European Super League: Everton accuse Premier League six of 'betraying' fans

By Sports Desk April 20, 2021

Everton have accused the six Premier League clubs who have signed up to the European Super League of "betraying" football supporters.

Plans for a breakaway league were announced on Sunday, with Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham among the 12 teams confirmed to have signed up.

The news was met with a wave of criticism from across the spectrum, including fans, governing bodies, players, ex-professionals and other clubs.

And on Tuesday the Toffees made clear their feelings on the matter in a scathing statement which attacked the involvement of their fellow English top-flight outfits.

"Everton is saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs," read a statement from the club's board of directors.

"Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests.

"Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game.

"Six clubs choosing to disrespect every other club with whom they sit around the Premier League table.

"Six clubs taking for granted and even betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond."

The Merseyside club were particularly critical of the timing of the move, coming amid a global pandemic which has threatened the very existence of some clubs.

"At this time of national and international crisis – and a defining period for our game – clubs should be working together collaboratively with the ideals of our game and its supporters uppermost," the statement continued.

"Instead, these clubs have been secretly conspiring to break away from a football pyramid that has served them so well.

"And in that Pyramid Everton salutes EVERY club, be it Leicester City, Accrington Stanley, Gillingham, Lincoln City, Morecambe, Southend United, Notts County and the rest who have, with their very being, enriched the lives of their supporters throughout the game's history. And vice versa.

"The self-proclaimed Super Six appear intent on disenfranchising supporters across the game – including their own – by putting the very structure that underpins the game we love under threat."

Since the plans were made public, the dissenting voices have come from every corner, with UEFA threatening sanctions, fans protesting and even players and managers speaking out against them.

It is a reaction that Everton say must be taken on board by those leading the charge for a European Super League.

"The backlash is understandable and deserved – and has to be listened to," the club's board said.

"This preposterous arrogance is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this plan.

"On behalf of everyone associated with Everton, we respectfully ask that the proposals are immediately withdrawn and that the private meetings and subversive practises that have brought our beautiful game to possibly its lowest ever position in terms of trust end now.

"Finally we would ask the owners, chairmen, and Board members of the six clubs to remember the privileged position they hold – not only as custodians of their clubs but also custodians of the game. The responsibility they carry should be taken seriously.

"We urge them all to consider what they wish their legacy to be."

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    Harry Kane would gladly sacrifice individual honours if it meant Tottenham ended the Premier League season on a high by winning their three remaining matches, according to caretaker boss Ryan Mason.

    The England captain has failed to score in his last two league games and has been joined at the top of the scoring charts by Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who took his goals tally to 21 with a strike against Manchester United on Thursday.

    Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes and Kane's Tottenham team-mate Son Heung-min are next on the list with 18 and 17 goals respectively, followed by Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin on 16.

    Spurs face Wolves, Aston Villa and Leicester City in their final three league games and Mason insists the team will come first for Kane, who previously finished top scorer in the English top flight in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

    "I know Harry, he's one of my best friends," Mason said at a pre-match news conference on Friday ahead of this weekend's home match with Wolves.

    "It he can help us win games and also win the Golden Boot, then happy days. But he won't compromise the team for the individual awards."

    Spurs were beaten 3-1 by Leeds United last time out in the Premier League and are now eight points adrift of the top four with a game in hand, while Liverpool and West Ham are four and two points better off respectively in the Europa League spots.

    Mason's side will likely have to see out the season by achieving three wins in a row to qualify for UEFA's secondary competition, something that they have not achieved yet in the top flight this calendar year.

    The likelihood is that if Spurs do take nine points from nine, Kane will have had a major say in that success.

    "Our target is to get as many points as possible and see where we finish," Mason said. "It's very difficult in the Premier League to win three games in a row. Our focus for now has to be on Wolves this weekend. 

    "At the end of next week we can see where we are. We want to be in European competition, that's what we expect."

    Last week's defeat to Leeds was Tottenham's 11th loss of the season in the Premier League, matching their tally for the whole of 2019-20. Five of those have been defeats by two or more goals - their most in a season since 2014-15 (also five).

    Mason, who has overseen Spurs' last four matches since the departure of Jose Mourinho, including the EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester City, acknowledges the importance of responding with three points against Wolves on Sunday.

    "Losing games hurts," he said. "To lose a cup final hurts massively, to lose a league game hurts massively. They are different emotions because the games were different.

