationship with the fans. I will try to help somehow resolve the situation. "
In the most turbulent situation in the history of football over the past 30 years, its creators did not consider it necessary to explain themselves not even to the public - at least to the nearest circle - and threw their players and coaches under the bus.
The whole idea of the Super League looks not just a betrayal of other clubs, but also meanness in relation to their own. The image is complemented by the very fact of a cowardly announcement in the middle of the night (yes, I know that many business deals are made, but still), and informing their players, coaches and even board members after the fact, as happened at Liverpool.
The director of the talkSPORT radio station Jason Bourne admitted on Monday: they turned to the management of 6 English clubs for comments: three refused to comment on what was happening, the rest simply ignored the requests.
There was no answer even by Tuesday evening.
What kind of brave new world idea are you bringing to us if you cannot tell about it on your own behalf, even in a couple of press release sentences?
On Tuesday, the "Remaining 14", as the press calls the Premier League clubs that did not make it to the Super League, held a closed meeting. At the same time, more nervous discussions were apparently taking place in the offices of the Six. According to journalist Michael Keegan, the captain of Manchester United, Harry Maguire, at a meeting with the vice-president of the club, Ed Woodward, came into conflict with the manager. And some of the participants in the "conspiracy", according to Sky Sports insights, are losing their nerves: "This is not what we agreed to."
Strong differences of opinion emerging in private between breakaway clubs. Some of execs involved believe they're being hung out to dry & are beginning to get cold feet. They're nervous & disappointed about way it's been handled. One says: “This is not what we signed up for”- Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh)
At the same time, club fans go out to their stadiums with protests and declare that they will remove their flags from the empty stands, probably forcing Klopp to shout at the next meeting with John Henry exactly what he said at the match against Leeds: “My boys didn’t do anything wrong, why should we receive all this negativity from our own fans and rivals ?! ”
Two years ago, Liverpool chased City and played one of their last matches in Newcastle, winning 3-2 with the last bit of strength. The 50,000th St. James Park then booed Henderson in particular and Liverpool in general with such hatred that at a post-match press conference Klopp said: “There is some kind of tough history of confrontation between Liverpool and Newcastle, about which I don't know? "
Now that the return of fans to English stadiums is closer than ever, the Big Six will be booed in 14 Premier League stadiums - and a dozen smaller arenas where they will have to play in the cups.
Jurgen feels a sense of responsibility towards the fans and the team. Now he - and 5 other coaches and players - will have to build relationships with the rest of the league. They have already started: Henderson announced a meeting of all the captains of the Premier League clubs. All twenty.
After reading dozens of texts about financial models and other benefits, I am ready to partly agree that in a vacuum and with the right approach, the idea of a league for top teams can work even in the very near future football.
But the Super League has no smart idea. There are only two outcomes: an attempt to kill hope - and a successful assassination attempt on their own.
Photo: / Dan Mullan, Michael Regan, Marc Atkins; REUTERS/ Matthew Childs, Justin Setterfield, Clive Brunskill, Lee Smith; Tolga Akmen / AFP, JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP