Punish EPL's big 6 or kiss game goodbye: Neil Humphreys
Football as we know it will never be same if the greedy planned European Super League happens
Deduct 25 points from every member of the "big six". Stop them getting anywhere near the English Premier League title they now treat with contempt.
Do that now, today, if their craven plan to launch a European Super League isn't withdrawn immediately.
If the owners of the big six do not agree to shelve their grubby scheme within a certain timeframe, relegate them. Drop all six and promote the top six from the Championship, unless they ditch their shameless attempt to seize economic and political control of the sport.Otherwise, it's apocalypse now.
The game you love will be gone, because this is not about you. Modern, elite football is rarely about you, or me, unless we're called upon to buy jerseys or cable TV subscriptions and turn up for pre-season cash-grabs at South-east Asian stadiums.
And it's not about money either, not in a trite, superficial sense. It's about the mismanagement of money among foreign-domiciled billionaires who bought in to make further billions and do not appreciate Uefa, the EPL or even Covid-19 getting in the way of those regular cash injections.
Billionaires did not acquire Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester City because they remember the Busby Babes, the Boot Room, Peter Osgood's Sixties swingers, Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle, Tony Adams' offside trap or Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee.
They remember A-level economics. Speculate to accumulate.
And now they're speculating on your naivety. All 12 breakaway clubs - three each from Italy and Spain to go with those six from England - are banking on your gullibility, hoping that blinkered tribalism will be enough to avoid the hypocrisy.
This isn't football. A European Super League where the 12 founding power brokers can never be relegated is not a sporting competition, but a private members club. They want their privileges protected. Forever.
Perhaps Leicester City scared the top six. In 2016, the Foxes had the gall to win the title. Who did they think they were? The top six were purchased to maintain a stranglehold on silverware revenues. These folks didn't spend billions to share.
So the European Super League is the inevitable answer.
A closed shop to the richest parties with no real incentive to improve, but an extra pot of cash. Teams will get around £300 million (S$555.3m) for just taking part, extending the rich-poor divide in domestic leagues.
This abomination can only be the work of football men who loathe football. Capitalists like safe bets. They like control over their markets.
Football is unpredictable and gloriously messy, with 22 moving parts chasing a ball in ever-changing conditions with dodgy VAR (video assistant referee) decisions thrown in.
Most of all, competitive sport brings jeopardy. For something to be won, something must also be lost. The best theatre comes with a trap door, a sense of danger, loss and regret hanging in the air.
Even in the current, inequitable set-up, the big six doesn't go into four Champions League places. The uncertainty keeps us coming back.
The European Super League has no jeopardy, just repetitive fixtures among the same heavyweights, turning rare treats into prestige junk food.
And Gary Neville is correct. The worst culprits are Manchester United and Liverpool. These storied clubs created special relationships with fans through the unique successes, sacrifices and tragedies of previous generations.
Shame on their owners for paying lip service to the special bond among supporters, one nurtured through many trophies but also Munich and Hillsborough disasters, only to sully the clubs' reputations.
Of course, no one should feign ignorance. The Glazers never disputed their commercial intentions (and United have been saddled with obscene debt ever since).
But the behaviour of Liverpool's owners is particularly nauseating. Happy to leverage off the club's community spirit, a place where one never walks alone, apparently, John Henry is one of the project's keenest advocates.
Of course he is. He didn't buy the Reds because he knew the words to Ferry Cross the Mersey.
If the European Super League really is a straightforward power play between elite clubs and Uefa in a bid for a bigger slice of Champions League revenues, then Uefa and their national associations should indeed play the game.
Don't back down. Penalise the clubs while the rest of us ignore a project that has no reason to exist beyond avarice.
No matter how lucrative, a league without jeopardy is not a football league. And its wealthiest cheerleaders really don't care about football. They never did.
Maybe it's time to stop pretending.