Well, what was your favorite Super League memory?
It appears that the most reviled and nakedly greedy idea to come down the sports pike — and I fully recognize the enormity of that statement — is going to collapse in on itself in less than 48 hours after it was created. Chelsea — and it really must be said that a group or sport is truly lost when Chelsea have the first attack of consciousness — reportedly pulled out of the Super League this afternoon. Whether or not they did so in response to a throng of protesting fans blocking the team bus from entering Stamford Bridge before today’s game against Brighton will never be proved, but we can probably safely say the eruption of fan anger played a part. Manchester City wasn’t too far behind, and reportedly Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are heading for the exit door as well.
There are reports of the 12 clubs meeting tonight to discuss dropping the whole idea, which is the height of a chef’s kiss. It also appears the fiasco has caused Ed Woodward, the clown prince chairman of Manchester United, to fall on his sword out of embarrassment.
Perhaps what I ignored while in a puddle of dread, disappointment, and outright shock it had even gotten to this point, is how undeniably stupid all of it was. The Super League appears to have been crushed by fan and media outrage… which this cartel of greedy, assholic vampire squids didn’t anticipate? They didn’t think this would happen? Their PR campaign over the last two days has consisted of midnight releases of press statements left on websites like flaming bags of dogshit, Florentino Perez exhausting his usual noxious gas from whichever orifice is open on his face or body at that time, and a smashing of the button marked, “Uh, let the manager who knows nothing about it handle it.” They simply had no plan to even deal with the vitriol and criticism fired their way by various cannons, much less any argument to counter it.
Lesser on the scale of stupid, but still pretty universally so, was the idea that they could round out the rest of the group in the coming weeks or months, as if other clubs would be sprinting into this mess while their fans gathered outside the grounds. Maybe that’s fine for the likes of John Henry or the Glazers or Stan Kroenke, who very well might not step foot in the UK again, but it’s not for everyone else.
Furthermore, these clubs have essentially blown whatever leverage they had over UEFA for the changes they want to the Champions League, which they will now have to come slinking back to in the ultimate Costanza. It’s one thing to dangle a breakaway league as a threat or cudgel. It’s quite another to show the world you don’t have the balls to actually use it because some people yelled at you on TV. I’m happy this appears to be over, don’t get me wrong, but christ, if you’re going to do it, do it.
The only thing they’ve accomplished is to show UEFA that they can be toppled easily, have no real convictions, and are hardly organized or smart enough to pull this off in the future in a way that they might actually see through to completion. And they may have spurred enough anger and calls for change to see themselves put through new rules and regulations to prevent any idea like this from ever happening again. (Although if there’s an organization more balloon-handed and raisin-brained than these 12 dipshits, it’s Boris Johnson’s government.)
Still, there’s the far-off fantasy of the UK pushing through Germany’s “50+1” rule, which would see these thumb-brains/dicks have to give up half their club to the fans. There’s little chance of that, but this charade, and it turned out to be just that, has actually made it a possibility which it wasn’t before. Fine work all around.
The problems that caused the creation of this giant greed mutant that apparently had no internal organs are still here, of course. And UEFA and FIFA are just about the last bodies that you would pick to solve them. Still, at least for one day, we can bask in the glow that the reactions and cries and protests from actual fans — the guys and girls buying the tickets and the shirts, the ones who made these clubs what they are whether the owners would ever admit or not — actually brought something terrible in sports down. It doesn’t happen every day. Oh sure, nothing digs its heels in like a billionaire who will never admit to being wrong, and this probably isn’t over.
But it does feel like a win for us. And we don’t get many of them these days.