Clubs pressing to play matches at their own grounds

Monday, 11 May, 2020 116comments  |  Jump to last
The Premier League is hoping that they can get approval from the Government to allow its clubs to host games behind closed doors at their own stadiums amid opposition to proposals to use neutral venues.

The League and its member teams have been meeting today to discuss the latest paths forward to resuming the season under the "Project Restart" initiative following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that his administration is considering allowing “cultural and sporting events” to resume in England, starting 1st June, provided certain safety conditions are in place.

That has boosted the Premier League's hopes that it could start playing matches from the suspended 2019-20 season next month, with 12th June a much-mooted date on which the first fixtures could take place, albeit behind closed doors.

However, the proposal that a selection of 10 neutral venues be chosen to host the matches, designed to avoid supporters from congregating outside, has met stiff opposition from at least seven clubs while all 20 are said to prefer to play at their own stadiums.

The current bottom six teams, who fear that the loss of home advantage would be unfair, are said to be against plans to play on neutral grounds, with Newcastle United also reportedly voicing opposition.

“I think everybody would prefer to play home and away if at all possible”, Premier League chief executive, Richard Masters, was quoted as saying by The Guardian. “And I think it's clear to see that some clubs feel more strongly about that than others.

"We've been talking to the authorities about the conditions in which we could get the Premier League back up and running and taking all that advice on board. But it is an ongoing dialogue.

“I think some of our clubs would argue that, in relation to policing their own fans, they have a good relationship with them and they're in a better position to control that. But this has to be a decision that's come to mutually.”

Another obstacle to restarting the campaign could be reluctance on the part of some players. There have been reports that dozens of players could revolt if they feel they are being forced to play when they don't feel it is safe to do so.

Many of the Premier League's clubs have reopened their training facilities to allow players to return on an individual basis and begin what is being described as a "mini pre-season" to get ready for the resumption of play but the conditions by which entire squads can reconvene have not yet been hammered out.

“Clubs are determined as part of the consultation process that [players'] concerns and questions are heard. They will be later this week”, Masters explained. “We're really just talking about return to training protocols. In isolation, it's a big decision. But the players have to be consulted properly.

“We are not anticipating [players to veto 'Project Restart'] and obviously, what we are trying to do is create the safest possible environment for a return to training for players, for managers, for their coaches and the other staff that need to be involved. We think we are going to be able to create that safe environment.”

Additionally, as plans to resume the season in countries like Germany, Spain and Portugal have been affected by new coronavirus infections among players and, in England, Brighton & Hove Albion have reported three new positive tests among their squad, the League has admitted that the possibility that the Premier League season may need to be curtailed was discussed openly for the first time.

“It was discussed for the first time but the contents of that discussion have to remain confidential," Masters said. "What I can say is that all of the talk was about finishing the season. No conclusions were reached on any other models. Those are future conversations we may need to have.”  


Reader Comments (116)

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Jack Convery
1 Posted 11/05/2020 at 22:12:58
Only fair way to do it but best not to do it at all – just cancel the season. We all have a lot more to worry about.
Robert Williams
2 Posted 11/05/2020 at 22:32:36
And we go and smash the RS 7-1 at home behind closed doors and nobody sees it!!
Paul Birmingham
3 Posted 11/05/2020 at 22:47:44
I'm with you, Jack, there's a lot more at stake than football.

When the time is right which is when it's safe and science and medicine have a better understanding of Covid-19.

Andy Crooks
4 Posted 11/05/2020 at 22:48:07
I understood that government, on police advice, insisted neutral venues or no restart.
Tom Bowers
5 Posted 11/05/2020 at 23:07:19
I agree, the best way would be to cancel the season for now and, when everything is back to normal, resume it and get it finished as it would have been. After that, play next season somewhat shortened or run it on until the Summer.

It's pointless to even think about resuming things under any format as this situation with Covid-19 will not be resolved anytime soon as it would be too risky and even with a vaccine it could be a long time before they can be sure there is no danger.

Paul Jones
6 Posted 11/05/2020 at 23:31:51
"Billionaires are asking for the lockdown to end. They won't go out. They want you to go out and make their money." That was a succinct comment I read elsewhere whilst remembering that our PM made his announcement behind a desk that blocked the entrance to the room that he was in.

Given that if there was televised football, in many places, there is likely to be many groups watching football together in a social environment whilst consuming alcohol. That would happen in any City where a team is likely to win the league but it is likely all fans will herd in some way to follow their team.

I read that, with the relaxation of social distancing in South Korea, 1 person attending a club infected 40 confirmed persons, further 1,900 at risk. Is it really responsible for the government to risk this in multiple sites in a country that has been far less successful in managing the outbreak?

Jay Harris
7 Posted 11/05/2020 at 23:44:26
It seems to me they will assess it on a points scoring basis.

Anything to give the RS a title.

I can see a lot of legal challenges from the relegated clubs though.

Common sense said the season should have been declared null and void a long while ago but when does commonsense enter a collection of billionaires playground.

Derek Thomas
8 Posted 12/05/2020 at 01:35:30
Common Sense has said 'No, not just yet'. But like badgering kids... can I have a 'whatever'... keep on asking the same basic question in different ways hoping you'll give in – sad thing is it usually works.

When it's safe enough to sit shoulder to shoulder and the loud mouth behind you spraying the back of your head, shouting at this lazy player or that one is only an annoyance, not a potential death sentence... then it is safe to play.

Eric Myles
9 Posted 12/05/2020 at 05:51:26
Surely the football and local authorities can see what madness it would be to let teams play at their home grounds, even behind closed doors?

The whole reasoning for neutral venues was to prevent supporters gathering outside grounds so, if clubs won't play at neutral venues, then games can't be played.

Bobby Mallon
10 Posted 12/05/2020 at 06:18:01
Just a quick question: Why would any person with a brain cell stand outside a football ground if you can't get in?

The season needs to be voided now, playing behind closed doors anywhere will only put people's lives at risk.

Jeff Spiers
11 Posted 12/05/2020 at 06:20:28
Okay, they play behind closed doors, how many humans will actually be there? Players, officials, backroom staff, media, medical teams etc. Fucking stupid idea. Greed rears its ugly head again.
Alan J Thompson
12 Posted 12/05/2020 at 06:34:23
They discussed for the first time "curtailing" the season. Where the hell have they been all this time that it didn't occur to them to discuss abandoning the season? Just pretend it isn't there and may be it will go away. Morons!
John Keating
13 Posted 12/05/2020 at 07:11:42
So the season kicks off and the RS somewhere clinch the title.
Do they really expect nobody to turn up outside their ground at their next home match?

Teams fighting for survival. Do they really expect nobody to turn up outside their home games to show support.

Yes, most people won't but there's a lot of halfwits out there.

Eric Myles
14 Posted 12/05/2020 at 07:12:24
Have they really thought about how hilarious it would be to play behind closed doors?

Every defender just has to put the ball into 'Row Z' and who's going to go fetch it?? Or will they have an unlimited supply of balls? What if they run out?

A striker shoots and misses and the goalie says, 'Well I'm not going to get it'! Or will they put ballboys lives at risk???

It will be like watching The Keystone Kops!!

Eric Myles
15 Posted 12/05/2020 at 07:16:02
Jeff #11, I'd guesstimate about 150 people per team conservatively, maybe even 200.
Brian Murray
16 Posted 12/05/2020 at 07:43:20
Will we ever get to truth why the FA have been so relentless and desperate in pursuing the government to play the games to get their obscene yearly cash boost?
Ray Roche
17 Posted 12/05/2020 at 08:13:28
Eric, they'll use a multi ball system whereby they will throw another ball on straight away while someone retrieves the errant ball.
Tony Abrahams
18 Posted 12/05/2020 at 08:51:38
Why not let fans inside the stadium? Every 5th seat, could be used maybe, people wearing masks, and surely a lot safer than getting on enclosed public transport, rather than a stadium, with loads of fresh air?

I'm not advocating getting going again, but if clubs are to use their own stadiums, then surely this will be the next logical question, given the most recent provisions.

Like this virus itself, getting football started is creating a lot more questions, than answers.

Jim Bennings
19 Posted 12/05/2020 at 08:52:21
John @13,

You are right sadly there are many many halfwit people out there that simply won't comply with advice being given and I know for a fact that, if Liverpool are allowed to wrap the title up, scores of bellends will be in the streets gathering pissed up.

We keep hearing about bringing football back when it's safe to do so, basically that means two years time, let's be brutally honest.

We are told that mass gatherings are ruled out until a vaccine is ready and in the community, so it's virtually impossible to see how people can attend football matches, a place if we are truthful that's generally more difficult to control a person's behaviour at the best of times.

I'm becoming accustomed to the idea that match going days are pretty much gone now for a long time, whether or not many fans of a certain age or physical condition will even want to return again after this period is obviously a thing of personal choice, lots will feel the risk now is just too great.

Michael Lynch
20 Posted 12/05/2020 at 09:27:01
Ray @17 but who will be doing the retrieving and throwing?

Actually I might volunteer – running around in the outdoors while watching the match sounds pretty good to me. Give me a pair of gloves and I'm there.

Ray Roche
21 Posted 12/05/2020 at 09:45:05
Michael, volunteer!! I bet they'll have 100 balls there and one guy in each side of the ground!!
Martin Campion
22 Posted 12/05/2020 at 10:03:56
The major problem is the extent of this infection. There are so many conflicting ideas as to how to proceed.

The idea of letting fans attend is undermined by the demands made on transport and the logistics of such simple things as going to the toilet. Gwladys St toilets and social distancing? Where would the smokers hide?

I think that it is not this season that we should be worried about. I cannot envisage the return to football as we knew it for many seasons. I don't care if the RS are awarded the title or the season is scrapped.

I do worry that future events could pre-empt a further loss of life. I miss going. However, I'd be devastated if acting too soon brought about the deaths of any fans. Stay safe all.

Eric Myles
23 Posted 12/05/2020 at 10:07:28
Ray #17, and how many balls will they need?

And how many ball retrievers?

It's going to be comical.

Tim Welsh
24 Posted 12/05/2020 at 10:11:09
My bet is that this farce of a season (VAR, anyone?) will resume. The RS will play one game - be facilitated to a win, if necessary, by the officials – there will be fans congregating outside, wherever it is played. They will be 'told off' and given another chance. They will play their next game – win it by one means or another. Their fans will go wild breaking any lockdown measure in sight. Then, the season will be abandoned. They will get their title, because what the RS want, the RS get.

Just saw an old article quoting Richard Masters (CEO of the Premier League) declaring that the RS success this season has been good for viewing figures. So, they are not going to give up the possible financial bonanza spawned by the RS taking the title – lockdown or no lockdown.

The RS are reported to have 800 million supporters worldwide – well somebody claimed it – so at least they will have a 'morale boost', eh? The rest of us are irrelevant. I would argue that a bigger morale boost would be for the supporters of other teams to see the RS lose their lead entirely.

A couple of other things...

Matches behind closed doors? Has anyone had the misfortune of seeing an episode of 'Have I Got News For You?' during the lockdown? Execrable, forced and a pale shadow of itself when an audience is present. Matches behind closed doors will be a non-spectacle.

