The idea of ‘Project Restart’ is to find the safest way possible for Football to resume. It’s long been accepted we are not doing that for the fans (it’s not safe enough for them to attend) but to help clubs lose as little money as possible. After all the Premiership is one of this country’s most successful brands so it serves no one well to see it take a huge financial hit.
Incredibly though, 2 months after a ball was last kicked, we are still at a stage where owners want to convince Boris Johnson to allow them to play at their own stadiums. It was the government who came up with the idea of neutral venues, in fact for the majority of this ‘Lockdown’ they were adamant it was the only way sport could be played, while containing the virus.
I have long shared the belief that those at the bottom of the League are being transparent in their motives. Essentially it is ‘let’s reject every compromise put forward until someone takes away the threat of relegation’. They can’t be seen to not be co-operative though so suggest the most difficult scenarios and at least legally you make it look like you were trying.
The problem is for the likes of Brighton and Watford (The two who have publicly gone against the loss of ‘home advantage’ is they may be about to have their bluff called.
A week ago, the idea that squads would be allowed to travel up and down the motorway seemed far-fetched, yet anyone who listened to the Prime Minister’s Action Plan on Sunday no longer knows what the UK’s priority is.
It’s like the movie, ‘The Terminal’. They can’t lawfully tell Tom Hanks he can leave the airport but off record they are not going to chase him if he does.
Downing Street have to tell us it’s dangerous to go on public transport and meet up with people but here is a bus and a park, go do what you want …..as long as you don’t sue us when there’s a second spike.
In other words, is there a way for the country to open up coffee shops and pubs, etc, even when we have the biggest death rate in Europe at the moment during this pandemic?
So, football has met its match in terms of greed. If their plan was for authorities to void the campaign (and ban relegation), then they underestimated those in powers desire to prioritise the economy over people’s welfare – and boy is football a massive cash cow.
They were insistent it was too dangerous to use multiple venues. 5 or 6 were going to be picked so they could contain the virus spreading.
It’s estimated a top-level match takes up to 300 individuals. In theory you could have 4 games in one day from the same place meaning you wouldn’t need 10 separate security, officials, police staff and most crucially the manpower of medical and hospital staff. What facts or figures have you read as to why suddenly that’s okay?
As things stand, we are meant to avoid any public travel, yet some men and women will have to drive from Newcastle to Southampton?
You still can’t go into a loved one’s house; you can only see one member of your family outside (2 metres apart) but it’s okay to open 20 hotels for squads to stay in?
The same police chief who told clubs to get a grip now does a U turn the moment money is at stake.
Apparently, he’s now been reassured that fans can be trusted and won’t hover outside stadiums (leading to the need of more police and medical groups). Sorry, but if Liverpool win a title or Villa stay up, where’s the evidence that any person can be trusted to ‘be alert‘?
Did he not see pictures of parks in London last weekend? People no longer even follow the arrows in shops anymore. Last Thursday my street wanted to have a street party to raise spirits of the community. They started with deck chairs outside talking to neighbours across the road. By Sunday, outside my window were groups of people drinking, mum’s chatting with push chairs, zero self-distancing. So, do you really think intelligent people believe that football fans will respect the rules, when we can’t yet get individuals not to hang out at the park in groups of 10?
The truth? If thousands of fans partied on the streets of Liverpool, but everyone gets their money, they wouldn’t care. You see, there’s a saying I like, ‘Is the juice worth the squeeze?’. It just feels like we are willing to take lots of gambles for what? Home advantage?
Surely with zero fans in attendance you lost what gives you a home advantage? Why does it matter where you play if there are zero fans? Because you’re more familiar with the dressing room? Is that really why we need to double the amount of police and medical staff? ‘Sorry you can’t be seen for hours because the NHS is stretched. Football could have helped by compromising, but it’s important Brighton have the advantage of taking a corner from where they are used to’. That’s quite sick when you think about it.
I was going to wait until League One and Two make it official, but when I keep hearing ‘integrity of the game’, who’s looking after them? By the Premiership clubs being divas and demanding they play at their own ground they make it even more unlikely lower League football can be played. Where’s the integrity in that?
Why don’t the Premiership use 3 venues which could host 10 games in one day, using as little resources as possible? Resources that could then be used for the likes of Brentford and Coventry. If Arsenal have to play at the Emirates, Man United at Old Trafford, City at the Etihad, etc, that’s 10 stadiums every three days who will need a guaranteed number of ambulances for example. The NHS is over-stretched to do that. They certainly couldn’t cater for the Championship, League One and League two as well, like it’s a standard weekend.
How come not one person has said that for the ‘integrity of the game’ let’s compromise for those less fortunate. Oh, I forgot …… Watford need the advantage of being at an empty Vicarage Road. If they played at Villa Park, they might not know what that green stuff is?
Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze? I guess it is when money is at stake…