Aww Diddums – Our poor players have to play 3 times a week

Can Football Stop Complaining! By Dan Smith

Jurgen Klopp has claimed the prospect of Liverpool paying at Brighton on Saturday after a Wednesday night fixture is ‘criminal’. Both he and Pep Guardiola are leading the fight for the 5-sub rule to be re-introduced in England. The worry in, as the two best managers in the League, the rest will follow their lead.

Don’t mistake this as protecting a player’s welfare during a hectic schedule. Long before the Pandemic Klopp has been vocal about fixture congestion.

Clubs were given a winter break this year, but still he claimed his first team were too tired to play in the FA Cup. He sent his youth team on – with the German himself not bothering to attend the game at Anfield.

For years I have felt players are over protected. I would often argue how the amount of stars who won Doubles and Trebles proved that doing well in one competition never had a negative impact on another.

I would add that the idea of playing 3 days in a week isn’t new, it’s been happening for decades.
The reason I’m angry is the timing of these complaints. The more I listen to the moaning (and it’s not just one person) the more it stinks.

Since July, football has tried to catch up with itself because UEFA are unwilling to postpone Euro 2020 (in theory 2021) again.

The sacrifice squads have had to make is playing games every few days, increasing chances of injuries and fatigue.

Do you want to know what other people have sacrificed during Lockdown? Loss of jobs, rise in mental Health, weddings cancelled, Holidays cancelled, etc. Imagine not being allowed to go to a loved ones funeral – and there is Klopp playing the world’s smallest violin because a couple of defenders are injured?

The lack of sensitivity in which the Premiership has handled this virus will have alienated many of its ‘customers’. Here is the face of the Champions of one of the UK’s biggest brands talking about 3 games in a week being a ‘crime’. Say that to an NHS worker!

But here’s the real ‘crime’.

Unlike hospital staff, or care workers, football doesn’t really have to be played.

Fans, the Government, media, etc, no one put any pressure back in March for footballers to do anything else but stay at home like the rest of the country. No one expected anyone to risk themselves for the sake of sport. The only people who wouldn’t listen to any compromise was… The Premier League itself.

Cancel the League like France? No
Ban relegation? No
Resume when it’s safe? No

The majority of clubs were adamant that not finishing the campaign (fulfilling contracts with sponsors and TV) was out of the question. Some were even preparing their lawyers.

When Project Restart was being mooted, where were Klopp or Pep refusing to play for the sake of player’s welfare? They only cared about ensuring they got their fat contracts from Sky and BT.

Including overseas rights, the 20 top flight clubs in England share a sum in the billions.

So if you’re a TV network (and they haven’t covered themselves in glory) if you’re paying that much money, damn straight clubs show up on what day and at what time you say.

If Klopp cares that much, then give Sky and BT their money back! That would be making a stance.
He wants the money but also wants any small advantage he can get.

Arsenals are not innocent by the way. We reportedly blame the FA for Saka being overplayed on international duty. To clarify, he played 90 minutes on a Thursday, just over an hour on the Sunday and the whole game the Wednesday.

Thursday – Sunday – Wednesday. What’s wrong with that schedule? Why are we teaching a young man that this is a problem?

Equally, I’m not condoning what happened to Aubameyang in terms of having your passport withheld – but saying sleeping on an airport floor could affect your form?

I slept at an airport before. I was able to go to work 2 days later. My boss certainly wouldn’t have said to my peers: ‘Go easy on Dan, he slept at an airport.’

It’s okay though. Eventually the world will go back to normal. Eventually all fans will be allowed back into stadiums.

And I’m sure the very first chance clubs get to go on a lucrative preseason tour to Asia or America, etc, the likes of Klopp will say ‘no thank you my players are too tired.’

Yeah right!

Be Kind In The Comments

Dan Smith

Tags Aubameyang fixture list Klopp Saka


  1. these days players play almost 60 games a year….

    its time they increase the number of subs or make the 5 subs rule permanent

    this will allow extra players to play the game and rest tired legs….

    more players get involved rather than 14 players weekly

  2. One of the silliest comments I’ve seen on this site. You can’t compare athletes to white collar work. If you overdo it, your career can be over. If you don’t recuperate in the right way, your career can be over.

    The fact that TV corporations are maximising playing time at the expense of these risks is immoral. Money should not trump health in any industry. Full stop.

    1. But they are over doing it due to their own greed
      Clubs could have easily said in March cancel the season
      They agreed to playing every few days for money
      Can’t have it both ways

      1. Oh for sure, Dan. Decisions are being made by the club hierarchy for financial reasons. But your comparisons were false equivalents; players should not be exposed to so much risk regardless of their salary. Mocking them is poor form.

          1. Check the title of your article, Dan. Not mocking, you say?

            The game is very different from the days when you could have a pint and a pie at half time. Another false equivalent, I’d say.

            Anyway, we’ll agree to disagree.

            1. I didn’t do title
              Dont remember treble winners of man United
              Or Barcelona having pint and pie at half time ?

