Fans must be put before business says Dons boss on European Super League proposals

"They have to be at the heart of every decision that is made because it's the fans who keep clubs going"

Monday, 19th April 2021, 12:16 pm
A banner at Old Trafford

The ramifications on football supporters should be at the forefront of all clubs' minds this season, but talk of a European Super League has shown little to no consideration to that, according to MK Dons boss Russell Martin

With six Premier League sides - Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham - pledging to join elite European clubs in a stand-alone division yesterday, the future of the game in Europe is potentially facing a huge overhaul, with UEFA and FIFA stepping in to attempt to prevent the breakaway. Read more about the proposals hereWhile definitive plans remain unclear as yet, Martin said the knock-on impact it would have on clubs like Dons and the rest of the EFL are hard to judge, but felt it is the supporters who will be hit hardest.

"I think we've all realised our football isn't the same without supporters," he said. "They have to be at the heart of every decision that is made because it's the fans who keep clubs going. If a club hits a hard time, the supporters are there through thick and thin. And any decision that has been made, I don't think that has been considered.

"The fans have to be considered, as do the players. The fight for the Champions League is really interesting. To take all that away detracts from our game, and it only serves a few. I don't think it's a great decision for the fans, and hopefully it is something that is considered and reflected upon.

"Every team, every player dreams of playing at the top level. Leicester and Man City are two examples of teams who were playing at this level not too long ago and are now able to do what they do. Ultimately, we have an incredible tier system of football that not many others can replicate.

"Let's not forget how valuable lower league football is. There's a tribal aspect to football, it means so much to go and watch their team regardless of where they are in the country.

"In terms of being a fan, let's not get the business get in the way. I know it's a business, but they're not doing too badly in the Premier League or the Champions League. There cannot be infinite growth financially forever, and football is the same."