An empty Emirates for 6 months? Should we save clubs or save lives?

As Boris Johnson addressed the nation, he confirmed it could be up to another 6 months until the UK will even start planning for fans being allowed back into football stadiums like the Emirates.

While many owners (and hopefully Arsenal) would have spent the summer budgeting for the worst-case scenario, clubs in the lower Leagues will now be worrying about their futures.

While it might make Arsenal even more reluctant to spend in this transfer window, that’s nothing compared to the worries of those in League One and League Two right now.

I can understand their frustrations and as I have written many times since the Pandemic, you don’t wish any business to lose money and if there is a way flexibility can help, then of course people should try and adapt.

The Premier League has responded with a statement claiming the decision would have a ‘devastating impact’ on clubs and communities.

“Football is not the same without attending fans and the football economy is unsustainable without them,” the Premier League said. “Last season, Premier League clubs suffered 700 million pounds in losses and at present, our national game is losing more than 100 million pounds per month. This is starting to have a devastating impact on clubs and their communities.”

Meanwhile Rick Parry, the chairman of the EFL has said, “EFL clubs lost £50m last season as a result of playing matches behind closed doors or curtailing the season and stand to lose a further £200m in 2020-21 should we be required to play the whole season without supporters in grounds,”
While I understand why they would be not happy I don’t understand what they want the government to do.

It’s almost like they are asking for death rates and statistics to be ignored and the country to just get on with things to save some money.

You don’t get into politics by being emotionally blackmailed. If every decision during this Pandemic was based on the priority being saving jobs and businesses, then it would be a poor country to live in.

Of course it’s not ideal. Unemployment has increased. Where I live In Wales, we have our own lockdown restrictions which again means I can’t visit my family in England, or they come to me.
That could mean Christmas on my own. Yet I got my health. If you lost your job because of Covid, you got your health. Bad times don’t last forever. We will live to tell this story.

I will see my family again. You will work again. Others have lost their parents, grandparents, friends, uncles, aunties, etc. You don’t get that back.

Health has got to be the priority right now. The public’s safety and well-being cannot be compromised just because those in sport want their match day revenue.

The counter argument those in the game are making is they have not been given a chance to demonstrate they can host an event to crowds in a safe environment. Many clubs feel they have put action plans in place which strictly respect current guidelines and therefore consider going to a stadium is as safe (if not more) then spending your afternoon at a pub. They just want an opportunity to prove it can be done.

You have to remember those claiming all of this have cash in their eyes which makes it impossible for them to be objective. Their argument is flawed.

Nobody is disputing that it can be organised for fans to sit apart at the Emirates. Nobody is questioning that you couldn’t have staff taking temperatures and giving hand sanitizer at the turnstiles. Of course you could pay someone where their job is purely to observe that everybody is wearing a mask at all times.

What you can’t cater for are…….idiots…

While you can control what a mass gathering does inside your stadium, you can’t give assurances to their behaviour once they exit the venue.

Will they respect social distancing?

Will they go straight home?

Will they hover in large groups?

Will fans without a ticket show up?

Will that see ‘bubbles’ bigger more than six overwhelm local bars and restaurants?

How many times do you see after a match, people act on a tube how they wouldn’t any other day?

So if owners feel they should be trusted to at least have a trial run, well don’t be disappointed with those in Downing street, be disappointed with ………your own supporters.

This isn’t me picking on Liverpool but it’s an obvious example.

Remember back in March when those in parliament wanted fixtures to resume at neutral venues to avoid the temptation of supporters showing up at their grounds. Liverpool were cited as a concerns as they were about to win their first title in 30 years, so naturally celebrations outside Anfield needed to be considered as high risk.

Do you remember the answer given to those in favour of ‘Project restart?’

How snobbish of MP’s to assume that Football supporters were incapable of following rules. What happened? Not just did thousands fill the whole city streets, they were aiming fireworks at buildings.

So if you were in charge, would you, at a time when you have other institutions putting the pressure on because they too are losing income, just gamble that everyone is going to behave on Matchdays?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s the minority. But my stance is if one person gets the virus because they went to a game of football, that’s one too many. Cases are increasing, if someone became ill (or worse) at a football match, that would be on my conscience.

Readers in the past have questioned the odds of that actually happening. Just because something is unlikely doesn’t mean you do it if it can be avoided.

