Traditionally, the word "solidarity" is associated with the workers, with those who unite in common cause to assert their rights in the face of powerful oppressors.
Solidarity was the name of the independent trade union movement in Poland that developed into a campaign for political liberation from a communist regime in the 1980s. Its leader, Lech Wałęsa, eventually saw those aspirations come into being as the country's President.
Today the sporting world - or at least that large section of it concerned with football - is reverberating from the impact of a document released by the self-styled European Super League (ESL) that makes much of the word "solidarity".
A European Super League has long been a subject of discussion within the game. About 10 years ago that wise footballing man Arsene Wenger, the long-time manager of Arsenal - by a precious stroke of nominative determinism - predicted that the European Super League would be with us in about ten years.
Suddenly, he has turned out to be right.
Twelve teams - Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur - now urgently propose to become part of a midweek closed shop competition supported by lots and lots of money that will ultimately have to be underwritten by lots and lots of TV broadcast and streaming deals.
It remains to be seen whether this apparent power grab by top continental clubs is a lever to gain more lucrative changes in the current UEFA Champions League format or a crowbar crashing down upon the competition model that has sustained the game since the days when the Royal Engineers and the Old Etonians duked it out in FA Cup finals at Kennington Oval. Namely open competition.
The clubs involved maintain they want also to remain within their respective national leagues and domestic competitions when they are not otherwise engaged playing with their exclusive rich buddies. (The national leagues, and indeed UEFA and FIFA, have already given them a short answer to those aspirations but we won't go into that right now…)
The proposals have been described in more than one place as having one's cake and eating it. But the ESL is clear about what it wants. Europe's self-styled elite no longer wish to waste time playing those who are not Europe's elite. They are no longer interested in cake; they want only icing.
By the by, Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp had something to say about the Super League concept a couple of years ago.
"For me, the Champions League is the Super League, in which you do not always end up playing against the same teams," the German said.
"Why should we create a system where Liverpool faces Real Madrid for 10 straight years? Who wants to see that every year?"
But yes. Solidarity. Judging by the ESL statement released last night - just in time to send the BBC's Match of the Day presenter Mark Chapman and his guests, former players Danny Murphy and Dion Dublin, into a spiral of outrage, gloom and, just before the closing sequences, silent fatalism - it's a big thing. Going forward.
"The new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues," part of the statement read.
"These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10 billion during the course of the initial commitment period of the clubs."
One of the more novel aspects of the ESL position is the repurposing of the word "solidarity" for the use of those who already hold power. If solidarity works for the dispossessed, why shouldn't it also work for the possessed? Why should it be, in the words of the bard (who must surely have had some inkling of this future development) "cabined, cribbed, confined?"
There is one - just one - paragraph in the ESL document relating to the women's game.
"As soon as practicable after the start of the men's competition, a corresponding women's league will also be launched, helping to advance and develop the women's game," it says.
No actual names or details have yet been worked out because, well, perhaps it hasn't seemed a pressing concern.
But please don't run away with the idea that the very rich club owners who have devised this new money-spinner have turned their backs on those whose noses must now be pressed to the shop window of premises without a front door.
Football is nothing without its fans. We’ve seen that clearly over the last 12 months. If fans stand as one against this anti-football pyramid scheme, it can be stopped in its tracks.— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) April 19, 2021
Florentino Perez, Real Madrid President and the first chairman of the Super League, said: "We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world.
"Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires."
Did you hear that Crewe Alexandra? "At every level". President Perez is looking out for you, don't you worry. He's canvassed the opinion of four billion football followers, more than that in fact, and now he is simply carrying out their desires.
And who's this? Why, it's Andrea Agnelli, chairman of Juventus and vice-chairman of the Super League. And he too has a message of messaging.
"We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future, substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models," he said.
Going forward, as the ESL say, it may be more useful in this context to understand the word "solidarity" as an expression for "lining one's own pockets".
Engaging role models indeed…