21 April 2021, The Tablet

Take down these giants

Soccer super league


Like life, top-flight football has never been conducted on the metaphorical level playing field. There are always the relative giants, who maintain their status through intimidation as much as by superior intelligence or agility; and the upstarts with the wits and daring to take them on. One of the most enduring motifs in human history is that of David and Goliath. The whole world, including the sporting world, loves a giant-killer.

This week, six English football clubs – Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur – joined with three leading teams from Spain and three from Italy to form a putative European Super League. While the status of several of them as a Goliath is questionable – these are neither the richest nor the most successful 12 teams in Europe (it is 60 years since Tottenham Hotspur, for example, won their domestic league trophy) – they hope to create a cartel designed to guarantee that they will never have to face the humiliation of being defeated by an upstart David.

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