If you don’t wash hands after the toilet and shake someone’s hand, the odds are that person won’t die, but I bet you still wash your hands? (well I hope so).

The idea of me or you are putting our welfare on the line to make millionaires richer is the Premiership’s plan B.

Plan A is convincing Oliver Dowden to sign off on some emergency funding, money that could be supporting the NHS, the homeless, care homes, etc.

Remember how I once wrote the Premiership could push fans away if they are not sensitive towards how they handle this crisis?

The Culture Secretary met representatives of major sports this week and while ‘he’s working with them’, it is privately believed that the Premiership is not top of the list of those who are in need of a bail out. Nor should they be.

In fact when hearing the stories of how various League One and Two clubs could become extinct, the answer seems to be there is enough money in the Prem to loan down to the divisions.

I don’t say this often about any Prime Minister but I kind of see his point.

If a Chelsea can splash out over 200 million, Liverpool 70m, or United 40m on one player, Man City 40m on defender who was relegated, Aston Villa 28m on a Championship Striker, Everton 50m, Newcastle 30m, ( I could go on ) then surely between them they could help out their brothers and sisters at the lower levels?

If they want to be ruthless and say it’s not their problem, then that’s their prerogative, but it’s then double standards for you to expect help. You can’t have it both ways ……..

Could you Imagine if Mr Johnson was seen giving money to Stan Kroenke, but then a hospital is understaffed?

What About It Gooners?

You won’t be back watching Football live till March at the earliest. Right or wrong Decision?

Be Kind In The Comments

Dan Smith

39 Comments

  1. GunneRay says:

    I guess we have to blame the mindless idiots who assumed it was okay to party and meet lots of people without a care in the world!

    I said before the original lock-down that football will stop and I can see it happening again, never mind simply stopping the fans from attending games once again. If we stop using common sense we have no chance of getting back to any sort of normality. I just fear another massive wave will see football and sport in general change for the worst with many clubs sinking to depths even they can’t imagine. And that includes the biggest clubs too. For the love of your club and the people around you, please be sensible and responsible!!!

  2. Tez says:

    It’s time to think out side the box… I’m not talking about the top sides in premier league but the teams in the lower divisions… Why can’t they look at selling season tickets for season long telivised games if all the teams each have there own games covered they could even sell away games as well through the other team I know it proberbly wouldn’t be enough but it would be some revenue each week and might be enough to stop clubs from going under… The Premier league is tied up in its TV rights already and doesn’t have wiggle room from what I can see… But the lower leagues do… Why not take advantage of what you can do not look at what you can’t do

  3. Sid says:

    Completed agree with your article, Mr. Dan. The ongoing pandemic means that people’s lives must be the top priority of every Government.

  4. ThirdManJW says:

    I wonder if the UK government is same as the American government, that told gyms to shut, whilst keeping their own gyms open. Apparently, Covid-19 cannot spread at government gyms.

    Surely, if Covid-19 is as deadly as we’re being told every minute of the day, shouldn’t we ALL be following the same oppressive rules?

    As I keep saying, if 5 million people can travel on the tube daily, literally squashed up against each other, I see no reason why stadiums cannot operate at say 30 or 50% capacity for example. For those saying “we can social distance once inside the stadium,but what about issues with queuing outside the stadium”? What do you think you’ve all been doing in the supermarkets then, or on public transport?

    All of these completely contradictory rules are ridiculous!

    1. Nick stansbie says:

      Are the rules there to save lives or save the health service

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        Actually, neither!

        It’s the globalist, Agenda 2030 being bumped up a decade, to control every facet of our lives, under the under the guise of a phony pandemic.

        Before I get hit with the lazy, conspiracy theorist taunts, please don’t take my word for it. Look up Agenda 21 and 2030. And just look around right now. People are being arrested and fined for being too far from their homes, boarders are closed, some people are forced into tracking, and covid tests, or lose your job. Public schools in a state in America (maybe more than one state), have told parents that their children may not or cannot attend unless they take the vaccine.

        1. Dan kit says:

          😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
          Agenda 21 ,I’ve heard it all now .
          Phoney pandemic !!try telling that to the 1 million people’s family’s that have lost their lives in the last 6 months .
          Agenda 21 ,you need to grow up mate

          1. ThirdManJW says:

            Wow! You are so ignorant Dan kit. Just because you haven’t heard of it, you think it can’t be true. Have a look for yourself, then you can apologize. Although I guess you’re one of those pig headed ignorant types, that doesn’t want to learn new things and believes everything the governments tell us hahaha!