The FA Cup? Anyone heard a mention of it. The oldest footballing competition in the world. Ignored. Why? No RS.

Alan J Thompson
25 Posted 12/05/2020 at 10:32:01
Eric (#23); You'd need an awful lot of balls to put yourself in a crowd right now but I'm not sure there would be much laughing. I'm more worried about the idiots that will be in the ground rather than those outside, but there's not much between them, by any yardstick.
Paul Jones
26 Posted 12/05/2020 at 10:41:51
Hi Tony @18.

I think a big issue is the infrastructure that would be needed to support a match day. So it would involve pulling in stewards, police, medical staff etc just to make it safe to go ahead. Also, the amount of people who will be forced onto that public transport to get to the ground – even at 1/5th capacity – would represent a spike in demand that seems on the face of it to be a completely unnecessary risk.

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 12/05/2020 at 11:08:09
That's why I don't think clubs should use their own stadiums, Paul, because this will probably become the next shout if this happens, or what happened in Paris will most definitely be repeated at some stadiums in England.

Maybe some clubs are going round in circles, coming up with proposals that are just not logical, especially because cancelling the Premier League was brought up for the first time. And the longer this goes on, then surely clubs will begin to start thinking about next season, especially if it really is all about the money.

I just wonder how many clubs have given the lower leagues a thought during this process?

Rob Halligan
28 Posted 12/05/2020 at 11:09:09
Tim # 24. 800 million people who support the RS does seem a bit excessive. When you consider the entire population of the world is roughly 7 billion people, that means that roughly 14% of the world population are utter gobshites.
Chris Hockenhull
29 Posted 12/05/2020 at 11:23:35
Tony 18. Hi. Yes, practical idea if every 5th seat being allocated and, as you say, lots of fresh air and better than overcrowded transport etc. Just one issue: how do we get there and avoid the mass numbers in and out of the ground? As you say, more questions than answers.
Joe McMahon
30 Posted 12/05/2020 at 11:28:41
Rob, I believe it. All areas of the UK are full of them. Whenever I've been abroad it's full of them. I even saw the shirts being worn on Holy Island, FFS. The world is full of them, and the world is full of horrible people. So it all makes sense. The only place I haven't seen one is Berlin, one of he reasons to go there.
Dave Williams
31 Posted 12/05/2020 at 12:09:36
I have watched a number of Under-23 games on YouTube and the game is soulless without spectators. You can hear all the bad language so TV would not work too well and the performance of players would vary considerably as some would not be inclined to put in the same amount of effort with an empty stadium.

The remaining games would not be truly representative and it would be unfair to relegate teams whose players might need the presence of spectators in order to perform properly.

All that is before you get to the question of safety with the virus still active. Some fans would be bound to gather when there was a game, either outside the ground or at someone's house to watch on TV and have a few beers.

Footballers spit and they won't be able to control the habit once they get into the game. What about sweat – can the virus be transmitted via sweat?

The only reason to continue the season is financial and I can't figure out why playing behind closed doors would satisfy sponsors as they would not be getting the same exposure without a full stadium.

I couldn't give a toss about giving RS the title as we all know that they have been by far the best team this season and not to give it would just give them something else to whinge about. If the season continues, they will win it anyway, so I'd prefer to give it to them and we can remind them that they didn't really win it!

For me, lives are the only important thing here so cancel the season, no relegation, if teams are promoted then start next season early if the virus permits so the extra games created by a bigger league can be accommodated.

Tony Everan
32 Posted 12/05/2020 at 12:25:11
They will be watching Germany, that's already looking precarious after a Divison 2 player tested positive. If the Bundesliga can operate successfully, the arguments will go in the Premier League's favour and they will get the go-ahead.

If the Bundesliga has to abandon, Project Restart will be dead in the water and the season then surely has to be cancelled and voided as the alternative options are running out.

Brent Stephens
33 Posted 12/05/2020 at 12:30:00
Dave #31, yes U23 games have little atmosphere even when you're at the ground; when watching on TV, they're even more soulless. You. might just as well complete the Premier League by having penalty shoot-outs.

I wouldn't go to Southport's ground to watch the U23 if it weren't for the fact I live in spitting distance – and now I can't even spit!

Martin Nicholls
34 Posted 12/05/2020 at 12:40:18
There is talk, even if games are played, of a 𧸌 million penalty because games were not played on time and because of absence of spectators. Funny that the broadcasters suddenly see we spectators as being relevant? When games have been shifted around and played at ridiculous times to suit TV and its viewers, match-going fans were never given any consideration whatsoever – we were an irrelevance.

The spike in coronavirus cases on Merseyside following the Liverpool vs Atletico game is more than the "interesting hypothesis" it has been dismissed as. Whether they admit it or not, LFC bear a heavy responsibility for that. We need Joe Anderson to speak up again to prevent a repeat of that "criminal act".

Alan McKie
35 Posted 12/05/2020 at 13:18:08
I hear very little about the FA Cup or Champions League being mentioned by the press or the TV. Only about the Premier League, or is it because the RS have no interest in those competitions???

Will the forthcoming isolation of all people coming into the country (except France) put paid to European Competitions?

Phil Greenough
36 Posted 12/05/2020 at 13:25:44
Just read this on the BBC football website:

Meanwhile, new data from YouGov showed 73% of 2,098 British adults would not see the return of football as a boost to their morale, with 19% saying it would.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

37 Posted 12/05/2020 at 13:35:14
Only yesterday for the first time did they discuss the possibility of the season being 'curtailed'?

This highlights for me a total lack of leadership within football. Surely, in a situation like this, one of the first things to consider is the worst-case scenario: the possibility that the season cannot be completed without being seriously compromised?

Take our own CEO, Denise Barrett-Baxendale. She gets a bad press from some on here, but way back in January when the first reports of a new virus were emerging from Wuhan in China, to her credit she put in place a pandemic contigency plan for the club.

Three months on, why haven't other clubs and the league's ruling bodies not done likewise?

The most bandied-about word used in relation to re-commencing the season is 'integrity'. The way it is being applied makes it an oxymoron.

All the focus about a return of football is on the 20 Premier League clubs. What about the other 72 clubs of the other 3 divisions?

The 'cost' to the Premier League clubs – even if the season was completed behind closed doors – was given a number yesterday: 𧸌 million.

Is that ALL?! That works out at 㾽 million per club – the price of a bad buy in the transfer market, like Oumar Niasse.

Take the hit! Do what other federations have already done and terminate the season. Reset and recalibrate with a clean slate and start working towards a return to a normal football calendar for the 2020-21 season.

And then we have Boris Johnson and the government flipping a coin and saying a return of elite sport would be a 'morale boost' to the country. So let's all hang out the bunting and shout 'Horray!' And let's forget that the government tried to deflect attention from itself early doors by stigmatising footballers for not doing more to support the NHS.

A morale boost to the country? Not according to a recent poll on YouGov which says close to 80% would NOT regard a return of professional football in the UK as a 'morale boost'.

If the government and the football authorities are genuine in wishing to give the nation a 'morale boost', how about setting aside a 'soft loan scheme' for all 92 clubs in England's top four divisions? It's pennies to the national treasury.

They should start from the bottom up, securing the futures of the most vulnerable lower league clubs first BEFORE giving the Premier League clubs a bail-out.

That would give many a community in every geo-location in England a tremendous lift, knowing that the future and well-being of their local club has been secured.

Finally, there are clearly concerns from high-profile footballers about returning to play at this time. Chris Wilder at Sheffield United came out last week saying he would not insist on playing a player who didn't want to risk playing at this time.

'Integrity?!' The whole thing is a farce.

Craig Walker
38 Posted 12/05/2020 at 13:45:16
Michael Keane should be alright because he keeps 2 metres away from most attackers.
Dave Abrahams
39 Posted 12/05/2020 at 13:51:41
Martin (34), a good post, but it would be preferable if Steve Rotherham, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, was the one to bring attention to the Liverpool versus Athletico Madrid game Mr Rotherham is a staunch Red fan as opposed to Joe Anderson being a Blue, and obviously would be accused of football bias.
Santosh Benjamin
40 Posted 12/05/2020 at 13:56:45
I live in India and things are pretty bad here for the average person. My family are comfortable but there isn't much room for luxuries. We are still very thankful for what we have when we see those less fortunate than us. I am in the medical field and the effect that it has had on the health system is tremendous. We are just about keeping our heads above water with protective equipment we have and the space required to look after suspect and confirmed cases.

I am deeply disappointed to hear that the Premier League is making plans to restart the season. The potential risk to the lives of those involved in the preparation and playing of the game far outweighs the benefits of a so-called "morale boost". Also, the waste of testing kits and protective equipment for the game is just inexcusable in my eyes. I hope that they come to their senses before it's too late.

I miss watching football and I miss my beloved Toffees. Despite that, I have no doubt whatsoever that restarting the season to appease the money-hungry millionaires is absurd and irresponsible. I don't care if they decide to hand the title to the RS without playing anymore games. Just come to your senses and call off the rest of the season!

Paul Tran
41 Posted 12/05/2020 at 14:07:24
I'm telling you, it's a ruse. They'll keep 'doing everything they can' until it dawns on them that it's not possible. Then the stakeholders will sit down and sort it out between them.
John Raftery
42 Posted 12/05/2020 at 14:09:19
Jay (37) The cost to the clubs will be £350m if the season is completed behind closed doors. If the season does not restart the cost is expected to be £762m. If the season is not resumed in mid June what circumstances would have changed by early to mid August to enable a return to a normal football calendar? There will definitely not be a vaccine and it is unlikely an effective treatment will be available by then.
Kenny Smith
43 Posted 12/05/2020 at 14:11:07
My prediction is we'll all be made to play 2 games. THEY will win it on the second one and the season will be cancelled because history has shown that THEY can't be trusted to behave. The media can't wait for THEM to win it, even in these dire circumstances. They're cringeworthy at the best of times and even more cringeworthy now because the silence is deafening. THEY won't say a thing because then other clubs may vote against them.

Therefore there's no point. Cancel the thing now and just send them the trophy by second class post to stick in their cupboard.

Martin Reppion
44 Posted 12/05/2020 at 14:18:00
Guys.

Reading all these posts, I'm proud to be a Blue. It's not often as Everton fans, never mind footie fans in general, that we get such a consensus. I assume that in forums up and down the country opinions like these are being expressed. (Probably not on sites connected with the RS and Leeds.)

So the only question is: Why the hell do the FA and the clubs not read them and realise the massive PR own-goal they are scoring?

The only issue they really have to debate is whether 2019_20 season is null and void and we start again when we can with the same teams as they were, or to promote and relegate on the basis of where we were at lockdown. There will be winners and losers either way. But isn't that always the case?

Keep safe guys. See you in the new dawn.

Michael Lynch
45 Posted 12/05/2020 at 14:19:08
Bearing in mind the chancellor has just committed an unlimited number of billions of pounds to furlough a quarter of the workforce until October, I really don't see why PL clubs don't furlough the players and ride it out. What's so special about footballers? I'm getting fuck all from the taxpayer and I'm expected to just get on with it and hope my business doesn't go tits up, so I'm sure the likes of DCL can survive on £2.5k a month at their age.

