For a club like us, playing Premier League football is our pinnacle. As a fan, seeing teams like Man City and Liverpool playing at the Hawthorns is our reward for watching us at Swansea away on a cold Tuesday night. Why should a few billionaire investors take that away from us?
I’ve been asked many times why I’m a Baggies fan. Family ties is always my go to answer. Regardless though, as the infamous Yo-Yo club we are, life is never boring. Relegations have always hurt, and promotions are always incredible.
At a time last year when life was so difficult for us all, watching Slaven and the boys celebrate our promotion in an empty Hawthorns, was immense. We would have loved to have been there, of course we would, but we enjoyed it all the same.
In stark contrast, when the inevitable does happen, and we go down this season, the disappointment will hurt as well.
That’s life. That’s football.
But apparently, that doesn’t apply if you’re one of the select few. In a league of 20, 15 have been selected by themselves and cannot be relegated. This is not and cannot be fair.
Take Leicester City for example. A team who just eight seasons ago were in England’s second division (where we’re most likely headed next year), the Championship. Yet three years later, won the Premier League. They now sit in third and are on-track to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Just two of the so-called “big six” who are joining the Super League are above them right now. Wigan Athletic have won silverware more recently than Tottenham Hotspur.
Where was their invite to play Juventus on a Wednesday night?
How will the competition actually work?
Initial proposals made have stated a 20-team league, including 15 permanent members and five who will need to qualify annually. Two groups of ten would then be made from the clubs, with the top four from each league qualifying for the quarterfinals. Matches are proposed to be held midweek, so could therefore theoretically occur alongside traditional domestic competitions.
However, the Premier league have made their position clear and completely “condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit”. Add to this the fact that all teams need the Premier League’s permission to play in the Super League, and you can see where this one’s going.
For us then, the Super League may spell the end of away days to Anfield and seeing the game’s greats grace the hallowed turf of the Hawthorns. But much deeper than that, it completely undermines everything we stand for as a club.
Relegations, and how we have always bounced back from them, have written our history. If a new league gives the privilege to the select few that they’re exempt from them, then as a club we must join the fight against it.
Football is a business; we all know that. But for any business to survive, consumers are needed. I highly doubt the response they’re receiving was the intended consumer response for the business brains that put the Super League together.
As much as I hope the plans fall through with the inevitable backlash which will continue over the next few days, the simple fact it has come to this shows how far things have gone.
If Covid has taught us anything, football is nothing without fans. Sport is about people.
Since the passing of my Grandfather, ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ always brings a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye. The memories we create with family and friends is at the heart of football, and in the end, are what we hold onto most dearly.
It might be time for a few of these clubs to take a step back and remember that.