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How should Glazers respond to Man Utd fans' rage?

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Robbie Earle and former Manchester United player Danny Higginbotham discuss what happens next after tensions between supporters and the Glazer ownership boiled over in stunning fashion on Sunday.

Video Transcript

REBECCA LOWE: Good afternoon. We're 24 hours on from one of the most dramatic days in English football. It's not often that the beautiful game is splashed across the front pages as well as the back. But after the protests from Manchester United fans at Old Trafford turned ugly, it caught the attention of the nation as well as across the world. Two breaches of security, violence towards police, and eventually the postponement of the biggest game in English football.

Welcome inside our studio here on Peacock Premium. I'm Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Danny Higginbotham alongside me. Gentlemen, it's lovely to see you. We will say first up, Danny, you are a Manchester United fan. You used to play for the club and you were born in Manchester. You are also an NBC analyst and I know that you will be down the middle, absolutely neutral today, and you will bring your neutral hat. He's left his Manchester United hat by the door.

So we are going to talk about what happened yesterday. Of course, it is the biggest story right now in English football. Let's just do a recap, shall we? Robbie, you sat next to me for what seemed like hours yesterday as we saw these events unfold. And this is what happened as the protests started really around 9:00 Eastern, around 2 o'clock local time outside Old Trafford. And then things outside the Lowry Hotel, the team hotel of Manchester United where the players and the coaching staff stay before every home game.

As you can see, there was obvious intent and they have admitted intent to prevent this game from taking place. The fans, they're right up against those swing doors outside the Lowry Hotel. So a few hundred, it looked like, letting flares off there. And then back to Old Trafford where things began to escalate and go up a gear.

And we are going to see all of these different pictures as we now start seeing the barriers being pushed over, and the police arriving, and how they actually got access inside the stadium, which was the big moment, I think, Robbie Earle, you'll agree when we saw those fans finally enter Old Trafford and onto the pitch. And here they are kicking down the door.

ROBBIE EARLE: And from these pictures, Rebecca, it almost felt like the nature of the protest went another level. And this, I think, which many people see the peaceful protest and the way the United fans and many were behind. It was a minority of fans. We have to continue to say there's a minority who entered the stadium illegally, went on the pitch.

In fact, the security of the players there, of the staff at the football club, and the pictures we see are unfortunately videos and camera angles of things that shouldn't have taken place, because it actually starts to detract away for me for the message of what the Manchester United fans were trying to pull.

REBECCA LOWE: Danny, you were watching this, sat at home. When this was unfolding we were bringing these pictures to the audience. What were you thinking?

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: Well, I was watching the show all day and I saw the initial protests which were peaceful and I thought that's great. The club, Manchester United, they've said there's no problem with the peaceful protesting. And it reminded me of a few days previous when they'd had the protests about the six clubs, obviously wanting to go into the breakaway with this Super League competition.

But then it went a step too far. And the problem is all we are seeing, all we are hearing, and all we are reading today are about the scenes that we are now seeing taking place. Now, all the peaceful protesting, all the people that were outside the stadium, that were there to be peaceful, that all gets forgotten about. And that's the issue that I have. We're not talking about that now. We're talking about these scenes. And any aim, in my opinion, from the protests that were peaceful has been completely forgotten.

REBECCA LOWE: I think what many would say back to you, Danny, is that the protests as you well know have been going on for 16 years, not as big as this. But since the Glazers took over in '05 and they haven't been heard, so they felt that they wanted to take it a step further.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: I understand that and it's still not acceptable, because I go back to when the Glazers first took over. People have said, oh well, there wasn't protests then because Manchester United had been successful. Yes, there was but they were peaceful then. Supporters have got to the point, and we're seeing this now, no matter what anybody says, this is not acceptable. It's not going to lead to what the supporters want.

Everybody knows the frustration with the Glazers and I understand that. But this isn't acceptable. This isn't the way to go about it because I heard you talking both yesterday, you and Robbie Mustoe, what is next?

ROBBIE EARLE: The interesting thing, Danny is that the peaceful protesting you say, OK, that isn't working and what's the next level? But unfortunately, if these scenes continue, Rebecca, if this escalates and we see more of this, it's the minority of fans that get the majority of the headlines.

The news outlets around the world aren't showing the peaceful protest, aren't showing kids with their parents, the older people. The whole demographic of Man United fans who love that football club all they want to show is these pictures. And it will be seen as these fans stopped the game from being played yesterday.

