And it’s the perfect time to remind owners that fact will never change.
Despite the confirmation late on Sunday evening that six Premier League clubs had signed up to join the inaugural 12-club European Super League (ESL), within 48 hours all six English clubs had announced their withdrawal from the competition.
It takes a lot for rival football fans to agree unanimously on anything – just look on social media after any game – but the greed and arrogance displayed by the owners of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham and their European counterparts turned fan unity in England from an impossible dream into a reality.
Football supporters – and players – quickly condemned a situation that would have left the football landscape looking completely different from the one we currently know and love.
Despite what was written in their manifesto, this was never about the game, the fans nor the wider football family.
The comment about adding a women’s version of the ESL was so clearly an afterthought and an obvious one given that the men in charge have barely shown interest in the women’s game at their own clubs until the past couple of years, let alone the women’s game as a whole.
It looked like nothing more than an opportunity for a few ridiculously rich men to get even richer at the expense of those who have made them wealthy via ticket and merchandise sales.
If it were about anything other than money, would they not have started a conversation before trying to steamroll everyone by making such a dramatic announcement?
Would they not have asked some questions before telling us that they had all the answers?
That said, they didn’t ask because frankly, they just don’t care.
There are many descriptors that could be used to describe those who set the now-bungled-plan in motion and most aren’t complimentary, but the one I think represents them best is “naive”.
The owners were naive to think they could just push these changes through with no consultation and little opposition.
They were naive to believe that the rest of the world sees football the way they do – in pounds, euros and dollars, and not by the memories or celebrations of those who took to the pitch and made us fall in love with the game in the first place.
But most importantly, they were naive to think that the fans don’t matter – when they do. The speed with which their fateful decision was overturned shows that when all is said and done, they matter most.
And they always will.
While the game and all that surrounds it has undoubtedly altered from the days of Sir Matt Busby, Michel Platini and Johan Cruyff – the fervour with which people support their teams has not.
That obsession only strengthens as time goes by, and the feeling of acceptance we all crave is something that has always been visible in the stands when supporting one’s team. It was the same emotion seen on the pavements this week when those same fans were questioning the choices their clubs were making, with loud protests.
Football has gone from a sport to help people relax and find enjoyment after a stressful working week into one where profit is key, and success is measured by how many different sponsorship deals the boardroom can negotiate.
If anyone can explain why any club would need a paint or a pillow sponsor, like Tottenham or Manchester United do, then please let me know.
Along with the fans, one other positive from the idiotic ESL breakaway attempt has been the players once again finding their voices and realising they are more than just employees who put their bodies on the line to fulfill a stuffed fixture list.
The speed with which they also came out to disagree with the situation reminds us that when all is said and done those on the pitch knows who and what really matters – even if their bosses don’t.
The players and fans are on the same page and why wouldn’t they be? The children singing their favourite players' names in the stands and requesting the latest shirt for their birthday presents are the same young people that grow up wanting to walk onto the pitch.
We can all learn lessons from this and it’s vital to ensure we learn them quickly, for without fans and players uniting, we won’t be able to start the process of taking back our sport.
For too long, people who clearly have no understanding or care for the game have been the ones running it.
From a lack of terrestrial TV coverage, extortionate ticket and merchandise prices to tournaments in places with questionable human rights records; the true essence of this beautiful game has been trickling out of the hands of those that value and need it the most.
It’s time to use our collective power for more than just money matters.
The racism and bigotry still poisoning our game needs to be the next item on the agenda. A coalition of fans, players and football people have stopped the ESL; now let’s put a stop to the hatred that blights us on an hourly basis.
Just like this league cannot go ahead without fans, it’s a reminder that in truth, neither can our sport.
The fans are done speaking softly. They’re shouting and willing to ensure their voices are heard with their feet and, more importantly, their wallets.
Those sitting comfortably in the boardroom would do well to listen.
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