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So, this morning we wake up to the potential a brave new world in which the 6 largest clubs by revenue in England join six of their equivalents in Spain and Italy in the potential formation of the European Super League – a rival format to the Champions League.  Most of the reactions have been predictably ire-filled. It does look very much as if the aforementioned clubs are attempting to engage in a game of “Pull-the-ladder-up, Jack”.  And as a result, it would be very easy for me to join in with the cacophony of angry reactions:  no relegation, at least for the founders; contempt or at least lack of sympathy for those left behind; potentially massive disruption to the status quo in European football.  I get it.  But I just want to consider the changes in the light of what I would hold to be the bigger picture. 

Let’s start with a little analysis of that current state, starting from the 1992/93 season when, as we know, Sky invented football.

In the 28 seasons since then, the Premier League has been won by 7 clubs.  However, within this, on 25 occasions it has been won by just 4 clubs.  Each of those is in the ESP group. The Spanish league has been won by 5 clubs, with 25 of those being split between the clubs in the ESL group.  Serie A has been won by 5 clubs, with 25 of those being won by the 3 Italian clubs included in the ESL.  Hmm.  I’m on the point of spotting a pattern….

Of the other European leagues which might be expected to provide entrants, 3 more have histories of 3 clubs winning, you’ve guessed it 25 titles – Germany Portugal and Holland. Only a single major European league has had more than 6 winners in that time – France.   It could easily be argued that this kind of relative stasis is already hard coded into league football across Europe.  

And what of the Champions League itself, for which the proposed competition is the rival? Well, in the same 28 seasons, 25 titles (I’m not making this up) have been won by representatives of 4 leagues. Only the Germans have, as yet, chosen to stay out of the ESL fray.   Of the remaining 21 winners, all of them come from the clubs included in the ESL.  So essentially, we have the same clubs qualifying and winning.  For the rest, and that is all competitors, it is largely an exercise in revenue optimization with little or no chance of success.  The last club out of this group (or Bayern) was Porto and that was nearly 20 years ago.

It is clear that there is no level playing field as things stand.  Rather there is a heavily tilted one. UEFA themselves have done nothing to prevent this situation. FFP was implemented, and perhaps even conceived, so shoddily as to enable any vaguely savvy CFO to drive a coach and horses through it.  Hardly the action of a governing body with its prime or indeed any concern about fairness, I would posit.

And what of the regulators of football?  The Premier League showed no compunction in casting adrift the clubs not included in the new tournament at the inception of Sky’s invention of football, although ultimately it was forced to offer parachute payments and a certain amount of trickledown to lower clubs and the football pyramid.  Of course, we haven’t seen any substantive details on the new offering, but it would only be good politics for the constituents to agree to this once the initial fire has been drawn.  And they have had no qualms about timing games so that away fans either can’t get there or can’t get home by reasonable means of public transport. So, all in all, not perhaps the altruistic benign governors they would like to present themselves as.

UEFA we have already touched on. Although I would like to ask how much concern for fans a governing body arranging for a European final to be played in a city which is as much a part of Europe as a fish is a vegetable and which has no serviceable land or air connectivity to enable fans to attend really has?

For FIFA to opine is for me, the icing on the cake.  An organisation which conspires to arrange for a World Cup to be played in winter, in a desert, in a state with as much care for human rights as your average dictatorship.  Not so much the view from the moral high ground as from the primordial swamp.

These organisations can restrict players and clubs from playing in their sanctioned competitions.  Though I would doubt that legally this would hold water during the lifetime of existing domestic tournaments as the new competition doesn’t impact them, from the little we can currently see.   It remains to be seen how their none-too opaque threats over UEFA and FIFA tournaments play out.

And then we have the bleatings from Sky, obviously concealed behind the public face of its de facto brand ambassadors such as Roy Keane and Gary Neville. For these gentlemen to try to present themselves as somehow the guardians of the way football was, is and always should be run is pushing it somewhat for me.  Where was their concern at the ever-rising cost of entry to the ground, or of a shirt, or of the Sky subscription with the concomitant impact on the real fans, those whose families have been steeped in the game and the local club for years?  They were happy to take the personal benefits presented by the Sky money and its assault on the hugely imperfect status quo, but somehow this must now be fixed in aspic for eternity.  As the great Pete Townshend wrote and the inimitable Daltrey sang – Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.  I can’t help thinking that Sky’s primary concern is defending its own platform’s market share.  It has essentially been created off the back of football and although it has clearly been moving away from relying on football and indeed sport towards a strategy of direct competition with mainstream terrestrial broadcasters across the range of output, that transition is far from complete. 

Lastly, and most definitely least, we have the half-arsed interventions from politicians.   PM Johnson has uttered some fairly mealy-mouthed condemnation about the potential changes.  I honestly cannot imagine this man has ever been to a football match outside of in a political capacity nor that he has any genuine interest either way.  The PM has to say what is expected, especially ahead of elections.

The Leader of the Opposition, apparently an Arsenal fan although as per the PM above, this might well just be a convenient way of hanging his cashmere donkey jacket in a suitably visible place for the proles to see, said this: “This proposal risks shutting the door on fans for good, reducing them to mere spectators and consumers”.  Sorry, what else have we been for the last 30 years and arguably ever?   This is surely the apogee of the politician’s vacuous comment.

Much of the output from the commentariat has really been playing to their own vested interests. The public wave of anger, amid the current trend for encouraging the childlike belief that nuance doesn’t exist and therefore almost any discussion should be framed within an entirely binary horizon, is thus conditioned to react accordingly.  Light blue touchpaper and retire.  

I’m happy to give things a little time to play out, understand what is genuinely being sought and see the degree to which compromises develop, as they most likely will.

Notwithstanding the owner’s craven plans, celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1970-71 Double when football was a spectator sport rather than a billionaire’s plaything.

Bertie & Don were the brains behind the 1970-71 Double

188 Drinks to “A View on the European Super League – Vested Interests and the Emperor’s New Clothes”

  1. 1
    Countryman100 says:

    An excellent and thought provoking piece ClockEndRider. As the possessor of two season tickets I’ve got a decision to make. Although my very heart and soul rejects the idea of “permanent “ members of a European elite I think there is much discussion and negotiation to come here. So I’m just going to bide my time here and see where we are at the end of the season. This blog epitomises what are now being called “legacy fans”. Let’s see what our place is in this brave new world.

  2. 2
    Bosnian Gooner says:

    I like your sobriety, Bath. There is a lot hypocrisy going around right now… Let’s see how this unfolds. In the meantime, I am determined not to allow anything to interfere with my joy over Mourinho’s sacking!!!

  3. 3
    Bosnian Gooner says:

    My apologies, CER…I mistakenly attributed your piece to Bath.

  4. 4
    Pangloss says:

    Good stuff CER.

    I can’t view the current proposals with much enthusiasm. Equally, however, I find the arguments against to be unconvincing, or rather I would do if I had seen any arguments advanced. “This is terrible” and “It must be stopped” are statements that I vaguely agree with, but when I ask myself “Why?” or “How?”, I can’t answer.

    In my own case, biding my time and watching how things develop seems to be the only viable plan for the moment.

    As BG says @2 above, possibly the worst aspect of this story is that it distracts attention from today’s special news,


  5. 5
    Steve T says:

    Wow. Premier league, title winners, other leaves, UEFA, FIFA, Sky, players, ex players, money, more money, even more money, big business, members of parliament? The list of greed is endless. Yet not one mention in any of that about the everyday fan? The supporters that has grown up in families and generations of fans? No care or thought given to any of them. Wasn’t it Jock Stein who said “football without fans is nothing.”

    I would be interested to know the figures for the 28 seasons before 1992/3, just for comparison.

    Football sold its soul with the first Sky deal. But football is a business. Money has to be made, wages and bills have to be paid. However, I hate the way the game has since gone. In my opinion, it was one of the worst days in this club’s history when we sold out to Stanley. I’ve been vocal about that on here ever since it happened.

    Football is not just about how much money you can make. You’re right, it is early days. But if it goes ahead as it’s being suggested, then I’m done. There will be two season tickets up for grabs in block 4 if anyone wants them.

    There are many many changes that are needed in football, starting at the very top. But the most important consideration in any decision making process, in my opinion, should be the fans. Not some geriatric who had no idea about any of it as he overdoses on blue pills do that he is able to pleasure himself whilst looking at his bank balance.

    Personally, I would rather watch us play in the Conference than sign up for this.

  6. 6
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Fantastic piece CER. I think that is a brilliant, insightful and thought-provoking read.

    My gut instinct is not keen on this. Yet there is a lot that will still need to be discussed and sorted out, so I’m with those who are going to wait and see how this continues to shape up.

  7. 7
    ClockEndRider says:

    Bosnian Gooner – no sweat, I’m not precious!
    Steve T – I think there are quite a few references to the fans in the piece actually.
    Ultimately the point is that we have never been considered as anything but cash cows by the football industry from day 1. Otherwise wouldn’t have had to have risked our necks in the crushes on leaving grounds, home and away in the 70s and 80s or been policed like animals, or expected to wallow up to our ankles in pee in football ground toilets every week.
    Feel free to look at the 28 years before Sky invented football and let us know. I chose 1992 as a start point as it was the first time in my lifetime where we saw meaningful change in the game. The money which came in in UK and countries in Europe began to explode in the Late 80s early 90s with the advent of satellite tv. It seemed an appropriate place to start the analysis. I didn’t seek to retro fit any of the stats to an argument. I didn’t start out with an argument actually. It was just led by the numbers and my experience of football as a fan.