REBECCA LOWE: This is footage that actually was taken by Lee Dixon, who was on the scene with Arlo White, our commentary team yesterday of the violence outside. We know that two police officers were injured. You're going to see a shot in a minute of one of those police officers who had stitches to his face near his eye. And bottles were thrown as well at police horses.

The Greater Manchester Police took a while to get there. They did eventually arrive. And they managed to push the fans back and to disperse them. And so it did eventually calm down. Danny, just talk to us about people back home that you may have spoken to. They don't all feel the same way as you, do they?

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: No, they don't. And the thing is, as you quite rightly said about being a Manchester United supporter, yes, but there's other ways that I look at things as well. For a lot of these people, it is their livelihood, it's the way that they look at the game. But like I say, the pictures that we've just seen there, you can't rationalize that. You can't say that it's the right thing to do.

A lot of people have come out and said, well, we had to do that. Well, if there's no response now or if there's nothing that goes further forward, what do you do next? Where does it stop? And that's why in my opinion it's not acceptable and that picture is not acceptable either.

ROBBIE EARLE: 24 hours on, Rebecca, and obviously, you have a lot of thought, you speak to friends, you see what was happening on social media. And I still stand by what I said yesterday that the peaceful protests, great. Taking it another level, fine, but overstepped the mark yesterday in the minority of people. And because of that, there's a negative side to that I didn't think it had to happen.

REBECCA LOWE: We're going to talk a lot more in just a moment. But I want to bring you right up to date with all the statements that have been coming out yesterday following the security breach at Old Trafford. This is from the Premier League, "The Manchester United-Liverpool game has been postponed. This is a collective decision from the police, both clubs, the Premier League, and local authorities.

The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance. We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage, and trespass, especially given the associated COVID-19 breaches. Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, they say, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification. We sympathize with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football. The rearrangement of the fixture will be communicated in due course."

And this morning Manchester United supporters Trust sent this open letter to one of the owners, Joel Glazer, "Dear Joel, the fans forum wrote to you and your senior management team on Friday. We don't know if you saw it. But after the events of yesterday, we trust your attention is now fully focused on the question of what happens next at Manchester United.

First things first, let's be very clear that no one wants what happened at Old Trafford yesterday to be a regular event. We are football fans and we want to support our team. We don't want to spend our days off work protesting outside our football ground. But what happened was the culmination of 16 years in which your family's ownership of the club has driven us into debt and decline, and we have never felt more sidelined and ignored.

After 16 years, not one member of the Glazer family has ever had so much as a conversation with us the club's Supporters Trust. Yesterday that frustration reached boiling point for the vast majority of the thousands of attendees at the protest. They made their voice heard peacefully and respectively. We support the right of fans to protest lawfully and although we did not personally witness any such acts of course, we do not condone any acts of violence.

None of us want this to continue. We all have better things to do. So we need to find a way forward and we have a four point plan for you to do that.

Number one, willingly and openly engage and promote the government initiated fan-led review of football and use this as an opportunity to rebalance the current ownership structure in the favor of supporters.

Two, immediately appoint independent directors to the board whose sole purpose is to protect the interests of the club as a football club not its shareholders. Three, work with the Manchester United Supporters Trust and supporters more broadly to put in place a share scheme that is accessible to all and that has shares with the same voting rights as those held by the Glazer family. Should the appetite be there amongst fans, then you should welcome, and offer no opposition to the Glazer family shareholding being reduced to a minority or indeed being bought out altogether.

Four, commit to full consultation with season ticket holders on any significant changes to the future of our club, including the competitions we play in." They finish by saying, "We request a response to this four point plan in public and in writing by Friday."

Manchester United themselves as a club said this today, "Following the events yesterday, while many fans wanted to exercise their right to protest and express their opinion peacefully, some were intent on disrupting the team's preparation and the game itself as evidenced by activity at the Lowry Hotel and at the stadium.

Reports in mainstream and social media that protesters were able to access the stadium and pitch via a gate opened by club staff are completely incorrect. After breaking through barriers and security on the forecourt, some protesters climbed the gates at the end of the Munich tunnel, then forced access to a side door in the stand before opening an external door that let others through to the concourse area and the pitch. A second breach occurred when a protester smashed the door of a disability access lift enabling a group to enter the stand."

It finishes with, "The majority of our fans have and will condemn criminal damage along with any violence towards club staff, police or other fans, and these now become a police matter. The club has no desire to see peaceful protesters punished, but will work with the police to identify those involved in criminal activity, and will also issue its own sanctions to any season ticket holder or member identified per the published sanctions policy.

