Finishing Premier League season for the sake of it would be pointless

Monday, 27 April, 2020 76comments  |  Jump to last
Paul Wilson in The Guardian admits it's the money men who want games played behind closed doors and any restart would be both artificial and risky. Scrapping the present, wrecked, season without playing any more games is the obvious solution and the easiest to put into practice.

» Read the full article at The Guardian


Reader Comments (76)

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Eric Myles
1 Posted 27/04/2020 at 06:39:56
Finishing the Premier League Season for the sake of it would be pointless. At last, someone has come out and said it.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
2 Posted 27/04/2020 at 07:56:11
We can just award Liverpool a certificate for the boardroom "League Leaders 2019-20".

I hear they have already decided it wont be played out so have dug up the pitch and planted potatoes (not cabbages? Why?). They wanted something to lift in May.

Brian Murray
3 Posted 27/04/2020 at 08:06:44
As Jim Bowen used to say on Bullseye, "Let's have a look at what you would've won." No trophy parade... hopefully nothing but ex-players spouting about how unfair it all is.

Let's hope that Man City learn a sharp lesson and recruit properly so we don't have this recurring nightmare of them being top again. Unless Carlo gets about 8 top first teamers and we do the job ourselves.

Dale Rose
4 Posted 27/04/2020 at 09:49:02
Just gutted for the Shite if this is going to happen. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ray Robinson
5 Posted 27/04/2020 at 10:02:34
Whilst there's an obvious advantage to the season not being finished, remember that there is the collateral damage to all clubs, including our own, of not receiving the remaining TV money.

Purely on health safety grounds, I think the season should be cancelled but where will that leave the state of the clubs' finances?

Brian Murray
6 Posted 27/04/2020 at 10:06:02
Put all allegiances aside for a minute. Besides the total lack of respect for the families of people dying, I'm totally embarrassed as a human being that clubs and organisations are racking their brains and stopping at nothing to find a way to carry on with their greedy juggernaut.

We know not many in this city have much time for the Tories but surely they have to nip this in the bud and just tell them it ain't happening. End of.

Brian Harrison
7 Posted 27/04/2020 at 10:19:34
Seems there are varying opinions from different countries over the possibility of restarting sport. The Spanish Prime Minister said yesterday he couldn't see how it was possible for football to restart in Spain this summer. The Dutch have already said there season is null and void, and the SPL has decided to end the season but have used a system to award points based on the season so far.

Other countries are still monitoring the situation, and Uefa are still talking of finishing their European competitions by August.

This to me seems very surreal when people in Europe are dying in their thousands and we are still having a debate about when football should restart. The criteria should be when it is safe to do so, and when fans can attend games, which in all probability will be December/January maybe.

Now if they decide to restart behind closed doors in the next 6 weeks, what happens when the season finishes in say August? Will they restart next season in September again without fans being there?

Also, how does that affect season ticket holders? You could hardly expect fans to renew their season tickets without being able to watch the games. By continuing to argue for this season to be finished, they don't seem to take into account the knock-on effect for the following season.

But the real truth is they are only interested in money and care not a jot about the fans.

Mick Conalty
8 Posted 27/04/2020 at 10:29:30
Like in Holland, declare the season null an void... He He he! As Keegan once said, I'd really luv it.😀😀😀 Then the RS would know what it's like to have glory snatched away from them.
Derek Knox
9 Posted 27/04/2020 at 16:55:42
Some good and practical points regarding the non-continuance of the League, Holland have had the balls to stand and be counted already, in declaring the season, null and void.

On a more wicked and humorous side like Brian @3 drew parallels to Bullseye, "look what you could have won" is priceless, and as Mick @8 said, let them know how it feels to have glory snatched away through no fault of their own.

Maybe a Trophy based on the 'Bullseye' design, with Jim Bowen's caption, you can't beat a bit of Bullshit!

Bobby Mallon
10 Posted 27/04/2020 at 19:39:27
Just watched a report on F1 teams developing breathing aids, to try and keep people off ventilators. They’ve developed it got it approved and now switched to manufacturing. All football has done is moan about the footballers mental health, resist calls for a cut in pay and speculate when they can play again. Opened my eyes to footballers and the premiership in general. Disgusting
Rob Halligan
11 Posted 27/04/2020 at 20:05:33
Wait until this hits the RS fan forums. They will all go into meltdown.
😂😂😂😂
Ed Fitzgerald
12 Posted 27/04/2020 at 22:51:30
Carrying on would be an insult to those who have lost their lives and the staff who are fighting to save lives in hospitals. My heart also goes out to those working in care homes on shite pay being putting at risk due to a lack of PPE.

Football lost its way decades ago when it is sold its soul to Sky and broadcasters around the world. I'm as culpable as the next person in helping the game become a bastardised version of what it used to represent.

The advent of this crisis has made me rethink my addiction to football; of course, I will still be watching the Blues in person should we be playing in 2020!

I'm jibbing the Sky/BT package and listening to shite like TalkSport. I'm not sure if my good lady believes me or is just scared she will have to talk to me.

It is a really good article by Paul Wilson and hits the nail on the head. No doubt the classless shower across the park don't agree but no surprises there. To all Blues everywhere, hope you and your families are safe and sound.

