Good morning, Fear the Wall!
I can’t tell exactly why, but the morning air feels particularly fresh today. Maybe it’s the flowers outside, or the cool breeze rolling off the Potomac River. Or maybe it’s the knowledge that an attempt by a small ring of billionaires to pillage European soccer for their own financial benefit backfired spectacularly, and collapsed within 72 hours of its initial announcement after near-universal public backlash, and that several of the offenders involved are already suffering the consequences of their actions.
The ESL is Dead, Long Live the ESL
Okay, maybe not on paper, but in practice, the European Super League is dead on arrival. Late yesterday afternoon, after about 48 hours of intense acrimony from nearly every corner of the footballing world, as Chelsea’s team bus was mobbed by protesters as it pulled up to Stamford Bridge for a match against Brighton, rumors began to swirl that Chelsea had made the decision to pull out of the ESL.
Only 24 hours earlier, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez went on a Spanish network and gave one of the most tone-deaf and ill-advised interviews I’ve ever seen, ensuring everyone that the 12 clubs involved were 100% committed to the project. By yesterday afternoon, though, the project was revealed to be nothing but a house of cards. Once Chelsea pulled out, Manchester City soon followed. Reports emerged that Atletico Madrid also wanted to pull the plug. By the end of the day, all six English clubs involved had bailed out, and the project was done.
So how did this happen? Well, the most obvious answer is that the public backlash was probably was stronger than any of the 12 clubs anticipated. Maybe they thought that by throwing a bone of 5 rotational spots in the ESL, they could pacify the fans. Instead, most fans saw it as a patronizing insult.
Now that the ESL has collapsed, heads are already starting to roll. Manchester United chairman Ed Woodward has announced his intention to step down at the end of the season.
Club statement.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 20, 2021
Moreover, there are currently scheduled protests outside of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the Emirates Stadium to demand that Daniel Levy and Stan Kroenke resign and/or sell their stakes in Tottenham and Arsenal respectively.
Just for good measure, Juventus also announced their decision to leave the ESL, leaving only Barcelona and Real Madrid still remaining.
Breaking: Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has said that plans for a European Super League can no longer go ahead. pic.twitter.com/kWlA0SF7yw— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 21, 2021
Schalke Fans Attack Their own Players
After a 1-0 defeat to Arminia Bielefeld secured Schalke’s relegation from the Bundesliga, the club’s fans appeared at the Veltins Arena when the team returned and physically accosted them. There are videos swirling around of what appears to be a group of fans chasing around a group of people who could be Schalke players, in a scene that could be cut straight from a Scooby-Doo episode, but I haven’t seen any confirmation that the players were the ones being chased, so I won’t post it here.
Whether or not the videos are accurate, the Gelsenkirchen Police have confirmed that Schalke’s fans threw eggs and threw verbal insults at the squad. Violence against players is obviously never acceptable, so even though Schalke fans’ frustrations might be understandable, the way they’ve acted has no justification.
Jadon Sancho a Possibility for Union Berlin
Lost in all the craziness is the fact that BVB play Union Berlin today, and there’s some good news on the injury front! Jadon Sancho has returned to training, and according to head coach Edin Terzic, could potentially see the pitch against Union.
Edin #Terzic: "Jadon #Sancho ist gestern ins Mannschaftstraining eingestiegen, es sah schon sehr gut aus. Es besteht die Chance, dass er morgen zum Kader gehört. Für Thomas #Delaney wird es noch nicht reichen."#BVBFCU pic.twitter.com/OCIcrllPtJ— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) April 20, 2021
The Daily Buzz
Please list things that have lasted longer than the European Super League. And no sex jokes!