In this episode, Tom finally gets to talk about Football! Episode 46 of the Podcast is now available for you to listen to on all major podcasting platforms, and YouTube.
Yes, that’s right, we’re wading in with our thoughts on the recent European Super League debacle and pondering the problems that there are with the modern game. Are fans becoming increasingly seen as customers and consumers rather than fans? What were the proposals and why did they fail? Why wouldn’t it be awesome to watch Liverpool v Real Madrid every week? What are the solutions to issues of ownership?
The backlash to the announcement of the European Super League from fans of all tribes and backgrounds was a fantastic moment for civil disobedience, people power and solidarity. It was a teachable moment and served as a microcosm of our society in this era of neo-liberal capitalism. Were the owners of the football clubs not just trying to secure their economic futures and pursue profits? The basis of our capitalist system.
We know there are many footaball fans out there with strong opinions on the European Super League plans. We hope that you enjoy the episode and get in touch to let us know what you think about what we’ve had to say here. What were your thoughts on the plans? Can the same impetus and movement be created around other social institutions that belong to the people; the NHS for example?
You can get in touch at all the usual places. Thank you for listening and we look forward to hearing from you!
So take it away, all right. Hello. Hello, everyone. Welcome back to Episode 46 of the Tom, Stu and You Podcast. After a little hiatus of a few weeks and all with the pandemic and with work, time just seems to be like blurred into one long month.
Yeah, whatever. And I thought, oh, yeah, that’s that. The way the YSC played by the right. Yeah. Oh yeah. Exactly.
Yeah. It’s crazy. May already and but yeah I’ve been super busy and the little break that we’ve had and in, in bringing you the episodes and lots to talk about, lots going on in the past couple of weeks. And for you know the forty 45 episodes now I’ve been looking for an excuse, an angle with which to bring in the topic of football.
And that’s why I don’t write often pretty well. Yeah. Like a year and a half or something like that. And I’m not really mentioning football once here and books with the proposed plans for the European Super League a couple of weeks ago. And I eventually fell through and I thought it was a great opportunity to touch on football and also kind of expand on it a little bit and maybe how it shows what happened with the Superleague shows, you know, maybe wider considerations for society, for capitalism, obviously, because it’s the Tom, Stu and You Podcast are going to get this, is that it’s just collided together.
And I think that maybe from what we’ve seen from, you know, all the fun of present and things like that, from all different, you know, all different tribes, you know, Liverpool fans Monday night had fans coming together in, you know, staunch opposition in unity to to this to this new super league. It’s good. And I think it will come on, obviously. But it does. It made me a little bit hopeful and in a wider context, not just a football football in terms of a wider context.
And so I guess I’ll just start by saying, Stu, what you know, what is your relationship knowledge base? You know, football and what’s it like?
Not that we are football. We call soccer. I don’t know what they call it, something completely different to everyone else but America. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean, like, I grew up liking sports. I like I just we’re getting know the plays and everything. And even even now I watch the highlights of some of the local games, but like we like the the state games and stuff that I like when I was back out of the highlights, places that I like to cheer on, the Australians, a lot of I really do very well.
But yeah, it does.
Or I suppose some great goals, a little bit of hope and realise that we’re in or something like that. So I’m like a lot of this news to me was a. A bit surprising, maybe like I knew the for a football or soccer is is intense, it’s deeply ingrained in society, especially in those places where. Football has taken off, especially in Africa, South America and Latin America, so average, the debate on this topic is coming from an outside perspective and trying to understand what it is that has happened.
So maybe let’s start there. Yeah, give us a summary. Like what? What what what has happened in the last few weeks to get them paying attention to the British news that is there. And so.
Yeah, yeah, British news. But I think the assault rifles worldwide, because obviously the popularity of football, I would say that it is like the top spot in the world. Obviously, I might be a bit biased, but I think I think that it is. But anyway, basically what happened is the 12 clubs and the so the top six, the top six in inverted commas, almost all from England, you know, which is, you know, Liverpool Monday night months, a Tottenham like I don’t know what else about I can’t remember the last time they went out.
And Arsenal have been playing terribly and but you know, yeah, they’ve been awful. And Chelsea anyway. And then the three from Spain, which is Madrid, Barcelona and Madrid and three from Italy, even Inter Milan and AC Milan all came together and organize to make the Super League and A-League that would consist of 20 teams, which would be 15 founding members. So they also approached by Munich and Dortmund from Germany, who rejected the proposals on PSG, who also rejected it.
But I believe they rejected it because of a an advertising sort of conflict of interest that they have, whether it be in sports. And but yet, anyway, they came together to form the Superleague, which they did. They announced it a couple of weekends ago, and it’s a league from which those founding members could never be relegated and and who said there was a lot of competition there from the start and who would actually receive, you know, really excessive windfalls from broadcasting, just from being founders of the league.