  8. 8
    Steve T says:

    Just saying.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    ClockEndRider says:

    Yep, understood sir.

  11. 11
    Countryman100 says:

    Steve. Spot on.

  12. 12
    ClockEndRider says:

    But it’s platitudes versus reality. We live in Kansas I’m afraid, not Oz. And that always been the case.

  13. 13
    Steve T says:

    Since our double winning year, 7 sides have won the title up to the Premiership days. Included in that are both us, and Liverpool who will feature in the other list.

  14. 14
    Steve T says:

    I obviously see things differently. I’m not prepared to just go with the flow because it might mean an extra few quid in Stanley’s pocket. I believe we are a club with a wonderful history. I’m not prepared to Chuck it all away to chase a dollar bill. I’m quite happy to stand up and fight against it because I fit one, believe it is important. If others don’t feel the same, then so be it.

    As you may have gathered, I for one, absolutely hate the idea.

  15. 15
    Bathgooner says:

    Good stuff CER, well argued that the moral highground doesn’t really fit the vocalprotests we have heard and many good points in the Drinks above. It’s a sad day for the game we grew up with but it’s merely the latest nail in a coffin that’s been building since 1992. Basically it’s the latest and biggest step in the Americanisation of these clubs driven by the American owners in the UK and the self-regarding, self-entitled European elite.

    Kroenke’s failure to show up in Baku was the final straw for me as a ST holder and I declined to renew my two tickets at that point. Today’s shameful decision to forget the roots of the club erodes any lingering doubt I had of the wisdom of that decision.

    On the other hand, it’s a good day for Dial Square FC. I’ve missed being a founder member but I have every intention of joining that project.


  16. 16
    ClockEndRider says:

    I’m honestly not a proponent of it, Steve. It’s always the fans, sorry, customers that pay. I just think there was bound to be a challenge at some point to the Ancien Regime as so much of the infrastructure of football governance is frankly a total anachronism. I can’t help thinking though that the vested interests among those bodies might have developed some arguments to counter it beyond “ its not fair” and “we’re going to take away our ball”. This either reflects the flaccid, flabby organisations they are or the genuine contempt they have for the underlying customer, sorry, fan.

  17. 17
    ClockEndRider says:

    Thanks Bath. I’m very seriously considering jacking my ST in as well. The way VAR has been deliberately undermined by the PL and that farrago of a referees body has just made me fall a little bit out of love with the game. Maybe that’s why it’s been so easy for me to write a piece from such a disinterested viewpoint.

  18. 18
    Steve T says:

    I think it’s relatively simple CER. I’ve not found one person yet, from any club that is in favour of it. My own personal view is that the vast majority have had enough of the greed being displayed. The history of out club will always be important to me. That’s why I’m happy to stand up against it.

    In the worlds of the kids from Grange Hill all those years ago, just say no. If the premier league clubs had rejected it, that leaves six from two other countries and totally dead in the water.

  19. 19
    Pangloss says:

    What’s changed since October, when a proposal like this last surfaced? Are FIFA backing this?

    Just to clarify, no answer to either of these is likely to change my personal opinion greatly. I would nevertheless be interested to know.

  20. 20
    TTG says:

    Congratulations on a superb piece of fairly off the cuff journalism and contrarian enough to embrace more than one argument . The hypocrisy evident in those criticising these moves in FIFA and UEFA when they are prepared to hijack the whole of world football for a season to hold that obscene farce in Qatar is deeply troubling .
    I have many thoughts . As a businessman I put myself in Vinai V’s shoes . What if the other members of the big five ( and Tottnumb ) present him with a fait accompli? Do you let those clubs walk away into the sunset pursuing an inexhaustible gravy train on a matter of principle? Five years on when Saka, ESR, Azeez and Tierney have all left to join European Super League clubs and we can’t sign exciting replacements while our noisy neighbours have a much better team I can assure you the remaining fans will crucify our management for lack of ambition .
    In reality it would seem that KSE are among the founding fathers of this pre-emptive strike . But the underlying message is that business reality bites.
    As for the counter-argument ( which I think has been well-made despite Pangloss’s comments ) this creates an untouchable elite. It kills ambition, it distorts competition , it shatters aspiration , it changes the fundamental principles of football as we know it .
    As CER points out this is a philosophical argument because the reality is that an elite already exists but once you sever the cord between parts of the pyramid you quash the dreams ( fanciful though they may be ) of grass roots fans everywhere.
    If you are Leicester a glass ceiling has been placed on your club’s ambitions .
    In reality this is all a negotiating stance , a pre-emptive strike which will play out in committee rooms and possibly court rooms around Europe . From my experience big US corporations don’t go into bat without assessing the legal implications and they will have packs of lawyers primed to fight their corner . All we can do is watch this space for now .
    I desperately hope this doesn’t happen as set out but some change is inevitable.
    As for my season ticket I’m growing like CER. The utter farce of VAR has severely limited my enjoyment of the game and this might be the final straw .
    Our recent interactions with old Arsenal greats has focused my mind on what it means to play for Arsenal . I just wish Stan Kroenke would have a conversation with them too . But he’s probably never heard of them .

  21. 21
    TTG says:

    Don’t often quote other blogs but this struck a chord from Peter Wood today
    ‘ I am absolutely ashamed my club is part of this. Not surprised though. Stan hasn’t been able to crack the football code organically after trying 50 bang average short cuts, so now he’s attempting the ultimate short cut… start a closed competition. It is absolutely shocking.
    It also shows where we are on ‘values’ and ‘class.’ Just talking points. Very sad.’

  22. 22
    Pangloss says:


    Thank you for summarising the arguments against the current plan. I believe you list them as:

    1) It kills ambition;
    2) It distorts competition;
    3) It shatters aspiration; and
    4) It changes the fundamental principles of football as we know it.

    I pose the following questions:

    1) How does it kill ambition? As I understand the proposals, 15 “founder members” will compete each year plus 5 others who will compete on the basis of their performance in the previous year. This seems to leave plenty of scope for ambitious clubs to attempt to qualify.

    I don’t particularly like the ratio of 75% participants having bought their way in and 25% playin solely on merit, but I feel this is a detail which is better discussed without a pre-established position of “Not over my dead body”.

    2) How does it distort competition any more than the introduction of any other new competition? It is quite possible that we live in the best of all possible worlds when it comes to how competitive football is organised. It seems rather more likely that we don’t.

    3) Is there a difference between “shattering aspiration” and “killing ambition”? If there is, I regret I don’t see it.

    4) What are “the fundamental principles of football as we know it”? Do they differ fundamentally from “fostering ambition and aspiration” and “providing competition”? Genuinely, without understanding what they are I can’t begin to decide whether or not I believe they should stand forever, unchanged.

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    Steve T@5: a quick totting up shows:

    For the 28 seasons pre-Premier League:

    European Champions

    4 Liverpool
    3 AC Milan, Ajax Bayern Munich
    2 Notts Forest
    1 Aston Villa, Barcelona, Celtic, Feyenoord, Hamburg, Inter Milan, Juventus, Manchester Utd, Porto, PSV Eindhoven, Real Madrid, Red Star Belgrade, Steaua Bucharest

    Division One Champions

    12 Liverpool
    3 Arsenal, Everton, Leeds Utd
    2 Derby Co., Manchester United
    1 Aston Villan, Manchester City, Notts Forest

  24. 24
    Osakamatt says:

    Great piece, thanks CER.
    I think you have covered the
    situation very well. One point –
    to be honest if I was a supporter
    of some of the other PL clubs I
    wouldn’t be too bothered – now
    they have a genuine chance of
    winning the league.
    As for The Arsenal, we had no
    other reasonable choice.

  25. 25
    Osakamatt says:

    @23 Thanks Ned.
    From the point of view of competitiveness I think
    there have been 15 different winners of the last
    28 Super Bowls so some americanisation of the
    current EU leagues boringly predictable structure
    might be welcome really.

  26. 26
    TTG says:

    You have studied the proposals more than I have but most of what I said applies .
    Once in you remain in the league with no relegation. I believe that is the principle . Once in the founder members play each other and nobody drops out . So if Slavia Prague have a stellar year they qualify and from then on it is a closed shop . That leaves plenty of teams frustrated in their ambitions .
    No relegation obviously distorts competition. This will be the first competition to be run like this, effectively a football version of NFL. It also distorts the Premier League in that it limits the options on offer to successful clubs. What if S***s finish seventeenth and Leicester second ? Does that distort the principle of competition as apart from kudos and money there is no prize for high achieving sides outside the elite .
    Your next point is semantics and the difference between the two is nit-picking . I used a little bit of journalistic licence to emphasise the pain a lot of players and fans down the pyramid will feel if this is enacted.

    The fundamental principle of football is that Faversham Town inhabit the same universe as Arsenal or Manchester United. They can theoretically win the Champions League. It might take them twenty years to climb to that level but it is possible . It would be possible no longer in this plan . The Super League is a closed shop once the participants are elected. I’m not sure if you grasped this ? Of course Faversham will never do that but they can aspire to that goal. They can have the ambition of becoming the best team in the world . That is a very precious part of our football folk lore which is destroyed by this plan .


