'A line in the sand moment' - Leeds United and Liverpool fans gather at Elland Road to protest European Super League before Premier League game
Leeds United supporters have gathered at Elland Road tonight ahead of the Whites' clash with Liverpool, to protest the formation of a European Super League.
The Leeds United Supporters Trust had a presence around the Billy Bremner statue after speaking to West Yorkshire Police's football liaison team and advising fans to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
"We just want to make a stand," vice chairman Graham Hyde told the YEP.
"It feels like an important line-in-the-sand moment. It's gone from being concepts around breakaways and super leagues to a concrete plan, definite signatories from six clubs in England and it feels like if a stand isn't made by fans, we'll acquiesce to it by failure to act.
"We expect people will make their presence known tonight and catch the eye of the global TV cameras watching this evening."
A pair of Leeds-based Liverpool fans, Adam and Alex, joined the Whites supporters and held up a banner that read: "Love for the working class game ruined by greed and corruption! RIP LFC. Thanks for the memories."
Adam said they are match-going Reds who felt compelled to make their feelings known.
"We follow Liverpool more or less all over Europe whenever we can afford it," he said.
"Just devastated about what has come out in the news about the Super League. I think for us as you grow us this is a game you love. The Premier League and fighting for Europe - we haven't been in Europe every year but when we do we try and make the most out of it. It's a disgrace. The system of football that we have all become used to and love and been taken away by greed and corruption."
He believes supporters can make a difference with protests but hopes those with the biggest profiles in the game will also take a stand.
"I think fan action can go a long way," he said.
"Essentially it is down to the people involved in the game - the players and the managers whether they want to go ahead with this. We can tell that the people at the top - the directors and so on don't care about the fans. For us it's hoping that the players and managers see eye to eye with the fans. We just want to keep the game as it is."
Tonight's visitors to Elland Road are one of the six clubs who have declared themselves founder members of the breakaway competition, along with Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani has made known his disapproval for the project, which comes as further reassurance for the Trust that the people running their club share their view.
"It's a discussion we'd already had with the club," said Hyde.
"We were fairly comfortable that we knew the club's stance in terms of Andrea and Angus at management level, that the viewpoint was constant, against a super league. We can always ask the question of, were the 49ers to receive a direct invite from some of their American cousins whether the discussion might have been brought to the table at Leeds level? But we're delighted Andrea considers himself a genuine and passionate football fan and therefore sees this as an affront to the nature of the game and the authenticity of the fan experience. We're pleased."
Hyde believes that if the six clubs involved were to be sanctioned and thrown out of the Premier League, it would make for a more interesting division in which Leeds would have a fighting chance of success. But longer term he expects an impact on the broadcast money being given to clubs in the current domestic competitions.
And the Trust have expressed solidarity with supporters who have not had a say in the future of their clubs.
"We stand with the fans groups and trusts at these six clubs, who have all come out and said they're absolutely against it, it's been done without consultation and is being driven by the greed of owners," he said.
"It will disenfranchise these traditional, so called 'legacy fans' as they've been referred to, who they can't maximise revenue from."