    "There were moments in the Leeds one that shaped how the game went against us. We want to win and we expect to win. Any game we lose is disappointing.

    "The best therapy is being back on the training pitch. Hopefully at the weekend we'll be fully prepared."

    Tottenham have lost three of their six home Premier League games against Wolves (50 per cent) - only against Nottingham Forest (60 per cent) have they lost a higher percentage in the competition.

    That includes back-to-back away wins in this fixture for Wolves, who are 11 points worse off than their opponents in the table.

    This latest meeting between the sides could be overshadowed by possible protests ahead of the game, with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust calling for the club's executive board to resign as the fallout from the collapsed Super League continues.

    However, while Mason respects the supporters' right to protest, he hopes they will get behind their team on the field when fans are allowed back into grounds from next week.

    "I think firstly, I trust our security, the players' safety is the most important thing," Mason said. "I respect the fans, their opinion matters, it really does. We want our fans to be aligned, all pulling in the same direction.

    "Our chairman and our board have done incredible for this football club. I know our fans respect that. The most important thing is the connection with the fans, who are entitled to their opinion.

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    "We've got a massive game on Sunday, but of course we're excited. The football world, society in general, is excited by some sort of normality."

    Mason confirmed full-back Ben Davies is unlikely to play in any of Tottenham's remaining three games, but his side otherwise have no fresh injury concerns.

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    The Blues have been a team reborn since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard as head coach in January and Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley is their first of two shots they have at silverware – the other coming in the Champions League final against Manchester City in Porto at the end of this month.

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    Liverpool, who also beat United in their match at Old Trafford on Thursday, could be one point behind Chelsea by the time Tuchel's men are back in league action and he lamented his team's failure to be "decisive" in the Arsenal game.

    "Obviously I cannot judge it," he said when asked which game was more important. "These are two finals and we do not think about anything else but the two finals.

    "It's a final for the cup, it's a final for the top four. We missed a chance against Arsenal to be decisive and now we have to cope with it – first of all to show a reaction at Wembley and have the upper hand when it comes to Tuesday."

    Tuchel took his share of the blame immediately after Emile Smith Rowe was gifted the only goal by a dire Jorginho backpass at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, and he conceded his irritation at the result had not quite subsided.

    "'I still have a hangover from the last defeat, it's always like this. I'm a bit more in angry mode, not at myself or the players but because of the result and the opportunity we missed," he explained.

    "I will hopefully transform that to a good preparation and push the team to the edge to play sharp. We have to show a reaction, it's the FA Cup final at Wembley.

    "I am fully focused to prepare my team better than two days ago."

    On Thursday, the Champions League final was relocated from Istanbul to Porto due to Turkey being on the UK government's "red list" for travel in relation to COVID-19 restrictions.

    Tuchel insists his squad should not be paying any attention to an eagerly anticipated fixture still two weeks away.

    "I'm happy to go to Porto, I'm happy to go to a final. That's the easy answer - I would go anywhere to play a final," he said.

    "But right now the bigger challenge is to forget the Champions League final and to be fully focused on our two finals that are ahead of us.

    "We cannot lose one percentage of concentration and focus. We did this the last game against Arsenal and we got punished for it. Lesson learned and well accepted."

    Kepa Arrizabalaga will keep his place at Wembley as Chelsea's cup goalkeeper and Tuchel confirmed Mateo Kovacic was fit to feature again after a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

    "It's huge because Mateo has everything we need in the midfield," he added. 'Experience, power, he can beat players, he has physical ability and has played big games in the Premier League. 

    "When we missed N'Golo [Kante] and Mateo, we lacked a lot of quality, energy and experience.

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    Mane was named among the substitutes for the Reds' clash with fierce rivals Manchester United on Thursday and replaced Diogo Jota in the second half of a 4-2 Premier League win.

    The Senegal forward was clearly not impressed that he had been dropped to the bench, heading for the tunnel with his back to Klopp when the Liverpool boss went for a handshake on the pitch at full-time.

    Klopp revealed that he had not explained to the former Southampton man why he was not in the starting line-up prior to the match.

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    He said in a press conference ahead of Sunday's trip to West Brom: "I cannot make a bigger story of it as it is.

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    Victory for Liverpool at The Hawthorns this weekend would leave them just a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea with two games to go in the battle for Champions League qualification.

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