United Kingdom

Neville and Carragher launch call to arms for supporters to stop the European Super League

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher launched an emotional call to arms to football fans, pundits, managers and players to help bring proposals for a controversial European Super League to a grinding halt.

Liverpool and Arsenal fans have been seen protesting with banners outside Anfield and the Emirates Stadium earlier on in the day after their pair joined the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Tottenham founding members of the controversial new breakaway tournament that would replace their European commitments with UEFA, such as the Champions League.

Reds supporters also joined together with Leeds fans outside Elland Road ahead of their two clubs facing off, holding up banners reading 'RIP Football' in protest against the plans, while Marcelo Bielsa's men wore 'Football Is For The Fans' t-shirts during their warm up ahead of facing Jurgen Klopp's men.

Jamie Carragher (left) and Gary Neville have called for a call to arms to stop the European Super League from being launched

Liverpool and Leeds fans protested before the game after proposals from twelve European clubs, including the Premier League Big Six, were announced on Sunday

Leeds player also wore 'Football For The Fans' t-shirts as they warmed up for the match

Twelve clubs across Europe, including the Merseysiders owned by John W Henry's Fenway Sports Group and Stan Kroenke's Arsenal, announced the launch on Sunday night, leading to widespread criticism from figures including UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

But speaking to Monday Night Football, Carragher insisted just one of the 'Big Six' dropping out would cause the European Super League to collapse.

Speaking after Liverpool duo James Milner and Jurgen Klopp came out against the idea, Carragher said: 'We need the same response from everyone, we cannot afford this to die away, we need to ramp this up. We should take our hats off that they [Milner and Klopp] have been bold enough to say this.

'More and more clubs have to do this. As soon as one drops out, the rest will fall. I am so much more confident it can be stopped that I was at 2pm or 3pm, listening to Klopp and looking at social media. 

'If one goes, the rest will fall like a pack of cards, I have a spring in my step. A lot of it was hinging on Klopp's interview, as soon as we saw it, it gives you confidence.'

And Gary Neville believes Manchester City could be the side to drop out, adding: 'Why will the Abu Dhabi people build a network of football? What they have done is unbelievable to the east of Manchester. 

'They created a legacy around there, arguably for marketing purposes. Why are they doing this? They don't need money, they have got Pep [Guardiola], the most amazing manager. City must fold.'

Arsenal fans also hung banners outside the Emirates Stadium in protest at Stan Kroenke

Neville also meanwhile insisted rivalries and allegiances must be put aside for the time being to stop the proposals being implemented.

He also urged the Glazer family to be booted out of Manchester United, describing the current owners - who bought out shareholders between 2003 and 2005 - as 'scavengers' following their important role in the founding of the Super League.

'I like the reaction of the government, royalty' the reaction of fans. But if they get this through, and they've pushed this through in the past, it will change football forever in this country,' Neville said.

'It is difficult not to get emotional and feel sick, but honestly you have got to write to your MPs, to your local football clubs, everybody has got to come behind this.

'Pundits for BBC, ITV, BT Sport, forget allegiances and forget who you support. We have got to come together to stop this proposal.

'This is an attack on everything that has been important in this country. Football has helped in the last 10 months in the midst of a pandemic more than ever keep people going.

'They are trying to take it away from us. I feel slightly complicit. I have stayed pretty quiet over the Glazer family over the years, but I cannot live with attacking every single football fan in this country. 

'They have stepped over the mark. They are scavengers and they need booting out of this football club and this country. We have got to come together now, some might say it is too late, but it is never too late. We have got to stop this. It is absolutely critical we do.

'There's a lack of understanding. There's a lack of willingness, they want to change the system. They want to change the pyramid, or relegation, or promotion. 

Neville also urged the Glazers to be booted out of Manchester United, calling them scavengers

'When Manchester United don't qualify for the Champions League they lose loads of money and they've been really good at not qualifying but they were banking on it every time with Sir Alex Ferguson and they were getting in every season. They thought it was their right they thought they were entitled and they're not. 

'It doesn't matter where they finish in the league, they want to take away everything in this country. The sincerity, competition, honest integrity to compete and they're taking it away. 

'I hope they're panting hard tonight and their stomachs are turning. The players who play for these clubs, I can't tell Liverpool or Manchester United to go on strike. 

'That wouldn't be right. If you've got it in you, you can stop it. Jurgen Klopp can stop it. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can stop it. We just have to all come together now. It's an attack on integrity on our sport.'

Former Reds defender Carragher called from similar action to be taken, and urged Liverpool fans to lead the front of players, managers and pundits having chased former owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks out of the club in 2010. 

'My message to everyone is I think these clubs think this is a done deal. I don't think it is, I think supporters up and down this country can stop it, I really do believe it,' Carragher stated.

'I think the forefront of that will be Liverpool [fans] because I have seen it before. We have tribalism and rivalry in this country, and that's what we love. 

Jamie Carragher urged Liverpool fans to lead the way in their protests against the ESL plans

'Football fans get together, all of us in TV, pundits, players, managers, get together and stop this because it can be stopped. I am convinced of it.

'Going forward that is what we need, marches on stadiums, supporters getting together, this cannot be allowed to happen.'

Football governing bodies UEFA, FIFA, the Premier League, the FA and European Club Association along with football associations in Italy and Spain have shown their disapproval about the 'closed' Super League that goes against 'sporting competition and integrity'.

UEFA have already threatened to ban the sides involved in the Super League from European competitions this season and also prevent their players from taking part in international football.

And current player Milner is among the latest to express his disapproval, saying following Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Leeds: 'We became aware when it broke yesterday (Sunday). Lot of questions, I don't like it, I hope it doesn't happen.

'It is difficult for us, but I can only imagine what has been said.

'Players have no say, felt a bit unjust what we faced coming here tonight, we need to stay strong,' he added to address the scenes before kick off outside the ground.

Klopp, when asked if his views against the Super League from 2019 had changed, said: 'My opinions didn't change. I heard first time about it yesterday and when you try and prepare for a very difficult game like Leeds United and then so far we got some information not a lot to be honest - most of the things you can read.

Leeds forward Patrick Bamford also criticised the plans, adding: 'It's amazing the amount of opera that comes in to the game when somebody's pockets are getting hurt, it's a shame it's not like that with racism.'

'It's a tough one people are not happy with that, I can understand that but I can't say a lot about it to be honest. We were not involved in any processes, me nor the players we didn't know about it. We'll have to wait and see how it develops.

'I'm 53 years old since I was first a professional, the Champions League was there. As a manager it was my aim to coach a team there.

'I like the Champions League, the competitive factor of football. I like the fact that West Ham might play Champions League next year. I don't want them too because we want to do that. But they have a chance like that.

'What can I say: Liverpool is much more than some decisions and the most important things in football is the supporters and the teams and we have to make sure nothing comes between them.'   

Football news:

Real Madrid have a chance to become the leader of La Liga-thanks to Barca's perfect zeros with Atletico Madrid
Thomas Tuchel: If City had scored a penalty , there would have been no chance of a comeback. Shocked by Chelsea's reaction
Busquets was diagnosed with a fractured upper jaw
Tuchel has two consecutive wins over Guardiola. Champions League Final - May 29
Arsenal did not make the top 4 of the Premier League for the fifth year in a row. The last time the club was in the top four was under Wenger
Munich Police: Wanted Bundesliga competition, missing 9 years ago
Mateu Laos will judge the Champions League final with a 99% chance, the Euro final with a 90% chance. Iturralde about the Spanish referee