Jack Convery
13 Posted 28/04/2020 at 04:53:07
Ed above - agree with you all the way. I have never had Sky and never will. Saw cricket, F1, Rugby League and Darts go to Sky. Didn't follow by buying a package – fuck 'em. Rumours 6 Nations will be next – love it... but not enough to get a package on Sky.

I listen to the radio mostly now - 5 live extra for TMS and 5 live (now minus Alan Green) does me for the football. I even find MotD bland and boring these days unless EFC are on and winning.

Without Sky, none of this talk about getting the season up and running again would be happening. Muscle strains galore if and when it restarts behind closed doors. Which I hope it won't.

Leave it alone until this crisis is over and not before; otherwise, we are inviting another round of deaths and I think we've had more than enough already.

By the way, only 19 in New Zealand but they shut everything down before they had a death. South Korea less than 300. Lessons to be learnt definitely.

Billy Roberts
14 Posted 28/04/2020 at 08:29:41
Good article by Paul Wilson. At last, someone voices what needs to be said.

The easiest, logistical solution to this mess of a season is to just end it... null &void.

I am also relieved to see a respected journalist also comment on something I have mentioned on TW numerous times, why can't BT's £2 billion profit or Sky's £1.2 (I think) billion profit make a sacrifice? It is obvious to everyone that it is only the money, either due to the clubs or to satisfy the broadcasters' original outlay, that is driving this tasteless circus.

The fairest resolution to this is for clubs and broadcasters to meet in the middle surely as both parties, just like the rest of industry, are blameless to the circumstances.

Michael Lynch
15 Posted 28/04/2020 at 09:21:11
It's a good piece. Today, Germany has said that – just a few days into relaxing some lockdown measures – the transmission rate has gone back up to 1, the magic figure above which the virus increases its spread. Western Europe is absolutely riddled with Covid-19 – not just the UK, every single major economy – and the best we can all hope to do in Europe is keep a lid on it to protect all our health services until science provides a vaccine or some other medical intervention.

There appears to be two options here: keep a lockdown indefinitely, which means no more football possibly for the rest of 2020, or accept the risk and let the virus run through all of our societies while asking everyone to socially distance as much as possible and trying to protect those most vulnerable (a bit like the Swedish model). But the virus is not going away in Europe.

Based on that, what do we do? Finish the season behind closed doors over the summer, then start the new one immediately, also behind closed doors? When footballers catch the virus, do we just treat it like any other injury or does that club not play for a fortnight? In the short term, fans might enjoy watching a few games on Sky but, once the league is wrapped up, who is going to tune in to watch a pointless game in front of a crowd of ball boys and cameras?

If we do start the new season in August, we have to let crowds back in and accept that the virus will spread. If that's not acceptable, then football simply has to be put on the back burner indefinitely. It will change the game forever. But it's not unprecedented, it happened in 1939. These are weird times, weird shit happens.

Billy Roberts
16 Posted 28/04/2020 at 09:42:45
An honest question I would like to ask, regardless of the "need" to finish this season off.

Who can say they would enjoy watching a game behind closed doors? We are talking here of 9 rounds of fixtures and I think 2 outstanding.

I personally don't think I could watch more than 1, I think any notion of it boosting the Nation's morale would wear off after the first week.

I just think the eerie emptiness of the spectacle would depress us even more, imagine this combined with VAR anomalies? I think only football sadists could enjoy it.

I think it would be a depressing reminder of what we had and temporarily have lost.

Michael Lynch
17 Posted 28/04/2020 at 09:56:41
I must admit, Billy, I don't know. In theory, it sounds terrible – especially, as you say, when combined with interminable VAR stoppages. But in reality, when you're bored to fuck and Everton are playing Spurs, I'd find it difficult not to tune in.

But, although I'm desperate to see some footie, I'd rather not have that option. I can live with this season being null and void, and next season being scrapped unless it can be played in front of crowds. Best hope is the Jenner Institute at Oxford University – they've tested their vaccine on monkeys and it works, so maybe we can start rolling out the vaccine in September, and start a curtailed season before Christmas! Half the number of games, for a special trophy?

I'd much rather no football until the grounds can be opened to fans.

Billy Roberts
18 Posted 28/04/2020 at 10:27:04
Michael,

How about each club being represented by those monkeys but still behind closed doors!!

I agree you would tune in for a derby definitely, but I think the weirdness of it all wouldn't sustain an interest for a quarter of a season; who knows –there is no accounting for public taste.

On another not too serious note, imagine, it is far fetched I know, but imagine walloping Liverpool 5-0, a revenge I have dreamt of since the '80s, and there was no Goodison crowd there... how do you think you would feel?

Tony Abrahams
19 Posted 28/04/2020 at 10:33:52
Over the fuckin' moon, Billy!
Billy Roberts
20 Posted 28/04/2020 at 10:47:47
Haha, Tony.

Oh go on then, yes, I could live with that scenario!! And then null and void the season!

Just remember in years to come not to slip up in the pub...

"I was there yeh, we took the roof of the fuckin place!"

Michael Lynch
21 Posted 28/04/2020 at 10:53:10
God yes, first match behind closed doors is us v the RS and we hammer them. Then half the teams in the Premier League test positive for the virus, and the season is completely scrapped. Win-win.

