News & Star column 22.04.21

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A long, long time ago Carlisle United were promoted to the top tier of English football while Manchester United were relegated.

It wasn’t a fairy tale – it was just football. For a short time, we Cumbrians lived the dream.

Under the ill-judged breakaway European Super League there would have been no more dreams for teams at every level. Promotion and relegation would be abolished for the so-called ‘elite’.

It is an abhorrent idea and would have had massive repercussions for the English football pyramid.

But let us be clear, although it would not have been good for Carlisle it wouldn’t destroy us. The Blues will continue to compete for as long as the community wants and supports them.

Fortunately, the scheme crumbled in 48 hours thanks to massive pressure from the government, clubs and, not least, the fans.

But we need to make sure it doesn’t come back to haunt us. The government has, finally, triggered their promised fan-led review into the governance of the game and football now has a great opportunity to press the reset button putting the interests of the community at the heart of future plans.

The people in the dark financial corridors at Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham need to listen.

The Football Supporters Association, of which CUOSC are members, will play a prominent role in the review.

Chairman Malcolm Clarke said: “For years football has appeased these greedy vultures by feeding them bits of meat but all it has done is heighten their appetite and make them stronger. Now is the time to stop that.”

If you are against the idea of a European Super League join CUOSC and stand together with all fans in the condemnation of what was a grotesque proposal.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa hit the nail on the head when he said: “One of the reasons football is the most popular sport in the world is because the weak can beat the powerful.” That sentence has never been more pertinent.

The Blues play-off hopes may not be over but they look more distant now after a narrow 1-0 defeat at Bolton on Tuesday left them five points adrift.

Once again the players gave everything for the cause and were unlucky not to come away with a point.

There’s no doubt this team will fight to the very end with Harrogate next up at Brunton Park on Saturday. Don’t forget to book your iFollow pass and support your local club.