Surely a 23 year old on £100k a week with 10 years more of his career ahead of him can lose six month's salary for the good of the game.

Mike Kehoe
46 Posted 12/05/2020 at 14:53:36
The next two to three will determine what happens. Boris has rolled the dice with a deliberately ambiguous message that pressures workers back to the work place without providing adequate PPE: the c**ts don't even provide it to health workers so what chance do builders and factory workers have? I feel there will be a spike in the virus and all the talk of football will be relegated to a few angry reds without the sense to see beyond their own feelings. Boris has established many times that he has the morality of a land mine. Fuck the PL, the idea of PPE being redirected to football is obscene... so will definitely happen.
Tim Welsh
47 Posted 12/05/2020 at 15:43:44
Hi Rob #28 Sometimes it does seem like 14% of the world population support them, but I do agree that it seems excessive. I read it on a BB(LF)C forum posted by some gs who probably hails from King's Lynn, but for me it is evidence of their inflated view of their 'global significance'. Arrogance doesn't adequately describe it. Nevertheless, there is a very large section of the football supporters who ally themselves to the RS because they are so well marketed and whenever I encounter one I challenge them. Firstly, I will ask them who was their manager before Shankly? They never get that right, in fact one of them said Bob Paisley! Secondly I ask them how the RS were formed? They seldom know, or certainly have no idea who John Holding was ( in fact, one of them went away and found out, then stopped supporting them - I count that as victory). Then I will ask them how they can support a club that has sponsored such uncharitable behaviour over the years - witness little stories like Dave Thomas' struggle to get a signed shirt for his Guide dogs fundraising at one end of the spectrum to their behaviour that led to the 'This is Anfield' campaign by their resident neighbours, with plenty of examples in between.
I see it as my role as an Evertonian, to illuminate these 'supporters' as to what exactly they are underwriting by lending their voice to the RS cause before employing any of their critical faculties. But as long as the media have their love affair with the 'Whore of Anfield', then I will have my work cut out for me...
Thanks for reading my post.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
48 Posted 12/05/2020 at 16:21:03
Jay @37,

Although a 'moral boost' might be what some need more than anything, I think you'll find what people were voting on at YouGov was a 'morale boost' — being a somewhat different animal, I hope you can agree.

[In the interests of accuracy, I fixed your post, btw. ]

Steve Brown
49 Posted 12/05/2020 at 16:26:43
Tim @ 47, if 14% of the world's population really support them, that means 86% absolutely loathe them.
Brent Stephens
50 Posted 12/05/2020 at 16:48:00
Michael #48 - the case of the missing “e”. Reminds me of the old joke about the woman in Yorkshire who orders a headstone for the grave of her recently-deceased husband. She asks for it to be inscribed with “God, he was thine”.

When she went to collect it, she saw that it had been incorrectly Inscribed with “God, he was thin“.

“‘Ere”, she says in a Yorkshire accent, “you've missed off the “e'”.

“Sorry missus, the new lad did it. I'll have it done properly for you for next week”, says the stone mason, likewise in a Yorkshire accent.

She goes back the following week, only to see the headstone with the inscription “E, God, he was thin”.

Dave Abrahams
51 Posted 12/05/2020 at 16:55:21
Brent (50) Good one Brent. Unusual for you!!!
Brent Stephens
52 Posted 12/05/2020 at 16:57:59
I love you too Dave!
Eric Myles
53 Posted 12/05/2020 at 17:02:17
Michael #45, exactly what I said when furlough was introduced. Put the players on furlough and save enough to pay staff full wage.

Mind, some players will have trouble keeping up with their car payments on 2,500 Quid a month, nevermind rent and mortgages.

Dave Abrahams
54 Posted 12/05/2020 at 17:10:00
Brent (52), I know that Brent, you don't have to tell me!!

Hope you and your family are doing okay during this unique and terrible time, take care.

Brent Stephens
55 Posted 12/05/2020 at 17:14:51
Thanks, Dave. And the same for you and yours.

Actually, my son and his partner live in Portsmouth. Her dad lost his partner to C-19 two weeks ago. I guess we're all probably no more than two or three steps away from somebody who has been hit by this.

Mike Gaynes
56 Posted 12/05/2020 at 18:44:03
Brent #50, that's a groaner. Banished to the stands.
Dave Abrahams
57 Posted 12/05/2020 at 18:47:00
Brent (55), sorry to hear that Brent, it's true what you say about the deaths being common to most of us, but no less very disturbing and upsetting to most of us.

The sad part, besides the loss of friends and relatives, are the funerals of the deceased, with just a very few going into crematoriums, or just some small service at the graveside. Although these funerals are done with dignity, the families are deprived of giving their loved ones the proper send off they deserved.

Brent Stephens
58 Posted 12/05/2020 at 18:47:46
I have worse than that, Mike. Behave yourself or I'll tell some more!
Mike Gaynes
59 Posted 12/05/2020 at 18:51:20
Update: Joel Robles says he's feeling fine since being diagnosed. Staying home and working out. Wife is pregnant with their second child.

Dave #57, what's even worse is that so many of those victims are dying alone, unable to have their family members around them. What could be worse than that.

Dave Abrahams
60 Posted 12/05/2020 at 19:44:43
Mike (59), very true Mike, and so very sad, but that is why so many medical nursing staff are real angels, lots of them are holding the hands of these tragic people as they pass away.
Tony Abrahams
61 Posted 12/05/2020 at 19:47:00
It's hard to fathom, the way this virus reacts so differently in people.

I've read there are different degrees of this virus, (with some being more potent) but what I don't understand is how it goes deeper into the lungs, in certain people.

