West Ham United manager David Moyes says the collapse of the planned European Super League this week was a victory for fans over billionaires.
Six Premier League clubs, including Saturday’s opponents Chelsea, signed up for the breakaway project that sparked widespread condemnation before collapsing.
“I’ve been really disappointed with the clubs who got involved in it, but the people have stood up,” Moyes told reporters at his news conference on Friday.
“It’s the people’s game, it’s not for billionaires. It’s for everybody and the people have shown what it means to them.”
The Super League, a direct rival to the Champions League, would have given 15 of Europe’s biggest clubs permanent residence, casting the likes of West Ham aside.
The six Premier League clubs — Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, all pulled out on Tuesday after a vociferous backlash from inside and outside the game.
“The supporters of the football clubs have been a credit, standing up and saying we’re not having it,” Moyes said.
“It’s been a great thing that football hasn’t changed as some people would have liked it to.”
The events of this week have added an extra edge to West Ham’s home clash with Chelsea on Saturday, a game that has now become crucial in the battle for a top-four finish.
Chelsea moved into fourth spot on Tuesday with a draw against Brighton & Hove Albion, but are only above West Ham on goal difference with six games remaining.
West Ham have proved the surprise package this season and are on course for their highest finish since 1986.
“We’re in the mix for some form of European football right to the end, and we’re going to try to make sure we’re close to the big one,” Moyes said of the game.
“Undoubtedly I can see us going to the last game of the season with something to play for. We have given ourselves a real chance, the players have been great and we just need them to hang in there for six more games.”
West Ham will be without midfielder Declan Rice and striker Michail Antonio but Aaron Cresswell could return and in-form forward Jesse Lingard is okay despite suffering from cramp during the defeat by Newcastle United last week.