Are greedy clubs starting to alienate true fans?

Greedy Clubs Risking Their Image? By Dan Smith

I cherish my football. Yet the game is in danger of taking someone passionate like me and making me stop loving the beautiful game like I once did. In the last couple of weeks, it is hard to ignore how greedy this sport is.

You have every right to say, ‘it’s about time’ and point this has been the case for decades. Yet it’s like now no one is even trying to hide the fact.

Deep down the world knows (particular Belgium, Holland, and France) that it’s the safe option to ban the League for the rest of the year. Yet the Government, realising the Premiership is one of this country’s most lucrative brands is doing everything to keep options open. No one wants any business to lose millions so if flexibility can avoid that then brilliant.

TV companies are not sitting around hoping their contracts can’t be met. The longer the game takes to go back to its original version the harder it is for a SKY or BT to sell their packages.

The more revenue that clubs lose, the harder it will be to bring the best talent to these shores. That long term hurts the product, which in turn will impact ratings.

Fans are being ignored, players welfare isn’t being considered, some squads are taking pay cuts, everyone is doing their best to compromise. Training has resumed in Germany which after a week saw 3 players get the virus. That’s still not enough to listen to the likes of Sergio Aguero’s fears.

Then we wonder why Ozil won’t help out his employer. Even if you think players are overpaid, they are being used as puppets like never before, billionaires asking them to dance on glass for the sake of a bank balance.

So, I’m disgusted to read reports that there are clubs (Brighton confirmed) who are not happy with the proposal of matches being played at neutral venues with zero fans. They logically were banking on 4 games at a packed Amex being their best bet of getting the points they need to avoid relegation.

They argue why should they lose out on the 3 figure millions sum you get for being in the topflight just because they can’t have home advantage. (E.g. Norwich beat Man City thanks to their supporters. Why shouldn’t Brighton have the same opportunity?). Those fighting to be in Europe can make same argument.

Then we have the dilemma over contracts being expired by the time we resume.

Is it equally fair if a Harry Kane scores the goal which costs someone their future based on him being fit, when he wouldn’t have been if the campaign had finished at its planned date?

At what point is it fair for Saliba to play?

Any owner making these complaints has to accept something. If they are strictly wanting the 100 percent fairness of clubs going up and down the motorway to packed stadiums, then they have to wait until 2021 at the earliest.

To get that you sacrifice that maybe you don’t make the income you want and therefore tightening your belt. Maybe you can’t spend 50 million on a striker or offer 150,000 a week for a while? You might have to resort to trusting your academy or (heaven forbid!) train your current players to be better, get coaches to teach them how to improve.

If your criteria though, is making cash as quickly as possible, then you’re going to have to be adaptable.

Something tells me Billionaires don’t get told ‘no’ too often, but trust me the idea that 60,000 people will be allowed to travel to North London simply isn’t happening by the apparent June target date. If you want to play now, it’s neutral venues. If you’re not willing to bend on that then you have to wait. Boris Johnson is not going move on that.

Here though is what leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

There is one solution which will make the Seagulls chairmen accept a ban of fans in an empty arena ………If relegation can be cancelled! What a surprise!

You will be shocked to learn that the rumours are that Norwich, Villa, Bournemouth, Southampton, West Ham and Newcastle (aka, those who are in danger of the drop), also are not comfortable but would be if they knew they couldn’t be relegated. Hence, they get the lucrative TV, sponsorship money.

Even if that’s a smaller pie than before this outbreak, that’s a bigger pie then if you were eating in the Championship. Not just those at the bottom, we are just as guilty.

Suggestions to void everything and just base everything on where you finished in 2018-19 means we are back in the Champions League, so Mr Kroenke is voting for that. Liverpool, Leicester, and Chelsea would all vote for where the season ended in Feb, that’s your position, you just have to jump it. Which all makes sense.

Yet if you offer that to all 20 clubs; If you made Liverpool Champions, banned relegation, and said see you in 4 months, they still wouldn’t all be happy.

