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.’
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