Cobblers Trust believes European Super League plan threatens 'the whole football pyramid'

Northampton Town Supporters' Trust has condemned controversial plans for a new European Super League, believing its formation would 'inevitably threaten the whole football pyramid in England'.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 2:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 2:20 pm
Football fans across the country have reacted angrily to the plans for a European Super League

Premier League giants Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur stunned the footballing world on Sunday when it was announced they are planning to be part of a new money-spinning European 'Super' League.

Joining them in what would effectively be a closed competition, with no relegation for the founder members, would be Spanish trio Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletico Madrid, as well as Italian outfits AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.

The ESL would be run in direct competition to the UEFA Champions League with the clubs still planning to play in their domestic leagues, but being boosted by the massive riches they have been promised from the new league.

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Football fans across the country have reacted angrily to the plans for a European Super League

It is a move that has been met with disbelief and disgust across the footballing world.

The Leagues involved as well as UEFA and FIFA have threatened the clubs and players with serious repercussions if the plans go ahead, including points deductions or even being expelled from their domestic leagues, while there were also warnings that players would be banned from playing for their countries in European Championships and World Cups.

On their official Twitter account, the Cobblers have publicly stated their opposition to the plans, and now the Northampton Town Supporters' Trust has issued a statement joining the chorus of disapproval.

But they have also called on the Cobblers' owners to withdraw their previous backing for last year's 'Project Big Picture', which was put forward by Liverpool and Manchester United.

That was another controversial plan that involved EFL clubs being handed £250m to share between themselves, plus a promise of 25 per cent of revenue from future TV deals that the Premier League secures.

There was a price to pay though, including the footballing calendar being trimmed to suit the Premier League clubs - with the number of Premier League teams cut to 18, and the EFL Cup (currently the Carabao Cup) and Community Shield being abolished.

The plan was shot down within days of being announced in October, but the Trust believe that move was all part of the plan for rich Premier League owners to restructure English football.

Chairman Kelvin Thomas said at the time there were problems and 'contentious issues' with 'Big Picture' but also felt those proposals had 'to be seen as a potential way forward', and that they offered 'the chance to make all clubs sustainable from the start and make a massive difference to football'.

"The Northampton Town FC Supporters Trust board is disappointed, but not surprised, to learn of the proposed formation of a new European Super League to include six of English football's biggest clubs," read the Trust statement.

"As we feared with Project Big Picture, it is clear that these clubs, all under overseas ownership, are determined to forge a football structure which will inevitably threaten the whole football pyramid in England and further entrench TV rights income in a small cabal of franchises.

"The plan would see the Super League play midweek matches in Europe while the 'Big Six' have proposed that they would still participate in the EPL on the weekend.

"The implications are obvious - ever more enlarged Super League squads, and a subjugation of the EPL to B league status.

"Just as we have witnessed these same clubs seemingly determined to force a B league further down the pyramid, starting with their U21s participation in an EFL cup.

"Concentration of TV rights income with those Big Six clubs will widen the financial gap in the EPL, and the divisions below, and likely force the EFL towards part time or, worse, amateur status.

"We sincerely hope that the overseas owners of NTFC fully reconsider their previous support for Project Big Picture, of which the European Super League concept is an inevitable outcome, and join the many voices across English football in outright opposition and condemnation of this proposal."

The Cobblers tweet about the Super League proposal read: "It is about history, the joy of the promotions, the disappointment of the relegations.

"It is the ups and the downs, the chance to hope and dream and to bounce back from set backs. It is about context - there has to be hope and jeopardy to winning and losing.

"It is the hope (however small) that one day your club could rise to the top of the game.

"It is that which builds the emotional attachment that allows clubs to break down barriers in communities and gives clubs the platform to educate, inform and guide those in need that others don't have.

"A closed shop at the top of the game erodes all of this. #NoToSuperLeague"