  27. 27
    TTG says:

    Possible changes might be to switch a franchise from London to somewhere without an ESL team . And might we see the draft introduced? That is what makes the NFL competitive because struggling sides can pick the best players . But harder to organise without a college system and with smaller clubs owning players under contract

  28. 28
    Pangloss says:


    I seriously doubt that I have studied the proposals more closely than you have.

    I won’t defend my question 3) against your accusation of nit-picking. The journalistic licence you used was to repeat yourself with tiny variations, presumably in the hope that no-one would notice and would think you had made more points that in fact you had.

    I believe that I have explained why, according to my understanding of the current proposals, Faversham Town would continue to inhabit the same universe as Arsenal and Manchester United.

    I am in danger of coming across as a supporter of the current proposals. I am not. I have already said that my first response to them was negative. When I came to examine the reasons for this I found that I couldn’t justify them even to myself. I have read many negative opinions of the proposals (and, maybe tellingly, very few if any positive opinions) but few, if any, justifications for these negative opinions that I have found to stand up to any sort of scrutiny.

  29. 29
    Pangloss says:

    I’ve wondered myself whether the NFL draft system might be adapted to Association Football. I’ve never come up with a way in which it might – don’t worry about the contracts issue, incidentally. No contract has yet been written that can withstand a sufficiently large wave of cash. It could even be spun as a way of moving the money “down the pyramid”.

    I’m much more worried by the idea of the clubs becoming franchises that could be moved from London (say N5) to elsewhere.

    We’ve long been telling ourselves that football wouldn’t be the same without the crowds and that the owners would have to listen and couldn’t afford to risk the fans boycotting matches. We were half right. The last year has shown that the spectacle isn’t the same, and is indeed worse. Sadly it’s not sufficiently much worse to affect the casual armchair spectator. As fans, we have no power and are tolerated at the whim of the owners. I wish things were different, if you can show me a way to change things, I’ll be delighted to help, but for now…

  30. 30
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Presumably at some point we will see the winner of the ESL face off against the winner of the Champions League in a newly branded cross-franchise match?

    UEFA and FIFA will shut up as soon as they work out how to monetise this.

  31. 31
    North Bank Ned says:

    CER: Thank you for such a thought-provoking post in the best tradition of this bar.

    My 2-cents is that the right way to view the ESL proposal is as a power struggle between the owners of Europe’s biggest clubs (as few Europeans as there are among them) and UEFA. The rest is just noise.

    The clubs hold the big-money cards, but UEFA still has the stronger hand (banishment). However, it is a nuclear one. Thus I think this will end in compromise, not a breakaway, but with a significant shift of power in the direction of the big clubs when it comes to their affairs, if not in the wider game. (I doubt JP Morgan’s bondholders care too deeply about grass-roots football anywhere.)

    I don’t think it is any coincidence that the ESL proposal was leaked immediately ahead of UEFA voting on its new Champions League format, which does not go far enough to satisfy the big clubs’ demands.

    How I suspect this will end up is a revision to the revised Champions League format (with includes revamping the Europa League and introducing a UEFA Conference League) that will make the CL look a lot like most of the ESL proposal but with the big clubs having substantially more say over the entry qualifications, ownership and sale of broadcasting rights and distribution of revenues (expect a US-style revenue sharing for the ‘founder’ clubs, for one.)

    It would not be rocket science to devise an entry play-offs system that would be highly weighted in the big-clubs favour but still allow a seasonal influx of fresh blood from either UEFA’s competitions or domestic leagues. Nor would it be rocket science to devise a new governance structure for UEFA which entrenches the big clubs’ power. The private equity and other financiers behind all this know a thing or two about how to rig corporate governance and ensure that the money flows to where they want it to go.

    Such a compromise would also let the big clubs continue to participate in their domestic competitions, ensure that the top German and French clubs participate in the UEFA Super League and shut up the politicians.

    It might even assuage Sky, which is looking at losing its cash cow if there is a breakaway. Again, it is no coincidence that its pundits are out rabble-rousing over all this. Sky is no more immune to the greed than any other player in this sorry saga.

    As for us ‘legacy fans’ — who knew that is what we are? I always thought we were just people who loved watching the Arsenal — we don’t even hold a pair of twos, and probably should have folded long ago. Yet somehow we don’t…

  32. 32
    TTG says:

    Faversham can’t get into the Super League.
    It’s a closed shop . There is a window for one year and no relegation. That is the key point
    I’m not suggesting you are in favour, I’m used to you challenging positions others take and using contrarian arguments to test whether they have developed their arguments . And so sorry to have added a phrase for emphasis , I learnt it at journalism school. They suggested it might make points more forcefully . They reckoned without you

  33. 33
    North Bank Ned says:

    Can Faversham Town make it even to the Isthmian Premier?

  34. 34
    Bathgooner says:

    I am sure your prediction of some compromise is the likeliest outcome, Ned @31.

    Point of Information: Sky lost their contract with UEFA and the rights for both the CL and EL three to four seasons ago with BT hoovering up exclusive rights. Their contribution to the transformation of football from a spectator sport to a commercial feeding frenzy is well documented by CER and others but it seems unlikely that they and indeed BT have been bypassed already by the likes of Amazon, Netflix, Disney and Apple for the streaming rights of this new venture.

  35. 35
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@34: my point on the broadcasters exactly. Sky’s existential threat is that a breakaway would gut the value of its PL rights.

  36. 36
    TTG says:

    I was discussing this with two fine soccer thinkers – Scruz and C100 and if you play in the Premier and ESL you will need squads of thirty players or so . This is another way that competition may be distorted if you play a better squad in one than the other .

  37. 37
    Doctor Faustus says:

    That is a wonderfully nuanced and sophisticated debut CER, bravo! Bravissimo!

    Ned@31 has said most of I wanted to say, and the high quality of comments in this drinks from everyone against showcased the unique maturity of the ‘Holics community.

    One minor observation I would like to add that the world of Arsenal and its fanbase have expanded culturally and geographically way beyond its original locus of devotion. Just like all the big clubs. For majority of those fans outside the experiential connection of hanging out together in and around Highbury all that matters is watching Arsenal play great football, win tournaments, play against the other big teams, be entertained. From that perspective of the global fan base it really is an escapist entertainment. And do the world need a bit of escapist pleasure now and then, with or without pandemic!

    I hope the many additional $$$ that will eventually be earned by the club once the dust has settled and the European competitions have evolved into the kind of inevitable compromises that Ned outlined are also at least partially spent to help out communities in those various parts of the world that have devoted Arsenal fans, and can do with all the help that they can get.

    Arsenal Africa Foundation for Clean Drinking Water, Arsenal Middle East Foundation for Education in Refugee Camps, Arsenal South East Asian Foundation to Combat Climate Change Effects… etc.

  38. 38
    Doctor Faustus says:

    @37: I meant “…everyone AGAIN showcased…”, not “against”. 🙂

  39. 39
    Tapera Doma says:

    Interesting discussion here.
    I am just going to drop a few data points to consider about this ego/money/power play.
    Of the 6 PL teams who have signed up for ESL, 4 are American owned. I would like to think binding contracts have been signed for the ESL teams.
    The bank is American.
    I don’t know what role Sky plays, but they are American owned (Comcast). Add to that list potentially new American owned global media companies – Netflix, Amazon, YouTube (Google) & Facebook + add some Chinese entities.
    Aston Villa has some American ownership.
    A majority of American sports leagues have a salary cap for each club – expect the same from ESL in some shape or form.
    If the ESL teams are ejected from domestic league games, that will more likely force a down ward re-negotiation of existing broadcast contracts & therefore less money for the remaining teams (almost sounds like a mini Brexit) – ask the French league how that is going.
    The NFL recently signed a broadcast package that is over US$100B for 11 years – 32 teams – teams only play a maximum of around 25 games per season if they are very successful.
    @ the end of the day the status quo is over.

  40. 40
    Bathgooner says:

    Another two fine takes on the despicable bid by a few club owners to kill competitive football as we know it and preserve predictable income for themselves. We have been forced down this road for some years and this must not end well for those people.

    Big Six can f*** off to European Super Jerk Off League now

  41. 41
    Uplympian says:

    Great incisive thought provoking piece CER.
    In blunt terms it’s all about the 💰. They all want a guaranteed bigger slice of the pot than uefa are willing to share – who blinks first? As Stan succinctly put he hasn’t invested to win 🏆🏆🏆. The real football fan……know your place in the pyramid.

  42. 42
    Pangloss says:

    TTG@32. I wasn’t saying that you had suggested I was in favour of the current proposals, I’m sorry if it came over that way and thank you for confirming that was not your intent either. I was just trying to clarify my feelings for anyone who had messed my initial post on the subject.

    So much for your claim to know less than I do about the proposals. I had completely missed the point that non-founder members of the ESL would only be permitted to play in it for one year.

    As to your journalese, I make no apology for calling your attention to the repetition. I suspected that it was deliberate, thank you for providing confirmation. I asked for enumeration of the arguments against the ESL proposals, and so far only you have responded. There seem to be few arguments against, and to my mind they are poorly formulated. As has been said before, I am more-than-averagely impressed by cold logic rather than an appeal to the emotions. I would be delighted if an argument against the ESL could be made that covered both approaches.

