'A total non-starter' - Dean Smith poses Aston Villa and Leeds United European Super League question
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has questioned whether owners of the 'big six' European Super League members have taken a disliking to the possibility of Leeds United and Villa becoming Champions League clubs.
Speaking today about the plans for a Super League, involving Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, Smith expressed his sympathy for managers having to answer questions about decisions their clubs have taken without their input.
Last night Jurgen Klopp had to face the media at Elland Road as Liverpool took on Leeds United and City manager Pep Guardiola was in front of the cameras and microphones today.
"It's been a bit of a crazy 48 hours," said Smith.
"I've got total sympathy for the managers whose English clubs are involved in this, having to front up to the media. From what I've learned so far they haven't been part of any decision making or part of the process their clubs have entered into."
Both Klopp and Guardiola have said they're against the idea and Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa spoke at length last night on how it was harmful for football and the fans, albeit not a total surprise.
Smith is also dead against the plans.
"I'm deeply, deeply saddened and disappointed by it," he said.
"There's been some strong statements from clubs within the Premier League.
"I was born in 1971, 50 years ago, and at that time Aston Villa were a Third Division club. Eleven years later I watched them lift the European Cup, which is the pinnacle, now the Champions League trophy. That was the dream, they earned the right to do that by winning the league the previous season.
"It baffles me, it actually takes away the competition for people to go and reach that Champions League final. I dreamt of becoming a Premier League manager, I'm now doing that with Aston Villa. My next dream is to break into those Champions League places and challenge again for Aston Villa. If this format goes ahead, I've seen it stated it's been made for the club of football, for me it's totally a commercial venture. They're so called the big six. What defines the big six? Is it the history, the trophies you've won, your fanbase, the size of your stadium or your turnover? This concept takes away the whole fabric of sporting competition and for me it's a total non-starter. "
Smith wonders whether the current Premier League table, which shows West Ham United and Leicester City in the top four, and Villa and Leeds establishing themselves as midtable operators with aspirations for European football in the next few seasons, might have unsettled owners of richer clubs.
"I don't know, maybe owners at the moment are looking at the league table and not liking the fact that Leicester City and West Ham United are in the Champions League places and ourselves and Leeds who have recently been promoted have got ideas of trying to become Champions League teams, as have Everton, Leicester, Wolves, all the other teams in the Premier League," he said.
"This is an idea that has to be stopped as soon as possible."