Tricia Wood
22 Posted 28/04/2020 at 10:57:35
It would seem some Liverpool fans have already decided to congregate and celebrate outside any ground and Anfield on the day Liverpool win the league.

It sickens me to think money – and that's what it comes down to – takes precedent over peoples lives in the city. Covid-19 is just so infectious and it's not fair to put ground staff and possibly hotel staff in jeopardy.

Derek Knox
23 Posted 28/04/2020 at 11:46:49
Tricia @22, while it's mathematically possible, but unfortunately unlikely, that Liverpool could lose every game, should they resume the Premier League (which personally I hope they don't), I don't see how they can predict, pools panel style, who will win any un-played games. How many times historically have we seen a relegation-threatened club, look to be destined for demotion, go on an unbeaten streak of 6 or 7 games and beat the drop?

I hear people constantly bemoaning the greed of Sky, and quite rightly so, but how many take the stance like Jack @13, or those who do subscribe, how many will shelve their subscription?

People don't realise the power they actually hold, if everyone was to do it, not only with Sky but any greedy enterprise for that matter, stop purchasing, subscribing en masse, they would soon change their stance and their pricing structure.

All easier said than done, I know, but in the US there used to be a saying that the Consumer was King, and I don't know if that is still the case, but they dared not increase the price of anything, as they used to vote with their feet.

We have been like sheep in this country for far too long, and been wrapped up in this Keeping Up with the Joneses attitude. One thing this Covid-19 has done (hopefully) has made people aware, and appreciate a sense of Community Spirit.

They are suddenly aware that they actually have neighbours, of all ages and needs, now they have more time away from the Rat Race that is largely a part of most people's life recently.

Brian Harrison
24 Posted 28/04/2020 at 11:50:06
I see its being reported in the press this morning that the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, has been in touch with Premier League clubs about starting games asap.

Why is a government official so determined to start Premier League football again? Go and make sure NHS staff and care workers have the right PPE equipment. As the CEO of Watford said, talk of starting games again is the last thing we should be discussing at this moment.

I see that Arsenal are resuming training this morning but with only half the squad taking part one day and the rest the next. They also say that each player will be given a separate ball to use, and they are sticking to the government safe distancing rules. Why?

In a couple of weeks, you will be asking them to compete physically with opposition players, so what happens to social distancing? The whole thing is complete bollocks.

I haven't heard anything about how the voluntary scheme the players have set up is working, and it seems, apart from one or two clubs, most of the Premier League players aren't interested in taking a pay cut.

Andrew Clare
25 Posted 28/04/2020 at 12:07:02
Brian #24,

The government is only interested in things that make money and that is why the NHS has been badly underfunded for so long. The people who voted for Johnson and his cronies were actually (probably unknowingly) voting for the end of the NHS as we have known it. In fact, the people who voted for Johnson and his cronies probably voted for a lot of things unknowingly!

As for Sky, I have dispensed with their services as they are just too greedy. The season should be scrapped. Money is the only reason that it hasn't been already.

Ray Robinson
26 Posted 28/04/2020 at 12:16:14
I think the argument that 'behind closed doors' football is pointless is, to be honest, quite naïve.

I certainly would struggle to enjoy such football but say there is no football until 2021 when crowds are allowed back into stadia (a very real possible scenario), how many clubs would still be around to pick up the pieces?

Sky and subscription-based football have undoubtedly brought a multitude of problems and I cancelled my subscription years ago, but, like it or not, every football club at elite level is dependent on it. We have to face reality. Like any other business, clubs deprived of vital cashflow, will go to the wall - and quicker than most think.

I'd rather the season were cancelled right now but all but the richest clubs would need financial support. Where would that come from? Government?

If it means that the survival of my club depends on 'behind closed doors' football, I'll reluctantly put up with it.

Eric Paul
27 Posted 28/04/2020 at 12:27:13
So, if social distancing rules are still in place, football players will have to be exempt to play a game.
Sean Callaghan
28 Posted 28/04/2020 at 12:47:35
Sorry, but I really can't agree with the article's premise, or the general theme of the above comments. In this present awful time, it is vital that the nation has something to come together over, to unite us and, even in a small way, remind us that life is not just about fear, uncertainty and worry... Life can also be about joy, and hope, and creating positive memories.

For that reason, we, the whole country... no, the whole world, must find a way for the nation's sweethearts to be given their rightful title of the Greatest Football Side Ever and Premier League Champions.

Imagine the boost this would give us all! We could all gather on our doorsteps every Wednesday at 8pm (in a nod to those Great European Nights Under the Lights at Anfield), decked out in our Stevie G and King Kenny replica kits, to Klap for Klopp.

Think of the boost to the economy that would be generated by bringing all the pundits, journos and celebrity Reds out of lockdown to create the necessary 24-hour rolling media coverage of how the Greatest Football Side Ever overcame obstacle after obstacle to retake their rightful place at the top (and in all our hearts).