    I have not deliberately used any contrarian arguments on this matter; I apologise if any have slipped through.


  43. 43
    Steve T says:

    “Our primary job is to maximise our revenues and profits. The wider good of the game is a secondary concern.”

    Sky saying that’s a direct quote from a board member from one of the six English clubs involved.

    Owners want less football, not more football. Owners would be delighted if their players were banned from the World Cup and European Championships. If teams were allowed to stay in the premier league, then their focus would be on midweek super league games. It is a real possibility that they would field weakened teams for domestic premier league games at the weekend.

    Board member asked if civil war had broken out in football? “This is not civil war. This is a nuclear war.”

    At this stage, I’m very much with Gary Neville. I absolutely loath and detest bullies. If any Arsenal fan thinks this is just about The Arsenal? Then I would suggest that you are very much mistaken.

  44. 44
    Countryman100 says:

  45. 45
    North Bank Ned says:

    The fundamental difference between football and professional US sports is that the leagues are owned and run by the club owners in the US, and there are no overarching governing bodies as with football.

  46. 46
    TTG says:

    I think I may be the only one answering you because the others can’t believe that you can’t see the huge potential downside with this proposal.
    So far we seem in cold hard logic to have established a new league that is disapproved of by the majority of English fans ( YouGov poll tonight) because it doesn’t allow free competition.
    Each founder member of the big 15 will preserve its place in the league for 23 years . As you point out non-founder members only have annual membership . How clunky and unfair is that ? I think that fits my definition of a distorted competition .
    As TD points out our domestic league will be considerably financially poorer and have less status even if different clubs can win it and enter ( a devalued ) Champions League. It may be that the ESL clubs are forced to exit the domestic leagues . In cold hard logic what does that do to the prospects for our club belonging to a potential white elephant with no meaningful domestic competition ?
    It may ( though I doubt it ) decimate international football by banning most of the best players from the big international competitions . But that is currently a risk and must be cited as yet another very negative potential consequence.
    We will play a series of European rivals on a league basis. It is unlikely to see us ever winning this competition especially with our current ownership . We will float in a sort of well- remunerated limbo .Remember the days when Wenger was criticised for a fourth place trophy and for getting Arsenal to a CL knockout stage we were often humiliated in ? Those will seem like halcyon days .
    So we have a league that does not promote fair competition , a devalued domestic league. lower revenue domestically which will affect the pyramid as less money will trickle down , a major threat to all international football and two very well-regarded competitions will effectively be ruined . How’s that to be going on with ?
    I’m just wondering how much more evidence you need to have to see the iniquities and inequities of this proposal ? And to cap it all Faversham Town are severely disadvantaged from winning this new competition. Perhaps the unkindest cut of all if you live in East Kent

  47. 47
    Goonersince54 says:

    I cannot get too worked up about something that i don’t think will happen.
    If one of the best Clubs in Europe has told them to piss off, and Arsene reckons it won’t get off the ground, then that’s good enough for me.
    Far more entertaining has been the 15 rounds between TTG and Pangloss.
    On a lighter note,
    A Pool supporter posted on twitter re ESL,
    ” I hope the Liverpool players just stand on the pitch and refuse to play, in protest.”
    Some smart arse replied,
    ‘ I’ve seen Arsenal do that about twenty times this season, it’s not very impressive “

  48. 48
    Tapera Doma says:

    TTG @ # 46 above – “It may ( though I doubt it ) decimate international football by banning most of the best players from the big international competitions . But that is currently a risk and must be cited as yet another very negative potential consequence.”

    Is this even legal for a private club/association (UEFA) to enforce this? Ceferin is just trying some bullying tactics, unless every professional football contract in Europe specifically says any given player cannot play for their country unless they are contracted to a UEFA affiliated entity. I say good luck with that.

    “As TD points out our domestic league will be considerably financially poorer and have less status even if different clubs can win it and enter ( a devalued ) Champions League. It may be that the ESL clubs are forced to exit the domestic leagues . In cold hard logic what does that do to the prospects for our club belonging to a potential white elephant with no meaningful domestic competition ?”
    The reality of diminished revenues will @ a minimum force the likes of UEFA (Champions / Europa League, force changes to the current structure. The status quo is NOW changing.

  49. 49
    Tapera Doma says:

    Change is happening.

  50. 50
    Osakamatt says:

    Some great drinks on a big issue
    but let’s keep our focus here –
    stealing the half century is what
    really matters 😉

  51. 51
    Tapera Doma says:

    Florentino Perez to El Chiringuito: “Barcelona are going through a difficult economic situation, Laporta immediately understood and accepted like all the great clubs in the world. This #SuperLeague will save the entire world of football”.
    Florentino Perez to El Chiringuito: “Real Madrid and other SuperLeague clubs will NOT be excluded from this 2020/2021 Champions League. It won’t happen, the law protects us. This is impossible”. Police cars revolving light

    Florentino Perez is the top guy @ Real Madrid. So what is becoming clearer now is that some of these clubs see the initial cash injection as a bail out that could immediately deployed to sign Mbappe, David Alaba (Real Madrid), Erling Haaland, re-sign Messi

  52. 52
    Tapera Doma says:

    Florentino Perez to @elchiringuitotv
    : “Many important clubs in Spain, Italy and UK want to find a solution to a very bad financial situation. The only way is to play more competitive games. If instead of playing the CL, Super League helps the clubs to recover the lost earnings”.

  53. 53
    scruzgooner says:

    cer, top piece. especially for as quickly as you put it together.

    i was talking with mrs. scruz about this and summed it up for her (prior to reading the comments after 22) thusly: it’s a bunch of pigs swilling around a trough, fighting over the slop. the ones with the best lawyers will win.

    i also suggested that you’d know what other organizations got their brown envelopes by how quickly they stopped complaining or flipped to support it. as has been said, it’s all about the money.

    ned@31, a masterpost. says so much so well.

  54. 54
    North Bank Ned says:

    Scruz@52: Cheers! And that is why, come the revolution, the first thing we do is to kill all the lawyers.

    OM@50: well in for the half-ton. Glad to see you have your priorities right.

  55. 55
    North Bank Ned says:

    Remember the old days when you had to win your domestic league to play in the following season’s European Cup, i.e., actually be a league champion to be in what would become the Champions League. Simpler times.

  56. 56
    TTG says:

    Some very interesting posts and I ( as you can see) expect the lawyers alleging restraint of trade to file into court and threaten UEFA and FIFA and we may see a Euros played against this background. Reuters are still suggesting clubs involved in the breakaway will be thrown out of European competition on Friday so congratulations on winning the Champions League PSG and we await a Europa League Final with Villareal and Roma . Again my experience of American business methods suggests they’ve prepared for this . I think Tim Lewis’s appointment becomes ever more significant at Arsenal .

  57. 57
    Steve T says:

    Stolen from elsewhere. Makes for an interesting read.

    Just to throw a little perspective out there. We are witnessing Frankenstein’s monster syndrome. The working classes created, subsidized and nourished our beautiful game from muddy marshlands to glorious bowling green stadiums, and just like Dr Frankenstein’s monster, our once beautiful game got ugly with money and turned it’s hideously ungrateful back on the very people responsible for it’s creation. I’ve always known this day was coming ever since Wimbledon and their working class fans got shafted by greedy owners forcing the club to relocate to Milton Keynes ..

    As someone who spent week in week out, boy to man, either stood on the Clock End Highbury or on some rickety ole train traveling all over the country on an away day, I feel deeply ashamed of what my club has become. We have know nothing business owners with zero integrity and even less respect for our club, history or it’s fans. Fortunately I have lots of great memories of what we once were before the greed and money shaped what we’ve now become.

    Die hard local supporters have now become surplus to requirements, replaced by a stat friendly TV world audience with no connection to the club apart from their digital box. World money and markets dictate everything about our clubs interests.

  58. 58
    Bathgooner says:

  59. 59
    OsakaMatt says:

    Just to respond a little to some of the comments with a little disagreement…….
    – I also spent time in the Clock End and on away day trains both man and boy. I am not ashamed of what my club has become. We were already a business long before this week and so we make decisions that the board consider to be in the best interests of the club. I disagree with some of those decisions but it does not make them shameful. No laws have been broken as far as I can see.
    – Any business will do things in its own interest before the wider interests of the industry.So what?
    – we effectively already have no relegation for big clubs and uncompetitive leagues. As a result of this change we will have no relegation for big clubs and more competitive leagues
    – personally I would rather play Real Madrid twice a season than Burnley
    – Having said that, I am in it to watch The Arsenal play a game of football, hopefully well and hopefully victoriously. I don’t care that much who, better Barca than Barnsley, (to make the same point twice) and in the proposed new order I will still be able to do that. All my other rights remain – watch/not watch or go/not go

    The reason to respond was that I grew tired of reading that no genuine fan would support
    this idea etc etc etc. I was wondering when I became some sort of fake plastic fan.

  60. 60
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Interesting stuff above.
    I’m still not sure though how given our last couple of seasons and Spuds last 60 seasons how either club could legitimately be considered for a new Super anything.