Information on the rescheduling of the game and any possible implication on other fixtures will be announced after discussion and agreement with the Premier League." They finish, "We remain committed to dialogue and engagement with our fans through the fan's forum and other appropriate channels."

And I think really what we have to get into here, Robbie and Danny, is what is next for Manchester United? Where does this movement, this protest go now?

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: I think it's a very difficult one because you talk about trust. And I hear the word trust being mentioned, and I'm not too sure whether there was actually any trust. So how you get trust back that was never there is very difficult. I think there has to be action and I think there has to be communication. And at least then there's a line in where people can air their grievances and get answers.

And I think that's something that as owners of a club, I'm not saying you have to do that. But I think that that can help build bridges to a certain extent. If there's questions that need to be answered, answer those questions. And if those questions then answered, maybe there'll be a bit of a better understanding. Without communication and without action from the owners, I think it becomes very difficult.

REBECCA LOWE: Robbie, communication is often a healer in many situations. And yes, it's been 16 years and there hasn't been enough communication. We can only think ourselves of possibly one interview that the Glazer family has done on MUTV, I think, in the 16 years. So clearly, they would like more communication with the Glazers. Perhaps it could be a situation where Joel Glazer meets a couple of times a month with a section of fans every month in order to have that communication. Could that be feasible? Could that move this forward?

ROBBIE EARLE: Could we find some common ground, Rebecca? It was interesting the Manchester United Supporters Trust sidelined and ignored the very strong words for a club as big, as passionate as Manchester United. That should resonate with the Glazers.

And at the very basic heart of this debate, you've got one party, the ownership, who see this as an asset. It's part of a fund. It's part of a portfolio. It's a business. The other party, the fans, see this is the heart and soul of the community. It's what they belong to. It's who they are, Rebecca. And while those two parties see it so differently, that's where we've got to try and find some common ground. So both can, kind of, understand each other and both can work with each other.

Now, the problem is if the Glazers sell, the worry is another billionaire comes in who still sees it as an asset. And so I'm not sure-- the Glazers, the way they bought it, the way they've run it, the lack of communication, the lack of visibility around the club are all things that need addressing. But I'm not sure if the next owner comes in, is that much different?

REBECCA LOWE: Well, that's really interesting because we'll talk about the culture change or the difference, I should say, between the US and the UK just to take what you just touched on there, how people see a club differently. But you're right. They can't guarantee that if they do push the Glazers to sell, that they'll sell to somebody the fans want anyway. They could be in a worse situation.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: Yeah, and that does become an issue is who would be the new buyers? And one thing going, and I've heard that on numerous occasions over the years, people say well, vote with your feet. Don't go to the games and that will maybe make a difference because then you're talking about the financial side of things.

Now, a long time ago, there was a group of Manchester United supporters that said, we're not going to go to the games anymore. They formed their own club FC United.

REBECCA LOWE: This was after the Glazers arrived.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: Yes, sorry. After the Glazers arrived, they decided they didn't like the direction the club was going. And so they broke away. They said, right, we're going to form our own team FC United and try and build that up to get it through the league. Now, other people will be saying, well, what if 25,000, 30,000 Manchester United fans boycotted the games, didn't buy the merchandise?

I'll tell you now that you've got 75,000, 76,000 in Old Trafford. If 30,000 boycott it and say we're not going again, there'll be 30,000 that will. I remember going with and watching a game in the Big House in Michigan 110,000, a pre-season friendly between Manchester United and Real Madrid. And there was 110,000 people there. 80,000 of them were Manchester United fans. So they are a global club.

So when you say to these supporters, well, just talk with your feet. Don't go to the games because then that's going to hurt owners in the pocket, there's 30,000 people waiting for tickets that will jump on those. And that's where it becomes very difficult of what you're going to do.

REBECCA LOWE: Exactly, so therefore if they can't vote with their feet, and they feel like they're not being listened to with protests, are we going to see more protests? Are they going to be taken further than what we saw yesterday? Because ultimately, they want the Glazers to sell. And if the Glazers don't want to sell, Danny, there's no solution to this situation.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: And that's the thing. And watching the show yesterday, watching everything unfold, I was sat at home on us thinking, what is the answer? There's no answer at the moment. And as much as people say, well, yes, we're going to do this, we're going to do that, yesterday, the scenes that we saw-- like I say, and I'll keep going back to it, the peaceful protests, absolutely fine, no problem. Thousands outside the stadium. Everybody has a right to their voice and a right to their opinion because supporters feel as though it's their club. And I get that 100%.

