Liverpool‘s principal owner John W. Henry has issued an apology to fans the day after his club were forced to back out of the crumbling European Super League due to widespread outrage across the football community.
The Merseyside team and the five other clubs from the Premier League announced on Tuesday that they would be withdrawing from the competition, a mere 48 hours after it was announced.
Following the announcement of the league, fans had said they would be removing their banners from the iconic Kop stand in protest and the club’s players also posted statements on social media expressing that they didn’t want to compete in the league.
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) April 20, 2021
The grandson of Liverpool legend Bill Shankly had also requested that the statue of his grandfather that stands outside Anfield be removed if the league went ahead.
“I want to apologise to all the fans and supporters of Liverpool Football Club for the disruption I caused over the past 48 hours,” Henry said in a video address on Wednesday.
“It goes without saying but should be said that 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.
“And I want to apologise to Jurgen [Klopp], to [CEO] Billy [Hogan], to the players and to everyone who works so hard at LFC to make our fans proud. They have absolutely no responsibility for this disruption. They were the most disrupted and unfairly so. This is what hurts most. They love your club and work to make you proud every single day.”
The league, which featured 12 teams from across Europe, was announced on Sunday. It included no mention of consultations with fans or other interest groups as to whether the club would compete or not in the tournament.
“I know the entire LFC team has the expertise, leadership 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’ll understand that even when we make mistakes, we’re trying to work in your club’s best interests. In this endeavour I’ve let you down,” Henry added.
“Again, I’m sorry, and I alone am responsible for the unnecessary negativity brought forward over the past couple of days. It’s something I won’t forget. And shows the power the fans have today and will rightly continue to have.
“If there’s one thing this horrible pandemic has clearly shown, it’s how crucial fans are to our sport and to every sport. It’s shown in every empty stadium. It’s been an incredibly tough year for all of us; virtually no-one unaffected. It’s important that the Liverpool football family remains intact, vital and committed to what we’ve seen from you globally, with local gestures of kindness and support. I can promise you I will do whatever I can to further that.”
The Fenway Sports Group, of which Henry is a founder, bought Liverpool in 2010. It also owns several American teams such as the Boston Red Sox.
The new league was touted as being a similar franchise to American sports such as the NFL where promotion and relegation don’t exist.