'We must stand our ground' - how Patrick Bamford and Leeds United's players reacted to European Super League plans

The fallout and backlash continues against the proposed European Super League - but what have Leeds United's players past and present had to say on the topic?

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 12:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 12:42 pm
Leeds United and Liverpool fans protest at Elland Road. Pic: Simon Hulme

Marcelo Bielsa's side earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Elland Road on Monday evening.

The game played out amid the backdrop of anger at a proposed new tournament that 12 clubs across Europe want to put in place.

Six Premier League teams have signed up for the tournament - with the Reds being one - and protests took place from both sets of supporters ahead of kick-off in LS11 against the plans.

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Leeds themselves wore t-shirts and placed a banner inside the ground which read: "Earn it. Football is for the fans."

A plane was also flown over the stadium ahead of kick-off with the message: "Say no to the Super League."

On the pitch United grabbed a late point against the reigning top flight champions as Diego Llorente's header cancelled out Saido Mane's opener.

Patrick Bamford was vocal post-match about his displeasure at the plans alongside visiting captain James Milner - who said he hoped the proposal didn't happen.

Fans, pundits and others have all be unified in their response to the Super League idea - that it has no place in the sport.

Here, we roundup what has been said by Leeds players past and present on the topic:

“It’s amazing the amount of uproar that comes in to the game when somebody’s pockets are being hurt," Bamford said.

“It’s a shame it’s not like that when all the things that go wrong with things at the minute, racism and stuff like that.

“It’s something we talk about but once you’re on the pitch you’re not thinking about stuff that goes on outside the ground.

“We’re like fans really, we can’t believe it and we’re talking about it [amongst ourselves]. We don’t know what’s going to happen and we’re in shock.

“I think that for me personally from what I’ve seen on Twitter and the news, I haven’t see one football fan who is happy about the decision.

“I think football ultimately is for the fans. Without the fans every single club would be pretty much nothing.

“It’s important we stand our ground and show that football is for the fans and try and keep it that way.”

Luke Ayling added: "I think us players feel like most of the people in the country,"

"As a club we have worked so hard to get back here [the Premier League] and I think that's the beauty of football.

"Our whole game is based on that. I don't see why we're trying to change it and hundreds of years of playing it.

"I don't see the point in it but some rich fellas have got together to do something so it is what it is."

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa also said: "Of course it causes harm to football. This shouldn’t surprise any of us.

“The stronger teams, these powerful teams think they have most influence and are generating most of the revenue in football.

“Football belongs to everybody, even if there are owners, the real owners of football are the ones who love the badge and without them football will disappear.”

Players also took to social media to reflect on what has been an eventful few days for the game:

@diego_2llorente This group has no limits and we are showing it. Happy to achieve my first goal in the @premierleague and to get a point against a great team. Let's keep working! MOT.

@ezgjanalioski What a team, football is for the fans! @LUFC #mot #LeedsUnited

@Kalvinphillips THIS is what the sport is all about. Earned that point tonight! What a team!! Buzzing for my brother @diego_2llorente #MOT #ALAW

@MeslierIllan Another big performance it wasn’t easy... we earned it.

pascalstruijk We earned that point against a good side! Ready to go again next week! #MOT

stuart_dallas15 A good battling performance and point on my birthday. Thank you for all the nice messages #alaw

@nmartyn25 Say no to the super league banner flying behind an aeroplane just gone over my house, expect it to be making an appearance at Elland Road tonight

@NoelDavidWhelan When is playing in the best league in the world not enough for some greedy people, disgusted in these clubs . SHAME ON YOU.

@IanBaird9 What is going on? Astounding levels of arrogance from the “big 6”. Who told Tottenham they’re in that group? A situation fuelled by greed.

@tonydorigo I’ve even more respect for #BayernMunich & #BorussiaDortmund Turning down this so called #ESL shows that the custodians of both clubs understand and respect what their fans want, value their history and don’t chase the International at all costs. As for the rest...