Liverpool owner's grovelling apology over Super League 'betrayal'

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·5-min read
John W Henry, pictured here with wife Linda at a Liverpool game in 2011.
John W Henry with wife Linda at a Liverpool game in 2011. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Liverpool owner John W Henry and Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer have apologised for their roles in the failed European Super League.

Liverpool and United were among six English Premier League clubs who had signed up for the $6 billion venture, before withdrawing on Tuesday amid a storm of protests from fans, players and the British government.

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The Super League has since collapsed after eight of the 12 founding members from England, Italy and Spain abandoned the breakaway project.

Founder and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli told Reuters on Wednesday that he was reluctantly calling time on the new league after Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid became the latest clubs to withdraw on Wednesday.

Issuing a heartfelt apology to Liverpool fans, manager and players on Tuesday, Henry said the breakaway project would only have worked with fans' full support.

"I want to apologise to all the fans and supporters of Liverpool Football Club for the disruption I caused over the last 48 hours," the billionaire businessman said.

"It goes without saying but should be said, the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans.

"No-one ever thought differently in England. Over these 48 hours you were very clear that it would not stand. We heard you. I heard you."

Henry spoke of the "hurt" being felt and also apologised to manager Jurgen Klopp, his staff and players "and to everyone who works so hard at LFC to make our fans proud".

"They have absolutely no responsibility for this disruption," Henry said. "They were the most disrupted and unfairly so. This is what hurts most.

Aston Villa fans, pictured here with a banner reacting to the collapse of the European Super League.
Aston Villa fans display a banner reacting to the collapse of the European Super League. (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)

"They love your club and work to make you proud every single day. I know the entire LFC team has the expertise and passion necessary to rebuild trust and help us move forward.

"More than a decade ago when we signed up for the challenges associated with football we dreamed of what you dreamed of and we've worked hard to improve your club.

"Our work isn't done and I hope you understand that even when we make mistakes, we're trying to work in your club's best interests."

Manchester United chairman also apologises

Glazer also apologised to supporters for United's involvement, saying the hierarchy failed to show respect to the "deep-rooted traditions" of the English game.

"Although the wounds are raw and I understand that it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally committed to rebuilding trust with our fans and learning from the message you delivered with such conviction," Glazer said in an open letter to supporters on Wednesday.

"We continue to believe that European football needs to become more sustainable throughout the pyramid for the long-term. However, we fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about it.

"In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions — promotion, relegation, the pyramid — and for that we are sorry."

Joel Glazer, pictured here at a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Joel Glazer walks off the field before a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Atlanta Falcons. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Glazer assured supporters that necessary steps will be taken to rebuild relationships with stakeholders across the game as they look for solutions to the "long-term challenges facing the football pyramid".

Agnelli said he still believed in the merits of the Super League despite the overwhelming criticism and had no regrets about how the breakaway had been conducted.

"I remain convinced of the beauty of that project," Agnelli said, adding it would have been the best competition in the world.

The Super League argued it would increase revenue for the top soccer clubs in Europe and allow them to distribute more money to the rest of the game.

But the sport's governing bodies, other teams and fan organisations said the league would only boost the power and wealth of elite clubs, and that the partially closed structure went against European football's long-standing model.

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with AAP

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