James Corden used his platform as host of The Late Late Show to passionately explain to a US audience why the European Super League (ESL) is terrible for football.
The English actor-turned-presenter, who shot to fame in 2007 after starring in the hit sitcom Gavin and Stacey, spoke for six-and-a-half minutes about how the ESL will impact the sport.
Corden has been widely praised for echoing the thoughts of many football fans during his impassioned rant.
Acknowledging that those in the audience - plus the millions watching at home - might not be interested in the story, Corden said: “Now without boring those of you who don’t care, which is basically 100 per cent of the people in this room, the truth is that this whole thing - making this move, these teams, these owners - are killing, they will kill, hundreds of other football teams that compete with them and have competed with them many times over the years.
“Disregarding the fanbases of those teams and disregarding the fanbases of their own teams who are devastated about this, too, because these aren’t small teams.
“This decision is monumental and I’m heartbroken by it - genuinely heartbroken by it.
“I’m heartbroken because the owners of these teams have displayed the worst kind of greed I’ve ever seen in sport.
“Many football teams in Britain are over 100 years old. They were started by working-class people and built for the communities that they play in. They’re not franchises but these new billionaire owners over the past 10, 12, 15 years have been buying up all the top teams and have slowly but surely they’ve moved them away from the communities and foundations on which these teams were built.”
Corden continued: “They don’t care about anybody but themselves. If anything, I would say that they look at the historical fanbases of every single club with disdain. They want a closed shop where the rich get richer.
“They don’t care if the teams below them struggle. They’ll take the money regardless of performances and regardless of success on the pitch. It’s disgraceful.”
Corden: Dreams have been shattered
He added: “The statement from the 12 owners about why they’re doing this and why they’ve announced such a jaw-dropping plan during the season, when there are still seven games to go, is disgusting.
“In their statement, three times they mention the pandemic as a reason to do this. A pandemic that’s been catastrophic for clubs and communities across Britain.
“It’s hard to express how much these communities rely on football, not just financially (which is considerable) but football is like a focal point of a town’s hopes and dreams. These dreams have been shattered, not just in Britain but all across Europe.
“And the reason these dreams have been shattered and discarded is so that a group of billionaires can buy themselves a bigger boat or a second boat.
“Football is a working-class game where anyone can beat anyone on their day and it’s that that’s made it incredible. It’s that that’s made it the global force that it is today.”
Corden: It's the end of the sport we love
Corden then mentioned the Leicester City success story and said the owners of the 12 European Super League founder clubs want to prevent anything similar from happening again in the future.
“They’re not invited into this rich boys’ clique because the wealthy teams got together to try and stop that achievement ever happening again - and that isn’t sport,” he said.
“If that happens and unfortunately I really think it will, I don’t want to be over-dramatic but I do think it’s the end of the sport we love. It truly is.
“I think it’s going to happen and I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it, but what we can do is remember the names of these owners. The owners of these teams that made these decisions. How they hid behind a devastating pandemic as a reason to announce this while a season is being played.
“They didn’t consult a single player or manager, they certainly didn’t consult the fans of their teams. They bought into a sport that so many of us live for at 3pm on a Saturday. They took it and they are going to crush it without ever thinking about the damage that’s being done.
“Don’t forget about the people who did this. They took something so pure and so beautiful, and they beat the love and the joy out of it - and they did it for money.
“They just did it for money and it’s disgusting.”
Video: James Corden on the European Super League
Watch Corden’s brilliant speech in full here…
Reaction to Corden's ESL rant
And here’s how football fans have reacted on Twitter…
Corden has certainly gone up in the estimation of football fans with his decision to speak out on US television.
(Credit: The Football Terrace)
While Corden fears that nothing can be done to stop this, there are millions of other football fans determined to prove that’s not true.News Now - Sport News