They would complain about all the money they would lose and, let’s be honest, would get their highly-paid lawyers to appeal everything. When a way is found to lessen their losses, they complain about the integrity of the competition?

It’s like a toddler having a tantrum, not understanding that they can have an ice cream, but the chocolate flavour has run out. Nothing mum or dad can do about it, they don’t have any out the back, they are sold out, it doesn’t matter how loud you scream. That though would be a child.
This involves adults, you assume intelligent, successful men and women who just have to accept the reality, like the rest of us. It might not be fair. Yet it’s not fair that hundreds have lost their jobs, that thousands have lost their lives. Families changed forever; depression rates will increase.

The average person in the street can’t threaten lawsuits. We have to take it, accept it, and learn.

The hope is when we can see our loved ones, when we are back in that staff room, when we are allowed to go cinemas, Costa, etc, we will appreciate it more and won’t take it for granted. Maybe we will be nicer to each other? Maybe, but that’s not the image clubs are portraying.

I respected Karen Brady for being honest when she said at the start of this pandemic ‘end the season’. Yes, she was thinking purely of her club’s self-interest – but at least she was transparent.

Clubs are not just trying to save money they are trying to use a crisis to gain an advantage, whether it be staying up or qualifying for Europe.

For years they have exploited our love, thinking we would never walk away, but this might be the one time they are wrong? The Emirates was already seeing attendances drop, how clubs choose to conduct themselves in the next few months could push away their ‘customers’…

Be kind in the comments

Dan Smith

38 Comments

  1. jon fox says:

    An interesting, well constrcuted article fully explaining Dans position. I find much to agree about when he sets out the problems but have some fundamental disagreemenrtts with his conclusions as to how the future should now be run, as I will set out in my own longconclusion to my three part article article that I will submit to this site today. I hope it will appear tomorrow and can promise my own solutions will be set the thinking ones on here into even deeper thinking, as it will be controversial.

    I already know that my own solutions will not please many on here but they are, IMO, the only way to rescue Prem football from the cancer that has been steadily killing it since its inception almost three decades ago.

  2. SueP says:

    There is an awful lot to chew over in your article Dan.

    Obviously, the clubs at the top of the table and those near the bottom have their own agenda as to how this season should end and its return any time soon is fraught with difficulties both practical and moral.

    For me, I would prefer the season to be played to the end when it is safe to do so and not when
    Covid is still widespread and lives are still at risk. I would rather know who had genuinely won the league and those who were relegated. If Arsenal had a good run and finished higher up the league that would be great. If Spurs resumed the season and had a torrid time that would be blooming marvellous . A proper ending.

    To me most ideas just lack fairness or are risky to health. Unless all the players from all the teams are isolated as from now along with the managers and the remaining entourages, medics etc, I can’t see how the season can finish safely.

    Whilst I understand Brighton’s position, playing at home in an empty arena doesn’t sound much like home advantage to me. It is the same for everyone.

    I was listening to a pundit on the radio who thought that football would recover financially very quickly and after Covid; it would be business as usual. I think that he has got it wrong at many levels. We are all going to have to pay for the gigantic government borrowing that has been required to get us through an unprecedented crisis. I can’t see where can just pick up from where we left off. In any case, I would absolutely hate to see more of the same. I have no problem with players earning a really decent living, but one that is so totally out of kilter with the rest of society is not appropriate.

    I have got no idea how to make football in all the divisions have a more equitable slice of the cake, but teams in the lower leagues are all part of the fabric of communities they serve and have been let down. I know the best will always rise to the top but I would like to think that the PL was forced to do more to help the football fraternity than it does at present. As for the agents…..

    I await Jon’s epic with baited breath!

    1. jon fox says:

      Well Sue P you and I, being “twins”are firmly on the same page ,morality wise. I hope you will see the sense in the solutions I suggest in my article and many of which will be, fortunately in the long run, forced upon football.

  3. Shakir says:

    This controversy is pretty complicated.

