BOURNEMOUTH’S biggest private sector employer was heavily involved in the short-lived plan for the most controversial shake-up of football in modern history.

JP Morgan has admitted it “misjudged” the way fans would react to plans to set up a European Super League.

The US investment bank – which employs around 4,000 people at Chaseside in Bournemouth – had pledged 3.25billion euros (just over £2.8bn) as start-up capital to the league.

Twelve top European clubs, including the Premier League’s “big six”, were on board with the plan to replace the existing UEFA Champions League. But in the face of outrage from fans, they began weakening. Nine of the 12 had fallen away by Wednesday afternoon, as the prime minister, the leader of the opposition, TV pundits, clubs and players all weighed in against the coup.

The rise and fall of the European Super League – a timeline of developments

JP Morgan was not by any means spared the anger of fans.

“All football fans must unite against JP Morgan and boycott it,” said one on Twitter.

“JP Morgan just bought off the top level of elite football and nothing short of a global boycott will stop them,” said another. One called for a boycott “for trying to assist the murder of our national game”.

Bournemouth Echo:

JP Morgan in Bournemouth

JP Morgan is not a high street bank in the UK, although it is launching a digital bank for consumers this year, which will create jobs in Edinburgh. But the bank’s reputation did take a battering.

Standard Ethics, which rates institutions according to their sustainability, downgraded JP Morgan as a result of the episode – from an “adequate” rating to “non-compliant”.

“Standard Ethics judges both the orientations shown by the football clubs involved in the project and those of the US bank to be contrary to sustainability best practices, which are defined by the agency according to UN, OECD and European Union guidelines, and take into account the interests of the stakeholders,” it said.

This all unfolded despite the fact that JP Morgan’s reputation committee – which considers high-profile activities that might prove controversial – had backed the Super League plan, according to the New York Times.

JP Morgan acknowledged its mistake in a short statement on Friday.

“We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community and how it might impact them in the future. We will learn from this,” it said.

Jonathan Woodgate: European Super League is an absolute joke

Had it gone ahead, the Super League plan would probably have made very little difference to the average JP Morgan worker in Bournemouth, unless there were some tickets to give away as perks to staff or treats for local good causes.

Bournemouth Echo:

Jonathan Woodgate weighed in against the Super League idea

It might also have had little direct effect on AFC Bournemouth, which has never been very close to reaching UEFA’s Champions League or the Europa League – the second European club competition run by UFEA.

But for a club that has moved dramatically up and down the tiers of English football, the idea of a European league with members who would be guaranteed qualification every season was sure to rankle.

Added to this, no doubt, was the potential to disrupt the whole of the football pyramid, which led to clubs all around the country issuing statements in opposition to the proposals.

Head coach Jonathan Woodgate, who looks set to lead Cherries into the play-offs and a chance for a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, did not hold back on the subject.

“It goes against everything that football stands for. It creates a closed shop. Greed for the big clubs,” he said.

"If you look at Bournemouth going from League Two and then spending five years in the Premier League… What else annoys me is why aren’t owners explaining this? Why is it the managers and the players who are explaining it all and giving their view? Why doesn’t an owner just come out and say this is why we’re doing it?

"It leaves a bitter taste in football and at the end of the day it’s all about money, that’s all it is.”

The episode showed that “money is the root of all evil”, he said.

It’s often said that money rules the modern game.

But in a week when the world’s richest clubs and one of the globe’s biggest banks were forced to back down, this contest seems to have gone to the fans.