KEITH Curle has spoken of his relief that the European Super League has collapsed before getting off the ground, insisting football as we know it has been saved.

The Latics head coach said there would have been devastating consequences throughout the English football pyramid had the breakaway league gone ahead.

Curle feared it would spell the end of Leagues One and Two in their current format, and could lead to regionalised divisions to cater for the financial implications at clubs at that level in an attempt to reduce the cost of travel.

The 57-year-old also felt it would hinder the progress of footballers and their ability to work their way up the ladder to the top, as he did.

Asked what the ramifications would be for teams like Latics, had the ESL been formed, Curle said: “Massive. Massive. You’d probably see the end of League One and League Two as it is.

“They’d have to go down a division or two so that you’d be back to the old days. You’d have First Division North, First Division South; Second Division North and South just purely because of finances.”

Curle, who began his playing career with Bristol Rovers and played at the highest level with Manchester City, added: “You want to compete in something that hasn’t got a ceiling.

“If you’re saying ‘you can only go this far and you can never get above and into the promised land’... no-one’s untouchable.

“I was lucky, I played in the Fourth Division as it was then, the Third Division, the Second Division, I was able to continue my progression up into the Premier League.

“Take that away and say ‘you won’t be able to play for a football club unless you’re at that football club’ at the highest echelons of football, no chance.”

Curle was pleased that former club City – where he spent five years as a player in the 1990s – were the first to file their withdrawal from the ESL proposals two days after announcing they were one of six Premier League clubs to have signed up.

“If you have a look at the work that Manchester City have done within their local community it’s commendable,” he said.

“It’s not the football clubs, it’s the owners of the football clubs that are making the decisions.

“I think probably the best thing to do is get them identified and ask them the questions of why they made a decision, ask the people who own the football clubs and not the people who work for the football clubs.”

And Curle feels more consideration must to be given to fans.

“I understand about business and the decisions that they make but I think it’s very difficult if you start treating supporters, fans, as customers. That can’t happen,” he said.

“The fanbases keep the football clubs alive. The history and heritage has got to be respected and valued.”