Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was "heartbroken" when his beloved Liverpool FC was revealed as part of plans for a new European Super League – and thanked fans for helping to defeat the move.
Mr Khan is a lifelong Reds fan and spoke to the ECHO on a visit to the city to meet with Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram today.
Speaking about LFC's heavily criticised decision to be part of the doomed ESL plan, the Mayor of London said: "I was heartbroken to see our owners behave the way they did with the European Super League and I want to thank the Liverpool fans for making their voices heard and also Jordan Henderson, as the skipper, showed real leadership and guts to stand up to his bosses and Jurgen did too."
Liverpool were one of six English clubs that announced their intention to join the new ESL – before the plans collapsed after a huge outvry and fan pressure.
Mr Khan said that while he gives Reds owner John Henry credit for making a quick apology and u-turn, he fears the failed super league move could be a warning for similar efforts from the big clubs in the future.
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Mr Khan added: "I think there does need to be reform in the rules around the way clubs are run in this country and I've supported the petition going through Parliament.
"The concern is that this was a balloon to test the water and it may come back in a couple of years. This is why it is so important that we put pressure on now, on the clubs, the government and Uefa as well, we need reform."
"Liverpool is a city that shows the power of the people and its really impressive."
He said he now wants to see similarly effective campaigns and results when it comes to tackling racism in football.
He added: "The fact that Thierry Henry is still not on social media shows how big the problem is – these social media companies must do more.
"They have now got algorithms that can take down a song over copyright issues straight away, why can't they do the same for removing racist abuse?"
Born in London, Mr Khan said he fell in love with LFC in the 1980s when watching stars like Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush take to the field.
He said: "When I was growing up I didn't get to watch matches on the terraces, my experience came from Match of the Day, The Big Match, Grandstand – and Liverpool were the team.
"Rushy, Souness, Dalglish were my heroes – later on it was Barnsey and then Stevie G.
"You may change your job, you might change where you live – but you don't change your team do you."
Reflecting on this season's efforts, he added: "The fact that we are disappointed finishing third shows the progress that Klopp has made, if we were speaking in the noughties we would have been over the moon with third.
"When you look at the injuries we've had, from the central defenders, to Jordan Henderson and others and finish third is remarkable.
"But like politics, like business, if you stand still in football you go backwards – we can't compete with the wealth of United and City but we do need to buy more players, so I'm hoping the Fenway Group invest in the team."