I think sometimes we need, on here and in society more broadly, to look for the good. You'll Never Walk Alone!*

*Official song of hope, joy and unity (©BBC News)

Brian Harrison
29 Posted 28/04/2020 at 12:49:39
Ray,

Well obviously the mercenaries who play in the Premier League by-and-large have refused to take deferrals or pay cuts, so – seeing as it's their livelihoods that will be at risk if the season is null and void – then bring it on. If it means clubs will no longer pay massive wages and transfer fees, and agents can't live off players – bring it on.

Sadly, this won't happen; the greedy clubs and the greedy players next season will still be on multi-million-pound deals. The agents will still be making fortunes out of players and, in 2 years, it will be like Covid-19 never existed. But the families of the people who lost their lives won't forget, and I hope that it does change society and people realize that the real heroes are the NHS workers, the care home workers, not the Prima Donnax footballers.

Derek Knox
30 Posted 28/04/2020 at 12:57:21
Andrew @25, good on you mate, as regards Sky. I too many moons ago was a subscriber and apart from Sky Sports News, Football and Golf, was about all I actually watched. Taking the latter two, as you are well aware, you didn't have the option of just choosing them, you had to subscribe to the Basic, then Sky Sports was an extra on top.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the greedy bastards still had more adverts between breaks than ITV or other Commercial Channels. So they were getting revenue twice for their Channels.

They have had, and until recently more or less had the monopoly on Sports, and televised everything and sold their broadcasts to foreign channels. There are some alternatives but all at a cost.

Ray Robinson
31 Posted 28/04/2020 at 13:20:46
Brian #29, you make some very good points but it is not a counter-argument and does not invalidate mine.

We all agree that players should earn less and that agents should be not be taking obscene cuts etc but it won't address the current problem which is that clubs are taking in little or no income at all. If players could be offered a new contract at substantially less than now and were given the choice of accepting it or be released, it would certainly help cash outflow – but not inflow.

As you say, though, it won't happen anyway and besides, it would be a dangerous precedent to set in the observance of written contracts. I think that is probably a separate issue to be addressed in future although clubs not offering the going rate would be accused of lack of ambition. (Haven't we all heard that one before?)

If I thought all clubs could survive until the end of this season with no further income, I'd say null and void the season and forget behind-closed-doors football. Trouble is that it's very likely that this crisis will extend into next season – and who knows... even the next.

Come on, how many clubs would survive that?

Tony Shelby
32 Posted 28/04/2020 at 13:23:29
I know I've posted this before but it's hilarious and I think quite appropriate to this thread:

"2019-20 Premier League Season “Should Be Cancelled” Say Unbiased Fans"

Tony Shelby
33 Posted 28/04/2020 at 13:24:41
Don Alexander
34 Posted 28/04/2020 at 13:24:42
The notion of any sort of return to normality seems ridiculous to me until a vaccine is available. Frankly, never mind finishing this season... because next season may not take place given the threat we're all under.
Martin Nicholls
35 Posted 28/04/2020 at 13:24:57
As Eric (#27) says, these proposals would require social distancing to be shelved simply so a game of Premier League football can be played. Then we tell 10-year-old kids that they're not allowed a kickabout in the park because social distancing is imperative? I somehow think the kids will be wanting to "ape" their heroes" (ha-ha!) and that could be the beginning of the end of social distancing.

It would be absolute folly and reckless to exempt the Premier League from social distancing – no key workers involved.

Eric Myles
36 Posted 28/04/2020 at 13:31:23
Nice one, Sean (#28)!!!
Michael Lynch
37 Posted 28/04/2020 at 13:49:15
Ray @26, you may be right but the same would apply to every major company in the UK. If we carry on with lockdown and social distancing, a huge number of businesses will go under.

What you're asking the players to do is way beyond what anyone else is being asked to do. I'm struggling to think of another sector that would expect its employees to work in such close proximity without wearing masks, visors, and gloves.

Those footballers are literally hugging each other at corners. Will the rules be changed so that they can't form walls at free-kicks? Man marking would be out, tackling a no-no, red card for spitting on the field etc.

If professional football can be played, then why are we asking every other worker to distance, and every consumer to distance? If football can be played, then there's no reason to play behind closed doors. Just allow half the number of people to sit in the ground, and they'll still be further apart than the players will be.

Ray Robinson
38 Posted 28/04/2020 at 14:17:47
Michael #37, I agree totally. To make myself clear, I don't want the football to re-start until it's safe for players and spectators alike. I would like the season to be declared null and void (not because the RS would be deprived being crowned champions - although that would be an added, but unimportant bonus), and I am quite prepared for next season to be written off altogether.

My point in being "contrary" was that the premise of the article is false. There are two sides to any argument and there is an argument for behind-closed-doors football if clubs' survival is at stake. You are quite correct, football is just like any other business but in the interest of consistency, let none of us clamour for an undue re-opening of pubs, cafes, theatres, concert venues etc.

At the end of the day, it will become a balancing act to judge when is appropriate. Just don't expect all the same football clubs, venues etc to be around at the end of it all having had no income for months on end.

Brian Harrison
39 Posted 28/04/2020 at 15:10:07
Ray,

While I appreciate you are putting the case as to why behind-closed-doors football should be allowed, I am afraid you can't have a different set of rules for football to the rest of the world – never mind the country.