      2. What a delightfully short-sighted and deliberately naive piece.

        Comparisons made within are at best lazily contrived and at worst wilfully misleading.
        If drivel had a good name to sully, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that this hastily assembled collection of misinformed gripes and lukewarm ‘hot takes’ might have had a bloody decent stab at it.

        Thoroughly embarrassing stuff.

  3. If I understood them correctly Klopp and others simply wanted a later start for his team rather than a 12.30 kick off. Apparently kicking off a few hours later on a Saturday can help the players prepare properly and avoid injuries. Seems a reasonable request as does 5 subs.

      1. I doubt it was ever seen as a major issue when they signed the contract in a pre Covid world. Lots of organisations have had to change because of the impact of Covid including football. TV should try and do its bit too.. why couldn’t Everton and Leeds play the 12.30 game today and Liverpool the 5.30?

        1. But when discussing project restart why didn’t Klopp say publicly , Liverpool are happy for season to be voided because my priority is welfare of my players

          1. I would guess that Klopp recognises the need to play the games as this benefits everyone including club owners, players, coaches fans and Tv companies..

              1. Dan I ‘d welcome your extended thoughts please on my long article, far below, which supports your theme.

  4. That’s why they have a 25 man squad. No rule that says you have to play the same 11 starters and use the same 3 subs every game. I don’t think it’s an issue at all really. Use the bench players, rotate, play youth, actually manage the players; ALL the players not just the 14 or 16 you like and rely on to compete. If they are as intelligent as they as think themselves to be than what is the problem?

  5. For us American fans this is deja vu all over again. The strategy is to reduce expenses and maximize profit for the owners.
    We have seen this movie develop and become reality in the NFL because of owners greed. Here are some examples:
    – Reduce the number of players on the squad.
    – Increase the number of games per season.
    – Limit the number of subs per game.
    – Eliminate guaranteed contracts.
    – Control injury settlements.
    The EPL is on it’s way to mirror the NFL and it won’t be pretty for the players or the fans because the players loose any leverage and the fans pay more for inferior product. So for those blaming the players for making money I say you are being played, brain washed and led to a worse outcome.

  6. I see both sides of this matter very clearly. I do though agree with Dan that those who pay the piper call the tune. This is realism in the world of big business, so if you choose to benefit from its wealth then don’t complain when they push you much harder than you would like.

    MEANING THAT IF YOU SUP WITH THE DEVIL, ie SKY, BT AMAZON and rapacious corporations who are only interested in bottom line profit and care nothing for the game(I mean the DECISION makers high up in those corps, not the football pundits and presenters) then you pay the inevitable price.

    HOWEVER, the other side of that argument and also a valid one, is that without huge corporation finance you will not attract the top world stars and the Prem league would not be the Goliath it is across the globe, enabling us fans to see the worlds best players weekly)or at least most of the top, top names). So you have free choice.

    I chose not to watch the last world cup, as I could not condone where it was held in corrupt Russia -corruptly awarded to by corrupt FIFA – and would not compromise my principles, which to me are sacred, and not for sale at any price. This is a point of view that I suggest is rare in any football folk world wide but to me it is of paramount importance.

    So thinking as I do, this acceptance of watching weekly Prem football, when I detest and loathe the widely accepted greed throughout the top level game, makes me a stinking hypocrite and I freely admit that, since it is clearly true.

    In mitigation, I would also say – as I have oft lectured to live audiences in my public speeches – that hypocrisy is a normal, natural and on OCCASIONS only, even an acceptable trait in our shared human condition. Though I stop short of saying it is GENERALLY actually desirable.

    But it exists and we are wifully blind if we choose not to see this trait that we all share, albeit in varying ways situations and circumstance.
    What is not morally right though is that having accepted the devious and cunning way these billionaire corporations operate andhaving accepted their “poison shilling” by complying, you then have NOT the right to moan, as Klopp and other managers have done, when you don’t like the terms after having agreed the contract.
    These clubs we support are run by PROFESSIONAL money people – though I know we can well argue that such as Gazidis were rank amateurs when we suffered the damage he did to us – and go into these contracts with their eyes wide open. So it boils down to shut up moaning OR accept that we, in the PREM, will not be the Goliath we have been since the Prem was formed 28 years ago and not accept the Devils shilling in future.
    No one much respects those who start with the goalposts in one position but want to shift them midgame. Sheer realism, whether ot not you accept it OR whether you hate if but continue watching and thus become a stinking hypocrite, LIKE ME!

  7. Klopp should be moaning at his chairman who was the one who signed the tv contracts in full knowledge of the number of early kick offs and dates. Managers have nothing to do with tv negotiations, it’s the directors who do that.

  8. Dan.. brilliant, love this 👌👌 Totally agree..they could’ve said no, but wanted the wonga, so it’s on them!
    Been a tough year for all, not just footballers….

    And you slept on an airport floor too?!! 😉😂

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