  61. 61
    Pangloss says:

    TTG – Thanks for your further response @46 above.
    I assure you that I see the potential downside, but I also see upsides. Perhaps I am alone in not writing off the benefits of securing the club’s financial position for 23 years. “Floating in a sort of well- remunerated limbo” as you put it.
    I do indeed remember watching as others, even some who still drink regularly in this bar, criticised Wenger for “only” securing Arsenal’s annual participation in the Champions’ League knock-out stages.
    If the current proposals come to fruition they will bring about far-reaching changes in the way competitive football is organised, and probably in the way non-competitive football is organised as well. All change brings the potential to worsen the situation; it also brings with it the potential to improve things. I have read nothing that seeks, seriously, to predict which of these possibilities is the more likely.
    I’m glad we have provided Clive with some entertainment; small recompense for all the good stuff of his that I’ve read in the past.

  62. 62
    North Bank Ned says:

    As a point of information on the NFL closed league model: a key element to maintaining fan interest and ‘competition’ is the replenishment of the worst teams each season with the best up and comping players. That requires culling playing rosters every season to make room for new faces. Salary caps contain rosters, while the average length of a playing career in the NFL is 3.3 seasons, opening up a steady stream of new slots. NFL teams also outsource player development to the draft system built on a pyramid of college and high-school football that discards thousands, if not tens of thousands of young people along the way every season.

    Not that the odds of making it playing football professionally with a round ball are necessarily that much better, but it should be recognised that player attrition is central to the NFL model. It is also telling that American football barely exists on an organised semi-professional or amateur level post-college.

  63. 63
    North Bank Ned says:

    I wonder if Levy will have to pay a hefty premium to lure anyone to replace the departed Mourinho in the present circumstances.

    Other morning coffee musings include, why did the breakaway group so mismanage the PR over its move (that is not how hostile takeovers are done in the US), and is there anyone in this sorry saga who is not behaving like a hypocritical spoilt brat?

  64. 64
    ATG says:

  65. 65
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Matt & Pangloss — I am with you that if there is an European Super League then I would rather have Arsenal play in it than not. And I will enjoy watching Arsenal in whichever competition they play. If that makes me a lesser fan — especially given that I have always followed Arsenal from a distance, from France and USA — in someone’s opinion I will not really be bothered to argue about it. I will also continue to apply my moral outrage, and activism to the concerns that I find are more important and relevant and impactful to the overall world than the structure of football leagues. Just my perspective.

    Regarding the cupidity of “American” owners, let us take a quick look at the owners of the non-English clubs confirmed until now in the ESL.

    Barcelona and Real Madrid are registered associations essentially “owned” by it’s members (socis) and it is not possible to purchase shares in the club. Both are in high debts.

    Atletico Madrid is owned between two Spaniards and one Israeli.

    Juventus is registered as a company with shares in Italian stock exchange, nearly 60% of the shares owned by Netherlands registered holding company controlled by Italian Agnelli family.

    AC Milan is of course now owned by an American hedge fund. And Inter is primarily owned by a Chinese private company.

    The two “big” European clubs not yet confirmed in this group are Bayern and PSG. One can argue that both play in a domestic “Super League” of one, both monopolizing their leagues to a great extent. Before the recent ownership of PSG Ligue 1 was more competitive with Bordeaux, Marseilles, Lyon, Monaco and sometimes Lille (then there was the one-off Montpelier season) competing for the title. PSG and Bayern are now guaranteed their Champions League position year in year out, such has become the dynamics of their respective domestic leagues.

  66. 66
    OsakaMatt says:

    Fair enough Dr F.
    Though I notice you did bother to point out the errors of those seeking to turn this into an American thing😏

  67. 67
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F@65: You illustrate an often overlooked but important point in all this. The vast majority of the audience for top-level football is now global and resides online and in front of screens. It does not make the pilgrimage to the stadium. The emotional connection to clubs is very different as a result. So is the expectation of the experience that a game will deliver.

    On your ownership point, point taken, but it may be a bit of a red herring. Regardless of Real Madrid’s ownership structure, its president, Florentino Pérez, also the chairman of the ESL, seems to run the club like his personal fiefdom.

    If it is of any import, the three Americans among the four vice-chairmen of the ESL (Glazer, Henry and Kroenke) are reportedly the keenest among ESL club owners on creating an NFL-like closed league. The others are just in it for the money now.

    Incidentally, the NFL is a legal monopoly sanctioned by the US Congress in as much as the Sports Broadcasting Act grants the league exemption from Sherman Act antitrust violations. US taxpayers have also given NFL teams $7 billion in subsidies since 1995 for stadium construction and renovation. Little wonder those who have benefited from such structural largesse would like to export the model.

  68. 68
    scruzgooner says:

    i find two things funny in all this: that moaningho is gone from the little whites, and it’s as buried a lede as i’ve ever seen. the second is that i’d thought nothing could take the harsh glare of the spotlight away from the venal corruption of fifa and uefa. apparently i was well wrong; they look like the good guys now!

  69. 69
    North Bank Ned says:

    Would managers like Guardiola and Klopp, who reportedly (albeit by Sky) say both that they disapprove of the ESL structure and were kept in the dark by the owners about the discussions, be prepared to resign on the point of principle? That would have more impact than the self-serving bleating of the politicians and UEFA.

    West Brom is now condemning the ESL, hoping, no doubt, that the breakaway six get thrown out of the Premier League, and it will be none down and three up for next season. No clean hands anywhere in all of this.

  70. 70
    North Bank Ned says:

    Scruz@68: the worst outcome would be if FIFA and UEFA come out of all this empowered to be even more venal.

    One thing about Jose, he knows how to create an alternative universe. How long before he is claiming the moral high ground, saying he saw all this coming and resigned as he did not want to be part of it?

  71. 71
    ClockEndRider says:

    Ned @67,
    A good point about the tax exemptions. How long will it be before we see the Guangzhou Gunners, Singapore Spurs, and the Rapid City Red Devil’s? It’s not as if Kroenke doesn’t have a history of it.

  72. 72
    TTG says:

    I’ve had a lot of abusive comments ( some in jest but others more serious) about this from English supporters that are disgusted by these shenanigans. This really has touched a nerve here . When I saw Boris waffling yesterday I thought it was his usual schtick of blustering about something he knew nothing about for a sound bite . But football is so deeply rooted in the English ( and Scottish) psyche that this won’t go away and he may see political capital in hammering down on this .
    I’m surprised at how ill- prepared the breakaway group are especially in PR terms . It makes me think Kroenke is a prime mover because he is not known as Silent Stan for nothing as he tries to evade the spotlight . He has no way of doing that here . I’m wondering if the Government might try removing owners on the ‘ fit and proper person ‘ criteria but as CER says elsewhere they haven’t broken any laws .
    I assumed they’d got the Germans, Dutch and PSG onside but they clearly haven’t and one suspects they tried to hijack the revamp of the Champions League and didn’t have all their ducks in a row. There is real contagion in situations like this . We wondered how bad being owned by Kroenke could be. We may be about to find out !

  73. 73
    TTG says:

    A response from Arsenal America

  74. 74
    Steve T says:

    Looks like Chelski are the first ones to jump ship. How long before the others follow? Hopefully we won’t be far behind.

    Who knows, there could be a positive outcome as it might actually result in Stan being forced out? Or is that just wishful thinking???

  75. 75
    Silly Second Yella says:


  76. 76
    TTG says:

    If we all pray simultaneously?🙏

  77. 77
    Steve T says:

    Whatever it takes TTG.

    Hopefully this will all collapse just as quick as it was announced. Hopefully that will almost make his position untenable.

    Here’s hoping.

  78. 78
    Steve T says:

    Reports on Sky that Citeh are about to follow suit???

    Does that mean we are top four????

  79. 79
    bt8 says:

    What a fiasco.

  80. 80
    Steve T says:

    Breaking on social media that we are now pulling out.

    I serious hope that is true.

  81. 81
    North Bank Ned says:

    There are many structural reasons that it would be difficult to replicate the US pro sport model in the UK and the EU.

    I touched on one, the draft system, in an earlier post. It seems inconceivable that the existing network of youth football within and without the clubs could be turned over to the education system, especially given the far deeper entrenchment of publicly funded education in Europe and the UK. There are US universities where the football team is a $100 million a year business, and the coach earns far more than the university’s head. There are even high schools where sport is a multimillion-dollar business.

    Another is that the franchise system is not inherently necessary to the monopoly structure of leagues like the NFL. It grew up because broadcasting markets in the US were essentially big-city based, not national as they were in Europe. So the league structure had to fit that. Not necessary at all in the digital age where that sort of geographical consideration is irrelevant.

    Most US major metropolitan areas now have at least a couple of teams in all the major pro sports. When franchises move cities, it is usually because their old home is refusing to shell out even more tax dollars to keep them, and another city stands ready to shower the owners in cash instead.

    Tax subsidies for stadium building and renovation is just a massive giveaway to owners, who get to own the new facilities and monetise their operations. At the same time, salary caps stop the players from maximising their share of the revenues (and no need to pay anything at all to the students that the schools and universities are grooming to be your next stars).

    Little wonder that owners who are used to making money out of sports that easily find it hard work squeezing profits out of European club football and want to change the rules so that they can.

  82. 82
    Tapera Doma says:

    Contrarian view here. I am really surprised the ESL signees are already folding without extracting some sort of change/compromise from UEFA & FIFA.

