Gary Neville has admitted he is “worried” by the involvement of Joel Glazer in the plans to form a European Super League.
The Manchester United owner has been appointed as vice-chairman of the breakaway division, alongside Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez installed as chairman.
A number of the key figures involved stepped down from the European Clubs Association on Monday amid the fallout of their proposals being made public, including United chief Ed Woodward.
And with Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich, Man City’s Sheikh Mansour and Liverpool’s John Henry all on board, the conglomerate represent a who’s who of elite football executives and owners who are threatening to change the face of football as we know it.
But Neville is particularly concerned by the presence of the Glazers – and namely Joel – in the initiative.
“When I woke up, I saw the statement and it had Joel Glazer’s name on it, I thought: ‘This is a problem, big problem’,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
“He doesn’t put his name on anything, that man. He’s intelligent, he knows what he wants and he’s parked his weasels and he’s come out.
“This is serious, he’s not backing down, he’s going to try and push this through. Once he puts his name on it, he’s going to try and force this through.
“They’ve been through hell at Manchester United in the early years. They don’t care, and when I saw his name on it, I was really worried.”
The Premier League and UEFA have condemned the plans, which would see the ‘Big Six’ English clubs of Man Utd, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham participate in a new-look European midweek league.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan have also signed up, with a further eight teams still to be confirmed.
Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain have all rejected the chance to be included.
It was Joel Glazer’s statement which was shared far and wide on various club websites on Sunday – including that of Man Utd’s rivals Liverpool and Man City.
“By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid,” Glazer said.
But Neville blasted the whole idea and urged football fans and players to fight against it.
“They’ve created a monopoly, a closed shop, a tournament where you’re guaranteed to be in it,” he ranted. ” West Ham and Leicester are in a Champions League place, forget it, they don’t get into the Champions League anymore, it doesn’t matter where they finish in the league. What’s the point?
“They’ll take away everything from this country: the pyramid, the sincerity of competition, the honesty and integrity of competition that we value and they’re taking it away.
“Yeah, we know that Manchester United have more money, we know that Liverpool have more money, we know that Arsenal have more money, we can live with that.
“There will always be top clubs that have more money, but they can be beaten by Sheffield United at home, they can draw with Fulham – and they’re trying to take that away to create franchise football.
“Never, it can never happen, I don’t think these six owners, I hope they’re panting hard tonight, feeling uncomfortable and their stomachs are churning and the executives and players who play for these clubs – I can’t sit here and say to the players of Liverpool and United to go on strike because that wouldn’t be right, but lads, if you’ve got it in you, you can stop this, you can mobilise it.”