They were due to share three billion pounds. I think it was. And because the whole thing’s been funded by JP Morgan, alarm bells should probably be ringing for people. And so, yeah, it was it was a situation where basically they were because of because of the pandemic and the effect it had on people being able to go to the games and things like that. I think that the these clubs were trying to secure their financial position for the future and by creating the league from from which they could never be relegated from, which is against, you know, the whole point of sport, the whole competitive edge of sport.
And I think that’s probably the main problem that people had with it. And but it can also be seen because of the huge debts that some of these clubs have, like Money Man United and Tottenham. And it can also be seen as and they were trying to create a sort of cartel, a kind of an oligarchy, a monopoly on football. And it’s essentially essentially would enable them to kind of bail themselves out or keep themselves going because of the sums of money that have been under the bar.
It’s in the billions and the league and and so, yeah. So there’d be those 15 clubs in the league from which they could be relegated. That would be five of the clubs who would qualify through some mechanism that wasn’t allowed. So no one knew how clubs would, you know, would get into the Super League to be able to compete against these teams. And so that’s clubs like, you know, IOCs who are hugely successful European club Porto, you know, the slopestyle, Bucharest, Sparta, Prague, all all these kinds of teams who do really well in their own, you know, domestic leagues and and earn the right to, you know, go into the Champions League, which is what this is the tournament that we currently have, which is and managed by UEFA.
And and so a lot of people thought that this European Super League was kind of like a bargaining tool to shift the power away from UEFA into the hands of these these big clubs. And and yet it’s been met with a huge amount of backlash from the fans, and rightly so. And I think that obviously the lack of a competitive edge, because there’s no if you were just in a league where, you know, Liverpool were going to play Real Madrid every year and it doesn’t matter.
You don’t have to, you know, get into those top places domestically to be able to enter into the elite competitions. You’re just there as a matter of you all Liverpool Football Club, it goes against the whole ethos of what sport is about. And because I show that, you know, to get into the Champions League, for example, you have to do well in the domestic league in the previous year. So you have to finish in the top four.
If you’re in the top four, you get. And so in the UK, anyway, you go into the Champions League and and that’s how you get there. And basically it’s based on merit and, you know, going toe to toe with people throughout the season in order to get in position to be able to play against the best teams in the world in any European competition the next season. And so people just thought this went completely against that ethos.
It was also clearly a way for billionaire owners to enrich themselves and ensure, you know, profits and money revenue would keep coming in from broadcasting rights, which is, you know, predominantly where they get their money from these days. It’s not from actual fans attending the games and things, whether it’s from selling broadcasting rights to Sky to beat sports, to design wherever you go, wherever you watch these things and. Well, at the same time, there was an interview with John Bonds, who’s an old Liverpool legend football player, who said that this isn’t this isn’t the fans winning, really.
It’s it was a competition between two sets of elites to exploit the fans, really, because it should be borne in mind that the Premier League itself was a breakaway league in the early 1990s when Sky came on the scene and, you know, offered huge amounts of money to get the rights to broadcast these games. And then that’s when the proliferation of money really became a thing in football. You know, people players started getting paid like insane wages, like I think, you know.
I think the highest paid player in the Premier League is something like 500000 pounds a week or something like that, which is pretty mental. And what you also have parasitic elements like agents who demand agent fees of like 20 million for a transfer. That’s just to talk to the agent. So there’s so much money bandied about in football. That I think it would be just and it seems to be, you know, the top teams amass the greatest amount of wealth, the greatest amount of resources are able to buy the best players available to solidify their places at the top of their respective leagues.
So if you look at the German league, for example, Bayern Munich have won it for like the past eight seasons in a row and before Inter Milan have won the Italian league this season. But before that, I think I’ve understood won it for so many seasons in a row. And the Premier League is a majority of the time always, you know, Munsie and you know, it used to be money, not it. Year on year. We have had, you know, due to the competitive, competitive element, which is great.
We have had, you know, success stories such as Leicester and but and Liverpool, I must add, because we haven’t won the title for 30 years. Hence we’ll have to share. So we are very well. Yeah. So with the Superleague, you could never have had a Leicester City when in the title or anything like that, because just because of the amount of money that these teams in the league would have been able to amass and you wouldn’t be able to compete with them basically.
And so that’s why there’s been uproar. And I think that, you know, that is basically what’s been happening with football.
Well, and that’s a tall order to there’s anything basic about exploration, so if you’re at the library and listening to this, like, well, I’ve got a lot of questions to talk about because I’m still very confused about the whole thing. So basically what I can say, though, is very clear that this is something that you’re obviously very passionate about, the fact that you just spoke for ten minutes, literally several summarizing the entire situation for us. And somehow Area X.O became not only perspires, but also every single every single probability that of those and also produced by surprise when there’s a performance and mention three different moments that I did with the pain and relegating the spirit of the game, that I was going to break all that down so that absolutely.
