The fallout from the European Super League continues to dominate the headlines and is becoming somewhat toxic. After an astonishing week in football, the beautiful game currently looks rather ugly.
Although the controversial plans have been scrapped, at least for now, an element of unease remains within the game and, with the Premier League clubs at loggerheads, civil war is on the horizon.
A chasm between the have’s (the dirty half-dozen) and the have not’s (the other 14 members of the division) was already wide before any European Super League plans were mooted and such recent acts, may only widen the divide between the two groups.
For those who had their heads turned by the lure of gigantic revenues, there is a sense that the damage is already done and with their true colours being shown, the unbreakable bond between club and supporter is now under severe strain.
Perhaps for most of the Premier League rebels, the initial displeasure between fans and owners will soon dissipate and if silverware can be delivered in the final weeks of the season, any memories of a potential money grab will long be forgotten. However, Tottenham may struggle to sweep this mess under the carpet with supporters already having a fractious relationship with Daniel Levy and the club’s owners, ENIC. Indeed, the European Super League mess could be the act that finally mobilises supporters.
There’s always been an element of anti-Levy and ENIC sentiment within the Spurs fanbase and, although social media is a good place to direct your ire, it’s nevergoo been enough to create enough of an army to drive through change. Despite all the money that has been held back by the owners in the pursuit of glory, Tottenham have been given a shiny new toy in the past couple of years and for many, that is enough to placate shortcomings on the pitch.
This has given some the viewpoint that ENIC cannot be all that bad, as they have constructed a magnificent new ground and ploughed millions of pounds into the local area – as part of an ongoing and ambitious redevelopment plan.
However, with the European Super League it seems as if the mask has slipped once for all and anything that ENIC construct is never for those who love the club or live local to it, it is all about squeezing more revenue out of their impressive property portfolio.
Squeezing revenue was the sole aim with the formation of a closed shop and, with a legion of Tottenham fans saying, “not on our watch”, there is a sense that they have at least won a particularly important battle.
The question now though is can they win the war? Their ultimate aim is to drive ENIC out of their club once and for all and if they can topple this investment group, they can also rid themselves of Daniel Levy.
Even when announcing their departure from the ill-fated European Super League, the club offered nothing in the way of an apology. There was not an ounce of humbleness amongst their words and a million miles apart from the video message offered by Liverpool’s John W Henry.
Tottenham’s statement may as well have said “we were in it for the money” and, although you can understand why the biggest clubs want to make as much of it as possible, going into football piracy is not the way to do so.
Even after the statement was posted on Monday night, that has only served to fan the flames even more and with lifelong fans now ready to ignore their season ticket renewal emails, the previous undercurrent of displeasure is now rising to the surface.
This begs the question, how do you turn noise into action? In the past, the answer would be to simply hit the club where it hurts and hamper their revenue streams by not buying or merchandise or even boycotting home games.
Now though, COVID-19 has taught us that football without fans is still something and even without a paying customer through the doors, the Premier League and their counterparts can continue as a viable businesses.
Not only that, but when stadia doors reopen, those unrenewed season tickets will be swept up by someone else on the waiting list and this means, that in the end unless ENIC get an offer that even they cannot turn down, then unfortunately, they will always win in the end.
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