Forest, an impossible miracle with the Superliga

Florentino Pérez is absolutely right when he denounces the growing preeminence of football clubs, which in practice are owned by a State or a super-rich. The two most illustrious examples of the former are PSG (Qatar) and Manchester City (Abu Dhabi, one of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates), although there are more. The second group is led by Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea. The former seek above all political propaganda and global projection. Billionaires seek social respectability and ego fill: they have so much money that they don’t mind losing anything to feed their vanity. If instead of football it were the automobile industry, a large part of those investments would be considered State aid and would be prohibited.

The problem is that Florentino Pérez is correct in the diagnosis but not in the remedy. His Superliga project does not pursue equality and justice in football, but rather to prolong the pre-eminence of historical teams but with conventional income such as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus. The closed competition that he proposes would guarantee them to continue to be among the richest. However, that solution suits a few (including the sinners, those that thrive in the shadow of the petrodollars and the oligarchs) but it hurts everyone else. With the Super League it would be impossible for the most extraordinary miracle ever experienced by European football to be repeated: the one carried out by Nottingham Forest 40 years ago.

Nottingham (330,000 inhabitants) is a city of medieval origin in central England that evokes historical or legendary figures such as Richard the Lionheart and Robin Hood, the thief who robbed the rich to give loot to the poor. But Nottingham does not need Robin Hood to be a city of legend because it is with double honors in the history of football, with a gigantic capital H, from the hand of its two teams: Notts County and Forest.

The two rival citizens (their stadiums are a few hundred meters from each other, although separated by the River Trent) star in one of the most select derbies in England due to their scarcity: they have not shared a division for years and their official matches have been reduced to occasional butler crashes. The last league derby was in 1994, in the second division. The most recent was in 2011, in the League Cup. Their six matches in the English Cup all date back to the 19th century, between 1878 and 1894.

Notts County plays at the fifth level of English football but, founded in 1862, is the oldest still-active professional association football club in the world. Note the words “professional” (because other non-professional clubs also claim that title) and “still active”.

Forest fans are not impressed: they were born only three years later, in 1865, they almost always play first or second (although they have not played Premier since the 1998-99 season) and they starred in that miracle that with the Super League would be impossible. In the 1977-78 season, just promoted to first after five years in second, Forest were proclaimed league champions against all odds with the controversial Brian Clough on the bench. But their legend would become even greater when the following year they managed to win the European Cup by defeating Malmoe (1-0) in Munich with a goal from the legendary Trevor Francis, the striker they had just signed, breaking the barrier for the first time. million pounds. The following year they were second in the league but they played the European Cup as champions… and they won it again! In the final they defeated (1-0) Kevin Keegan’s Hamburg at the Bernabéu.

That feat, going consecutively from second to double European champion, is impossible to happen again in a competition like the one Florentino wants.

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