Preston North End Fans’ Panel’s John Roper fears the “beginning of the end” for English football

Members of the Lancashire Post’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel have reacted angrily to the proposal by six clubs to form a breakaway European Super League.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 10:15 am
Updated Monday, 19th April 2021, 3:28 pm

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham have signed up to the alternative to the present Champions League, along with clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and the two Milan outfits.

But with the threat of expulsion from the Premier League there is a real risk the six English sides will turn their back on the domestic game and its glorious history.

And that has brought a backlash from supporters across the country – including at Deepdale.

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What would a breakaway by the six clubs mean for the future at Deepdale?

PNE Fans’ Panel member John Roper told the Lancashire Post: “From a personal point of view I think it would be a disaster for the English game with all the money and talent that would leave the English game.

“There is also a lot of hypocrisy coming from the Premier League and UEFA.

“These two bodies created a money-orientated Premier League where the gulf in income between top flight and Championship is too big by a factor of 10.

“UEFA also created a Champions League for clubs that weren’t champions but were “big names”.

“I see a future in world football of a 24- club World Premier League which could be bigger than the World Cup itself in terms of revenue and viewing figures.

“If this European Super League comes to fruition it will be the beginning of the end for football as we currently know – a very sad day indeed.”

And Fans’ Panel member John Smith said: “Since Sky TV got involved with football at the start of the nineties the game has developed and many of Europe’s top clubs are now owned by the public companies of foreign businessmen.

“The game has now become more geared towards the army of subscribing armchair “fans” from across the globe rather than the average working class Joe Public, whose visit to his football club was the highlight of his weekend after a week of hard toil and graft.

“It would take me 10 years to earn the same as Premier League footballers now earn in a week .

“This latest development illustrates the greed of football’s fat cats who took the decision to break away and form a European League without even consulting or considering their own fans.”

And he fears for the future of the game if the plans become reality.

He added: “It reminds me a bit of the Kerry Packer World Series in cricket during the late seventies which resulted in the national teams being denied the use of their best players for a three years until a compromise was reached.

“This could happen to football if UEFA refuse to sanction the league with the Premier League becoming a much-diluted product if the big teams play their second-string players, like they tend to do in the now devalued FA and League Cups.

“If it does happen things will not change much for the fans who watch the game on television but will have a knock-on effect for the rest of the teams in the Premier and EFL leagues whose incomes from television revenue would be decreased.

“The Kerry Packer World Series cricket ran from 1977 -79 and changed the face of cricket.

“It would be tempting for football’s governing bodies to regard this league as a rebel league and say okay “off you pop” but the repercussions of this would be felt by everyone involved in the game.”