MILLWALL’S Gary Rowett praised fans and players for coming together to voice their opposition to the proposed European Super League before the project collapsed amid fury at the plans.
There was widespread disbelief and anger in the game when it was announced that six Premier League teams had signed up to the ESL – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – to form a new midweek competition to rival the Champions League.
AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid were also to be part of the league.
It was seen as a cabal of clubs trying to maximise earnings (investment bank JP Morgan was to provide a £3billion grant) in a league in which the founding members were always guaranteed their place.
But less than 72 hours later the six English clubs had pulled out, with north London clubs Arsenal and Tottenham apologising to their fans.
That was after supporters held protests outside grounds last week. Even after the collapse of the ESL, fans of Arsenal and Spurs demanded the resignation of their boards.
Players such as Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson also spoke out against the project.
“Fans and players at the top clubs came out and stood side by side, which was brilliant,” Rowett said.
“There is that divide sometimes in terms of what people think of players, the money they’re paid and the feeling of, ‘this is our club, it’s a working-class club’.
“Ultimately, they stood side by side and had the same message: You can’t do this, this is ridiculous. No will enjoy it, no one wants it. You can’t take the clubs away from their origins, their history and their traditions.
“I thought that was brilliant. It kind of capped off the end of the season, to a certain degree, with Covid and no fans.
“It made everyone realise we’re all in it together and it’s not about the vast rewards, the TV rights, for some of the big clubs and the power they’ve got.”
Image: Millwall FC