All of this made the official. And so that’s different, I think. Yeah, so what I would say is that it’s important to know the history of these clubs and especially in Europe, especially, you know, with the Premier League, the clubs are in the Premier League and. So the ones in the Premier League, like the one that I support, you know, Manchester United and a lot of the original clubs that were up over 100 years ago come from working class industry.
They come from a lot of them came from the north west, which is where Liverpool from and the. And the UK and. They’re tied really closely to industry like, you know, textile mills, ammunitions factories or a kind of industrial revolution manufacturing kind of thing. So they’re really, really heavily rooted in working class, you know. They were they were essentially working class assets. They were created by the working class and they were important community assets.
They’re a place for people to come together every week and. So it’s got that social collective element to it, and if you look back at the history of football, the you know, originally they’re not paid very well. You know, you do it the love of the game. And, you know, even these days, you know, if I offered to play for Liverpool, there’d be a dream and I would do it for, like, you know, just be able to live, you know, just the you and I wouldn’t have to be paid like hundreds of thousands a week or anything like that.
That’s how it should be. Maybe, but that’s maybe a dream. And but then as it goes on. And I would I would guess that is around the time of, you know, Thatcher and Reagan are so much of this stuff is all the ramifications of, you know, neo liberal kind of attitude towards these things. There was there was a, you know, a. I mean, I saw the other day and I said football, you know, created by the poor and stolen by the rich.
And that’s absolutely true when you look at the history of the clubs in England. And so there’s a time, especially around the 80s, 90s, especially when the Premier League comes in, the big money invades. It’s not taken over. And and since that time. The money and the money in football is just gone up so exponentially, so crazy when you compare it with other aspects of society and then you get things like billionaire owners coming in to it to invest in stocks.
So you’ve got money from, you know, the Middle East, oil money from the Middle East and United Arab Emirates and Qatar and things like that. And obviously, the American owners have come in as well. Liverpool have American owners, you know, it have American owners. So do Arsenal. And and also, you know, Russian oligarchs like parents like Roman Abramovich and things like that. And and this Superleague is just another way for billionaires to enrich themselves, really, because there’s been backlash before, especially with Liverpool, about the raising of ticket prices, which is something they’re trying to do.
Ticket prices are ridiculous. And I often think that the football stadiums are becoming more corporatist. And so they’re more built for like corporate outlays rather than, you know, working class people who, you know, pay to come and support the team that they’ve loved, you know, since they were born because you’re born into it really like I didn’t have a choice to support Liverpool. And, you know, my all my family support Liverpool, basically, you know, that’s where I’m from.
And that’s that’s why I support them.
Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk more about that. Because what context I think that is needed for somebody to actually get this big deal, because, as I said, like, I grew up in a sporting family, but we followed sports following this very cricket team. It’s not like people like Liverpool, but the closest we get to the store and maybe it’s like of rugby league or AFL games, for example, where we get like diehard fans, like AFL is probably closer, even rugby to what I football means to support in England and what, just about England right now.
But I have them that I love the sport exactly the same in Latin America. It’s the same with Europe. I say that Africa. Yeah, talk to me a little bit of that, like being a kid. Like, what can you describe, like those first few days, like where you are a doctor made it into Liverpool. You have your identity like you’re like totally about like the feelings you get paid in those stadiums. Like, what is what is it like being a child and seeing this community of people except you so readily?
And like, what does that mean to you?
Yeah, it means a lot. Actually, I haven’t. I must admit, I haven’t been to a game for a very long time, mostly because of my geographical location and also because of the fact that ticket prices are quite high. And to get a season ticket, you have to go on like this waiting in like a hundred year waiting list or something like that. And so it’s pretty hard to to get one. But I have been to unfiled quite a few times and the first game that I ever went to, my dad took me to Liverpool against Leeds United and Ireland Road because we lived in Leeds at the time.
And I think we might have had to, you know, be quite quiet when Liverpool scored because I think we were in Leeds and but it was just a way to go and see the game. And and I just remember that, you know, getting the shit everywhere was something that I had to get all that I wanted for my birthday. And I could. But again, that’s another way of making money. You know, they always change the year every year.
And I was shocked to find out even, you know, some of the shirts are our £100 a shirt. So it’s just like, how is it affordable for, you know, what is essentially, you know, a majority to a working class fan base for a team like Liverpool. But, yeah, so that was something that I, I had to to get even just stories from, like my granddad, who was a Liverpool fan, who used to tell me that he used to jump on the back of wagons to go to a ladies just to get there.