Working out will expand the lungs, (shouldn't Joel be resting?) and if the lungs are expanded, then would it not help the virus spread further down the lungs? This is Something I've been trying to work out, since I first heard how it attacks the body.

Peter Warren
62 Posted 12/05/2020 at 20:49:21
If EFC were going to win the title and there was even a glimmer of a chance you could get the game even with COVID situation, I imagine a lot would give it a try. Particularly if at Goodison. I have sneaked into a Derby game this decade and previously had to sneak in behind police at Man City away (when Cahill scored and got sent off for celebrating his goal) odd / long stories but I actually had a ticket for each game but had to sneak in.

With LFC that risk will be even more as they have many supporters who travel. They will have to put more security on which means more ordinary people at risk. In this climate no way can football restart, lives will be lost. This ain't anti LFC post it's a pro-living post.

Mike Gaynes
63 Posted 12/05/2020 at 20:57:03
Tony, that's true of all diseases. Some people die of cancer, others walk away fine. Some people brush off a cold in two days, others develop fatal pneumonia. It's not just about the bug, it's about how your body reacts to it, and every body is different.

Regarding the lungs and the virus, people who are able to get more air in deeper just tend to do better. Doctors tell sick patients to take the deepest breaths they can. Bedridden patients in the US are now being turned on their stomachs to get the weight of other organs off the lungs and allow deeper breaths. It seems to help keep people off the ventilators.

Apparently one reason older people are at higher risk of mortality is because they have less lung capacity, fewer healthy lung cells, less lung flexibility.

Tony Abrahams
64 Posted 12/05/2020 at 22:45:57
Thanks Mike, it explains a lot that mate, but surely deep breathing has got to be better than hard exercising, whilst this virus is inside your body, or maybe it has got a lot more to do with genetics like you have explained?
Kieran Kinsella
65 Posted 12/05/2020 at 22:51:54
Tony

I've been told as a rule of thumb it's ok to workout if your symptoms are the neck and above. That's in general not specific to corona. With regards to this, some doctors have said exercising with mild symptoms boosts your immune system

Mike Gaynes
66 Posted 12/05/2020 at 00:02:52
Kieran and Tony, I'm no scientist, but I've always believed that exercise is good for your immune system and everything else, if you can possibly do it.

Even when I was really sick, I would pop out of bed in intensive care and take a walk around the corridors. Drove the nurses nuts. And I kept playing league footy right through the chemo treatments, though sometimes 20 minutes in goal was all I could manage.

Brian Wilkinson
67 Posted 12/05/2020 at 00:02:54
Just swerving away from the conversation for a mo, no one has managed to come up with the answer about Leonard Rossiter aka Rigsby.

Around 1978, he appeared in an Everton home football programe, spinning the ball on his finger if memory serves me right.

As most are having a rummage through stuff, if anyone comes across the photo in the programe, can you please let me know the game and date he appeared in it.

Alan J Thompson
68 Posted 13/05/2020 at 05:22:18
Tony (#64); There are also lung problems associated with being on a ventilator for a lengthy period.
Tony Abrahams
69 Posted 13/05/2020 at 08:26:41
I ask because in my twenties I contracted TB. I came home from New Zealand, and was getting these scary attacks, where it was like being punched and knocked to the floor, it was horrible.

I was made up to be home and training with my mates, I started getting fitter and stronger, because I had not been on a good level. My football was poor, I came off the pitch a few times because of these “dreadful attacks” and I was worried.

Then I played a game and everything was back: two yards quicker, five yards sharper, it was a great feeling being able to run free, so I must have put a lot more work in during the game. I did.

Anyway, that's when it hit me. I remember being absolutely exhausted in the bar after the game, didn't even want a soft drink never mind a pint, and that's when I finally had to go and see a doctor.

I know the TB was already in my body (they said to have a cavity, it must have been in my system for around a year) but it was definitely that hard workout that took it right out of me in the end.

And that's why I'm puzzled how a hard workout would be good for anyone whilst this virus is in their system?

Tony Abrahams
70 Posted 13/05/2020 at 09:04:59
Looks like the police might have agreed to this request, for teams to play their remaining games in their respective stadiums. According to the times
Brian Murray
71 Posted 13/05/2020 at 09:41:45
Brian Wilkinson post 67. Rossiter was a blue and his hero was Tommy Lawton. That game he was in the programme was a night time derby match. I was there and David Johnson scored the winner for the shite.
Tony Abrahams
72 Posted 13/05/2020 at 10:45:38
Who's Tommy Lawton, was definitely a sketch were Rigsby was at his finest! Even if my favourite is when Leonard gets in the coffin, rotten stinking drunk in Oliver, saying "it's really quite comfortable"- brilliant!
Billy Roberts
73 Posted 13/05/2020 at 18:00:22
I loved Leonard Rossiter, I think he is often overlooked. Rising Damp was brilliant then and still is now, he is unforgettable in it.

I would be interested to know from our American cousins if this classic comedy transferred to the USA (and Australia, New Zealand, anywhere!) like Monty Python and Fawlty Towers amongst many other British comedy classics that did.

It is always worth remembering that Leonard Rossiter was in 2001 a Space Odyssey by the great Stanley Kubrick!! It makes me proud to know he was a Scouser and an Evertonian. A true comedy great.

Michael Lynch
74 Posted 13/05/2020 at 18:56:09
Rising Damp and Steptoe & Son were, for me, the two best-written and acted comedy series of all time.

Billy Roberts
75 Posted 13/05/2020 at 20:01:03
Yes Michael, I loved both also.

Then there was the episode were of Steptoe & Son were Leonard Rossiter appears as an escaped convict on the run with his arl fella, And they turn up at Steptoe & Son's house!!

