THREE Lions legend Sir Geoff Hurst last night hailed fans for their role in stopping the hated Super League, saying: “They saved football.”
But the 1966 World Cup hat-trick hero warned the “Big Six” had tarnished English football around the globe.
Sir Geoff told The Sun: “What these clubs tried to do was an absolute disgrace and thank God it’s been stopped.
“The Mickey Mouse league they were trying to set up was diabolical and disgusting.
“I haven’t spoken to a single fan, young or old, this week who backed it.
“If it wasn’t for the fans coming out and making it clear what they thought the game would have died.
“We had Manchester United fans standing shoulder to shoulder with Liverpool supporters. Arsenal and Spurs fans were agreeing.
“I’ve never seen anything like it!
“But God bless every one of them – they’ve saved football and showed they are the best fans in the world.”
Sir Geoff, 79, said his 1966 pals would be “turning their graves” over greedy foreign owners trying to hijack our national game.
He added: “One of the greatest things about that team back then was how we all came from different clubs, some near the top of the League, others nowhere near it.
“But we still combined to become a team, create history and do something truly amazing. That’s what makes football so special.
“I know Bobby Moore for one would be turning in his grave.
“That League went against everything he stood for and everything believed in as a man and a footballer.
“And I suspect the likes of Jack Charlton and Nobby Stiles, who were never afraid to voice their opinions, would be saying the same as I am today.”
Sir Geoff said the owners of the Big Six now needed to grovel to the fans they tried to betray.
He said: “They need to apologise to the fans and to the players who were dragged into this. I was pleased to see so many of the footballers speaking out about it.
“Players have a lot more influence now than back in my day.
“They are on social media and have millions of followers.
“Kids around the world look up to these guys and when they were coming and saying, ‘We’re not standing for this’ the owners must have realised the game was up.
“Now they need to say sorry and start trying to put right the damage they have done to our game.
“If they’re not willing to do that they should clear off.”