‘Big six’ took a slap over ESL – Bruce

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April 24, 2021
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    'The supporters have been heard and rightly so' – Bruce on ESL

    The 'big six' Premier League clubs have "taken a slap" over their involvement in the European Super League, says Newcastle manager Steve Bruce.

    Fan protests were held after Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham agreed to join the breakaway league.

    All six English clubs had withdrawn from the competition by Wednesday.

    "It was pretty obvious to everyone we weren't going to accept it, which was terrific," Bruce said.

    Nine of the initial 12 teams have now withdrawn from the ESL, although Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says the competition is only on "standby".

    "The supporters have been heard and rightly so," said Bruce, whose side are away to Liverpool, one of the clubs who tried to break away, on Saturday at 12:45 BST.

    "To bring it down and bring it down so quickly, fair play to all the supporters."

    Perez said that the league was formed to attract a younger audience to football and recoup income lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

    However, critics said the move was driven purely by money and would destroy domestic leagues.

    Bruce, who won three Premier League titles at Manchester United as a player, credited the lower divisions for giving him a start in his career, having made his professional debut in the third tier with Gillingham in 1979.

    "I'm all for the pyramid in this country and I'm all for the way it works," he said.

    "Thankfully the big six have taken a slap. This thing must have been rumbling on for years, so we must guard against it."

    Solskjaer needs 'fear of failure'

    I want to earn the right to play in Europe – Solskjaer

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    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke to fans who entered the club's training ground on Thursday to protest about the Glazer family's ownership.

    Solskjaer, who said he had a "good 10 minutes" talking to the fans, confirmed that he did not like the concept of the ESL.

    "We want to be part of European campaigns. You can't just give it out because of your name," he said.

    "You have to earn the right to be there. You need a fear of failure. That wasn't there.

    "I back my team to be at the top in Europe but the fear of failure helps. My nature is not to be handed things."

    Investment bank JP Morgan apologised on Friday for financially backing the competition.

    The group had agreed to a grant of 3.5bn euros (£3bn) to set up the league.

    "We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community. We will learn from this," a statement read.

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