'Be careful what you wish for' – Sky Sports presenter and Hartlepool United president Jeff Stelling delivers important European Super League message to football fans
Jeff Stelling has joined the ever-growing list of high profile football figures to hit out at the new European Super League plans.
Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are the six Premier League clubs who have agreed to join a new competition made up of 12 of Europe’s so-called ‘elite’ clubs.
The proposal has been shunned by the vast majority of football fans, current and former players as well as pundits over the past 48-hours due to the blatant and aggressive focus on profit over fan interest.
When the news first broke, Hartlepool United club president Jeff Stelling tweeted: “Thank god I support a proper club."
The Sky Sports presenter continued to hit out at the proposal – and particularly the owners of the clubs looking to take part – in an impassioned interview on BBC Radio Tees Sport.
“It’s a case of be careful what you wish for,” Stelling warned fans of clubs hoping for overseas investment.
“You bring in these millionaire overseas owners, rub your hands together and think ‘what a team we could have’. Unfortunately, you leave yourself completely at the mercy of mercenary businessman whose only aim is to make money.
"They have no passion for their football clubs, of course they don’t. Manchester United fans will tell you, the Glazers had not made a public statement in over 16 months and they make a statement over this league and spout lyrical over the benefits of it, there are no benefits, there are no benefits whatsoever!
"I know fans of those six clubs are ashamed of their clubs. If the league takes place, the fans are disregarded because how many of them will be travelling to games in Europe each week?"
On the backlash the proposal has received so far, Stelling continued: “Gary Neville said it brilliantly this week, it is absolutely scandalous, ‘criminal’ was the word he used and he included his own club Manchester United in that.
"There is this huge backlash but what can we do? I have no idea at all. I admire the fan groups and have been reading about Liverpool fans removing their banners from Anfield as a protest against what is going on.
“Hopefully someone from one of those clubs speaks up. We don’t want this, we don’t need this, this is not how football should be.”
Liverpool captain James Milner became the first player from the ‘big six’ clubs to speak out against the ESL plans.
"Hopefully it doesn’t happen,” he told Sky Sports following the 1-1 draw against Leeds United.
Despite all of the scrutiny and animosity directed towards the ESL and the clubs involved, Stelling was still able to look on the positive side.
“It’s just scandalous really and if the six of them go and get thrown out of the Premier League, every cloud has a silver lining," he added.
“I say just promote the top six from every league throughout the football pyramid and at least those fans will be happy.
Stelling laughed: "Of course that means Hartlepool would be promoted but that wasn’t part of my thinking!”