As for clubs going out of business, well, if you can't carry out your business and comply with social distancing, then sadly that may be the outcome. But I suspect that, if it becomes clear that this season cannot be finished safely, and clubs say they can't continue to pay wages, then players would very quickly agree to pay cuts. As trying to get money out of clubs who become insolvent is nigh impossible.

Then with massively reduced wage bills, clubs will be in a far better place when it's safe to play again, and seeing as today France has said they will not allow football or any other sport behind closed doors till August at the earliest, then it seems again this country is always the last to fall in line.

Mick Conalty
40 Posted 28/04/2020 at 15:24:28
#28 Sean thanks for your post. Haven't laughed so much for ages. Maybe we should make Klopp King of England? He is most probably related to the Royal Family anyway.
Ray Robinson
41 Posted 28/04/2020 at 15:29:59
Brian, makes total sense what you are saying. I just hope that Moshiri has deep pockets and the will to carry on!
James Flynn
42 Posted 28/04/2020 at 15:52:01
Don (34) - "The notion of any sort of return to normality seems ridiculous to me until a vaccine is available. Frankly, never mind finishing this season because next season may not take place given the threat we're all under."

The whole situation explained in 2 sentences.

1. Leaving fan attendance aside, the players, refs, coaches, groundskeepers, etc. will NOT be safe. I'd wager they're well-aware of the risk involved.

2. It's understandable that, like any business, leagues must have plans for resuming play. But I'd place another wager on this "gradual re-opening" proving nothing more than that the virus is just sitting there waiting patiently for more hosts. Footy has to accept that presumption of league play is TBD.

Rob Halligan
43 Posted 28/04/2020 at 16:05:18
France has cancelled its top two leagues for the season. Can't be long before the Premier League follow suit.
Kristian Boyce
44 Posted 28/04/2020 at 16:17:06
After seeing the cancellation of the French league, I can see the Premier League moving that direction. I think other leagues were looking at the response of the European big 5 and, with the French being one of them, I can see the others following suit now.

In regards to playing behind closed doors, if the league isn't cancelled, and this takes place, how can you use a form of punishment as a positive spin? 'Behind closed doors' is something used as a measure for violent or racist fans. Making teams do this just to finish a league, based on financial implications, shows greed along with a pure disregard to actual fans.

Steve Brown
45 Posted 28/04/2020 at 16:28:26
Thousands turned up when PSG played Dortmund in Paris behind closed doors in the Champions League and the same would happen here. Now that the Dutch and French governments have made the decision that there will be no sport until September, it makes it extremely difficult for other governments to justify a different path.
Peter Mills
46 Posted 28/04/2020 at 16:28:57
I see Señor Martinez has said it would be “catastrophic” if the Premier League were to be cancelled.

I'm reassured he has not lost the ability to say the polar opposite of whatever I'm thinking.

Rob Halligan
47 Posted 28/04/2020 at 16:29:07
With that now being France, Holland and Belgium cancelling their league, it can't be long before two of the biggest countries to be hit by this virus, Spain and Italy cancel their season. There are stories however, that Holland may overturn their decision.

French prime minister Edouard Philippe said: "The 2019-20 season of professional sports, including football, will not be able to resume.

"It will be possible, on sunny days, to practice an individual sporting activity outdoors, obviously respecting the rules of social distancing.

"It will not be possible, neither to practice sport in covered places, nor team or contact sports."

Mike Doyle
48 Posted 28/04/2020 at 16:37:27
One of the big problems for football is that it needs crowds to create an atmosphere – even for the TV viewer. Without a crowd, it is a very different (poorer) experience – as anyone who has watched an Everton U23 broadcast from an empty Goodison can testify. Could the RS perform without their fabled “12th Man”?

As lockdown is loosened, more shops open, those of us working from home return to the office etc I suspect that there are some sports – those that are less dependent on a crowd and where the participants do not come into direct contact with each other – that have the potential to get started quicker. I don't follow motor sport, but this seems to be an example of one that could.

Andy Crooks
49 Posted 28/04/2020 at 16:37:33
I like that, Pete. The ability to spout mindless nonsense is what he is unrivalled at.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

50 Posted 28/04/2020 at 17:46:10
FIFA's chief medical officer coming out strongly in support of NOT resuming the current season.

Link

Mike Gaynes
51 Posted 28/04/2020 at 18:53:37
I hope for cancellation if only because it will provide another example for the multitude of idiots in my own country who are still insisting that the basketball season can be completed and the baseball season appropriately launched. The NBA even planned to reopen some practice sites this week.

Mark Cuban, billionaire Dallas owner (and not usually a complete moron), has been the chief flag-waver for resuming NBA games with no fans. And you won't believe the term he chose to justify it (emphasis mine):

“If we can play with no fans, I'm certainly going to push for it and I think the league will do it. I think we have a moral obligation to do it... We’re dying for content. We’re dying for teams to root for. We’re dying to get excited about games and ready to cheer as a community. And so yes, I really think that if we’re able to pull it off without fans, we’re certainly going to do it. And like I said, we have a moral obligation to it.”

Incredibly, this turd chose this particular wording just two weeks after the mother of NBA All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns died of COVID after a month on a ventilator. And just hours ago a former NBA star lost both his mother and his brother to the virus.

Wonder how they feel about Mark Cuban.