  4. stevo says:

    The British Gov’t has never seen the virus as being dangerous because at no time have they locked down the country. Although they “encouraged ” people to stay at home the Government allowed people to go out every day for exercise or go to the supermarket thus deliberately allowing 40 million people to spread the virus. And what has been the result?
    The fact is that 99% of the deaths from covid19 are elderly and those with serious preexisting conditions.
    The danger to healthy people is minimal to zero.
    Young fit football players are no more at risk from dying from the virus as they are from the common flu.
    The Govt has still not locked down the country as millions still go out every day for exercise, to the super market and to work. Social distancing is impossible when you allow 40 million people out into the shops the parks the streets every day and you have to wonder whether the Gov’t ever took the virus seriously out side of hospitals and rest homes.
    In short the Gov’t has said we try to protect the elderly and the very sick but allow herd immunity to evolve with every one else. Why else would they allow 40 million people the freedom to leave their homes and mix with strangers every day?
    It is totally hypocritical of the Gov’t to ban football behind closed doors when they have allowed 40 million people the right to mix with strangers at supermarkets at work in parks and streets with out masks, gloves and protective clothing every day since the “pandemic” struck.
    The FA should sue the Government for all lost revenue during the shut down and for the foreseeable future. That might change the Gov’ts tune.

    1. Rory johnson says:

      There is so much wrong with this comment I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

      1. jon fox says:

        Rory, In fact, EVERYTHING! All HIS SO CALLED “STATS” ARE MADE UP AND TOTALLY FALSE

        1. Rory johnson says:

          Exactly mate I’ve had it with people making the flu comparison or blaming the government (the same government who originally wanted to do herd immunity) next he will be pulling out the 5g corona virus conspiracies which are beyond ludicrous. If people don’t want to be informed that’s fine and it’s there right but dont then come out spouting nonsense when you havent even committed a couple of hours to fact checking your own argument. Blows my mind.

        2. Angus says:

          In England at least 95% of the fatalities were with underlying health conditions. That is a fact. Likewise it is a fact that healthy footballers are not at risk. Not sure why people hate the flu comparison. Corona virus is similar to influenza virus in many ways including the fact we can’t cure it as it will mutate regularly (flu vaccination is a best guess at that years mutations not an exact science.)

          The death rate from Covid-19 is nowhere near the death rate from Spanish Flu (which killed 50-100 million people and would be in the billions if it happened today) or even many of the smaller flu outbreaks in the last 100 years. Even ordinary flu has killed upwards of 80,000 in this country alone in the last 10 years. Worldwide that figure is the millions with 250,000 to 500,000 dying seasonally worldwide every year. The swine flu outbreak was estimated to have caused 284,000 (range from 150,000 to 575,000) deaths worldwide in 2009 unlike covid-19 swine flu didn’t discriminate against the elderly and as such was worse in that respect. The Hong Kong pandemic killed an estimate 1 million including 100,000 in the Us in 1968-1970.

          1. Angus says:

            Point being claiming this is not like flu and then comparing it to seasonal averages is totally disingenuous. Severe outbreaks of Flu viruses we were not prepared like we were not prepared for this outbreak have been much more lethal in the past and that is on top of the annual death rate from milder seasonal varieties.

          2. Rory johnson says:

            So 95% that’s fact yeah? So one in 20 deaths have NO underlying conditions? So as a footballer would you go put and play footy when one in 20 HEALTHY people who get it die? And your clearly forgetting that in order to resume football there are much more staff involved, would you risk your life as medical staff that have to be there for football? Hell no. I would go into more detail but your comparing with regular flu and the bloody spanish flu so I’m not going to entertain the rest of your argument as its flawed beyond words.

          3. Angus says:

            That is not how it works Rory. That is 1 in 20 of deaths which is lower anyway as the majority of the 5% would of had an unknown condition, we are not conducting major autopsies after the fact. If you include those who have had it then that number gets astronomically higher. Mortality rate is currently estimated at 3.4% so it is in fact 1 in 20 of the 3.4% who actually die. That puts the figure at 0.17% and even then that is a VERY high estimate given other factors which would only lower it such age, fitness, weight etc. Care to apologise? Probably not.

