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Carragher hails jilted Super League a victory for ‘people power’ but issues fan warning

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher hailed the European Super League victory for ‘people power’ today – but warned fans need to keep football’s ‘dream’ alive.

As the Reds owner John Henry issued a grovelling apology, former England star Carragher said it was the fans who had changed history.

He spoke out after all six Premier League clubs announced their withdrawal from the hugely controversial competition.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said the club “regret the anxiety and upset caused by the proposal” while Arsenal apologised for their “mistake” in signing up for the venture.

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Henry took full responsibility for the “disruption” caused by the project in a video message to the Anfield faithful.

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Liverpool legend and Sky pundit Jamie Carragher spoke to the Mirror today
Liverpool legend and Sky pundit Jamie Carragher spoke to the Mirror today

As Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, and Inter Milan also withdrew, leaving just three out of the original 12 breakaway clubs, Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli admitted it could not continue.

Jubilant English fans could be able to take stakes in football clubs as part of review, the Government confirmed today.

Carragher paid tribute to players, managers and above all die-hard supporters who had come together to defeat the Super League within 48 hours of it being made public.

Prior to the announcement being made on Tuesday night, he told the Mirror that he ‘honestly believed the power of the people could stop it’.

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Today's Daily Mirror front page
Today’s Daily Mirror front page

Today he told us: “I could not believe how quickly it happened. But as I predicted, as soon as one wavered, the rest followed.

“So it was a question of who was going first.”

He added: “When you saw Jurgen Klopp and all the players come out against it, Rashford and Henderson, I was confident that it was not going to happen.

“We should be really proud of the fans. You have rivalries between clubs week in and week out but this time we all came together.

“Hopefully this can be the start of something new. There could be fans on the board..

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Chelsea fans gather outside the Football Club's stadium in protest
Chelsea fans gather outside the Football Club’s stadium in protest

“I am not 100 percent sure how the German model works, but it is worth looking at. This was not just down to one club but all six clubs – they were all as bad as each other.”

Carragher, 43, like Gary Neville an outspoken critic of the Super League, tweeted a picture of a headstone engraved with the inscription “European Super League, born April 18, 2021, died April 20, 2021.”

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust have called for chairman Barry Buck and chief executive Guy Laurence to step down.

Man City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano, Arsenal’s chief executive Vinai Venkatesham, Spurs chairman Levy and Liverpool ’s chief executive Billy Hogan were also under pressure to go.

John W Henry delivered a message to Liverpool supporters
John W Henry delivered a message to Liverpool supporters

Crystal Palace co-owner Steve Parish said: “Make no mistake… this was an attempted coup, an attempt to steal football”.

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber has called on the Premier League to take immediate action, saying: “There’s a lot of bridges that now need to be rebuilt.”

Henry’s apology is seen as an attempt to convince the Premier League not to give them a points deduction.

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Carragher admitted that he could not see American tycoon Henry being able to stay at Liverpool.

Benjamin Mendy of Manchester City during the FA Cup Third Round match between Manchester City and Birmingham City on January 10, 2021 in Manchester
Benjamin Mendy spoke out

England stars Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Trent Alexander-Arnold all stood against the ESL.

Sterling posted: “Ok. Bye.”

His team mate Benjamin Mendy added: “What a beautiful day for football. Let’s keep playing, let’s keep fighting, let’s keep dreaming.”

Henderson led the backlash with a tweet which read: “We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen. This is our collective position.

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The plans were roundly condemned
The plans were roundly condemned

“Our commitment to this football club and its supporters is absolute and unconditional. You’ll never walk alone.”

And England 1966 hero George Cohen, 81, warned it could have ruined the game in this country.

“It was not just the impact on the Premier League. You think of the FA Cup and the excitement when the big names come out of the hat,” he said.

“You think of the buzz for the fans when these big teams turn up at their grounds. We were risking all of that.”

Dortmund's fans applaud during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Moenchengladbach - the German model could be looked at if the English game needs transforming
Dortmund’s fans applaud during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Moenchengladbach – the German model could be looked at if the English game needs transforming

Former England striker Chris Sutton said that Manchester United ’s statement late on Tuesday was “pathetic”. It was three paragraphs long and did not feature an apology.