But you are overstepping the mark when you go into the stadium, when you break in. And people will say, well, that's how we feel. That's how you feel. That's fair enough. I don't agree with that. I don't agree with those sentiments at all.

ROBBIE EARLE: But Rebecca, you touched on a really important point. I think it's something we should discuss is that at the moment, we've got the Glazers sitting here, who we don't really know. We've seen one interview, very lack of visibility, don't know if they're good people, bad people, whatever.

Man United Supporters Trust, the Glazers don't know anything about them either. They probably see some pictures and think they're all hooligans when they're not. They're people who love this club and support. How do we somehow start to get those people together so at least they can start to find out a little bit about each other and start that lines of communication?

REBECCA LOWE: Because the very reason they need to do that is the culture. So let's put it out there, English soccer and American sports are very, very different. Over in this country, franchises, businesses. They're not even sometimes linked to the city because they'll up and leave and go to another city and fans accept that. And there's no judgment on that. That's just the difference between US sports and British football, English football.

In England, and as I'm sure many people watching know, but until they think you've lived there you can't possibly be expected to understand how tied an English football club is to its village, its town, its city. It's part of the blood.

We talked about this earlier on when we were getting ready for the show. There are many people in England who football is their number one priority in their life. And so when they feel like that's being taken away from them, it causes what we saw yesterday.

ROBBIE EARLE: Absolutely.

REBECCA LOWE: Now, here's the problem both sides need to be educated about the other side, right? So the Glazers need to understand that culture. Many will say they've been there 16 years, why don't they already know that? And the fans need to understand where the Glazers have come from and understand that America is very different when it comes to sport.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: It is. It's huge. It's history. You talk about a club like Manchester United, you go back to the beginning. You go back to it being Newton Heath. You go back to how it was founded. You go back to the Busby Babes. I wasn't alive at the time. My father was obviously around. The Munich air disaster, Sir Matt Busby what he did to become the first team to win the European Cup, it's history.

And what fans don't like because I grew up a Manchester United supporter, not just because I was born and that was me a Manchester United supporter, because my father was a Manchester United supporter, because my brother was, because of my dad's dad, because all my family they were Manchester United fans. That's how I was brought into it. And I understood, I know so much history of that club. But for the majority of it, I wasn't alive. And people take great pride in that.

And what happens then is that when you may have owners that come into the club that don't necessarily understand the history of the club, supporters take offense from that. That's how they see things. They're like well, hang on a second. This is the culture of our club. We don't want it to be changed. We don't believe that it's the right thing to do because of all the history that's behind the club.

And the one thing when you talk to supporters-- and this isn't just Manchester United. This is all your supporters all around the country. They talk about history. They talk about where they come from. They talk about where they want to go. They talk about life experiences. The first game I went to I remember it. I was sat on my dad's knee. I was sat with my uncle. And that's what it goes back and it becomes a lifestyle for so many people in England.

REBECCA LOWE: Rob.

ROBBIE EARLE: I totally agree. And this situation where it'd be unheard of, Rebecca, in the UK to change a club. I mean--

REBECCA LOWE: Let alone move it to another city. Well, it happened with your club, Wimbledon.

ROBBIE EARLE: Exactly my own club it happened once and that will never happen again in English football. But to think-- no one would even think of moving, but to change your club, oh, I was at Man United, I'll support Liverpool now. It just doesn't happen.

And the American culture is very different. And there's got to be an understanding of if you're going to buy a club in that country, with that environment, with that history, and that emotion, get to know it. Get to understand it. Spend some time there. Be visible. Have people on the ground who are representing you so if there is problems, the supporters group, the manager, people can talk to the owners and we can have a dialogue.

REBECCA LOWE: So Danny, let's imagine you owned Manchester United. What would you do right now to fix this problem? Give us your little four-point plan.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: It's a difficult one. First and foremost, I would be wanting to set up a meeting with the key people that are to do with the Supporters Trust, speak about the way that I see things, because at the moment, the problem that we're having is there's so much assumption. There is so much assumption. They don't care about this. They don't care about this. And without answers people are going to form their own opinion.

So therefore, create an opportunity where people can speak and say, well, why are you doing this with the club? Why is this happening with the club? And you know what, I'm not saying it's going to happen. It may possibly not happen. But the answers that they give you may lead you to go, oh, didn't understand that. What are you going to do going forward?