John Pierce
52 Posted 28/04/2020 at 19:28:34
The Premier League is clinging on in the face of the inevitable, apparently the best product in the world?

Well it certainly doesn't have leaders of the same calibre, when they should be leading, they are ‘avariciously' watching on, using the Germans as guinea pigs to see if we can restart. Morose.

Mix in a mainstream media who peddle a narrative to match: Delaney, Cross, to name a few who are still spouting in defense of the ‘integrity' of the game to finish the season. Then, in another line, they promote alternative ways to finish the season amending rules, PPG models etc. Pfft!

Philosophically I'm not against a restart as long as it's exactly as it was before; then there's no room for any complaints. However, there is no real practical way to do that in the medium term to my way of thinking.

That leads to a null-and-void season, hard on many, but the clubs are being treated equally and not being disadvantaged. No titles, no promotion nor relegation. Prize money could easy be either deferred or divvied up equally to reflect the situation. The parachute payments again split equally across the Championship.

There has to be some financial forgiveness from the broadcasters who pay for rights; otherwise, they risk destroying a product which makes them money and gives them big market shares. So far I've seen little movement or comment from the big broadcasters to say "Hey, let's think about long term stability and not screw over the golden goose."

Sad times. ☹️

Tony Abrahams
53 Posted 28/04/2020 at 21:49:06
Maybe people are missing the football JP, but I'd be very surprised if it was over 50%. I would guess that it would be a lot higher in the younger age groups, and a lot lower in the older age bracket. Away from Liverpool fans and fans of teams going for promotion, I can't see fans of many other clubs being that bothered, with loads probably even being disgusted if it resumes.

Football gives people something to look forward to, it gives people something to enjoy, but it's mostly to do with the overall social aspect imo. We are coming up to the seventh week since the Premier League cancelled the fixtures, and the longer this pandemic goes on, the more it's beginning to make me feel that, if the sport had any “integrity” left, it would just make the correct decision.

If not completing the fixtures is going to destroy too many clubs financially, then come up with a different option, do what the French have done and cancel until September and even resume this season then.

Tony Hill
54 Posted 28/04/2020 at 21:50:01
Tony @54, absolutely right. Let us hope that the shameless greed of these people devours them. The top level game has become an utter farce and decent people need to consider whether it's worth supporting any more.

I suppose that decision should have been taken when Murdoch arrived, but they're now just pissing all over us and not even pretending. Fuck them.

Paul Birmingham
55 Posted 28/04/2020 at 22:00:27
Hopefully common sense prevails and the Premier League follows the likes of Holland and France and declares the 2019-20 season null and void.

It's a no-brainier; if this government allows the season to be played behind closed doors, I thinks it's a disgusting lack of respect for the NHS, the key workers, and the bereaved families due to coronavirus.

This could if true be some trumped-up Tory stunt to deflect the PPE shortage crisis and lack of response by the government. It would in my view be a PR disaster of a massive magnitude, possibly alienating football supporters in the UK further from the game.

Until it's safe to socialise freely, this is surely sending out the wrong message to society and will further increase the flaunting of the social isolation rules.

Well we live in hope. All stay safe and well.

Christine Foster
56 Posted 28/04/2020 at 22:10:36
An absurd thought just occurred to me... let's just say that football IS cancelled this season and perhaps the next too. At some point, wonderful Sky are going to see their cash cow disappear and suddenly their revenue and business model waivers and falls. Good lord, pre Sky football is back, that would be just too good a silver lining!

Okay, the above is tongue-in-cheek but, at some point, this starts to become reality for Sky... how would we feel without them?

Rob Halligan
57 Posted 28/04/2020 at 22:13:24
Tony # 54. Totally agree 100% mate. For anyone who's watching the ITV News at Ten right now, they are talking about the number of deaths in care homes, which at the moment aren't counted in the official death figures.

The report started with an interview with a girl whose father died in a care home, while the second report was of a letter sent by a grandson to his grandmother in a care home, and was read out by a carer. The grandmother died two days later. Both really sad sad stories.

Integrity,.... Carragher, you wouldn't know the fucking meaning of the word, you piece of shit. Cancel this season right now. No champions, no relegation and no promotion. If you don't like it, tough shit.

John McFarlane Snr
58 Posted 28/04/2020 at 22:19:41
Hi Ray [26],

I confessed in an earlier post that logic isn't my forte, but I must make the point that I believe that Premier League clubs in particular, brought about the possible financial disaster that they may face, by their irresponsible use of the money that TV companies provided.

I'm on record on another thread (maybe two or three months ago) saying that, when this windfall came their way, they addressed the use of it from the wrong direction. Instead of placing the emphasis on improving the conditions of the non-playing staff and the supporters, they paid ridiculous transfer fees which led to ridiculous wages for the players.

If, as you suggest, it could mean that some clubs go to the wall, I have little sympathy because they also appear to possess a lack of logic.

Hi Brian [29/39], I agree with your sentiments 100%.

Paul Tran
59 Posted 28/04/2020 at 22:21:15
Will there be any football before next summer? Games behind closed doors? Footballers taking priority over NHS staff, the old, the sick?

Once the government has its 'done something' moment, I wouldn't hold your breath for next season, never mind this one.

