As the dust continues to settle on what were the seismic events in the footballing world, there are many lessons that can be taken out from the events surrounding the European Super League.
The brief existence of the European Super League was rightly treated with considerable distain from everyone in the football world. The ESL was a monstrosity. However, what the rejection of the Super League did do was reveal the strengths of the capitalist modal of power distribution. It also helped remind us the value of our community and our culture. Both capitalism and community culture have come under a barrage of attacks from Marxists and globalists in recent times. In the case of the European Super League, both capitalism and our culture emerged with enhanced significance.
There was a prevailing narrative during the three-day life of the ESL which suggested that the fans had been cast aside in favour of business and profit. This saw a spate of protests and general discontent among fans, who felt that they were being ignored.
However, this was a fundamental misunderstanding of where power really lies in the capitalist model. It also misconstrues the decision to enter the ESL and fails to acknowledge the strengths of running football clubs as businesses.
Capitalism is the best way to balance different perspectives and reach the most widely acceptable solution. In its essence, capitalism is a relationship between producer and consumer. The only way for both parties to achieve a positive outcome is through dialogue and recalibration of decision-making based on the needs of either the producer or consumer. It is, fundamentally, a two-way street.
Following the effectiveness of the protests, in particular that of the Chelsea fans outside Stamford Bridge which began the domino collapse of the ESL, the narrative rose that the fans had wrestled back power from the greedy owners. But when one understands the relationship that capitalism provides, it is clear that this power was always there, built into the system. “Football is nothing without the fans” is precisely the same as saying businesses are nothing without the customers. Fans did not take power away from the owners – rather, fans realised the power that they inherently possessed. This was nothing but a revelation of the beauty of capitalism.
Furthermore, capitalism also provides the counterbalance to the demands of fans. Football, and sports on the whole, is an emotionally driven affair. This brings with it the pressure to spend an exorbitant amount of money. Over the last few decades, we have seen the spiralling amounts paid for new players ad infinitum, with no sign of it slowing down. If clubs were to follow their heart strings, they would be run into the ground in one summer.
Therefore, it is the rational head of the club administration which balances the sentimentality of the fans, allowing for the progression of the club. Meanwhile, it is the fans who set the bar for the footballing success of the clubs, which allows for the creation of sentimental attachment.
This is precisely what was played out during the Super League debacle. The owners of the big six have seen their costs rising, but they also see the instability of profits stemming from the unreliable results-orientated funds and the insufficient broadcasting payments. This is a financial disaster, full of risk and with very little reward to show for it – even if it does work out. It was these concerns that eventually bore the Super League.
The fans, seeing the lack of meritocracy and the failure to recognise the cultural significance of the national league, rejected the plans, forcing change. The clubs highlighted the issue and the fans rejected the solution. Both sides are legitimate, but a compromise much be reached and the only way to successfully reach a conclusion is through the capitalist system of mutual agreement.
Like capitalism, another aspect of society that has seen its stock price rise is the significance of culture and community. The pursuit of a globalised Britain has been an establishment fanaticism for over forty years. This venture has taken many forms – from the European Union to open borders, the globalist agenda has been continually progressed.
But what was routinely ignored by the globalists, whether by design or through ignorance, was the gravity in which people related to the institutions around them. Sir Roger Scruton makes the point that “a place becomes a home, by virtue of the habits that domesticate it”. The point being made is that it is not simply the structures of society themselves that carry significance; the way people interact and attribute importance is also significant. This forms the basis of a unique culture and social solidarity within a nation.
In the case of the European Super League, the architects of the project believed that simply replacing one league with another would not cause outrage – after all, football is football, they said. But this negated its history, as well as the emotional and cultural investment in the national leagues. What these factors have created is a semi-religious way of relating to football in this country. The memories, the rivalries and all that football in this country entailed came under threat. The fans just could not tolerate such a desecration. The cultural significance of the national league could not be sneered at or ridiculed.
The message to take from this European saga is that, despite the ceaseless wave of attacks by the Marxist left, there are aspects of our society that are worth fighting for. Capitalism is the best way to structure our society and maintaining the forces of capitalism is the best way to ensure progress for the future. At the same time, there must be due consideration for our culture and our institutions. They are important and must therefore be respected. The defeat of the ESL is evidence of this.
 Scruton R, (2000) England: An Elegy, Bloomsbury, Page 9