  83. 83
    North Bank Ned says:

    Wow. If that is all true, and I hope it is, how damaged goods are Henry, Glazer and Kroenke? And will they regroup, and try again later? But for now, score one for the men in blazers.

  84. 84
    Uplympian says:

    If that is confirmed Steve, then maybe Stan will realise that the ownership of The Arsenal will not give the the financial return that the ESL would have given and in line with what he enjoys in the closed franchises across the pond. Maybe he might decide now to quit whilsst he still ahead 🙏🏻

  85. 85
    Steve T says:

    I know some here will be disappointed but if this all finally collapses this evening then I will be overjoyed.

    Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent. Those are values that we should all remember. This isn’t some two Bob American franchise. It’s a lot more than that.

    Let’s hope that it’s the beginning of the end for Kroenke. Let’s just hope.

  86. 86
    bathgooner says:

    We don’t know what conversations have taken place to the owners of the Dirty Dozen. Promises may have been made as well as threats. Time will tell. Rumours now suggest that Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool, Barca and Atletico want to jump ship. The Madrid fella was bullish this morning and I expect he and Kranky will be the only shysters clinging to the wreckage tomorrow.

  87. 87
    Steve T says:

    I do so hope so Uply.

    Reports that Barca and Athletico have done the same in Spain. Real Madrid look proper fucked.

  88. 88
    North Bank Ned says:

    TD@82: The language from UEFA did not suggest any spirit of compromise. Billionaires who make their money out of real estate and finance make cold and hard decisions based on the numbers. If the numbers turn against them, they will shelve a deal without any remorse. It may be dead for good. They may find a better way or time to make it work.

  89. 89
    bathgooner says:

    I hope Kranky sees his dreams of franchising (monetising) the Arsenal in a relegation-free league sucking dosh from the third world crashing around his feet and that he takes the hump, sells up and stomps off to found his own Kerry Packer type league in Texas.

  90. 90
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@86: Liverpool is the key name in your list. That is Henry. He seems to be one of the prime movers of this.

  91. 91
    Steve T says:

    Seems legit

  92. 92
    scruzgooner says:

    can’t wait to see the video, steve. it’ll be like watching paint dry. for 23 games (or whatever). kind of like watching them now.

  93. 93
    Steve T says:

    Ed Woodward has resigned at ManUre.

    Scruz. Apparently the dvd of their 48 hours in the super league is already on sale on Amazon.

  94. 94
    Tapera Doma says:

    @ North Bank Ned @ 81 above – a little correction. There are only 2 cities that have more than 1 team playing in the same sport/league in the same city – that would be Los Angeles & New York City. There are probably more than 10 states (not cities) that do not have any of the 4 major sports – NFL football, NBA basketball, MLB baseball, NHL ice hockey/MLS soccer/football.
    Interestingly the population of NY is about 8.5M
    & the population of London is about 8.9M.
    There is only 2 of each team sport in NY, with probably 2-4 stadiums. How many teams (& stadiums) play football in London?

  95. 95
    bathgooner says:

    I see on Twitter that FSG are putting the Dippers up for sale. We’ll see!

  96. 96
    ATG says:

    Just heard on the radio that Chelski and City are pulling out 😀

  97. 97
    scruzgooner says:

    if fsg is going to sell pool, i wonder if kranky will follow suit. there’s a limited big money pool out there, and if one of the bigger teams than arsenal (moneywise) are for sale it’ll reduce his possible suitors for arsenal.

    i wonder if that nigerian fella, kalu, is still interested. he wanted a 1/3 stake eighteen months ago. maybe he can afford to take 100%?

  98. 98
    scruzgooner says:

    oh, and steve, that’s the deluxe edition. 48 hours showing their dulux paint dry around their trophy cabinet.

  99. 99
    bt8 says:

    Kola nut sinac

  100. 100
    Steve T says:

    Get in.

  101. 101
    Potsticker says:

    This “Super League” has been more entertaining than watching actual football.

  102. 102
    Silly Second Yella says:

    Where are they now
    Where are they six minutes on
    And they’ve all gone
    Now it’s all turned sour

  103. 103
    Steve T says:

    Please please please, let this be true.

  104. 104
    Steve T says:

    There hopefully is your answer Scruz.

  105. 105
    scruzgooner says:

    god, i hope so, steve!

  106. 106
    Steve T says:

    José Mourinho becomes the only manager is Super League history, to get the sack.

  107. 107
    North Bank Ned says:

    He is the special one for a reason, Steve T.

  108. 108
    scruzgooner says:

    a true special one in failure, ned.

  109. 109
    North Bank Ned says:

    TD@94: point taken. I may have been a bit hyperbolic. But in addition to NYC and Los Angles-Long Beach, the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington metro has two football and two baseball teams, as does San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland. Chicago has two baseball teams. Those are the five biggest metros.

  110. 110
    Goonersince54 says:

    Steve T @85
    I am interested to know who the ‘ some in the bar are ‘ who will be disappointed this isn’t going ahead.
    I haven’t read all the posts, but i cannot find anyone in here who supported it.

  111. 111
    Countryman100 says:

  112. 112
    Pangloss says:

    I am, frankly, amazed that this proposal has folded.

    Congratulations to all of you who believed this was possible.

  113. 113
    Countryman100 says:

    Followed by a humble grovelling from the Board.
    The last few days have shown us yet again the depth of feeling our supporters around the world have for this great club and the game we love.

    We needed no reminding of this but the response from supporters in recent days has given us time for further reflection and deep thought.

    It was never our intention to cause such distress, however when the invitation to join the Super League came, while knowing there were no guarantees, we did not want to be left behind to ensure we protected Arsenal and its future.

    As a result of listening to you and the wider football community over recent days we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League. We made a mistake, and we apologise for it.

    We know it will take time to restore your faith in what we are trying to achieve here at Arsenal but let us be clear that the decision to be part of the Super League was driven by our desire to protect Arsenal, the club you love, and to support the game you love through greater solidarity and financial stability.

    Stability is essential for the game to prosper and we will continue to strive to bring the security the game needs to move forward.

    The system needs to be fixed. We must work together to find solutions which protect the future of the game and harness the extraordinary power football has to get us on the edge of our seats.

    Finally, we know this has been hugely unsettling at the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year for us all.

    Our aim is always to make the right decisions for this great football club, to protect it for the future and to take us forward. We didn’t make the right decision here, which we fully accept.

    We have heard you.

    The Arsenal Board

  114. 114
    Osakamatt says:

    the statement from the board doesn’t sound
    like the statement of people preparing to pull
    out. So the status quo will remain – that is, to
    me, the worst possible outcome. We keep Stan
    and UEFA/FIFA and the mediocre leadership of
    the PL. Fucking yay.

  115. 115
    North Bank Ned says:

    ‘when the invitation to join the Super League came’ sounds a bit disingenuous in the club’s statement. Looks like the ESL is going to find itself an instant orphan with nary a parent to be seen.

  116. 116
    Tapera Doma says:

    I hope beyond hope, that the ESL teams managed to get some concessions from UEFA/FIFA. Once they made their position known, they might as well use it as a bargaining chip, instead of folding like a deck of cards @ the 1st sign of resistance. Were is your chutzpah gentlemen?

  117. 117
    Silly Second Yella says:



  118. 118
    Silly Second Yella says:



  119. 119
    Silly Second Yella says:

    sorry w
    as it MaTT?
    Yeah, Matt.

  120. 120
    OsakaMatt says:

    Hello SSY. As usual I haven’t a scoobies

  121. 121
    OsakaMatt says:

    It looks like it’s going to be as you called it at you called it @70 Ned.

  122. 122
    North Bank Ned says:

    I take no joy in that, OM.

  123. 123
    Osakamatt says:

    No, I imagine not. About the only
    positive thing I could think was that
    at least some of my fellow drinkers
    are happy with the outcome.

  124. 124
    Ambydex says:

    With all the attention drawn to ESL, I bet Jose is feeling very lonely at the moment. Can we get back to Jose now, please…

  125. 125
    TTG says:

    What sanctions might the errant ESL clubs face ? If it’s a hefty fine it’s not good news for a self- sustaining club. And a European ban makes signing players very difficult . But at least it gives you an excuse for not being in Europe .
    Football ( esp here) is in a mood to make the clubs suffer.
    Thanks again Stan your period in charge has been exemplary

  126. 126
    Bathgooner says:

    The Stupid League is dead! Celebrate the good history of the Arsenal with the 50th Anniversary Celebrations for the ’70-71 Double with Goonerholics Forever.

    Eddie Kelly! An uncompromising midfielder with a knack for scoring vital goals. (26 +4 apps, 5 goals in ’70-71)

  127. 127
    Countryman100 says:

    So now we are pushing hard to make Kroenke sell up, bank his massive profits and pass the baton. Who can argue with that? But who do we want as an owner? This bar, on occasion, has pretensions to literature so should we remember Hilaire Belloc?

    “Always keep a hold of nurse, for fear of finding something worse”

    How much is Arsenal worth? It’s surprisingly difficult to calculate now we are privately owned. If we went for a German model of 51% fan ownership how do we find the money (for the sake of argument let’s value AFC @ $2billion). That means finding $1b of equity from fans. I think not.