            How is flawed Spanish Flu was a flu and it was worse than this. It was a pandemic that we were unprepared for. There is nothing flawed at all in that point.

          4. Angus says:

            For instance 18-44 are just 4.5 % of the 3.8% who die from it. Of that 4.5% only 1% didn’t have a known underlying condition. So at that point we’re talking about 0.045% chance and that is still over estimating a footballers chance by a pretty large amount.

          5. Angus says:

            That is 0.045% chance of the 3.8% btw not total.

          6. Rory johnson says:

            “That is 1 in 20 of deaths which is lower anyway as the majority of the 5% would of had an unknown condition,” and how exactly do you know this? You know for a fact they would of had underlying health conditions even though we aren’t doing autopsys you somehow know this lol, fitting your own narrative, And spanish flu IS irrelevant as we are in a completely different era of medicine and
            Protocols for things such as pandemics, you might as well use the black plague as comparison… honestly you have your views I have mine I cant be arsed arguing with people on here anymore it’s pointless and just leads to people being dicks, honestly I have better things to do,

            Peace out.

          7. Angus says:

            It is obviously a fact that some of the people who didn’t have a known condition had one they didn’t know about. It’s just common sense particularly given that all the numbers point to that being the main risk factor. See you also ignored all the other factually correct numbers after your massive totally inaccurate error.

            Again demonstrating your ignorance on the subject if Spanish Flu happened today it would be worse not better. ALL EXPERTS agree on this we’d lose billions instead millions. It’s the thing that they worry about most a Spanish Flu like pandemic.

          8. Angus says:

            Did you really question the autopsy part too? Wow. We rarely do conduct an autopsy upon death this is totally normal and a basic assumption. 1st figure I could find is from 2013 “0.7% of inpatient deaths result in an autopsy” you think in the midst of a pandemic this number would go up?

            I don’t have a narrative that im finding information to fit it. I read the information most of it long before this particular crisis hit in regards to pandemics and my narrative is based on those realities. If you presented some information I was previously unaware of my narrative would change to reflect that, guess that is the difference between us.

    2. SueP says:

      Stevo
      Clearly you are right about the stats.
      It gets the elderly mostly and others who have serious pre existing conditions.

      The thing is, it isn’t just about the young and healthy footballers finishing of the season; it is also about the likes of my hardly elderly 61 year old husband who has just this week been asked to shield. Rheumatoid arthritis in his case but asthma and others which in the normal scheme of things are not killers are now flagged up. He is worried sick as am I and we are both grateful to the good people in our market town and village for practicing self distancing as it will give him and others a fighting chance.

      1. jon fox says:

        Sue P, NO, Stevo is NOT right about the stats. THEY ARE WILDLY INACCURATE. Nowhere near 40 mil go shopping , ever nor exercise every day. Nor does any governmemt in this country ever” deliberately allow” people to spead the virus. Quite the opposite, as they do all they reasonably can to prevent people spreading it. Stevo is making up false “stats” TO SUPPORT HIS IMMORAL STANCE and to praise him for doing so is where our twinship stops. Even his 99% is not true, as it is much less, even though that is a large majority but NOT 99%, as you must surely know, given your own position.

      2. Angus says:

        What stops your husband isolating whilst the footballers finish the season though? 3 members of my family have terminal cancer so I understand the pain but they are also isolating regardless of whether footballers are playing. As long as your husband isolates he’s not going to come into contact with anyone never mind someone who somehow came into contact with a footballer and even then the footballer still has to have actually caught it which with the testing and isolation that will be going on will be quite unlikely itself.

  5. towny254 says:

    You are so right Rory I wouldn’t either so much wrong you need to sit down and think what you wrote stevo

    1. Rory johnson says:

      I know mate absolutely shocking!!

