John Barnes has questioned the logic of Liverpool fans wanting John W Henry to sell the club.
Liverpool’s principal owner has apologised for his part in the proposed European Super League. The American said in a video posted by the club on Twitter that the ESL would only have worked with fans’ full support. The Reds were one of the 12 “founding members” but pulled the plug on Tuesday night, along with the other five Premier League clubs.
The reaction from the football world was scathing. The ESL has been attacked from all sides, but Barnes believes fans calling for FSG to sell up cannot see the bigger picture.
Barnes said: “If Liverpool fans are unhappy and they say they want to get rid of John Henry and want him to sell the club, who do they want him to sell the club to? Somebody with more money than him?
“If somebody comes in with the same amount of money, how do you think they got that money? By making decisions based on finance without regard (for the fans).”
Barnes added: “The only way it (football) will work is if we can control football by bringing a salary cap in, controlling it, reviewing it, being better audited, so that it’s a level playing field for every team in the Premier League, so they can all spend the same amount of money.”
The former Liverpool winger believes this day has been coming, ever since billionaire foreign investors started buying English clubs.
“When these people came in we expected them to understand the nature of football, it’s been the other way round – football fans have to understand the nature of big business,” Barnes told BBC’s Breakfast programme.
“Big business is about money, based on finances and nothing else and this is where we’re caught in between the two, whereby we’re happy for these multi-billionaire owners to come in and own our clubs, but we want them to do what we say.
“That’s not how they became billionaires. They make the decisions based solely on finance, so we have to get the right balance.”
Barnes said that football’s mass popularity has always been exploited and that the Super League plans had been “a power struggle”.
“This has been a power struggle. Let’s not be fooled, the fans have got nothing to do with this,” he added.
“This is a power struggle between elite groups – UEFA, FIFA, Sky – everybody who runs football now, and a new group wanting to come in and take over and it’s right to exploit football and exploit the masses.
“So now that the fans have won, are the ticket prices going to be less? In fact, are they going to be able to get tickets? Are the share prices going to go down?
“I don’t know how they (the fans) have won. They may feel they have won, but the winner is the status quo, which has been that football has been exploited for years.”