JW Henry apologised for Liverpool’s role in the European Super League, but he’s been working on revamping a game in which he currently feels massively benefits the oil-billionaires for years.
To be fair, he’s right to, because the manner in which PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City can spend simply make football a different kind of ‘closed shop’ to the one the ESL proposed.
According to Simon Hughes in the Athletic, Henry was working very closely with Ed Woodward, the departing Manchester United CEO, regarding Project Big Picture – another failed venture before the ESL – and would draft new ideas personally rather than via his secretary.
“Over the last few months, The Athletic understands that Henry has considered republishing Project Big Picture, even proposing that it might be a good thing if he gave up some of the controls he would have gained had the original plan been successful. Though chairman and owners from the EFL were prepared to discuss this with him, his attention soon lapsed,” Hughes writes.
“It is telling that Ed Woodward — until very recently leading United, of course — was able to work so closely with Henry over Project Big Picture. Woodward would sometimes send Henry WhatsApp messages in the morning with amendments to the plan. Henry would then regularly call him back almost straight away despite the unearthly hour in Boston. He did not use his secretary, writing the whole thing himself and Woodward formed the impression that because he’d spent so much time on it, working on it non-stop, others would value his ideas as much as him.”
So what’s going to change? Likely nothing in the short-term. The strength of feeling against the ESL put all big clubs wanting systematic change on the back-foot.
But eventually, something will be done. At EOTK, we just want a fair system with no club ever in danger of going bankrupt, less power to agents, jeopardy of results and no more VAR. Is that too much to ask?