It was the great Danny Blanchflower, Tottenham’s Double-winning captain 60 years ago, who said: “The game is about glory.”
But if plans for the Super League are hatched, they will change the face of football forever. And not for the better.
As coach of an Under-15 grass roots team in Macclesfield, and as captain of four Premier League clubs in my playing career – none of them part of the proposed breakaway – I can only see one motive behind it: Money, not glory.
And I am struggling to believe there are any supporters out there, of the so-called Big Six or any other clubs, who actually want it to happen.
Generations of fans will be feeling betrayed by owners who do not understand football is not just part of our lives.
To many of us, it is a way of life.
Liverpool fans who rallied beneath Bill Shankly’s standard, Arsenal fans brought up on the feats of Herbert Chapman and Bertie Mee, Tottenham fans who believed in Blanchflower’s wonderful ethos are being abandoned in the name of greed.
Manchester United’s greatness was defined by Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson, by Charlton, Law and Best – not playing Real Madrid in New York or Singapore on a Tuesday night, which is where a Super League would probably take them.
For the last 12 months, we have lived through a desperate age where three million people around the world have lost their lives to a deadly virus and sport has been forced behind closed doors.
We have seen the most stark evidence possible that football is nothing without fans.
And yet behind our backs, in the grip of a global crisis, a group of unaccountable owners have been compiling their dossiers and calculating how much money they can make from their grubby little plot.
The damage they could inflict on the pathway from grass roots upwards could be ruinous.
Kids who dream of reaching the top must grow up looking forward to the big games which define them at every level they play – from Sunday morning in the park to non-League, the top four divisions, Europe and the World Cup.
But in the Super League, if every game’s a big game, every week it’s just another fixture with no sense of occasion. Not a case of who dares wins, but who cares wins – as long as it makes pots of money?
When news of this splinter movement for the super-rich broke on Sunday, I was at Wembley watching my old club Leicester reach their first FA Cup final in 52 years.
I know how much joy, pride and sense of achievement that will bring to people in the city – because for them, the game is about glory, not greed.
That’s why the Super League is a terrible misjudgement. Football without supporters is nothing.