Boris Johnson vowed to press on with a probe into football governance and ownership despite the ESL collapse.

He has ordered former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch to carry out a fan-led review of the sport.

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Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions today, Mr Johnson told the Commons: “I welcome the decision taken by the six English teams not to join the European Super League.

The Mirror wants football given back to the fans
The Mirror wants football given back to the fans

“The announcement was the right result for football fans, for clubs and for communities across the country.”

He added: “One of the most worrying features about the proposals is that they would have taken clubs that take their names from great, famous British towns and cities, English towns and cities, and turned them just into global brands with no relation to the fans, to the communities that gave them life and that give them the most love and support.

“That was, in my view totally wrong – to say nothing of the lack of competition.

“And it’s entirely right that (Ms Crouch) will do a root and branch investigation into the governance of football and into what we can do to promote the role of fans in that governance.”

The PM’s spokesman added: “We don’t see the withdrawal of these clubs as the end of the process.” Labour leader Keir Starmer urged ministers to seize the momentum generated by the fierce backlash to the doomed rebel league.

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Arsenal fan Mr Starmer told MPs: “The European Super League would have destroyed football. We now need to get on with the other changes that are necessary.”

The review will examine the German model of ownership where fans take stakes in clubs, the Government confirmed. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden vowed “we shouldn’t let up now” in probing the sport’s governance and ownership.

He told the BBC: “I do think we need to look at options for fans to be able to have stakes in clubs.” Football club owners need to understand they are just “temporary custodians of this piece of our national life and heritage that goes back over a century”, he warned.

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The Cabinet Minister added: “We have seen a lot of investment in the Premier League – it has ensured we have a fantastic game up and down the country, pretty much every day we have world-class players playing here.

“But I think it’s important that, as part of the fan-led review, we look at how we can empower fans.”

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A powerful Westminster committee will also push ahead with its inquiry – and plans to haul football bosses and the game’s governing bodies before Parliament.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee chairman Julian Knight tweeted: “The likely collapse of the European Super League is a stark example of hubris, greed and incompetence.

“But it does provide an opportunity to reset football so it becomes a fairer sport and our committee is determined to hold the game’s authorities and the government to account.”

People walk past anti Super League banners outside Anfield as twelve of Europe's top football clubs launch a breakaway
Liverpool fans were outraged by the ‘Super League greed’

The 12-team Super League was announced on Sunday to widespread condemnation. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin welcomed the withdrawal of the English clubs from the planned breakaway league.

“I said that it is admirable to admit a mistake and these clubs made a big mistake,” he added. “But they are back in the fold now and I know they have a lot to offer not just to our competitions but to the whole of the European game.

“The important thing now is that we move on, rebuild the unity that the game enjoyed before this and move forward together.”

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Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer said the club “apologise unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days” in an open letter published on the club’s website.

Joel Glazer, right, pictured here with his brother Avram, issued an apology to Man Utd fans
Joel Glazer, right, pictured here with his brother Avram, issued an apology to Man Utd fans

He wrote: “Over the past few days, we have all witnessed the great passion which football generates, and the deep loyalty our fans have for this great club.

“You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.”

He added: “Although the wounds are raw and I understand that it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally committed to rebuilding trust with our fans and learning from the message you delivered with such conviction.

“We continue to believe that European football needs to become more sustainable throughout the pyramid for the long-term. However, we fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about it.

“In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions – promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry.

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“This is the world’s greatest football club and we apologise unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days. It is important for us to put that right.”

In a message posted on social media, Prince William said: “I’m glad the united voice of football fans has been heard and listened to.

“It is now really important that we use this moment to secure the future health of the game at all levels. As President of the FA, I’m committed to playing my part in that work.”

Fans’ six demands

  • *Fan-led review of the game
  • More money for grassroots and lower league clubs.
  • Cheaper season tickets, matchday food, drink and replica shirts
  • ‘Golden share’ for supporters to gain a place on boards; remove barriers to partial fan ownership
  • Examine the German ’50+1′ model to ensure no one owner can take over at clubs
  • Treat them like listed buildings – protect their history, and traditions.

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