What an absolutely crazy few days. One of the most historic in Football ever, and something we will be telling our children and grandchildren over and over again. In the space of 60 hours, football went from being completely normal, to the potential of being completely destroyed, and then almost back to normal again. I’m mentally drained for sure.
It was reported that we were the first club to leave the European Super League, just two days after ‘verbally agreeing’ to joining the breakaway competition consisting of the ‘best’ 20 teams in Europe as a replacement for the Champions League. Although it probably wasn’t as a consequence of this, a few hours before the exit was announced to the media, there was a large protest outside Stamford Bridge consisting of thousands of fans from multiple Premier League clubs to show their frustration at the boards of these clubs. I’m not going to go into detail about the ESL since we recorded a huge one hour episode on the whole situation, which you can listen here.
It’s absolutely brilliant news that all English clubs will be leaving the ESL and rejoining the ECA, but there is still SO MUCH we can learn from the last few days. I’ll be looking at what we’ve learnt from this whole disaster, and what needs to happen as soon as possible before we see anything like this ever again. Because I bet you now, if a scenario like this is even close to happening in our lifetimes, it will happen – and that’s because the idiotic billionaires would’ve learnt from their mistakes. But it’s now time for us to make sure they don’t get that opportunity to pounce again.
We need an explanation and an apology.
Do not forget what our club owners had in mind initially. All these reports about Chelsea being one of the clubs who felt like they were ‘backed into a corner’ or that Roman Abramovich was never ‘too keen’ is an absolute load of bollocks. Yes, us making the first move in leaving does make it seem realistic, but don’t fall into their PR trap which makes us look like the good guys. We could have rejected the proposal, and acted like the big guy instead of the sheep, except we didn’t – we bottled it.
Remember when Liverpool and Arsenal furloughed some of their staff during the global pandemic and only due to the backlash went and fixed their mistake? It’s the exact same thing. All morals were intended to be defeated as long as they benefitted financially, it was fine in their eyes.
Whatever anyone says, don’t forget that this was just more emphasis on the fact that our club do not give a single crap about their fans. They were happy to destroy football for more money in the expense of Chelsea fans’ enjoyment and satisfaction with the club, and to be honest even mental health as making such a drastic change in the middle of the pandemic when thousands of people are relying on football to keep on going was never going to satisfy. We need an apology from the club, and every single English club deserves an apology too from each top 6 club as their selfishness and greed was very visible and could have left them in huge trouble.
How do we stop this from ever happening again?
Is there anything we can do? I think the first thing which springs to mind is follow a very similar model to how some German clubs do it – the 50+1 model. We talked about it in our latest podcast episode, but to summarise it’s when clubs like Bayern Munich have their fanbase owning a large proportion of the club, so any decision such as these goes through the fans and at the best interest of them. After all, everyone knows this, but fans are solely the reason for why football is so big as it is. There also has to be more legaslation from the Premier League sides of things which should make sure that there is no risk of them leaving domestic football.
To be fair, Chelsea were actually a bit ahead of other Premier League clubs on this one. Before everything was resolved, people were thinking about ‘Chelsea Pitch Owners’ as a possibility of a way to get out of the ESL. To quickly summarise, the CPO is made up of fans of the club who can own shares of the pitch, as well as owning rights to the name ‘Chelsea’, as well as the stadium meaning that every home game had to be played in Fulham. This meant that if the ESL was to hold their tournament somewhere else, under the clauses in the CPO, this wouldn’t be possible and we would have to leave the breakaway.
So, get fans involved, whatever way it is. Football will always be a business, I get that. But football can only be a business with fans of the club. So don’t lose them – we’re fans, not consumers.
We need to use the same energy to defeat bigger problems like racism.
Something which Patrick Bamford mentioned following Leeds draw with Liverpool was how quickly UEFA and FIFA responded, and I totally agree. He talked about that as soon as money was involved and their business was at a risk, statements were flying about every ten minutes and there was very clear communication. However, when a huge problem in football like racism gets involved, it normally takes a few weeks for something to come out, and the punishment tends to be very small.
I mean, FIFA were literally threatening players who participated in the European Super League with bans from the Euros and the World Cup despite it not being their fault and it all being money based, yet the racist towards Glen Kamara only got a 10 match ban? Make it make sense.
I think also, we as fans and viewers can do better too. Look at how every single club, pundit, fan and celebrity were united together to end this idea of a ESL. Yet when racism is talked about, we see a few tweets here and there and some 5 minute television coverage. It’s not good enough, it needs to change, and we have to see the same energy towards getting rid of these huge issues in every day life, and football.
The new Champions League format still needs changing.
I think not many people have realised this. The ESL, from a club’s point of view, was only accepted because they were not happy with the money gained in the Champions League, and it was a threat to UEFA to change this format which is still happening from 2024.
In fact, one of the biggest criticisms about the ESL was it’s format, when the new UCL one isn’t that far off it either. The biggest complain was how Arsenal and Spurs were involved despite not winning anything and were there to stay based off historical events, and it’s the same here as you can see in the second bullet point. The final point also was criticised with the ESL format in that there would be simply too many games and the players will burn out very quickly. And if they won’t burn out, the players will be rested for the ‘weaker’ games in their domestic countries, making that a lot less entertaining.
And most importantly, although I disagree with it, the revenue has to increase from UEFA’s standpoint to the clubs. Otherwise what’s stopping the ESL happening once again in 2024 when the clubs aren’t happy with the money they are making from the Champions League?
Will we ever be able to come back from this remarkable moment in history?
I spoke to our writer Jon about this one, and this is what he had to say:
Look at the fan reaction earlier today – you can’t look at that and ignore that this entire thing ever happened. It’s like a permanent stain on our history. We had to have Petr Cech, a club legend, go out there and risk himself in a mob of angry people to try and get them to let the bus out for the players to go play; and it’s of no fault to the players and coaches like Klopp said yesterday. These are some young kids that are the same age as me, or not much older or younger that are seeing their dreams of representing their country in Euros or the World Cup or playing in the UCL final flash before their eyes because of a choice that’s not theirs, and then they have to honor their contract to this club that is doing this to them.
And he’s not wrong. There is so much power in football, and that will never change. But it is remarkable how in a blink of an eye it looked like no academy players would be playing for their big teams any more, players wouldn’t be allowed to play in the Euros, World Cup, Premier League and any home countries. And then even more crazily that they didn’t have a single choice. Fans, players, coaches – they’re keeping the clubs alive, no one else, and they need to be respected.
Do you agree with me? Let me know what you think by tagging us on our social media platforms or leaving a comment down below!
Written by Paree