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Football Reporting


This victory is YOURS – pat yourselves on the back for ending Super League and humiliating cowardly billionaire owners

WE said they were cowards on Sunday, we said they were cowards on Monday.

And by yesterday, they proved they never had the courage of their own convictions.

Protests rose up across the country


Protests rose up across the countryCredit: Getty
Fans outside Old Trafford and many other stadiums made their voice heard


Fans outside Old Trafford and many other stadiums made their voice heardCredit: Reuters
Fans outside Chelsea brought traffic to a standstill


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Fans outside Chelsea brought traffic to a standstillCredit: Getty

They never had the stomach for the fight. They never even had the intelligence to attempt to justify their money-grabbing scheme.

Within 48 hours, their dismal little plot for a breakaway Super League had been reduced to dust.

It is an utter humiliation for those who attempted to trample all over 130 years of tradition.

Those who wished to destroy the ideals of competitive football in England and in Europe — not perfect but far better than Americanised franchise systems.

Unity is a rare and wonderful thing. But football’s dirty dozen managed to inspire that quality in this deeply-divided nation.

So pat yourselves on the back, all of you who spoke up against this monstrosity. Victory is yours.

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Rival clubs, managers, players, pundits, TV companies, newspapers, existing football governing bodies, politicians of all parties and even Prince William, all played their part with the strength and depth of their opposition to the idea of a closed-shop competition.

Gary Neville, a glorious cross between Wat Tyler and Winston Churchill, was magnificent throughout.

But rank-and-file supporters such as those who protested outside Elland Road and Stamford Bridge over the past two nights, and all of those who made their feelings clear on social media and by other means, were at the vanguard of the resistance.

This is the will of the people expressed loud and clear. A revulsion at naked greed. A hatred at this attack on basic sporting principles.

The message is clear — do not mess with English football. Do not mess with European football.

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Chelsea and Manchester City crumbled in unison. And while Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour might just be forgiven by fans of their own clubs now — the rest of us will always remember.

Arsenal fans put banners up outside the Emirates


Arsenal fans put banners up outside the EmiratesCredit: Alamy
Leeds players wore T-shirts in support


Leeds players wore T-shirts in supportCredit: PA
Anfield was covered in banners


Anfield was covered in bannersCredit: Getty

It was clear that this was a scheme engineered by the American owners of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal — who all boast major sporting franchises in the States.

May the Glazers of Manchester United, John W Henry and his Fenway cowboys at Liverpool and Stan Kroenke of Arsenal now be run out of town. They will never be forgiven.

Ed Woodward, the Glazers’ man, has now resigned. May more follow in his wake.

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The arrogance of supreme wealth is an extraordinary thing but it is not impregnable.

Abramovich bought into Chelsea as a vanity project, to win himself love and respect.

He threw open the doors to his hotel for NHS workers at the very start of the pandemic and he has spoken out strongly against racism and anti-semitism.

This is a poor little oligarch who wants to be loved. The strength of the hostility and hatred against the Super League plot, he had signed up to, clearly horrified him. When thousands of Chelsea fans staged their angry protests outside Stamford Bridge before last night’s clash with Brighton, Abramovich cracked.

And City’s Abu Dhabi sheikhs are motivated by similar desires to Abramovich.

City were the last of the big six to sign up to the sordid scheme and were immediately claiming, in private, that they were reluctant collaborators, who felt they could not be left behind.

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They could have made themselves look noble by refusing to join up in the first place.

Tottenham? Well they were just the rag-bag bunch who probably couldn’t even believe they had been invited to such a swanky-sounding party. Their inclusion was always laughable — 60 years since they last won the English title.

Now let us hope that the owners of Liverpool, United and Arsenal realise that they will never achieve their ultimate ambition of imposing closed-shop American franchise systems on English football.

Get out of our game, you brazen chancers. And never darken its doors again.

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