Liverpool legend John Barnes insists the European Super League collapse changes nothing for football fans, who will continue to be exploited by the ‘same old faces’.

Supporters triumphed over the owners of the Premier League ‘big six’, who were forced to pull out of plans for a breakaway league following intense pressure on Tuesday.

The message was clear – football fans didn’t like it

A dramatic night of protests at Chelsea have since been followed by an apology from Liverpool owner John W Henry, but former Reds midfielder Barnes believes the elite at football’s helm will always win at the expense of the fans.

For Barnes, football sold its soul with the formation of the Premier League in 1992, and the price of the game was taken away from its working class fans long before any talk of a Super League.

“It was a well-scripted apology, it was heartfelt, or it seemed to be heartfelt,” the ex-England international told talkSPORT.

“How meaningful it is, we don’t really know. But I tend not to listen to too much noise over the past two days and try to analyse what’s been happening.

Barnes delivered a powerful rant on talkSPORT this morning

“What’s happening is there’s been a power struggle between elite groups who control football and exploit the fans, that’s all it was.

“It’s just a question of who’s going to exploit them. Now that the ESL is not going to exploit them, it will be the same old guard – FIFA, UEFA, the Premier League and the big clubs.

“All of those Chelsea fans outside the ground, how many of them do you think can get tickets for the game? How many can afford the £150 shirts? How many can afford their Sky subscriptions?

“So it’s still about exploitation of the fans. It’s just a question of who can exploit them. It will be the same old faces.

Barnes insists the victorious fans will still be exploited one way or another

“The status quo is exactly the same. This, in my opinion, was a ploy from the big clubs to get more money from UEFA.

“This started in 1992, when an elite group of five clubs wanted to pull away and enticed the other 15 to pull away from the Football League, because they wanted more money for themselves.

“That’s why the Premier League started. In 1992, football sold out.”

In a powerful rant, Barnes drew similarities between football’s power struggle and the war on racism, in light of Derek Chauvin’s convinction for the murder of George Floyd.

Many Americans celebrated justice for George Floyd – a black man who was murdered in police custody last year
Getty Images – Getty

It is Barnes’ view that the narrative will always favour society’s most privileged one way or another, while the true victims are given false hope of any real change.

“The fans can believe that they won on this occasion, but nothing changes for the fans,” he added.

“Five years later, something else will happen and we’ll use the fans to start this revolution because the elite groups don’t want things to change, they want the status quo to stay the same and we say, ‘Yes – this is for the working classes!’

“We do this as black people, we talk about George Floyd, we talk about inner city schools – and an elite group of people get more, but nothing changes for the black community. But we say it’s in their name.

“This has been going on for a thousand years, where we try to convince the working classes, the masses, the average woman, the average gay, the average black person, that it’s on your behalf and it’s for you.

“An elite group of people get better lives, but nothing changes for them.”


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