LONDON – England's Super League rebels finally listened to their fans, just a bit too late.
Even the apologies — on camera from Liverpool owner John Henry and in a letter from Manchester United co-owner Joel Glazer — couldn't placate anger that their clubs tried to split to form a largely closed European competition.
Under a weight of pressure from supporters, the government and some of their players, the Premier League's Big Six withdrew from the breakaway Tuesday night, imploding the project as the Spanish and Italian elite clung on.
“The cabal of billionaire owners overplayed their hand and their rapacious appetite for more united an unprecedented array of opponents,” the Football Supporters’ Association said.
The mutineers, who also included Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham, didn’t just fail to consult their supporters. Even players and coaching staff at the Premier League champions were left in the dark before the announcement on Sunday that they were quitting UEFA's Champions League structure to form the Super League.
“I’m sorry, and I alone am responsible for the unnecessary negativity brought forward over the past couple of days,” Henry told Liverpool fans in a video message.
Liverpool players publicly voiced their opposition in a wave of coordinated tweets on Tuesday night to intensify the pressure on Henry to keep the six-time European Cup winners within the long-standing, open competition.
Henry directly apologized to manager Jürgen Klopp and the staff.