During Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Burnley this evening, it was announced that the club had agreed to plans to sign up for a European Super League.
Following the game, Gary Neville launched a passionate speech on Sky Sports condemning United for being involved and arguing the club, among rivals who have also shown their intent, should be docked points.
The reaction to it is that it has been damned and rightly so. I’m a Manchester United fan and have been for 40 years of my life but I’m disgusted, absolutely disgusted. I’m disgusted with Manchester United and Liverpool the most. Liverpool, they pretend – ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone, the people’s club, the fans’ club’.
Manchester United, 100 years, borne out of workers from around here, and they’re breaking away into a league without competition that they can’t be relegated from? It’s an absolute disgrace. Honestly, we have to wrestle back the power in this country from the clubs at the top of this league – and that includes my club.
I’m not against money in football but the principles and ethos are of fair competition, so that if Leicester win the league, they go into the Champions League.
Manchester United aren’t even in the Champions League. Arsenal aren’t even in the Champions League – they are an absolute shambles of a football club at the moment. Tottenham aren’t in the Champions League. Have they got a God-given right to be in there? Honestly, the time has come now to get an independent regulator and stop these clubs having the powerbase. Enough is enough.
Deduct them all points tomorrow. Put them at the bottom of the league and take the money off them. Seriously, we have got to stamp on this. It’s criminal. It’s a criminal act against football fans in this country, make no mistake about it. This is the biggest sport in the world and it’s a criminal act against the fans. Simple as that. Deduct points, deduct their money, and punish them.
In the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis, with football clubs at National League level nearly going bust, furloughing players, with clubs on the edge in Leagues One and Two, these lot are having Zoom calls about breaking away and basically creating more greed? Joke.
You talk about big clubs but Manchester United have acted like a small club for eight to 10 years. Arsenal act like a small club. Some of the other clubs in the league who are doing really well, they act like bigger clubs. Being a bigger club is about acting properly at the right time.
I’d like to think that Manchester United and Liverpool would stand there in the face of this and say, ‘something’s not right here. Let’s collaborate with the game to try to get a better competition, a better Champions League’. I’m not against the modernisation of the competition but this is a grab, an absolute grab, and the timing is hideous. What world are these people living in, to think they can bring this forward and this moment in time?
There isn’t a football fan in this country that won’t be seething listening to this conversation and these announcements. This is disowning-your-own-club stuff, this. How can you even think of watching the Super League here [at Old Trafford] when you’ve left your 14 clubs in the Premier League behind to play against each other?
Your Championship clubs, dead, your EFL clubs, dead. Your pyramid system that you’ve fought for for 150 years, gone, all because of six clubs? Absolutely embarrassing. It’s never going to happen. If they announce a letter of intent that has been signed, those six clubs, they should be punished heavily. Massive fines, points deductions, take their titles off them, who cares?
Give the title to Burnley or Fulham. Let Fulham stay up, relegate Man United, Liverpool and Arsenal because those three clubs are the history of this country and they should be the ones that suffer most. They should know better. The history and tradition that runs through those clubs is enormous but they leave a lot to be desired at this moment in time.
Liverpool Football Club, seriously. I haven’t got a great relationship with them at all – I don’t like them and they don’t like me. But the one thing I always thought about them was that they were honest, they had integrity, they would look after their people. That’s gone. Forget that.
Sir Alex Ferguson has also voiced his displeasure with the plans to Reuters, while acknowleding he had no part to play in the decision making.
Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football. Both as a player for a provincial team Dunfermline in the 60s and as a manager at Aberdeen winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup, for a small provincial club in Scotland it was like climbing Mount Everest.
Everton are spending £500m to build a new stadium with the ambition to play in Champions League.
Fans all over love the competition as it is. In my time at United, we played in four Champions League finals and they were always the most special of nights.
I’m not sure Manchester United are involved in this, as I am not part of the decision making process.