Paul Birmingham
60 Posted 28/04/2020 at 22:25:40
Rob @60 and Tony's @54 and @57, spot and another selfish, ignorant spat by the RS Sky Media machine.

I don't think they realise what's at stake and the damage that is being done to this country in terms of human misery caused by Covid-19.

Setting aside politics but bearing in mind the Prime Minister has had the virus, I don't see him on any grounds letting the season restart as, in terms of health and safety, they can't guarantee it and stretch the overstretched to breaking point NHS even further.

It stinks, this idea... and Carragher should get real and stop pretending he's concerned. He wouldn't know the meaning of integrity, just like LFC.

There's a long, long road ahead, and the beautiful game it was once is not important any more and increasingly loses its allure.

Christine @59, good point... Like BA, the EFL, will also have to rescale and get real to the world economics, very soon.

Ray Robinson
62 Posted 29/04/2020 at 09:10:02
Hi John #61.

Burnley and Norwich were two of the two clubs reported to be in dire financial straits due to lack of income, neither of which are renowned for their profligacy.

Peter Roberts
63 Posted 29/04/2020 at 10:30:01
If the Premier League had any integrity left, they'd cancel the season and render it null and void. Carragher's insinuations that the league needs to be completed for its integrity shows how massively he is out of touch with society.

I said in another post on social media that the only reasons the league have not yet suspended the season is because a) money matters and b) they are desperate to crown Liverpool title winners. Needless to say, this did not go down well with LFC fans – most of whom don't see the irony in them thinking football is more than a matter of life and death.

Eric Myles
64 Posted 29/04/2020 at 15:29:09
If they are serious about resuming football then what about considering those people that don't care about football and resume cricket, rugby, synchronised swimming and darts so those supporters can all have enjoyment too.
Paul Birmingham
65 Posted 29/04/2020 at 19:27:05
Good point, Eric @64. Same principle for sports should apply until the doctors and scientists have a grip on this disease, which doesn't look imminent, and possibly 12 months at least away, according to BBC news.
Jim Hardin
66 Posted 29/04/2020 at 19:34:29
As one from across the pond, I extend my wishes that TWs and their loved ones are staying healthy. I have been reading the posts during the shelter-in-place orders in my state. I have enjoyed seeing posts from some of those who have come out of retirement and have become semi-active again.

I appreciate the schools of thought about ending the season. I am fine if they just declare the current positions as the final positions given the number of games played or only taking the points totals through the least number of games that any team has played for fairness. However, I am also okay with declaring the season as cancelled or a nullity – especially since it hurts Liverpool.

However, the comments on games even for the Autumn being played in empty stadiaums made me think how different the sport is over there than it is here for people aged 40 and up. I realized that it isn't that big of a deal to me if games are played in front of fans or not.

Except for basketball, I never played a sport that attracted large crowds in high school or college so I am used to competing where fan noise is not an issue. American soccer at the high-school level, and even in college, generally is not that well attended (some exceptions). So watching soccer played in front of empty, or mostly empty, stands is not that unusual. I actually like being able to hear the coaches and players yelling. I would watch and enjoy it for the game itself on the pitch.

I would miss the Goodison Park public announcer asking fans to take their seats so as not to obstruct the view of those behind them though!

Stay safe and healthy everyone.

Mike Gaynes
67 Posted 29/04/2020 at 20:01:05
The picture may just have changed a bit in the last couple of hours.

There is now officially, indisputably a drug that successfully treats Covid-19.

Gilead's Remdesivir has been found by a worldwide study to both shorten the average duration of the infection and increase survival among the very ill. FDA approval is reported to be imminent, and more detailed data is expected in the next couple of weeks.

Hallelujah.

Paul Hughes
68 Posted 01/05/2020 at 13:10:28
Mike G - pooh-poohed on the UK CV update yesterday. The UK Chief Scientific Officer said that there was evidence that the drug had slightly reduced recovery time, but was statistically significant. It was, however, encouraging that it had been shown that a drug could affect the behaviour of the virus, and so was an interesting first step.
Eric Myles
69 Posted 10/05/2020 at 08:14:40
Jim #66, and you'd obviously miss the "Operation Goodison Exercise" announcements.

But if games were to be played behind closed doors I doubt they would be allowed to televise the sounds of players and officials communicating, their sleeper machine would burn out.

Joe McMahon
70 Posted 10/05/2020 at 08:28:40
Paul @ 60 bang on. IMO I think they should post the Premier League trophy to them 2nd class, and end the season now. As much as I want Barrow and Leeds to go up and West Ham down.

On another note, social distancing and Goodison would be impossible. No room outside the ground and cramped seating inside.

Patrick McFarlane
71 Posted 10/05/2020 at 09:22:52
Robbie Fowler in a Mirror column says: ...And whatever we see as the ‘ideal’ whatever we want for our team, ­whatever the perfect conditions are… they have gone.

And they will be gone for a long time. So there is no use crying about it.

We have to be prepared to work ­outside our comfort zone – even if it goes against everything you believe in about football.

We have a duty.

I think clubs have a wider duty to finish this season when it is safe, for several reasons.

For the integrity of the competition, for sure – and, on that basis, I believe you must have teams promoted and relegated.