It's not the best but still good, I think everyone remembers the episode where they split the house in half?? Remember them watching Match of the Day? Bringing us nicely back to football.

Michael Barrett
76 Posted 13/05/2020 at 20:48:25
Remember the African incense episode... where Rossiter was kidded into burning a bit of old wardrobe to try and get his leg over.

Still funny as fuck today as it was back then.

Tony Abrahams
77 Posted 13/05/2020 at 21:03:01
Porridge has got to be up there, Michael. Norman Stanley Fletcher was very witty.
Dave Abrahams
78 Posted 13/05/2020 at 21:04:13
Billy (75), I think Leonard Rossiter was an all round brilliant actor in anything he appeared in, even in the marvellous adverts he made with Joan Collins in the wine episodes.
John Keating
79 Posted 13/05/2020 at 21:13:58
I see Anderson is getting onboard with playing at home grounds.

Not surprisingly it appears our friends at Spirit of Shankly are mortified at the thought that some people – the majority of the population – would consider that supporters would congregate at grounds.

Supporters are really just ordinary people and would follow all guidelines and agreements, apparently.

Maybe I'm wrong but I think they are talking shite!

Robert Tressell
80 Posted 13/05/2020 at 21:23:57
Had no idea Leonard Rossiter was an Evertonian! Brilliant actor. Loved Rising Damp repeats when I was a kid.
Alan McGuffog
81 Posted 13/05/2020 at 21:44:16
I agree with all that has been said about Mr Rossiter. Surprised no mention of the wonderful and slightly surreal Reginald Perrin. I didn't get where I am today by not mentioning Reginald Perrin.
Billy Roberts
82 Posted 13/05/2020 at 21:59:28
Dave @78,

Yes exactly, what was it Cinzano Bianco or something?? All I remember is them unlikely 2,

Alan @81,

I never understood or appreciated Reggie Perrin because of my age but again it was another legacy he left.

Walking into the sea bollocko "doing a Reggie Perrin".

I'm sure the series had more to it than that like!!

Mike Keating
83 Posted 13/05/2020 at 22:02:37
I thought the two World Wars might give us some indication of how the Premier League should behave in the current crisis but history isn't as helpful as we might think.

WW1 had already broken out but the 1914-15 season still got played with you know who lifting the title. The real interest is in the shenanigans going on at the other end of the table (it is still galling to hear Gooners claiming our record as the longest-serving club in the top flight when they didn't deserve to be in it in the first place:

When football played on during world war one and inflamed a London derby

In WW2, the season was only three games old when war was declared and it was no hardship to abandon it – Blackpool, the only team with a 100% record at the time, could hardly claim they had been robbed of the title but the story still makes interesting reading:

When English football was last suspended – how the league was left during the war

That should keep you busy.

Mike Galley
84 Posted 13/05/2020 at 23:00:03
Brian #71. There's actually an episode of Rising Damp where Leonard Rossiter mentions Tommy Lawton. When Alan or Philip ask who he is, Rigsby says something like 'He was only the greatest header of the ball football has ever seen!'

I've no idea if Leonard had any influence over the scripts, but I like to think he did. On that occasion at least!!!

Brian Wilkinson
85 Posted 13/05/2020 at 23:29:20
Billy @75, he was in another episode of Steptoe and Son as well, where he turned up with an Irish accent and sold them the lead he took from their roof.

Brian @71 cheers for that, will have a look through my footy programmes, see if I can find it, will it have been around the year before the Andy King derby?

Brian Wilkinson
86 Posted 13/05/2020 at 23:31:32
Mike, he also had an Everton bob hat on the skeleton in a couple of the episodes. Alan was portrayed as a Villa fan either in that or Porridge, maybe both.
Brian Wilkinson
87 Posted 13/05/2020 at 23:36:18
Leonard Rossiter was born on 21 October 1926 in Cretan Road, Wavertree, Liverpool, the second son of Elizabeth (née Howell) and John Rossiter. Following attendance at Granby Street County Primary School, Toxteth, was educated at the Liverpool Collegiate from 1939 to 1946 where he was a member of the school's drama society...

His father, a volunteer ambulance driver, was killed in an air raid which put paid to any thoughts of his ambition of going to university and he had to turn down the offer of a place at Liverpool University.

He was a talented – and fiercely competitive – sportsman who loved cricket (playing for Lancashire Colts), tennis and football (scoring 11 goals in a schoolboy match once) and had a lifelong affection for Everton FC with Tommy Lawton being his idol.

Brian Murray
88 Posted 13/05/2020 at 23:49:00
I always thought the Andy King derby was October 1978 so it was definitely just before that re Johnson derby. He always played like Gherd Muller for them but a bit hit and miss for us. Especially his second spell was woeful.

Anyway glad a class actor like Leonard Rossiter a blue. Ditto believe or not John Hurt of Alien, I Claudius and the brilliant Midnight Express – true story.

Billy Roberts
90 Posted 14/05/2020 at 00:21:48
Thanks Brian Z@87

I always had this thing he was from Norris Green, *?*??? Anyways he was one of us and more, from Wavertree!! – even better,
Ohhh Vienna!

Eric Myles
91 Posted 14/05/2020 at 01:33:01
Brian #87, I sometimes feel we Bluenoses have a lifelong affliction for the Club.
Eric Myles
92 Posted 14/05/2020 at 01:42:34
Robert #80, you must be a youngster, there's many of us that remember watching the originals.

Billy #73, weren't there some allegations against LR that tarnish his image a bit?

Eric Myles
93 Posted 14/05/2020 at 06:02:26
Link

Meanwhile, Everton full-back Jonjoe Kenny told BBC World Service he feels "comfortable" about playing again with loan club Schalke.