            They’ve been scaremongering us for over 50 years, and sheep like you lap it up each time. Terror, climate change, no Covid. I wonder what the next “crisis” will be. Maybe China?

            Millions are dying and suffering from the lies, but hey, what does that matter? The vaccine will save everyone, just like the flu vaccine does…haha!

          2. Darthballz says:

            Thirdman jw if what you say is true who would be the people in on it

          3. RSH says:

            @Darthballz Oh goodness… why did you ask that question 😂

        2. Sean Williams says:

          I knew 2 who died because of Covid and had to watch an online funeral. You are deluded.

          1. ThirdManJW says:

            I know far more that have died from the flu, what’s your point? Think how many die from cancer, from crap food like McDonalds. Why isn’t McDonald’s being shut down to save lives? Is it only Corona that kills

          2. Diogenes says:

            Wholeheartedly agree with you here. A million people die yearly from the flu – and it’s the same demographics – average age 80+
            Why don’t we stop attendances permanently? Just think of the number of people that die in traffic accidents on the way. Or stop all sports so that no one gets a heart attack while watching.
            Simple: people at danger of dying of covid should not attend games and if they have loved ones who could, then self-isolate or have them self-isolate or don’t attend either. Just DON’T give that power to authorities.

        3. Sean Williams says:

          ThirdManJW
          Compassion is better than delusion.

          1. ThirdManJW says:

            I’ve worked in aged care for over 15 years, so believe you me, I know what compassion is you ignorant sh… Don’t ever question me on that.

            Believe everything the government tells you then, just don’t moan when you, or your kids have no freedom!

          2. Sean Williams says:

            thirdman
            Like lot’s of angry people you claim to be be kind and caring and then you go ‘ignorant sh’. Let compassion and love speak for it’s self. Compassion lives in the heart and causes action. Just saving one life would be a great & wonderful thing. You have a lot to realise.

          3. Dan kit says:

            So what your telling us is not to believe every country’s government ,But to believe something that you read online ,ok mate will do ,just grab my tin foil hat first .

          4. ThirdManJW says:

            Again Dan kit, you prove how ignorant you are! Did I even mention the internet? No, because as I keep saying, just look around and see how yours and/or so many others peoples lives are being affected by these oppressive rules. Or I guess I’m just imagining the fact people are being fined and arrested for as a little as walking in a park. A park that their own tax payers money pays for! And with a mask on!

            But hey, I’m the crazy one! How dare people go out and exercise in a public area.

          5. Dan kit says:

            I’m ignorant because I dont believe what you and your weird online friends chat about.
            I have no time for stupid conspiracy theories especially when the world is going to sh1t with this virus (sorry phoney pandemic).
            I would suggest keeping your silly little views off a fan football site your comments make you look Stupid if I’m being honest

          6. Diogenes says:

            The world is not “going to sh1t with this virus’ though is it? The death rate is similar to the regular flu up to now and it’s slowing down despite the increase in infections.

          7. Dan kit says:

            Ok mate ,ofc it is .
            UK flu 2019 10000
            Covid 2020 43000+
            Without restrictions could have been 5times as bad
            So not really the same is it .

          8. RSH says:

            @Dan kit, They’re not even worth arguing with. We are living in an era where people look at facts and simply ignore them. Their ideas are the ones that are correct. Science, Reason, is all just one big conspiracy to them. Just let it go, honestly.

          9. Sean Williams says:

            Diogenes
            Google ‘John Hopkins interactive map’

          10. Rory johnson says:

            🤣🤣

  5. Sean Williams says:

    The first rule must be save lives. As a world and human beings that is our uniqueness. We carry love and compassion and may it never change. Players must play their part…they earn enormous amounts and MUST compromise. The government MUST inject money into clubs who have to rely solely on their own resources. We have to pare down our lives if we have resources and those who do not have resources must be supported by government. We are all in this together because this virus kills without any qualms, we are all equal to it.

  6. Mohsan says:

    Problem is and has been even with first lockdown ppl don’t listen. Government has said so many times if you follow the rules restrictions might end earlier and we can have better control of virus spreading. There is no point of half of the nation keeping social distance and following the rule while other half does not care, that makes the other half who did follow the rules worthless. No matter how many days I sit inside the house if ppl outside are still living life pre pandemic then when I come out I am bound to catch it from somewhere even with all the precaution. I am afraid the stage we are now again the only fix is vaccine because when it comes to crowd they never listen.

