Bill Shankly famously once said; “Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool.”

It is a sentiment all Reds fans will share.

But let’s make one thing clear, this isn’t Shankly’s Liverpool anymore. The Reds’ involvement in the European Super League has made sure of that.

Or should that be FSG’s involvement in the European Super League has made sure of that? The fact it has all but collapsed before a ball could be kicked makes no difference.

Originally the saviours of Liverpool Football Club back in 2010, John W. Henry, Tom Werner and co. are wolves in sheep’s clothing no more.

Twice burnt by attempts at rising ticket prices and furloughing staff, there will be no miraculous, Liverpool-esque recovery for them this time.

Liverpool European Super League plans

Reds fans are rightly ashamed of their club as it looked to form this breakaway league, brokered entirely out of greed and arrogance.

And while all six English clubs have now withdrawn, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona could potentially follow, Andrea Agnelli and Florentino Perez are reportedly be at risk of losing their jobs and Ed Woodward has announced he will leave his post, its failure does not change such facts and wipe away the shame.

Following the backlash, Liverpool confirmed on Tuesday evening they were withdrawing from the plans.

A statement read: "Liverpool Football Club can confirm that our involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.

"In recent days, the club has received representations from various key stakeholders, both internally and externally, and we would like to thank them for their valuable contributions."

Is that it? No comment from Henry or Werner? No apology from behind the guise of FSG? Nothing. Make no mistake, the European Super League was something the Reds' American owners most definitely wanted. They will feel regret but not at their actions, rather at the fact such plans have fallen at the first hurdle and failed to come to fruition.

But there is one small, silver lining to come out of this whole sorry mess. Liverpool supporters can be proud of the players and manager that represent their famous club.

In recent seasons they have lifted the Champions League and the Premier League, but in this bizarre, trophyless campaign, their actions in the past 48 hours have been far greater and far more significant.

Jurgen Klopp and James Milner both faced the cameras on Monday night as the Reds took to the field for the first time following the controversial launch of the ESL, and it was no surprise to see them both standing up for what they believe is right and making their voices heard.

“I said a couple of times, in 2019 I said it already. No, I don’t think it is a great idea,” Klopp said after his side’s draw with Leeds United.

And before the match, he also confirmed his opposition to the project.

“People are not happy with that, I can understand that,” he said. "We were not involved in these processes, as a manager or as players.

“I have no issues with the Champions League. I like the fact West Ham may play Champions League next year. I like that they have that chance.

"The most important part of a football club is the supporters and the team. Nothing can get between that. The players didn't do anything wrong. We want to qualify for the Champions League next year.

"I understand (the fans' anger). I don't know exactly why the 12 clubs did it. The one thing I cannot understand is the competitiveness. I don't like it if we are not in the Champions League, but if we earn it that is right."

Meanwhile, captain for the night Milner also confirmed he does not want the breakaway league to happen.

"(I feel) the same as everyone else, really, it broke yesterday and that’s the first we heard of it,” he said. "It’s the same as everyone, there’s a lot of questions.

“In my personal opinion, I don’t like it and hopefully it doesn’t happen.

"Probably the same reasons that everyone else has been talking about over the last day, obviously it’s been difficult for us, with the game and we’d try to prepare for the game but I can only imagine what’s been said about it and I’d probably agree with most of it.”

Elsewhere, Jordan Henderson might currently be sidelined through injury but he is still leading by example off the pitch as the Liverpool captain called an emergency meeting of Premier League captains in the wake of the European Super League announcement, before leading his squad in protest on social media.

James Milner of Liverpool celebrates with Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson
James Milner of Liverpool celebrates with Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson

Supporters might be ashamed of Liverpool Football Club but they can be proud of Klopp, they can be proud of Milner and they can be proud of Henderson. They can be proud of the entire Reds squad that took to social media on Tuesday night to speak out against the European Super League. Their opposition has been heard and helped stop the breakaway tournament in its tracks.

They are football men, they are football fans and they are speaking for the people they represent.

Like all of us, they grew up dreaming of making it as professional footballers and were fortunate enough to be talented enough to fulfil their childhood dreams.

They have played on the streets and stood on the turnstiles, be it in Stuttgart, Leeds or Sunderland. They genuinely care about the good of the game and they genuinely care about the supporters.

To use another famous Shankly quote, the legendary Scot once decreed to fans; “I have drummed it into our players time and again that they are privileged to play for you.”

Don’t Klopp, Milner and Henderson know it. And they won’t be the only ones.

A pandemic-ridden season without supporters has certainly left players with an extra appreciation for their fans in the stands.

But while we can take their efforts to salvage the beautiful game at face-value, let’s not kid ourselves about accompanying opposition.

The Premier League, UEFA and BSkyB all voiced their disdain for the plans, insisting that they had not been involved in any talks regarding the European Super League.

Kudos. But such a moral high ground is somewhat undermined by the fact we’ve all been here before. And all have been guilty of the very thing they now opposed.

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The Premier League was founded in 1992 as top-flight sides went in search of greater financial rewards with Liverpool again a prominent figure as television rights were sold to the highest bidder. Step forward BSkyB.

And UEFA formed the Champions League in 1992, and then continually adjusted it, to ensure the biggest names from the biggest countries were competing year in, year out as they too embraced the financial rewards of satellite television rights.