On that subject, I don’t get the ­argument that playing behind closed doors or on neutral venues is unfair. To borrow a horrible phrase from politicians, “this is the new normal”.

If we wait for crowds and home ­advantage, we may wait for years and football clubs will have long gone bust by then.

So we adapt.

Why? Because we have a duty, if we are role models – and footballers are always held to the highest standards – then it is time to do our duty. When it is safe to do it (I’m adding that for the hard of thinking!). There is a bigger picture here. Football needs to return at some point before the sport in this country is destroyed beyond ­recognition.

And it needs to do it to help ­everyone else. We take for granted NHS workers putting themselves on the front line for wages that are a ­pittance for what they do, for the job they do. A scandal, in fact.

No one is expecting footballers to put themselves on the front line. But if it is safe to return, can we rightfully say to them, “It’s OK, the nation needs you, but don’t come back because you are worried about a lack of home ­advantage? Or worried about no crowd noise?”

That is nonsense.

You need to adapt. We adapted at Brisbane Roar. We played behind closed doors with only a few days’ notice.

In fact, the fixture list at Brisbane showed in the first four months we only had four games at home. FOUR.

But people said, “It’s OK, you’ll get home advantage when it really matters towards the end of the season”.

It wasn’t. The virus made sure of that. Are we moaning? Nope. We went out and won anyway and we had the best record of any club in the A League after Christmas – and made the ­play-off positions.

We played the hand we were dealt, and, if I see anyone else moaning about conditions that are unfair – when Covid-19 has changed the world landscape – then I may scream.

It is not going away soon, games ­behind closed doors may be here for a year or more. Get used to it.

Meanwhile the same paper reports that Premier League clubs are unlikely to be able to pick from full squads should the season resume as certain players opt out due to safety fears.

One Premier League side could be without five first team stars should the season restart due to concerns over their health.

Over half of the top flight's 20 clubs have said they will not force players to play if they fear for themselves or their families.

And one team has had five players come out and say they do not want to be included, reports The S*n. Several clubs are aware that they will not have a full squad to pick from due to the safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Dean Smith admitted last week that two of his Aston Villa players have pulled out for health reasons. It is the same story at Brighton with chief executive Paul Barber conceding two of their players have suggested they may not be involved.

Never mind which players are available or the removal of home advantage at least Robbie and company will be happy that the 'integrity' of the game will be upheld and the hordes of devotees can wander the streets in celebration in the name of extended exercise. On another note, the Mirror which is part of the same group that owns the Liverpool Echo, has become a fanzine in all but name, I wonder if they distribute it free of charge, to anyone wearing a red shirt or scarf.

Eric Myles
73 Posted 10/05/2020 at 10:24:31
If players are saying they won't play because of Covid-19, it's time for clubs to come out and say it too.

They have a duty of care to protect their workers and not deliberately put them in harm's way for money.

That is the duty that Fowler should be extolling, not the duty to allow the Red Shite to win a trophy.

Michael Lynch
74 Posted 10/05/2020 at 11:27:45
"It's time to do our duty." Even allowing for the fact that it was probably written by some tabloid hack, the idea of footballers doing their duty when they're earning millions of quid a year is a bit like Richard Branson saying that he only wants his planes to fly again because "it's time to do our duty".

Do you know what, lads, do your duty by handing back your entire salary to the club while the game is on hold, and live off fuck all like I am while my business is shut down until it's safe to start up again – by which time, it will probably have folded.

Fowler, you tosser.

Mike Hughes
75 Posted 10/05/2020 at 11:59:41
A third Brighton player has tested positive.

Re-starting this season would be a shambles for so many reasons - and that’s just football ones, never mind the wider societal and ethical ones.

Carragher, Fowler et al reveal themselves for what they are when they comment on the subject. Greedy, self-serving ......

(And why is Jamie “gob on a child” Carragher allowed back in the public eye anyway?)

Null and void.

Joe Corgan
76 Posted 10/05/2020 at 12:23:19
Fowler's got a nerve using the phrase “integrity of the competition.”

How can the 2019-20 Premier League have any integrity when they propose to massively change the playing field with a quarter of the season to go?

Five subs, neutral venues, no VAR, training under social distancing, no fans.

I really wish senior players from each club would step up and simply say “We're not willing to complete the season.” Don't give the shitbags at the FA and Premier League any choice.

Tom Bowers
77 Posted 10/05/2020 at 13:20:22
The World is in a totally confused state at the moment in every aspect of life – and sport is no exception. So many governments and sports bodies at odds about which path to take.

One only need look no further than Boris Johnson and Donald Trump who are totally out to lunch. This is a World crisis and too many people want to pretend that it is under control when it isn't.

Football seasons are not over until all the designated games are played, as they should be, so that all clubs can be fairly treated regarding Europe, promotion and relegation regardless of current point differences top or bottom.

The football authorities in some countries need to wake up as starting up again under any premise would be a disaster at present or any time in the near future.

Andrew Clare
78 Posted 10/05/2020 at 14:26:50
It seems crazy talking about finishing the season when half of us don't know whether we will have a business to run or a job to do in a few months time.
I think it is far too early to think about ending the lockdown as the UK government has seemingly no control over anything – let alone Covid-19.

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