    1. Sean Williams says:

      Mohsan
      So true.

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        Very good point you have made.

        1. Highbury Hero says:

          @Mohsan

  7. AndersS says:

    I agree with the principle people’s safety must come first.
    It is no given thing, that football clubs can continue as businesses at so many levels, as they have done. All clubs will have to adjust their businesses (cut their costs).
    There is not enough money in the wealthy clubs to keep the others going long term, even if they wanted to, so I don’t think that proposal will fly under any circumstance.
    Nor can the clubs rely on government aid to stay alive long term. Government income is also taking a huge hit, and whatever there may be available as aid for businesses etc. surely must be prioritized to sectors that provide more neccessary products and services than professional football.

  8. jon fox says:

    Thank God for compassionate and real HUMANE folk like Dans thrilling article shows himself to be . Wonderful too, to read the vast majority of posts that firmly endorse his humane views.

    Bill Shankly, the great long ago Liverpool manager, once said,though with tongue firmly in his cheek, that football is not a matter of life and death but more important than that. Wise fans know this was said for effect and that Shankly , being the great man he was, knew perfectly well that lives matter far more than football ever could.

    Those relatively few who would put money, their own fun and spectators en masse(ie NOT socially distanced!) in grounds to watch their club -thus putting pleasure before the lives of others – are sick in the head. This needs saying!

  9. jon fox says:

    Any club that willingly pays its players tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds each week has NO moral nor legal right to ask government for a single penny. Any government that did pay money to clubs in those circumstances would have lost all moral right to govern. I am near certain that this government will, correctly too, NOT waste taxpayers money on TOP LEVEL clubs which COULD help themselves but choose not to.
    This mess is entirely caused at Prem level , by the obscenity of gross greed by all players, clubs and the willing acquiescence of fans who have disgracefully turned a blind eye to this immoral and disgusting greed.
    Until now, when REALITY has come back to bite them. I have been warning about this greed being a disgrace, on countless platforms and for far longer than this sites entire existence and have been among a very few voices in the wilderness. I take NO pleasure in being proven correct!

    I only hope that out of this pandemic will come some wage reality and that this greed can be in some measure halted and the tide turnedl Without this happening I see no way that Prem football can or will survive long term, EVEN IF it survives this pandemic. I saw this necessary change(though of course NOT the pandemic)coming countless years ago but have been called a JEREMIAH FOR WRITING WHAT WAS ENTIRELY OBVIOUS , WHEN LOOKING SOBERLY AND DEEPLY AT THE AWFUL DIRECTION THE PREM HAS BEEN UPON FOR ITS WHOLE EXISTENCE. “SIGH”!

    1. Darthballz says:

      I don’t disagree with you about the crazy money in football .but are they not intitled to government help as they pay tax and national insurance like the rest of us

  10. Trudeau says:

    The headline doesn’t do justice to a balanced article. It’s not a binary choice between saving lives versus saving clubs. It’s far more complicated than that as Dan’s article shows.

    The PL is taking a hit like many but ultimately will be fine. It’s the lower leagues and teams that might not survive. I’ll be pissed if the Government bails out the top tier before putting in measures to help lower levels.

  11. Sue says:

    Bravo, Dan 👏

  12. Atid says:

    Economies bounce back, dead people do not.

    new businesses rise from the ashes, unfortunately, human life does not.

    1. Mac says:

      I bet the people on here claiming the pandemic is q hoax are also flat earthers lol

    2. Jay jay says:

      Such a wash away statment,

      Think dwells alot deeper than that, ultimately yes it more than easy to social distance with fans at a max of 30% percentage capacity. If you been to a Emirates for example spreading that amount of fans is more than easy

      And those that are skeptical about fan behaviour , police are always present at football grounds when a match is present, and im sure be dishing out fines if needs be.

      Ultimately waiting for a vacccine that may or may never come is silly let alone thinking it will completely wipe it out, we just need to learn to live with it and manage it, if germany i believe it was have 10,000 fans at one of there stadium I dont see why it any different from here,

    3. Sean Williams says:

      Atid

      Puts it into perspective. Well put.

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