So forgive the cynicism but had the European Super League, successful or otherwise, been their brainchild, they would not be so opposed.

Their concern is not the normal fan but their own absence from proceedings, their noses put out of joint now they are no longer the most popular child in the class and have been uninvited from the party.

BSkyB have already seen their own limitations after BT Sport poached the Champions League rights from them in 2015 when blowing their bid out of the water.

And the emergence of Amazon Prime had been predicted to change the landscape once again.

Indeed the landscape has changed, only this time it wasn’t their idea.

And it hasn’t stopped them hiking up subscription fees year after year, and taking full advantage of the fact that supporters have been unable to attend matches in person for over a year.

The ‘Big Six’ had ultimately picked up the ball and opted to go start their own game, leaving the rest of us behind in disbelief.

Had it been under the guise of the Premier League or UEFA, or funded by BSkyB, such hollow protests would instead be replaced with radio silence.

All of this started back in 1992 with BSkyB, the Premier League and UEFA. And, in truth, if it hadn’t been BSkyB, it would have been someone else responsible for sending football in this direction.

They are all guilty for this fiasco alongside the European Super League founding clubs. And regardless of this latest attempt at a coup seemingly failing, that doesn’t stop it leaving any less of a foul taste in supporters’ mouths.

The clubs who would have been left behind are by no means innocent either. Owners might protest that they would never even consider joining a European Super League, while some clubs have reportedly rejected invitations and others withdraw their participation.

Yet Premier League clubs have still increased ticket prices over the years, and expect to be congratulated when they opt to freeze them at their current exorbitant rates.

They still view every fan as a customer and look to take them for every last penny they can, with the goal for all clubs to keep getting richer.

Meanwhile, the less fortunate are left to rot in the lower leagues, left dreaming for a bigger piece of the pie and getting by as best they can, but again grasping for whatever they can get out of their loyal fanbase.

That’s business and that’s life. You could even argue it’s survival of the fittest.

The rich get richer as the rest sulk at getting left behind or for not having the idea themselves.

Sure, some Premier League owners would reject an invite to join a European Super League.

But others that protested would grab such an invite and the financial rewards that come with it with both hands.

It’s all just at the mercy of the men with the biggest pockets.

You choose your football club but you don’t choose its owner.

For decades supporters have longed for such investment at their respective clubs, longing to see their sides rise, sign a side of Galaticos and conquer all that lay before them.

But now the true evil of greed at the cost of competition has become clear. Be careful what you wish for.

Regardless of withdrawals, the greedy dozen have been named and shamed and their inner-motives and desires are now there for all to see.

As Klopp told the media both before and after facing Leeds United, this isn’t the players. They have done nothing wrong and nothing will get between the supporters and the team.

We might not be Liverpool supporters at this present time, thanks to FSG's initial support of the European Super League, but we support Jurgen Klopp, James Milner and Jordan Henderson. And we thank you too.

But it’s also beyond Anfield. We support Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. We support Thomas Tuchel, Mikel Arteta and, err, I guess Ryan Mason?

We support the ‘Big Six’ captains and their leading goalscorers. The tough-tackling midfielders and the towering defenders. The forgotten bench-warmers and the youth team hopefuls.

And we support all players right across the footballing ladder too, from Leicester City and West Ham to League Two’s Southend United and Grimsby Town as well as all of the non-league sides below them.

There but for the grace of God.

But while the television companies, the governing bodies and the rest of the clubs themselves might have wanted the same outcome as the common supporter, they do not speak for us.

The majority will continue to prioritise lining their pockets regardless of the outcome of the European Super League, and are no strangers to such mutinies themselves.

As for the rest of us, the purity of jumpers for goalposts and goals made from chalk, skins versus shirts, kicking a deflating ball around a lumpy park and retrieving a ball from the neighbours’ or under a parked car remains.

Football is nothing without fans but it is impossible without players. Sure, they come and go but they wear the shirt with pride.

For so long the saying has been; “It’s about the name on the front of the shirt, not the name on the back.”

But such monstrosities to our game are being carried out in the names of our clubs. And none of it is with the supporters in mind.

Now the opposite is true.

Every player and every manager represents every fan that has ever dreamed of running out for their beloved side. And the footballing world thanks you.

Now they alone are the ones we can cheer and trust. Our journeys all started at square one and we have all been betrayed. And they are the ones who have made the difference in this football civil war.

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This has been an ugly 30-year ride and there is certainly no turning back now. Lessons are there to be learned but the same mistakes by the same greedy powers that be keep being made again and again.

Even as the European Super League falls the same way as Project Big Picture, Pandora's box has well and truly been opened. There is no pride in sheepishly being the first ones to retreat with tails between legs.

And FSG's continued silence and lack of apology despite Liverpool confirming their own withdrawal, in amongst such chaos, sackings and U-turns, is even more despicable. It is just a sign that some owners have more shame than others.

For now it is just the next unwanted next chapter and sooner or later, something else will attempt to emerge in its place.

But one question remains for FSG, the Glazers, Stan Kroenke, Daniel Levy, Sheik Mansour and Roman Abramovich and the rest of the plotting founding members, having naively agreed to participate in the European Super League in the first place and once again been guilty of putting their own greed before supporters and the beautiful game.

And it's one the Premier League, UEFA, Sky Sports and the rest of the TV broadcasters still have to answer too.

Can we have our ball back, please?