    What of the other models? Someone interested in football but with a godawful human rights record (like Sheikh Mansour)? Another US franchise owner but slightly less awful than Kroenke? Please God not private equity (I worked for PE owners for 15 years, it’s awful). A betting company like Stoke?

    Remember to meet our aspirations it has to be an owner who can keep us in the CL and challenge for titles.

    Answers on a postcard please. Or in this bar if you prefer..

  128. 128
    Countryman100 says:

    There is another solution, not one I like but we should consider it. The owner remains Kroenke, which gets over the $2 billion hurdle. He completely restructures the board to include football people (I nominate Bob Wilson (or if Bob think he’s too old at 80, someone like Lee Dixon) and Arsene Wenger), a fan representative or two and others. The consultative processes are completely revamped, with openness and transparency to the fore. The Board is given real power via its governance regulations.

    Or, find an owner we like who has $2 billion to spare.

  129. 129
    ClockEndRider says:

    Well, I’m going to the demo on Friday. I’m not usually one for things. The last demo I went on was at Islington Town Hall in 1991 against the poll tax. For me this is about showing displeasure at the ownership as well as at the current status quo with our useless, self serving governing bodies, referees, tv companies and pundits. We have to try to make sure this doesn’t just collapse in a round of righteous self satisfactory backslapping and leads to genuine change in the way football works. I’m probably just peeing in the wind but I feel if we don’t get meaningful change now we will always be treated, as we have since I can remember, as a tolerated adjunct to football rather than the reason it exists.
    Rant over.

  130. 130
    Countryman100 says:

    I know CER, and agree. But how?

  131. 131
    Countryman100 says:

    Good on you for going Friday. Stay safe.

  132. 132
    ClockEndRider says:

    Cheers C100. Face masks at the ready…….

  133. 133
    TTG says:

    Firstly CER May I TTS know you fir going. I have a business commitment which will prevent me and given my wife’s precarious health I’m avoiding mass gatherings until she has had jab number two . But more power to your elbow .
    We had a passionate debate in here in the Guvna’s day and the majority of us were very anti Kroenke even back then when he didn’t own the club. One person said that he needed evidence that Kroenke was harming the club before he became a Kroenke outer. If you couldn’t see it then you certainly can now .
    But how to achieve it .
    Firstly the strength of feeling of fans needs to be harnessed.Arsenal and all the major clubs need to retain the voice they have and to realise that a populist Prime Minister sees huge political capital out of harnessing this movement .
    ‘ Imagine UK Tory PM drives out heartless capitalists ‘ – ironic eh!
    A co-ordinated sense that ownership of clubs must be more democratic is the big plan . A 51%stake owned by passionate, savvy fans is Kroenke’s worst nightmare . We all need to join the AST and speak loudly with one voice .
    We need to make KSE aware with a barrage of complaint how unhappy we are with their stewardship . Every Arsenal fan should write to KSE requesting tge6 withdraw their o
    We need media allies , albeit it may be the upstart Sky to keep this on the agenda and we need to use platforms like this, the Gooner, Arseblog and Ke Grove to demonstrate the contempt for the way in which Kroenke has ridden roughshod over our values .
    We also need to find a potential owner who would relish restoring the club to its former position who understands what the club is all about . That’s the hard but not impossible part .
    That’s a pretty good start

  134. 134
    Countryman100 says:

    Sorry TTG you still haven’t said who is going to spend $2b to buy Arsenal. Kroenke owns the club. He is legally entitled to sell it at a fair price. We are personalising this instead of coming up with legal and business solutions.

  135. 135
    TTG says:

    Sorry meant to begin
    Thank you for going. I got TTG thumbs through emotional overload !

  136. 136
    North Bank Ned says:

    There is also the Nigerian billionaire, Aliko Dangote, who has expressed previous interest in ownership. Usmanov might be back in the frame.

    The Premier League could follow the Bundesliga in limiting commercial ownership of clubs to 49%, but that would be like asking turkeys to vote for Thanksgiving. I doubt the FA could force it on the Premier League clubs either legally or practically.

    The UK government could nationalise all the Premier League clubs. State ownership would get the money out of the game in short order.

  137. 137
    North Bank Ned says:

    Just to add that I doubt Kroenke would want bare majority control. If he sells, I suspect it will be lock, stock and barrel and not a minority stake.

    Is a leveraged fan-based acquisition of the club completely out of the question? There must be enough City-connected members of an organisation like the AST able to raise even the $2 billion-3 billion in debt financing it would take to buy out Kroenke. It is only a 5-7x multiple of revenue and there are assets such as the stadium for collateral, even if they are not unencumbered assets.

  138. 138
    North Bank Ned says:

    CER@129: We have to try to make sure this doesn’t just collapse in a round of righteous self satisfactory backslapping and leads to genuine change in the way football works. Well said. Good luck at Friday’s demo and stay safe.

  139. 139
    Bathgooner says:

    All good points gentlemen. A better and more transparent management structure with input from the fans and ex-pros is essential.

    Getting Kroenke out? Surely Arsenal fans can be as thoroughly unpleasant (within the law) to Kroenke and his spawn as Dipper fans were to their previous two Merkin owners?

    51% fan ownership is not impossible. The sum of $2 billion value for the club is an overestimate. In 2019 the club was valued at $993 million. He can ask but he’s not going to get double its value. Laws may be passed to mandate 51% fan ownership which make it essential he sells.


    Dangote has already offered to buy 33%. It doesn’t sound as if he’s gone off the idea. Maybe he would buy a bigger stake? I had no delusions about Usmanov but I welcomed his presence as a part owner as a counter-balance to prevent Kroenke having his way with us and perhaps he would have prevented the nonsense we have just seen. But we do need real fan and ex-pro input to the decision making process.

    If we round the 2019 valuation up to $1b, and Dangote buys $333m then other fans need to fund $268m. The maths is intimidating but there are other big players out there with affection for the club who might want a big slice of the club for a seat on the board as happened in the old days. Meanwhile 100,000 fans paying £100 each for a small slice of their club would contribute £10 million. I know Dave was proud of his share of Stirling Albion and many Gooners would jump at the chance to own a slice of the Arsenal, in some cases regain a slice of the Arsenal.

    Not so long ago, Wenger said that we should perhaps have built a 90,000 seater stadium because of demand for match day tickets. How many Arsenal fans are there worldwide? Fans like Dr F immersed in the capitalist global economy generating big bucks, with a passion for the Arsenal might want a piece of the club he loves, indeed he might want a big piece, or the whole club, who knows?

    How many would like to feel they own a piece of the Arsenal? I was proud to join the AST share scheme and gutted when Kroenke torpedoed it. This would require such a scheme writ large and globalised. I wonder if Tim has plans?

  140. 140
    Countryman100 says:

    Liverpool fans did not get rid of previous owners despite what they claim. The Bank did by calling in loans and effectively making them bankrupt. Arsenal has very little debt apart from the £130m odd restructuring of the ground debt, which is peanuts to Kroenke.

    I’ve asked @SwissRamble for a current valuation. I’ll report back. What do we know of Dangote? He could be worse than Kroenke. Here’s his Wiki, no obvious skeletons.


    The Government could privatise football clubs and sell off shares to supporters, but they will face some serious legal action.

    The point I was making is that it’s as much about regulatory structure as the actual owner.

  141. 141
    Countryman100 says:

    Thoughtful stuff from Arseblog. He makes some of the points I’ve been making and a whole lot more as well.

    Super League collapses as KSE leave scorched earth in North London

  142. 142
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@139: Forbes valuation of Arsenal as of this month is $2.8 billion. The Forbes valuations are pretty reliable. The number in the Statista link you quote is the value of the brand alone, not all the assets.

    If Dr F. bought the club, I would be delighted. Think how wonderful the match day programmes would be.

  143. 143
    Bathgooner says:

    Oh dear! Bad news. C100’s pessimism is therefore well justified.

    Wouldn’t those programmes be wonderful! They’d become collectible masterpieces

  144. 144
    Countryman100 says:

    Ned’s had to buy the monks a new abacus to count numbers this high. Is there no end to the expense!

  145. 145
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100: thanks for highlighting Blogs’s thoughts. He echoes much of the good sense that has appeared here.

    However, I would caution against casting this as an overwhelming victory for fan power alone. The fans’ voice was loud and clear but the ESL was done for by FIFA and UEFA, when their backs were against the wall, proving to be more ruthless street fighters than the billionaire 12 were expecting.

    As the Vietnamese proverb has it, when elephants dance, it is the grass that gets trampled.

  146. 146
    Bathgooner says:

    A truly superb piece from blogs, C100 @141. One of his best ever.

    “Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent” – Arsenal fans have done that so well and so vociferously in the last 48 hours. Well done, everyone ❤️

    In the same time period, the owners have also shown us very clearly who they, what they are, and what they represent – and it categorically is NOT this football club that we cherish so dearly. They have left a stain that might never fully go away.

  147. 147
    North Bank Ned says:

    Abacuses, C100? That is what the monks have fingers for…

  148. 148
    TTG says:

    Hear hear Bath @146.
    Lest there be anybody who still thinks Stan Kroenke still deserves to be the owner of Arsenal Football Club and there might be one or two , reflect back on this article which is nine months old on KSE’s incompetence . They’ve excelled themselves in dropping the ball now but it’s worth reflecting in an article written in the rosy glow of Cup success .