And that’s like kind of and that kind of illustrates how important it is to get there. And and I think, like I am obviously biased on a Liverpool is kind of like it feels more like a family kind of club, like if you live in Liverpool and. And I will say this because all my family from that day, the people are really friendly and they’re really funny and, you know, it’s a lot about community going into the game and and to be in the cop, the cop, and when you know, they’re singing, you know, you’ll never walk alone and you passing the flag over your head and stuff like that.
I’ve never known an atmosphere like it, like ever. And and these are the things that are important in football that will that will be there, you know, if there wasn’t all the huge money and stuff like that, because it’s so important to. You know. And it all comes from working people coming together to try and, you know, create something new or we were working toward something together. In fact, I got quotes from Shankly I was going to use later.
So Bill Shankly is one of the most famous managers, in fact, the most famous manager for Liverpool. They weren’t doing that well. And so he he came in and he changed the team. They become like unbeatable. Anfield became like a fortress as what they call. And that’s kind of what we’ve been having again with you can call and. But he said these are his words and this is the kind of foundation that Liverpool’s built upon. He says team spirit is a form of socialism.
In my own politics, I don’t go into politics. But that kind of camaraderie is a basis for socialism. When you have people running down, fellows that are socialists, I think they’re wrong. They don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m talking life. I’m not talking about politics in the true sense of politics. I’m talking about humanity, people dealing with people and people helping people. And this is the Liverpool manager and this is the kind of ethos that is instilled into the club.
He also said socialism, I believe, is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That’s how I see football. That’s how I see life. And, you know, that’s that’s from so I share something and tagged Liverpool on Instagram saying, what would Shankly think of this idea where you’re trying to basically take the game further away from the people who depend on it really and who, you know, who love to go to the games, who give everything to go to the games, who will, you know, pay all the money that I that save to go to a game and to follow the team.
So if they’re talking about having a super league where you’re playing like, you know, Real Madrid one week and, you know, events the next week, that’s a lot of travel to Europe as well. You know, you don’t think about the expense of actually the kind of life preying upon people’s type intimate and emotional ties to the to the club to make them not fans, but consumers really. And to extort more money out of them. But, yeah, being in the band is amazing.
I don’t I don’t often get sick. I was a kid. My dad is someone who likes to watch football on TV because he’s in the warmth. You know, he’s got a beer. He gets the instant replay. There’s not people shouting, who are you? And stuff like that, which he never understood. Like, I’m focused the. Do you think and yeah, it was just great. And it’s and I suppose it is is almost like a religion in a way.
Oh yeah. It certainly is.
Yeah. Because even even the things that I don’t like about football, like I really don’t like the amount of money that, you know, some of the players get paid more than that. I hate the amount of money that the owners are making because if you think about it, the players are really just employees. And so. Maybe that’s the one job in the world where they are actually getting the value, you know, that you’re actually getting what they are worth, the kind of thing.
But, yeah, it’s. It’s something that I didn’t have a choice in, unlike big games like when we came back from three nil down against AC Milan in the Champions League final in 2005, and we won that game. That is the spirit of competition. And like, it’s it’s just a it’s like against all odds kind of stuff. And it was unbelievable. Like, me and my brother, like, ran out the door and down the street, like just like so great.
You saw when I was in Canada, we won the Champions League and we all went round, you know, the football teams house and stuff like that. And that was great as well. And even the year before that, when we were in the Champions League final and I was in Edmonton, I went to a bar with my statement and there was so many people there. And so it does have that international element, no doubt about it. But I don’t think that you can say that, you know, the people who support Liverpool from afar have, you know, more of a connection than the people who go week in, week out who’s, you know, family for generations of support at the club who’ve, you know, gone every week.
Who. Basically, basically, Billy Liverpool kind of thing and the same for all the other clubs that were involved in this as well, and that’s why. This Superleague thing is such a mess because I think it was an attempt to further make fans, customers rather than fans. And just to take it away from them even further than it has been, which was obviously met with. With with some considerable force, which gives me hope, but yeah, you’re totally right to know to kind of provide context because it is so emotional, I guess, like the emotional attachment that people have to it is is massive.
People like what they see as a game. There’s like there’s basically nothing in there that you would be up at night at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. in the morning or watch the game live like come to work at eight a.m. the next morning. Yeah, that’s stupid, isn’t it? This is logically, logically above that you feel for this doesn’t make sense. This. Like, I love watching it, I love playing the sport, but it’s not a fast fun game to watch lot all the time, like like most games are, you know, two or three dollars.
And you would you would get up in the middle of the night from across the other side of the globe to watch your team, your identity play live, as opposed to just watching the highlights next morning in three minutes while you have breakfast and you got. Like, you need to start with that sort of emotion and that sense of self identity in the club, and like you said, you had no choice but to be at Liverpool supporter. And like that is the context.
You need to understand why taking these teams to separate Super League is so important. And this is what ties into that working class background as well. You can say it and it doesn’t really make sense. Like at first, but when you realize that, like this was a working class people day, like this is establishing the time when that was such a different place, there was the aristocracy and the working class that didn’t like that thing. This was this was as close as I would get to a level playing field where people are in different classes to them.
Yes, they created. Yeah. And so because of that. I like I like that about the board, so rich, you this all circulate to me, been trying to come up with an analogy that kind of makes sense of what this all means, because you start talking about three different leagues and the different countries involved, all these different shapes. We’re just just overreacting to the idea that, like, I’m about bull, probably basketball. Yeah.
And I try to think it’s like an analogy of like. If a group of people at hospital declared themselves a. Not for any like. But for any reasonable explanation, there’s no reason why they are better than anyone else. They just happen to have rich parents in South Dakota and no one else is invited to play unless they say they’re allowed to come play. Their kids automatically get put into the Kollberg when they come of age and everyone else is just left alone.
So this is what what what is the point of anyone trying to go to school when only the Coomber get all the awards and get all the money? They get all the positions of power at hospital, they run the school and all of a sudden some American exchange gifts. Comes in ads and joins the cohort just as they have a lot of money, too.
Exactly. That’s that’s exactly what it is. So like with the superegos, like the biggest clubs and then they like Tottenham is like, I’m not sure what I want in the past, however many years or whatever, but their owner is a billionaire. So maybe you have to be a billionaire to be able to be in this club kind of thing. You have to be a billionaire or like a really good team. I buy Munich or something like that.
And that was your admission fee. But imagine that Kilberg, that walking that it’s like everybody loves money, so but only they could buy the equipment just like the Ala.
Well, exactly. Yeah, yeah. That’s a great idea. But it’s like it was this super league was to the detriment of everyone else as well, because obviously the teams involved do have a huge following and they have huge intellectual property and all this sort of stuff. And that that can’t be denied in the world that we live in. Well, it’s to the detriment of of all the teams. It’s to the detriment of other competitions. Like the the I think of when I was growing up was a huge thing.
Like it is a huge thing to be a part of. It’s, you know, a competition where all the leagues, basically all the leagues in the UK sort of compete against each other. So Liverpool play like lower league teams and you get some huge upsets. And this is this is what football’s all about. And it’s not about Liverpool playing Real Madrid every week where there’s no relegation and no threat. You nothing to be lost if you don’t perform well because you’ll just be in the same league next year and.
Where’s like the office like here? I mean, I was taking on giants, and that’s what people want to see, like Liverpool playing Everton. I’m not saying I meant I was old enough, you know, in the Premier League doing well because it’s a derby. It means a hell of a lot more to people in Liverpool than playing Barcelona every weekend. Well, I get that people outside who. You know, they say, like in America, you think Liverpool against Barcelona every week sounds amazing.
I mean, it sounds like it’s the outside.
Yeah, people want to see these huge, you know, everything about what the biggest, you know, in boxing, the biggest fights nowadays, the biggest, whatever, blah, blah, blah.
So this is just the biggest stock and sell out.
Don’t get me started on that thing, but don’t get me started on that because you know, that is not boxing and boxing.
Nothing to do with boxing. Another boxing buddy and boxing as a sport should not bow to that kind of pressure. But it does because it’s economic pressure and it’s ridiculous.
It’s an analogy. Yes. Let’s look at what sort of economic data at the detriment of. Basically, they were supportive. It’s like, what does it matter, because there’s a lot of people who have the same love and history and background and self identity involved in these things that. There’s enough like the whole point of the Superleague was that they would get all these new audiences so like the American audience and stuff about. Which is just crazy, it’s just crazy to give up your loyal supporters hope that you gain enough votes and yeah, but that seems to be the position in football as well.
And you got it with the owners with not understanding the heritage of the clubs in the history of the clubs and the relationship of the fans of the club. Like, I can’t. I think that the new owner of Liverpool, the Henry guy, he was not to apologize numerous times. Three times I can remember fully one obviously, for the Superleague, and to be fair, he was one of the first of the billionaire owners to come out and apologize for it, also for putting club staff on furlough last year.
So he got some backlash for that as well, and also for trying to raise the ticket prices and. And that’s across the board like Arsenal, that as well, Arsenal, Arsenal, billionaire owner and fellow people feel like they’re going to saurus the team mascot and one of the players had to step in and pay his wages so they would keep the mascot. Crazy stuff. And and, you know, football is doing a lot of money. They’ve got the wrong billionaires, billionaires with doing this, not millionaire football players.
So, yeah, it’s just it’s just pretty crazy because they’re running it like.
That’s why it’s and, you know, as I was saying before, don’t get me wrong. I know that there are like avid Liverpool fans in Canada and America everywhere. So, you know, I’ve been to some of their supporters clubs in Canada. And, you know, when you first got there and you’re trying to meet people and you’re like, oh, football’s a good way to so many people kind of thing. So, yeah. And and I know that they’re they’re avid fans and they’re often fans.
They’ve come from Liverpool and moved over kind of thing and. But you know, the links, the people around around the city, around the you know, his family have gone generations to put in the club whose whose granddad also jumped on the back of wagons to go see them away and stuff like that. It’s just so much deeper. And what they did was take it further away from the working class people of Liverpool. So it was like, you know, it did try and take what is essentially an internationally recognized brand and floated it sort of like this floating capitalism across the globe, you know, where there was more about broadcasting, you know, getting people in America to buy into it.
And you know what? Why do you do that? You know, because people in, you know, America and you know, India, China, wherever the people are going to be watching this, they’re going to be bothered about, you know, I don’t know, Liverpool against ketamine’s the Harriers or I just I could have named any team. None other than what I just came to London, you know, Liverpool against, you know, these lower league clubs or Liverpool against Barcelona, Liverpool against Real Madrid.
And that’s how they’ve tried to, I guess. And and that’s why it’s been such a backlash, especially that added to the lack of competition. It’s just all been about greed and making more money, almost becoming like an oligarchy and monopoly, a cartel of huge football teams who would earn, you know, a lot of money every year for being in a league that they just had right to be in and. And yeah, it was it was basically kind of a monopoly and it would have affected the lower leagues, as I’ve said, grassroots football, it would have affected grassroots football is already has huge problems.
And because there’s this whole idea and. And this is essentially what the CPA was saying as well. I think perhaps the Madrid president came out and said what we need to do is amass all the money at the top, you know, with these with these huge clubs. And it will, as we’ve had for, you know, trickle down, trickle down economics. So trickle down economics and football as well as what we were going for. And, you know, that’s been rejected.
And so why should we accept that in other forms of life to, you know, to look at this as a kind of. I see this as a good example of a good opportunity, maybe a teachable moment to look through the lens of football and see it as a microcosm of society in a way, you know, to see that this is the people who are trying to commodify what we love and appreciate or value in so many different areas of life and health or, you know, housing or anything like all the things that people should have a right to and things that you know are.
Tax dollars, pounds, whatever should go towards providing, you know, in the spirit of Shankly, you know, the cost of everyone succeeding, it’s actually amazing when you do look back, it has Pantages at really successful managers. How many of them, you know, do you have these kind of socialist tendencies in the way that they view the world and in the way that they view, you know, the importance of the team? You know, obviously, you have individual brilliant players, you know, Messi, Renaldo, people like that who are amazing players.
But if you try playing Messi as an individual against 11 players, he will get destroyed, I’m pretty sure. So it’s all about the collective. And, you know, Alex Ferguson was very critical of the Tories and Thatcher and stuff like that. The austerity that we’ve seen that we still see with the conservatives these days, you know, austerity and if services, important services for people have disproportionately affected people in the north, in the UK. And isn’t it interesting that the clubs that have folded in the UK are the ones from the north, you know, very F.C. and things like that?
Bolland were really close to going into administration or from the north west or from like quite poor working class areas. And so isn’t that funny how what’s happening with football is kind of reflected in society as well? And. If you think about it in terms of monopolies and things like that, so these teams would have a monopoly on the Superleague, on the on the money of things. That’s what we have with Google and Facebook and Amazon and all these types of things.
So why aren’t we why aren’t we pissed off about that kind of stuff? And look at what the it’s funny because Boris Johnson came out in and opposition to the Superleague. And I thought that’s actually hilarious because his party stands for neoliberal globalization, neoliberal capitalism, so that it should be all for this super weird. So why is he doing it? Why is he doing it? Probably. Probably for popularity. Yeah. Yeah. With the working class, because they’ll go Boris, a football Boris was against the people who were going to take football.
Well, they’re doing exactly, you know, what’s he doing with giving out? You know, contracts to donors and mates and things like that. Why aren’t people pissed off about that? And that’s why it gave me hope and to see, you know, fans from all clubs come together to object to what was going on and to see the power of the fans in unity, because, you know, as Yuval Harari says, there’s great and there’s things to be taken from things like nationalism, from a sort of tribalism.
And, you know, Liverpool fans are all in the same thing, you know, kind of thing. We’re all together in this experience and this desire to see Liverpool win and that kind of thing. And that’s the same for every club. But with this, it was basically unanimous and everyone put aside, you know, their colors and things like that. And people from all different backgrounds came together to object to to this greed and. And basically a move that would would probably have killed the game as we know it in terms of the competition and.
And if that is that kind of thing, if that kind of thinking, that kind of and that kind of drive can be applied to things like the NHS, like housing, things like that, then that makes me really quite hopeful.
There are a lot of questions about what needs to be done in connecting those stories, I think, but that’s a good example of how people can come together and put aside differences because the people, the spirit of the day, because as you say, like, you know, international audiences aren’t going to care about who is playing. They want to say goodbye, Barcelona, that they will play literally at the other table. I’ve never heard of before.
Yeah, but this little team. But for those little teams, it’s a huge deal. It’s a massive deal to be able to play Liverpool and play that you get everything. Yeah. Like the last thing we want to say and this is basically what the Super League was hoping to do, is that every single game in the Super Bowl, where pretty much the support is not about the actual game, like no one really cares who wins or loses. They want to get drunk and celebrate and say some famous halftime show.
It only comes about the size, I suppose, the love of the game. But I think I think that that was what was at risk of being lost, which is absolutely you’re absolutely right that there’s a time for pizzazz, you know, like the 20, 20 leading industry and trying to attract new audiences. So they have five or six or seven. They have high halftime show and everything. But a lot of people still come to like you.
So that’s what the game.
Yeah, for sure.
As I’m sitting in boxing with this whole thing of a decade ago, it seems like every sport around the world. But it was the most clear boxing in the league in the UK and your. There are things that people still do care about, but the most important thing, definitely, I think you is connecting that so alive.
Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I think you’re also right to bring in kind of fly in terms of the Superleague, the Americanization of it, you know, because that is an aspect certainly. And it is interesting that, you know, some of the owners involved here are from America and some of them, like John Henry, who owns Liverpool, owns the the Red Sox. And but again, going back to that difference in the history of these teams, like it’s it’s more of like a franchise model in America where you can just, you know, set up a team and move it.
And, you know, that’s happened in basketball. What’s happened in football? You know, I was I was telling you just before we came on about the L.A. Lakers, the L.A. Lakers on an L.A. team originally from Minneapolis. So, you know, if you try to pull Liverpool and move it somewhere else, it’s a different world, not work in that way, which is what they are essentially trying to do with this system, is to make it more international, to make it more Super Bowl like they have the Super Bowl now at Tottenham Stadium.
Right, so there is that sort of merger of, you know, the Americanization of sports creeping in, I think, unless not in the U.K. like that, with health care and things like that as a little parallel you just because there are. There are. You know, firms, you know, American firms and access to like contracts for data in the NHS and stuff like that. And why are they interested in that kind of stuff? And so, yeah, that is something that needs to be we need to be wary of for sure.
The, you know, creeping insidious privatisation of NHS services and things like that. You see that with track and trace and all this kind of stuff, which isn’t it’s got NHS logo on it, but it’s actually like a private firm that takes care of it. This is like creeping privatisation, which is something that everyone in the UK should be staunchly against because, you know, we’ve all had we all contribute our taxes, which pays, you know, towards the NHS.
We’ve all had loved ones, friends, whatever. You’ve benefited from free health care. And we have, you know, friends, family who work in the NHS who are you know, you don’t go and, you know, value the way that they should. And we should be up in arms about it the same way we went out of our football. You know, we’ve taken, you know, all the bailing out of bankers and stuff like that since 2008 and cuts to services austerity under a Tory government.
Yet somehow they’re still more popular than the political alternative in this country. And the conservatives have presided over, you know, 150000 COVA deaths in this country. Yeah, they they’re untouchable in the polls. It’s it’s quite crazy when you think about it. But again, that was probably because of the weakness of the opposition. But why aren’t we more pissed off about that kind of stuff? And, you know, if we could mobilise around these things the way that we mobilise around football, I think we’re onto a winner because the you know, the amount of civil disobedience that we’ve seen during a pandemic, you know, it’s been quite organized and has borne fruit in in in the fact that the funds got this stopped.
And and so if we can. Have a similar solidarity, a similar sense of community and for each other about the NHS and things that belong to others, like the NHS belongs to the people, we should want everyone to have affordable housing and not just be renters for a whole life, especially like, you know, working class people, just this generation are likely to just be renters for most of their life. And we don’t own anything. And then that takes us into ownership of football clubs because fans should have some sort of ownership in their football teams.
And it can work like Motherwell as a team in Scotland, which is fine, and which is doing pretty well. It’s like mid division in the in the Scottish Premier League and. You know, we have like democratizing features such as and like they have like funds, unions, kind of things like this one for Liverpool called The Spirit of Shankly, and who put pressure on, you know, the board people who decide ticket prices, things like that, to so that the voice of the fans essentially.
So they are a democratizing feature and there’s people doing similar things in Newcastle who want to try and and, you know, buy a share. Have a seat at the table. And maybe that is the answer. Maybe fans like we should talk about democratisation of the workplace. This is just another sphere of. Life to democratize, I think, to have found representation, at least some representation on the board, I think is hugely important because that would then go about connecting the club back to the fans.
Rather than it just being owned by, you know, a billionaire from America, you just as a cash cow sort of thing and. So that’s something that we should do and maybe that’s why the German teams weren’t involved that much, because they have a system in the Bundesliga of 50 plus one, which means that at least 51 percent, I think, of the ownership of the club owner. So for the fans, basically, you can only have a maximum of 49 percent corporate interest representation with the club.
And it’s not a perfect scheme, clearly, because, you know, by Munich are dominant and not league completely dominant. They basically would every every year Dortmund come second and, you know, they have run close races. I think Dortmund have pushed them to line on a number of occasions. But again, this fan ownership there, and it’s hugely important, like the CEO of Dortmund in 2016 said the German spectator traditionally has close ties with the club, and if he gets the feeling that he’s no longer regarded as a fan, but instead as a customer, we’ll have a problem.
And that was obviously a case like too many people, too many fans in the U.K. feel like their customers now, like they’re just consumers of football, really. And and that’s been increasing problem for for a long time, I guess, ever since Sky came in, as I said before, in 1982 and created the Premier League, which was a breakaway league from the English Football League, and. And then a lot of the football became pay per view, so you have to pay to watch it on the telly and things like that, which and, you know, I don’t know if I’ve ever looked at sky packages, but they are quite expensive.
And so people end up spending a load of money on it because obviously the love of the clothes is too strong and people, you know, profit from these things and, you know, take advantage of them in a way. So that ownership of all that, if that can be the case and it’s happened all over the place, like very few who you ever said before went into administration and are no longer in the football league and. You know, funds of their own team, very AFC and are trying to create, you know, you know, something from the ashes of that club, basically because it meant so much to the LaHave River, who were the supporters of Barry supposed to go in support of United or some other close team or something, you know, like Barry’s that club.
And it’s great to see that they’re trying to create something. The same happened with Wimbledon. A franchisee kind of thing happened with that. Wimbledon got picked up and put in Milton Keynes and got renamed. And Caden’s and the fans of Wimbledon have created their own team, AFC Wimbledon, who are now in the same league as McDonald’s. It’s a great story they created and now they’re competing with the team that got taken away from them. So, you know, you know, I’m like on this podcast, I’m all for democratizing things.
And so why should football be any different, whether it’s a 50 plus one model Why to How in Germany, which isn’t perfect, and there are loopholes around it. Like if if a corporate interest interests had a relationship with the club for more than 20 years, I think that they can back and walking out the window for that. And I think that’s the case for Wolfsberg or something like that, who have a relationship with Volkswagen. Well, yeah, so that kind of thing.
Oh, definitely fun representation on the board and failing that, mass civil disobedience clearly works.
Otherwise, which will be pissed off, everyone should start watch football and get more involved, stand in line, but it’s shown it’s shown that people with money operate in their own interests, you know, not only apply to football, it applies to other aspects of life. Definitely a possible aspects of what we’ve seen and. So we can’t be passive. We can’t just be passive and let these things happen, and when we’re not passive and come together in solidarity and for things that we love, value and think that we have a right to.
Etc., all those types of things, we can achieve great things, we can stop things from happening, we can stop people from exploiting, you know, our love of something or belief in something. And and so, yeah, my hope is that football has served us sort of a microcosm of society and that should be studied. And people go, oh, yeah, but isn’t this like the same as, you know, what the Tories do with the NHS and stuff like that.
And yes. So let’s get together and basically stick it to.
Never will never walk alone.
Yeah, well, I think we got to wrap it up there. This is a very focused chat from the top. It’s obviously very clear how passionate he is about everything was that that they’ve just been looking for, because that’s because I’ve been looking for an opportunity to trot of today, represent at the perfect time. And it’s because I was 30 and taken 30 years for us to win the league. So that’s what it’s all about. You know, they take my whole lifetime when I was 30, first to win the league, all the trials and tribulations and tears and, you know, little successes.
The I think called the Champions League to the Champions League, the league. And it’s still a diehard supporter. It makes no logical sense. But I for worry about evens was our more like that. Yeah. Well, everyone, this is fantastic. Thank you very much for joining us today and appreciate you being patient with that hiatus. Just like this might be a wake up call as often as we possibly can.
Yeah, I got a lot of job spending.
Yeah, exactly. I got, I guess, coming up with all those wonderful presentations.
And if you have any views on the Super League, anything you think we’ve got wrong and anything you think we’ve got right and so on. And I just love our football supporters. So let us know what you think and all the usual places that if you prefer pizzazz to actually just like watching them or let us know I want to go. Yeah, that is the name of Youth4Nature on social media with you right now. We’ll be back with that, I believe, with another of the guest very, very shortly.
So next time.
Thank you. Until I get pissed off like that was my.