The 23-year-old has made 23 Bundesliga starts since moving to Germany on a season-long loan last summer.

"Schalke have made me feel really comfortable about going out and playing," said Kenny, whose side sit sixth in the table before their derby at Borussia Dortmund.

Billy Roberts
94 Posted 14/05/2020 at 11:39:52
Eric @92
Cant say I've ever heard any allegations against Leonard Rossiter?
I would like to remember him as very good actor and comedian, if there is some proven crimes on his behalf they genuinely passed me by.
I hope I'm right and your wrong.
Robert Tressell
95 Posted 14/05/2020 at 12:31:49
Im 41 Eric! Alas not a youngster...
Dave Abrahams
96 Posted 14/05/2020 at 13:00:44
Billy (82) yes, Cinzano Bianco, that was it, I had to put wine because I kept spelling Cinzano wrong and the word checker wouldn't pass it. I hate that bleedin' word checker me!!
Bill Griffiths
97 Posted 14/05/2020 at 13:15:18
The Cinzano adverts have to be some of the best ads ever. It's funny though because most people thought they were advertising Martini made by Cinzano's biggest rivals.
Neil Copeland
98 Posted 14/05/2020 at 13:20:18
Robert #95, you are definitely a youngster at 41 mate!
Eric Myles
99 Posted 14/05/2020 at 13:26:13
Billy #94, can't say if they were ever proven, just allegations I read. Part of Operation Yewtree.

Robert #95, whippersnapper!

John Keating
100 Posted 14/05/2020 at 14:46:27
John
I thought John Hurt was a big Canaries fan?
I'm sure I saw him once at Carrow Road sitting with Delia
Maybe they were just swopping cookery tips?
Rob Halligan
101 Posted 14/05/2020 at 15:06:44
John # 100. I've always believed John Hurt was an Everton fan, although in his later years he lived in Cromer, about twenty miles from Norwich, so maybe that's why he made visits to Carrow Road.

By the way, Brian # 88, another great film John Hurt appeared in Was The Elephant Man. Was released in 1980 but made in black and white, probably to make it look a bit more gruesome and give it that old Victorian feeling.

Jay Harris
102 Posted 14/05/2020 at 15:27:49
I believe Leonard Rossiter was also a top class squash player.

strange that he should die so young and also Alan Beckinsale at only 32.

maybe it was all that damp and mold in the house.

Terry White
103 Posted 14/05/2020 at 15:52:02
Try Richard Beckinsale, Jay (#102). Was Alan his brother?
Jay Harris
104 Posted 14/05/2020 at 15:59:38
I stand corrected Terry but Kate is his daughter.

Maybe I was thinking of Alan Bleasdale.

Brian Wilkinson
105 Posted 14/05/2020 at 16:45:05
Deffo a Blue John Hurt, not sure if it was the 86 cup final where he said he was disappointed with the result outside Wembley stadium.
Brian Wilkinson
106 Posted 14/05/2020 at 16:52:42
Not sure how you put a YouTube clip on here but if anyone can add the following, on YouTube search, FA Cup Final 1986 - Granada Reports - documentary - Liverpool / Everton and put the link on here, John Hurt is on around the 4 min 20 second mark wearing an Everton shirt and scarf being interviewed.
Brian Wilkinson
107 Posted 14/05/2020 at 16:55:41
Jay, you might be getting confused with Richard Beckinsales acting name, he played Alan in rising damp.
Brian Wilkinson
108 Posted 14/05/2020 at 18:01:04
Billy@94, it was just after the Saville scandals around 2012, That an 18 year old extra was said to have been held by the arms of a bbc man, while two others attempted rape from behind, happened around 1968.

It supposed to have happened twice, the second occasion, Leonard was standing to the side and although was not involved, he had a knuckle shuffle while watching.

No charges have been made against the allegations 7 years ago.

Michael Lynch
109 Posted 14/05/2020 at 18:07:07
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/52665805

Government opens the door to football resuming. Looks like the effing RS will get their title after all.

Brian Wilkinson
110 Posted 14/05/2020 at 19:01:28
Never a doubt Michael, never a doubt, even if season resumes then shut again, chances are they will have enough points by then.
Rob Halligan
111 Posted 14/05/2020 at 20:26:31
The premier league will carry on until the shite win it, then it will finish. That is the premier league's main objective, let them bastards win the league, then call it a day.
Michael Lynch
112 Posted 14/05/2020 at 20:31:43
Has there been any word on the European competitions? I'm assuming they're impossible to resume at this stage?
Rob Halligan
113 Posted 14/05/2020 at 20:33:13
Probably finished, Michael, same as the FA Cup, seeing as the shite are no longer involved.
Tony Everan
114 Posted 14/05/2020 at 20:48:22
Bundesliga starts on Saturday. The entire football world will be watching on with bated breath. Can it really happen that no player will test positive ?

There's not a cat in hells chance for Project Restart if the Germans have to abandon.

Neil Copeland
115 Posted 14/05/2020 at 22:46:02
The cases in Germany have started increasing since they eased their lockdown. The all important R factor has also gone up. Although this does not necessarily mean they are facing problems, it has led to some states there tightening the lockdown again. So, yes, it will be interesting to see what happens in the Bundesliga.

Michael Kenrick
116 Posted 17/05/2020 at 17:04:47
Probably not the first; certainly not the last:

On 21 April 2020, Rhyl FC entered administration after failing to find a £175,000 investment which would have saved the club. The club's directors cited the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason for entering administration.

Particularly sad when you look at the date they were established:

1878

Alexandru Alex
117 Posted 25/05/2020 at 12:20:47
The coronavirus situation created massive depression for the Premier League. Everything is turned upside down now, I hope they start again in June!

Daily soccer predictions

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