I go back to 2013. And when I talk about the structure of the club, Manchester United, I don't just talk about the owners. I don't just talk about the playing staff and everything. 2013, everybody will remember Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest manager that Manchester United have ever had left the club. Well, people forget that same summer David Gill left as well. And he was a huge part of that club.

And the structure, in my opinion-- don't get me wrong, it's who can follow Sir Alex Ferguson? It was always going to be difficult whoever it was. But behind the scenes, the structure wasn't altered either. And I remember growing up, and I know social media does change things, but a lot of the times when you would see signings for Manchester United, you'd only know about it on the day. Now, what was happening was so much stuff was getting in the newspaper about how they've tried to sign this player.

REBECCA LOWE: But Danny, isn't that just the way that clubs change and evolve? And fans have to understand it isn't 2013 anymore and it's a different world now Sir Alex Ferguson's left and it can't always stay the same.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: It is. Sir Alex Ferguson's left. And like I say, it's very difficult to replace a manager like him. But behind the scenes there's been talk for so long. You look at the majority of top clubs in Europe, what do they have? They have a director of football. And that's what I'm talking about the structure.

It's difficult. And I understand how difficult how it would have been to take over from Sir Alex Ferguson. But what you then have to look is go, right, OK, what is the plan in place? What's the structure of the clubs that are having great success? And it's the director of football. And sometimes that director of football is embedded in the club, knows what the club stands for, a former player, someone who's been at the club for a long time. And I think that would help.

ROBBIE EARLE: I think just going back, Dan, to the point you made earlier about visibility, about that communication. Even sometimes, I think, if you ask the question and don't like the answer, it's better to get an answer you don't like than no answer at all. And I think sometimes just if some lines of communication can be brought, now I put myself as what would I do if I was one of the Glazers?

And again, we don't know so it's really hard to second guess what they might be thinking or how it affects. The first thing I say is the football club's got my attention now. From yesterday, it's got my attention. Now, the second thing is as a billionaire businessman and whatever, I'm I stubborn? I'mma dig in my feet and say, I'm going to get bullied out of this football club because that's one way I could go.

Or the other way I'm looking at it is if I do see this as an asset, if I do see this as a revenue and profit things and my revenues start to drop, the shareholdings, the share value starts to drop, that might make me think I'll get out of this. I'll go into something else.

But and again, we're talking about a bigger picture. We've got to be careful that if the Glazers aren't the right people and somebody else comes in, we've got to be careful in English football that billionaire owners start to look at English football clubs and think, no, I'm not sure how much I'm going to make with this. We'll go somewhere else. And money starts to go out the game, Rebecca. Big ownership starts to go up the game. The big time managers who are all in our country, the big time players all in our country start or go somewhere else as well.

REBECCA LOWE: Indeed, and that comes back to the 50 plus 1 model that we see in Germany, which that in this economic climate, that ship has sailed. 50 plus 1 is not going to work in England. Even if it did, Manchester United would then probably sink through the leagues like many other clubs and then there'd be anger at that.

Is it, Danny, an unpopular truth that the fans actually don't have any power, not just Manchester United but every club? Because it's a family/group of businessmen who own the club. It isn't the fans. It's unpopular maybe to say this, but that's the truth, isn't it?

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: It is to a certain extent. And one of the things we were only saying 10, 12 days ago was that it's great to hear the fans having a voice because of what happened with the six teams that tried to go away. And the fans had a huge say in that. And I think they underestimated that situation.

What I would say is that fans will listen in certain specific situations. And I go back to-- I know I keep going back to it but I go back to the six clubs that tried to break away. I go back to the game. We were here, the Chelsea game--

REBECCA LOWE: Against Brighton.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: Against Brighton. Before the game, who came out and spoke to the fans? Petr Cech, an icon of the football club, knows what the football club means. The fans listened. Just last week Manchester United fans went to Carrington to the training ground. They left peacefully. Why did they leave peacefully? Who did they speak to? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, people that are iconic that understand the club.

And I just think, fundamentally, when you look at clubs, I feel people who know the club, that know the fabric of the club, if they speak up, if they're intertwined with behind the scenes of the club, you've got a better chance.

REBECCA LOWE: OK.

ROBBIE EARLE: Well, I'd slightly disagree that the fans don't have the power, Rebecca. The Super League showed us the way that they can work. Think of football what we've seen through the pandemic with no fans. Think of the Premier League what it stands for, why it sells all over the world, why it's the best watched league in the world, because yes, what's going on the pitch but also the rivalries and the fans. And if you take them out of the equation, it's a very, very sterile different game. And so they do have power. Now, it's about using that power in the right way.

