An Appeal To My Fellow Football Fans

(This was originally a twitter thread I wrote but I felt the need to write a fanpost about this since not everything can be conveyed with a 240 character limit)

As we watch the fallout begin in light of the recent decision by the twelve of the biggest football clubs in the world to create their own so called "Super League" without the input of the fans, I've been thinking about what it football means to me. I think what makes the whole idea of the "European Super League" so messed up is the fact that it basically is these clubs confirming what we already knew. It's not about the fans, it hasn't been about the glory of the game for years, the beautiful game that we've romanticized for years is done.

What makes it worse is these clubs wouldn't even be in this position to start their own "Super League" if not for the fans. If not for the supporters who made their way to the stadiums during the good times and the bad to support these clubs. If not for the millions of fans across different time zones who wake up to watch and support these teams even when we know the chances of ever seeing our favourite player play a match in person are slim to none. Throughout financial crises, pandemics, relegations, promotions, and championships, on both the continent or domestically, the fans have been the one consistent part of these clubs. We made these football clubs not these billionaires who only view them as a cash cow. Over the last few decades all they've tried to do is shoved fans to the back of the queue and alienate the people who actually care about these clubs while turning them into faceless corporate entities like they've done with so many other things. When do we say "enough is enough"?

Football is called "the beautiful game" for a reason and I don't care what anyone says it's the most beautiful sport in the world. We've seen the likes of Pele and Maradona succeed in this sport despite coming from situations of abject poverty. This is the same sport that allowed players like Marcus Rashford and our own club talisman Harry Kane to grow and play for their boyhood clubs and walk in the footsteps of their heroes. It's a sport that's given us legends like Messi who shouldn't even have been able to play due to health issues. We've seen football have the power to bring people together. Just look at how we all still have fond memories of the 2010 World Cup. The scenes when Leicester City won the 2016 Premier League title despite 5000/1 odds of it happening. We've seen football be used as a platform to help bring about change in the last year as players made their own stands against racism. We've seen footballers use their platforms to stand in solidarity with social movements like Black Lives Matter or to help other in need such as Marcus Rashford helping children to continue to receive free meals or Messi donating €500,000 to fighting COVID in Argentina.

On a personal level, football has been a light for so many of us in our darkest times. When I was homeless and had no idea where my next meal was coming from in fall of 2016 I knew I at least had the prospect of watching Spurs play to fall back on. I cried when Spurs made it to the UCL final despite everything being stacked against us. Even if we ultimately didn't win the competition that moment will always live on with me. These are the moments we football fans live for and they aren't anything any soulless "Super League" can replicate. Being privileged enough to watch those moments and partaking in them is something that you can't even describe. Whether we're in a stadium of 50k people or at a pub watching a match with some good friends: football means something to us. It's our lives and for some of us it's our family history.

They're trying to take that away from us as fans but I can only pray that despite the odds we the fans fight back and make these people realize we're the ones with the real power. Last night when I saw the announcement from the club, despite my hopes of this just being a power play from the clubs involved, I was pretty much resigned to this being our new reality and was ready to throw in the towel. I'm writing this as someone who has been a Spurs fan since age 13 (I turn 23 this year). I love this club with all my heart. From our lowest lows to our highest highs. This team means everything to me but I cannot and will not stand by and support this Super League scheme. If it means I have to stop supporting Spurs I will. If it means I have to see my beloved Spurs be relegated or deducted points and banned from Europe for years so be it. It may hurt me to my very core to see it happen but so be it. Some things are bigger than football. We have to show the fat cats in charge that we won't let it happen. We have to show them that we aren't just "legacy fans", we fans are the one who built these clubs from the ground up. Without us these clubs are nothing.

Everything that's going on with this super league is a microcosm of all the bigger issues of inequality at play in the wider world today whether we want to admit it or not. All I can hope for is other fans are of a similar mindset as me and will show their discontent with every opportunity they have. I'd absolutely love to see a (safe and socially distanced) protest at every match day once fans are let back in the stadium. Maybe if the fan backlash is enough these billionaire oligarchs and capitalists will realize their ill gotten gains mean nothing in the face of the people who truly care about this sport. We may not have much power as fans but we do have as voice and as fans of our clubs and of this sport, this beautiful game, we should use our voices to their fullest extent.

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