Let me start by stressing my respect for Pep Guardiola, despite being an Arsenal fan.
As a manager, the argument can be made he’s the greatest to ever live.
Every word he says no doubt is planned, has reasoning and there is a motive behind what he expresses.
He’s smart enough to know that the average listener can’t relate with his complaints that his multi-millionaires had to slum it on a coach from Newcastle to Manchester, (one and a half hours on a luxury coach), taking the same vehicle for their journey to Wolves.
He will even be prepared to offend those who leave their house in the early hours, rely on public transport to get to work, for minimum wage in the middle of a living crisis.
He’s content with the backlash, as his aim is to create a ‘us against the world attitude’ (like they need any more help). If it makes his squad think they are battling against adversity and that improves them even by one percent, it’s worth offending a nation.
He’s too clever with a straight face to truly expect sympathy. Let me stress, the Champions are not travelling on Mega Bus.
The seats will recline, every cushion will be on offer, TVs are on board, the club’s chef is preparing snacks. It’s so luxury that there are perks the majority of us don’t even know exist.
The more you think about his words, that in 2023 a millionaire would choose this to be their cause of concern is sick.
The more you step back and think about that complaint the more insulting.
Perhaps only Pep, given what he’s won, could get away with such a revolting grievance.
The danger is there is a generation of fans who think the definition of a supporter is to believe everything your team say or do is gospel and you’re not allowed to question them. Grown adults do that on this site.
So, there are youngsters who are influenced by every word from Pep and Klopp, another brilliant coach who for years has bemoaned the lack of player welfare.
Not content with tweaks to our domestic cups, a break in winter and an increase of subs, we now have to sympathise when a company owned by a billionaire family has issues with their private jet!
Say that out loud.
Let me explain how TV revenue works and you would learn that if any manager really wanted too, if safeguarding talent truly was a priority, if they genuinely feared players dropping to their knees out of exhaustion, they could prevent all of this.
Not just stop the dastardly schedule, but do so quite easily.
The Prem currently has a television contract worth 5.1 billion!
20 clubs share that money. For that price, they essentially agree when and where to play.
Which sounds fair doesn’t it?
If I’m a company paying that much for content, I have a right to ask you to play at a time I can get my highest ratings?
The clubs can simply say ‘no’.
Klopp and Guardiola have enough power to talk to their bosses and stress if they think any deal puts Salah, Haaland, KDB, etc in danger.
They don’t of course.
Just like they don’t insist on not travelling halfway around the world for preseason friendlies.
Why doesn’t Pep insists on exhibition matches with Wigan and Bolton, allowing players to rest at home with their family all summer?
Surely physically and mentally that’s for the best?
Why have they not asked their employers to fight UEFA on their Champions League expansions which guarantees 2 extra games than the current format?
The problem will only increase!
The Premier League are willing to offer even more games to be shown live. The Premier League by the way means all the teams, you only need 7 to vote against any new deal.
Klopp and Pep would say if they were one of those 7.
The majority are not going to say no to money, are they?
Time slots such as Saturday evenings will now be attractive to either an Amazon wanting to grow its portfolio or a Disney or Netflix who want a slice of the pie.
Neither are paying for Sheffield United vs Luton.
They want Man City/Liverpool/Arsenal/Man United in prime-time slots.
Let’s see how many managers in press conferences stress that they are against new proposals because player welfare is more important.
How many walk into their boss’ offices and say isn’t 5 billion enough?
Do we need anymore?
That a few more billion is injuring our players?
That I will quit because morally I can’t subject these poor players to burnout?
They won’t because this isn’t a Hollywood movie.
The bigger the revenue, the more they get to spend on players, and of course the salaries of Pep and Klopp increase!
For two decades, the likes of Messi and Ronaldo not just played every few days, they were successful.
City won a treble in a year where the World Cup was bang in the middle of it.
12 months before Liverpool were two wins away from a Quadruple.
There’s zero proof therefore that success in other tournaments harms you in other competitions.
Pep and Klopp want Sky Sports and BT to give them billions while somehow reducing their schedule and picking their own dates and times.
It’s arrogant and out of touch…..
If a Nurse has to work long hours and pay for their own car park space.
If a teacher has to teach students in a cabin.
If families have to choose between eating or heating their homes.
Then for a billion pounds, you can play every 3 days, no matter the time, no matter the transport.