REBECCA LOWE: And that comes back, as we've now agreed, that communication has to be the biggest key right now to move this forward.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: It does and I completely echo what Robbie says that the fans are a huge part. And if we didn't know before the pandemic, we know now. In my opinion, football is soulless without the fans. And they have to be listened to, first and foremost, but there has to be a better way. There has to be a better way than the scenes that we saw yesterday, because everybody wants football. Football is for the fans. Football is for the people.

But we don't want to see that yesterday, because what we should now be talking on this show about the game yesterday. We should be talking about the peaceful protests but we're not. The front pages, the back pages, television it's not about the majority. It's a minority that we're seeing and that's not acceptable because that's not what we need to see.

REBECCA LOWE: Well, it's also, as you say, the message that they wanted to get across--

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: Gets lost.

REBECCA LOWE: --has completely been lost because we are talking about all the things that went wrong not the things that went right and the message that they wanted to get across. The Premier League has come out with a statement today with regards, as Danny was talking about the European Super League.

This came out a few hours ago. They say, "The events of the last two weeks have challenged the foundations and resolve of English football. The Premier League has prepared a series of measures to enshrine the core principles of the professional game, an open pyramid, progression through sporting merit, and the highest standards of sporting integrity. These measures are designed to stop the threat of breakaway leagues in the future.

Opposition to the proposed Super League united the whole of football with the fans' voice clearly heard. The Premier League recognizes the strength of feeling and the right of fans and know what's happening. We are committed to maintaining close dialogue with supporters and their representatives as we work with the FA and government to identify solutions but ask that all protests are peaceful. The actions of a minority of those persons at Old Trafford on Sunday have no justification and will be investigated by the Premier League and the FA as well as by the Greater Manchester Police.

The actions of a few clubs cannot be allowed to create such division and disruption. We are determined to establish the truth of what happened and hold those clubs accountable for their decisions and actions. We and the FA are pursuing these objectives quickly and appropriately consulting with fans and government.

In addition, the Premier League, supported by the FA, is taking the following actions to protect our game, our clubs, and their fans from further disruption and uncertainty.

Additional rules and regulations to ensure the principles of the Premier League and open competition are protected. A new Owners' Charter that all club owners will be required to sign up to, committing them to the core principles of the Premier League.

Breaches of these rules and the charter will be subject to significant sanctions. We are enlisting the support of government to bring in appropriate legislation to protect football's open pyramid, principles of sporting merit, and the integrity of the football community."

And they finish by saying, "We will work with the fan groups, government, UEFA, the FA, EFL, PFA, and LMA to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football."

So this here is the Premier League, Robbie, doing its investigation into how the Super League happened. They call it the truth behind it that caused the disruption and the divide. You get the sense ramifications, punishments are coming.

ROBBIE EARLE: Absolutely, and they should be and quite rightly in great timing from the Premier League I think getting this out at this time. Love some of the things they're talking about, the ownership charter, the new principals in state, getting legislation involved.

And somehow, Rebecca, we have to have fan representation at football clubs. It might not be the 50 plus 1, but fans should be part or at least be understanding some of those decisions they are making so they can go back and communicate it to the other fans and fan groups, et cetera. I'm not saying they're going to be able to make all the big decisions but at least be part of the process.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: We have to look at the factors as well. We talk about the Premier League but it is the pyramid and something that's huge in England. And if you look at Manchester and you look at the surrounding areas, and you look at what's happened to smaller clubs, Bury, Macclesfield, Bolton so this doesn't just apply to the Premier League.

This is teams that I've just mentioned that, A did go out of existence some of them and had to restart, and some that have just dropped further and further down the league. So it's not just the Premier League. It's all the way through the pyramid because it affects-- the bottom does affect the top players that are rising themselves and clubs as well.

ROBBIE EARLE: Two of those clubs you just talked about were in the Premier League and that's what can happen.

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: It's unbelievable.

ROBBIE EARLE: It would be like Southampton in the league now at some point going down and going out of business. So we've got to protect the football structure that we've got. It's unique. It's brilliant. It gave us the opportunity to have great careers and hopefully, there's many more to come.

REBECCA LOWE: So we will wait to see what the Premier League does find out from their investigation, see what possible punishments there will be for the big six that wanted the European Super League. Plus there are reports today about Manchester United. There are reports about docking points for what happened yesterday. We'll see if there are any Premier League or FA charges to that.