    Stan, Josh, and KSE’s litany of bad decisions

  149. 149
    Bathgooner says:

    There’s a “Kroenke Out” petition. I’m not over-optimistic that such things have any effect but it might make you feel that you are making a contribution to getting rid of the man.


  150. 150
    Bathgooner says:

    Sorry about the supersized image of the Bogeyman.

  151. 151
    TTG says:

    There are many companies / individuals who could buy Arsenal . That is a big valuation but there are well over 2000 billionaires in the world . If the club ownership rules change the price becomes even more accessible.
    The attractions for buying a club areva stream of future earnings , global brand reach and positive publicity but mainly because you love the club. . As we’ve just seen the last two are difficult to achieve . In the exchange I referred to earlier about Kroenke I was asked by an inquisitor who my ideal owner of Arsenal would be . I replied partly seriously , ‘ a richer version of David Dein’ .
    For Arsenal to prosper in such a skewed competitive landscape with so many oligarchs and nation states taking part you need a big hitter but you also want someone for whom Arsenal is a major part of their life . Sir Jim Ratcliffe is said to be interested in buying a PL club but he supports Manchester United . His ownership would be at best an investment not an obsession .
    If Mr. Dangote really is an Arsenal fan , and a very wealthy businessman and is capable of putting in place the right management structure he might be a possibility . People hammer Dein for bringing in Kroenke and Usmanov but he couldn’t find Gooners who had the requisite finance . We don’t want to swap one soulless American corporation for another or bring in someone with a shameful human rights record or something else that disqualifies them .
    The answer lies in persuading C100 to raid his pension fund . I’m sure he is phoning his broker as I write

  152. 152
  153. 153
    Bathgooner says:


    Sorry chaps!

  154. 154
    Countryman100 says:

    Fellow Goonerholics. The answer is staring us in the face. What’s the limit on Lar’s credit card?

  155. 155
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Barman: What can I get you today, sir?

    Lars: Club soda, easy on the soda.

    Barman: So, err, just a club then, sir?…

  156. 156
    bt8 says:

    Swedish ownership could be a lark, and considering the depth of Lars wallet, a rich one. 🙂

  157. 157
    gedo says:

    The whole European Super League was simply a ruse to get UEFA to sweeten the pot going forward. It was never going to happen so I didn’t get too fired-up about it. Obviously, the clubs involved overplayed their hand on the PR end of things but probably received enough financial guarantees to “terminate” their contract. Which they planned to do all along. No way any club will pay the $100 million fee to get out of the ESL, guaranteed. More proof that this was all BS.

    This type of thing happens all of time in the USA in order to get a new stadium built with taxpayer money. Threaten to leave if the municipality doesn’t pay for the whole darn thing. The fans go nutso and pressure the city so they end-up giving the team a blank check. Sure, not quite the same thing as what happened with the ESL but it surely smells similar to it.

    Kroenke is not going to sell, don’t believe it for a second. Cheers.

  158. 158
    Countryman100 says:

    This has been a great discussion, worthy of this bar’s tradition. Well done CER for starting the ball rolling and well done everyone for keeping things going as the situation developed.

  159. 159
    Countryman100 says:

    That large picture of Stan is going to haunt my dreams though Bath. 🧐

  160. 160
    ATG says:

    No more supersized Bogeyman Bath….

  161. 161
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks ATG – but it’s burnt on my neurones

  162. 162
    Silly Second Yella says:

    ESL – trial balloon
    The end is nigh, one way or…


  163. 163
    Bathgooner says:

    ATG @160, thanks for that, mate. I looked for the facility that has provd useful for stretched frontispieces but couldn’t find a way to shrink Stan’s head. Actually I’d very much like to shrink it in the tradition of the tribes of Indonesia.

  164. 164
    Bathgooner says:

    C100 @159, humble apologies.

  165. 165
    Bathgooner says:

    If you haven’t read Tim’s post on 7amKO, do. It’s a great read and he makes several important points. Right up there with CER and Arseblog.


  166. 166
  167. 167
    North Bank Ned says:

    What C100 said @158. And I suspect as Silly Second says @162, we haven’t heard the last of it yet.

  168. 168
  169. 169
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@165: Thanks for the link. A sobering read.

    A tiny nitpick about what Tim says on the ESL not having a broadcaster lined up being a sign of unpreparedness. My guess is that they never intended to sell the primary rights to a broadcaster but to go OTT from the start, i.e., be like Netflix with a subscription app. The would-be ESL clubs have more than a billion followers on social media between them. Allow for overlaps and not everyone shelling out for a sub, but if half of them had at, say $5 a month, that would have been $30 billion in revenue, which starts to put a whole new gloss on the meaning of greed.

  170. 170
    North Bank Ned says:

    $30 billion in annual revenue.

  171. 171
    Osakamatt says:

    Be nice to get rid of Stan but I
    won’t be holding my breath.
    That’s the problem with parasites,
    good at sticking around. Perhaps we
    should bring some antibiotics to the
    next PL meeting and put them on the table
    during the petty wrist-slapping farces
    to follow.

  172. 172
    Goonersince54 says:

    You sound very frustrated and grumpy Matt.
    You are correct in assuming that absolutely nothing will happen to the breakaway Clubs because they are too powerful.
    Of more concern to all Gooners, should be whether Stan is going to be vindictive towards the supporters who have stuffed his plans, by imposing more stringent criteria for buying new players, and whether he will opt not to give the green light to funding a player Arteta really wants in the summer, that we cannot afford to buy via the self sustaining model we operate with.
    Hell hath no fury like a billionaire scorned.

  173. 173
    Osakamatt says:

    true enough Clive
    I will try to be more positive😁
    Hopefully Stan, who as far as I
    can see values money most, will
    realise that doing that will hurt
    the value of his asset and refrain
    from his own petty revenge.

  174. 174
    Goonersince54 says:

    Let’s hope so Matt
    Re the EL semi, I notice that Villarreal have lost both their league matches since qualifying.
    No prizes for guessing which Comp they are focused on.

  175. 175
    Osakamatt says:

    I remember UE doing the same
    with us and losing a CL place.
    However, Villareal don’t have that
    problem as they are way off.
    For better or worse UE might still
    be our manager now if he’d made
    the opposite decision that season
    and we’d qualified for the CL.
    Bit early to tell if that was good or
    bad for us – as the Chinese historian
    said at least a thousand years is
    required for a proper perspective 😄

  176. 176
    Goonersince54 says:

    my worry Matt is being in the same must win scenario as last final against Chelsea.
    They had secured CL place and el final for them was a nice no pressure affair, and won comfortably.
    We on the other hand couldn’t handle the pressure of a must win game,and fell apart.
    I know at the moment it’s only an If, but if Utd and we make the final,we have the same scenario with Utd already in CL for next season, and us in the hot seat must win nightmare.
    If this does transpire, let’s pray we embrace the challenge rather than shrivel in the spotlight like last time.

  177. 177
    Bathgooner says:

    Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Arsenal’s first Double with Goonerholics Forever.

    Charlie, King of Highbury with that iconic celebration. 24 +1 appearances & 10 goals in ’71-72

  178. 178
    OsakaMatt says:

    Yes,better Roma. And Man U have bottled quite a few semi finals so there is certainly a chance.

  179. 179
    TTG says:

    Clive ,
    You make a good point about the final in Baku but last season we faced Chelsea again in a final knowing if we lost we’d be out of Europe and beat them . Stories I’ve heard suggest Emery”s preparations for Baku were chaotic, certainly the league games leading up to it were bizarre .
    On a wider point I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about Stan Kroenke that made me want to meet him or even to consider he might be the sort of person to own Arsenal. He really doesn’t do and clearly isn’t interested in PR offensives. He is just offensive .

  180. 180
    Goonersince54 says:

    He clearly has no people skills and looks as if he has had a charisma bypass.
    His son looks like a wet week as well.
    As for their apology of an apology,I don’t think they will show their faces at the Ems for quite a while.
    They leave me cold.
    The damage to our Club is immeasurable, and I can imagine opposition players and fans outside the super 6, will be winding our boys up big time.

  181. 181
    North Bank Ned says:

    Top marks to Arteta for the way he handled the ESL questions at his press conference. Proper Arsenal class.

    I see Willian says he wants to play in the US, but only after he has won something with us. In that case, we’d better win the Europe League, so he can be off in the summer.

  182. 182
    TTG says:

    I’ve not seen Arteta’s interview yet and I’ve seen some comments from supporters who aren’t as impressed but I feel very sorry for him having to comment on a position that he has no role in assuming . It detracts from preparation for what may be an important game.
    Let’s not hold Willian up if he wants to be on his way 😀

  183. 183
    Countryman100 says:

    Another top Arseblog, this time written by Tim Stillman

    I’m So Bored of the KSE

  184. 184
    North Bank Ned says:

    Florentino Perez is starting to sound as delusional as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.

  185. 185
    bt8 says:

    And who pops up for the surprise run for the ESL title?

  186. 186
    Jose says:

    Just me in my new role as manager of East Clapham Clappers. We will be going places, not like those losers at Spurs.

  187. 187
    OsakaMatt says:

    Oh no you won’t !!

  188. 188
    Bathgooner says: