Liverpool’s entry into the European Super League is a ‘betrayal of heritage’, says Carragher

Martin Macdonald
Liverpool’s entry into the European Super League is a ‘betrayal of heritage’, says Carragher

Jamie Carragher has slammed Liverpool’s involvement in the newly announced European Super League, saying the club is guilty of going against its heritage by not only agreeing with but campaigning for the breakaway competition.

Shockwaves were sent through European football on Sunday when the European Super League was officially announced, with 12 of the continent’s elite sides subsequently announcing their participation also.

READ MORE: What is the European Super League? Format, teams, earnings, reactions and everything you need to know

There is expected to be 15 permanent members of the league, with an additional five eligible to qualify.

There are 12 founding club members; Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and AC Milan.

Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, and Borussia Dortmund have so far turned down the opportunity.

Clubs with socialist roots like Liverpool have received heated criticism for their participation due to the fact the European Super League would present a major threat to the survival of smaller clubs in England, as well as the fact they have been seduced by the hundreds of millions that would come their way.

Carragher, in his column for the Telegraph, believes there has been no consideration whatsoever of the heritage of Liverpool or the club’s fans.

“All I have heard from Liverpool this year is how much they have missed their fans.

“Funny how the voices on the Kop matter only when it is most convenient.

“The more I read about the European Super League proposals, the more it seems Liverpool’s owners must like empty stadiums because all they have done is raise the likelihood of another mass walkout.

“Liverpool’s game with Leeds on Monday night could not be better timed to expose the insanity of the closed-shop idea.

“It is a game with potentially massive ramifications for Champions League qualification, full of jeopardy, and hence drama.

“Millions will tune in for that reason, emotions running high whatever the result. The same anxious excitement will accompany all of Liverpool’s remaining seven games, which is why the broadcasters pay millions for them.

“That is the beauty of league football – where every action and point matters. That is why, as a former Liverpool player, it sickens me that my club’s reputation is being damaged by the arrogance of an ownership group that wants to remove such peril, creating a culture where we no longer need to fight to earn our success. That is the antithesis of everything I understand football – especially in my city – to stand for.

“To be tainted by association with the European Super League is bad enough, but Liverpool’s apparent leading role in threatening football’s competitive ideals – the very ideals which allowed the club to emerge from England’s second division to become six-time European champions – is a betrayal of a heritage they are seeking to cash in on.”

Man Utd and Liverpool lead the charge for a European Super League

Carragher believes Man Utd and Liverpool should receive most of the negative press coming their way as they are believed to have been two of the driving forces behind the pursuit of a European Super League.

Both sides decades ago had their brushes with the second division in England, only to emerge as the two most dominant clubs in the history of the game in the country.

“Manchester United’s shameless capitalism does not surprise me,” the former Liverpool defender continued.

“United fans will agree that from day one, the Glazers [Man Utd owners] have never hidden the fact they bought the club for the cash. They summed up their contempt for United fans when introducing a system forcing season-ticket holders to pay additional fees for cup matches.

Liverpool owner John W Henry

Liverpool owner John W Henry

“But John W Henry [Liverpool owner] is more cunning, courting fans’ groups in his early years and presenting himself as keen to engage, yet consistently failing to grasp the culture of the Kop. I was among the paying season-ticket holders who walked out in disgust when Liverpool tried to charge £77 for match tickets in 2016, and only last summer the club were forced to backtrack on their attempts to claim taxpayer funds for furloughed staff.

“Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Spurs will also get rightly hammered for this. Those four always seem happy hiding behind Liverpool and United when the flak is flying.

“Whenever these radical schemes emerge, it is an opportunity for everyone to pile in, accusing the so-called “elite” of self-interest. True as that is, the moralistic intervention of UEFA, the Football Association, national leagues and whatever government minister is after a few votes is laughable.”

READ MORE: The Super League: How the hell did we get here?