The first time the words 'The Super League' came to the surface was via the Sunday newspapers back in 1998, and it was quickly laughed off. But the thoughts of such a breakaway league would not go away, on Sunday, 23 years after those initial headlines, it all quite suddenly happened, and the fall out for traditional football has been huge.
It was the whole secrecy of it that has hit so sorely, and so poorly. Entitled chairmen and presidents who, all this time, were talking and having meetings behind UEFA's backs to form the league. What was also stunning is how quick it has all come together- usually when such a new proposal is made there is a year on the horizon pencilled in, to start in 2024, 2025 etc, no this brand new format will start in August. It will feature at least 15 teams, though the official site says 20, and there will be no promotion and relegation which surely slaps gamesmanship and hard work in the face. The Super League want their teams to continue in the domestic leagues and in effect this competition would mean that the very elite teams would not participate in the Champions League any more, clearly UEFA are annoyed but they are also terrified that their product will mean zilch to sponsors in a manner of weeks.
Quite rightly any elite tournament where the majority of clubs are being barred from playing goes in the face of sport itself. Gary Neville, the ex Manchester United player, made some incredible and heartfelt statements, even to the point where he was disgusted with his own team being any part of it. Indeed you'd be hard pressed to find any true football fan or player who is for the Super League.
UEFA, FIFA and local FA's have all said that players involved would be banned from playing at the Euro's and in World Cup's. Also there has been talk about throwing those clubs out of domestic competition, fining the teams and deducting points. Does that mean Leicester or West Ham could be 2021 league winners? Each side might be calling their bluffs right now. One can understand the associations anger, but in reality is any of what they propose legal? We have seen time and time again when UEFA have used their sanctions against the big clubs, the big clubs have won in court.
And what of the 12 teams that have signed up? Is it not a disadvantage that half of those clubs come from one country, England? One has to question how Tottenham have been selected and signed up, based on 1 league title won 60 years ago? Arsenal have been a shadow of any great side for the past 15 years. Chelsea and Manchester City would not have even been considered 15 years ago. It seems that teams are joining just to make up the numbers. This is a story that will run and run but the latest is that Manchester City have withdrawn already, with Chelsea soon set to follow. Will this all simply disintegrate into nothing in a couple of days? Who knows!
In other news Tottenham have sacked Jose Mourinho. It hasn't been confirmed but surely there was a run in with Daniel Levy, club chairman at Tottenham. Levy knew sacking Mourinho would cost the club at least £20m, so sack him before a cup final and deny Mourinho a glorified trophy was the little revenge Levy was going to get. The timing seems off and one could wonder if Mourinho deserved more than 18 months in charge. It seems that his past fall outs with Chelsea and Manchester United has hindered him and Levy could only see things getting worse. Anyhow paying out £20m will feel like short change to the money Spurs will make in the Super League, assuming it doesn't collapse before it's even started.
The Super League news has overshadowed the fact that this years FA Cup final will take place between Chelsea and Leicester. Chelsea beat and ended Manchester City's quadruple chances with a 1-0 victory and Leicester made their first final since 1969 when they beat Southampton 1-0. Chelsea are favourites to win the cup at 2.10 and you can get 3.50 on Leicester.
Finally the race for the top 4 was blown wide open again as West Ham lost 3-2 to Newcastle over the weekend but Liverpool also dropped 2 points in midweek as they drew 1-1 with Leeds to stay behind the Hammers. Everton drew 2-2 with Tottenham in what would be Mourinho's last game for the Londoners and those two teams have shared an incredible 13 goals between them in their last two meetings.
Premier League team of the week: Meslier, Saiss, Nelsinho, Boly, Llorente, Lingard, Mane, Pogba, Coleman, Kane, Sigurdsson