  6. SueP says:

    Jon
    I agree on your post
    I was referring to who it mainly attacks which is mostly the elderly and those with underlying health issues. I certainly was not trying to give credence to his other statements which I have to say appal and surprise me.

    I was hoping that by understanding the likes of my husband’s situation he might review what he has written

    In no way do I know the stats, rather I understand that the overwhelming majority fall into those two categories. I need to be more careful how I word posts as I can give the wrong impression

    1. Shakir says:

      I am so sorry to hear that.Hope this pandemic ends soon..

      1. SueP says:

        Thanks Shakir
        We all do

    2. Rory johnson says:

      It even goes beyond that sueP, anyone one who takes amminosuppressant drugs (anyone who has had a transplant etc) anyone who has cancer has to stop chemo or risk death via infection as chemo destroys your immune system, allowing there cancer to progress, drugs for MS do the same thing ( my GF has had to stop taking her medication so her condition will progress) . Even Other auto immune diseases like diabetes reduce your immune system (my GF also has it) and 4 millions people in the U.K have diabetes alone. And there are even more examples of this.

      1. Admin Martin says:

        I concur, my daughter is being shielded because she has arthritis and she is just 22. This is nothing akin to the flu, every year my daughter and I would get the flu vaccine and guess what? We never got the flu. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had such a vaccine now?

        1. SueP says:

          Admin Martin
          Sorry to hear about your daughter and only 22. I know that the two different medications that my husband takes have changed his life for the better – Enbrel in conjunction with methotrexate.

          1. Admin Martin says:

            Oh Enbrel or as I know it Etanercept, that drug nearly killed her back in 2006 in Norway, damn it made her ill, then four years later the utterly incompetent GOSH stuck her back on it despite our protestations and she perked up but then, of course, went downhill faster than a downhill skier, she is now on Tocilizumab and a load of other meds, spent more time in hospitals down the years than at home, well the missus did, I had to work and look after the kids.

        2. SueP says:

          That is a devastating situation for you all
          I hope what ever she is on now that it has stabilised her
          My best wishes to her

          1. Admin Martin says:

            Thanks SueP

        3. Rory johnson says:

          Exactly martin!! And Sorry to hear about your daughter mate so harsh especially at 22 😔 even when the lockdown ends people like your daughter or my GF wont be able to leave the house for god knows how long

          1. Admin Martin says:

            12 weeks they will be indoors and that is likely to be extended for those being shielded as you say Rory, hope you GF stays safe mate

          2. Rory johnson says:

            Thanks martin!! Same to you and yours 👍

          3. SueP says:

            Rory
            Here we are on JA talking about our own loved ones living in a Covid future. – how important they are to us and how football returning is minuscule in the scheme of things.
            Stevo has written again on another article in the same vein.

          4. Rory johnson says:

            Yeah sueP this situation really puts things into perspective and honestly the resuming of football couldn’t be further from my mind!! And with regards to Stevo while I couldn’t agree less with him that’s his opinion whether informed or not!! With the readily available knowledge on the matter if that’s still his opinion better to just leave him to it!! Hope you and yours are well sueP 👍

    3. jon fox says:

      So pleased that my now regained “twin” has owned up to being loose with the true meaning of words when agreeing,previously, to nonsense. Yes Sue, credit to you for a welcome explanation . This is precisely WHY my ownposts are wordy and use carefully chosesn language that is not ambiguous and which exactly outlines my true thoughts.

  7. Geffro says:

    surely, the best way is to void this season, go back to end of the 18-19 season,and restart the 20-21 season when it it is safe to do so in the positions where they were at the end of 2019 season.It wont please everybody but at the same time it seems to me to be the fairest way of doing things. Remember some players contracts are up at the end of June, others players have families and are wary of going back too soon, and if the clubs don’t receive so much TV perhaps they will be forced into buying players at a realistic price for a change or better still start to look at,ie lower divisions where they might find players who actually want to play for a football club in the prem for a realistic wage,get back to realistic and pricing for players. I have read a lot of comments over the years, but first time I have put pen to paper.

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