“A fortnight ago we left the Etihad with an instinct that Manchester City didn’t take well to being humbled by lowly Leeds United, but we could never have predicted that it would be the catalyst for them creating their own league where they would never have to be inconvenienced with the spectre of on-pitch failure again.
“The audacity of a resurgent Leeds United, an ambitious Aston Villa, a brilliantly managed Leicester City, a Champions League-bound West Ham United and an Everton with bold stadium plans have clearly overwhelmed the self-proclaimed ‘big six’. The timing of their plan combined with the turmoil of a global pandemic was not coincidental it was deeply cynical, and the clandestine plotting of fellow Premier League shareholders made it all the more seditious.
“Whether the collective intent was a genuine move to breakaway or the act of playground bullies seeking negotiating leverage at European and domestic level by threatening to take their ball home is irrelevant. The result was a betrayal of every true football supporter. However, this astonishing ingordigiousness has been the unexpected catalyst of creating a furious unity across nations, leagues, players, owners and fans.”
Kinnear also insisted that the plans to reform the Champions League to allow two clubs to qualify ahead of better-placed sides, simply by virtue of past performances in European competition, was a reminder that while “this week’s battle against elitism may have been won but the war needs to be relentlessly and vigorously fought.”
Kinnear’s outburst came ahead of expected protests at today’s Carabao Cup final between Tottenham and Manchester City at Wembley. It is the first game to have fans inside a stadium since the Super League proposals first surfaced – 8,000 fans are permitted to attend under Covid-19 regulations – and also the first time two members of the ‘Big Six’ have played each other.