The players have already proved they can’t be trusted to isolate

We Can’t Trust The Players by Dan Smith

I have read a few people in the media going with the theory that if a player has been tested for the virus and is fine, all they now have to do is follow the guidelines and they are safe to play football.
That’s a big assumption to make though; that everyone is going to stick to the rules and regulations.
It sounds simple. Train with the rest of the squad who you know have been tested, then go back to isolation in a hotel between match days.

Staying away from your family for a month is what some would have been doing anyway without the pandemic as the Euros were scheduled for this summer.

Yet anyone who’s looked out their window, gone to their local shop or took a walk for exercise will know not everyone has listened to their governments.

Staying indoors, respecting social distancing, only being outside for priorities, are not hard rules to follow. It’s not like our great grandparents where you were forced to go to war.

If everyone did as they were told the easier it would be to contain the disease spreading. Yet some had to have a barbecue in groups at the park just to be defiant, refused to follow arrows round the shop if there was a quicker way to get to the milk, while my street keep gathering every day when before neighbours never even spoke to each other.

So, sorry, basing your hopes that footballers will now stay healthy as long as they follow a certain criteria is not enough. You can’t just gamble on a person’s welfare based on them giving you their word.
When you play you have to keep your fingers crossed that no one in the opposition has broken protocol.
Why the assumption is made that our talented players will be on their best behaviour now, when we had numerous examples of them doing what they want for the last 2 months?

Because now they have dates to work towards? Why does that change anything?

Clubs from March were giving direct instructions then just as much they are now. It’s not like managers said, ‘The season might not restart, I’ll call you when I hear something but until I do your on your own’.

Here’s so far, the body of work of the young men who are going to train, have some veg, drink hot coco and have lights off before 10 apparently. After all they wouldn’t possibly climb out of their window and go partying …….

Spurs – Serge Aurier – Quite incredibly the defender has managed to break social distancing rules three times now (and those are just the times he been caught). I have checked that he speaks and understands English, but he simply doesn’t care. Not just has he invited a barber into his house, he put photos of the two of them on social media. Again, utter defiance. The irony being if he were allowed, I bet he wouldn’t take that image?

Jose Mourinho – if there was one manager who you had to guess was going to be too big to listen to guidelines it was him. He got caught training in a park with Ndombele.
This made it awkward for Spurs to reprimand Sissoko when he did the same. Who was he was exercising with? You guessed it, our mate Aurier again.

Bournemouth – Ibe – One of the things to get used to since March is our hair being all over the place. Mine is the longest it’s ever been and I’m trying to grow a beard. I have nothing to lose, as in Wales we still are not allowed to visit family or friends. Ibe though simply can pay a barber to come round his house. That’s what happens when youngsters get something straight away with a click of a button. When they are asked to wait for the first time in their life …. they just can’t do it.

Man City – Kyle Walker – I have got to be careful here as poor Kyle does feel a bit picked on apparently. In his defence it was his brother’s birthday, so of course they had to book a stripper! And the only reason he drove from Manchester to Sheffield was his sister was lonely. He actually said that to a public who equally can’t see their loved ones and are on their own.

Everton – Kean
Moise Kean translated ‘only go outside to the shops and exercise and don’t invite anyone round your apartment’ to mean ……let’s have a massive house party! His ‘friend’ filmed all of this and passed it on to the press.

Villa – Grealish
At least Kean admitted to his party. Grealish’s official line was ‘Sorry I crashed my car; I was driving back from my friends.’ It was 4 am and he was wearing a white sandal and black slipper? If you just gone round your mates for 1-1 on FIFA, does that confuse you enough to put on odd shoes?

Wolves – Morgan Gibbs White
Another young man who preached online to ‘stay indoors, support the NHS’ but then ends up at a London party. Wolves are considering what action to take.

Arsenal – We are not innocent. The club have had to warn 4 of the squad about the rules. At least in the case of Luiz, Pepe and Xhaka it was to kick a ball around. It still makes them idiots, but it’s not the same as Lacazette who simply had to break social distancing advice because he needed his car washed? (I will say though, about the press who are stalking our players – should they too not be at home? Yeah, media counts as essential, but is standing outside Laca’s house classed as news?).

Chelsea / West Ham – Mount/Rice – Because they are young and British, they both got only minor criticism for having a kick about. Imagine if that was a Pogba or an Ozil?

Callum Hudson-Odoi – Whatever you think a young woman was doing entering his house at 4am it’s irrelevant, he was breaking the rules. Even worse this is a young man who’s already been in isolation for 14 days with …. drum roll…. Coronavirus! He has other issues to worry about at the moment though…

So, if I’m Troy Deeney or Kante, I’m not putting the fate of my family in the hands of my peers. There’s been too much breaking of trust already. If they broke the guidelines then, then why should now be different? If these young men were sneaking out to parties, hiring prostitutes and dancers, driving where they wanted …. why would their behaviours change?

The majority of those above had said on social media about the need for fans to stay indoors, so they knew every time they were going against their clubs wishes.

These are those who have been caught. Naturally, there will be other examples but many others will have friends who don’t sell you to the papers for a few grand.

We’d all be wise to listen to Watford’s Mariappa who’s confirmed he’s tested positive for the illness. He is adamant he doesn’t understand how he could have caught it, stressing he’s been indoors and only outside for the required reasons. So, a quick visit to the shop or a jog was enough for the virus to be passed on to him. That’s not going to reassure his captain, especially with BAME players getting zero additional testing, despite 4 times more likely to get Coronavirus.

If a player can test positive when he’s done everything asked, what will happen when the next player wants to party or entertain guests? Just think about that!

Someone followed your plan and it didn’t prevent him getting the virus so logically, those who have been rebelling are going to undermine anything you put in place. So yes, out of the 20 clubs if only the people got the virus are 6 between 3 clubs, that’s manageable in theory.

Yet if your action plan is ‘once a club knows you have tested negative you stay in your hotel room’ meaning you can’t come in contact with anyone, that logic is flawed, because it only works if you can trust every player to behave and use common sense.

The last 2 months simply proves they can’t all be trusted.

So, unless police are outside each room (and no laws are being broken) trust me – someone’s leaving that room. It takes just one person to sneak back into their hotel, having caught the virus, and he endangers his teammates and the opposition…

Dan Smith


  1. jon fox says:

    Wise and important comments Dan. So many folk actually believe that young and randy footballers are going to stay cooped up in a room for six weeks and not go out. We all can see that so many just WON’T, no matter what lawful guidelines are laid down. This is precisely WHY I always live in the real world as, like you, I have a deep understanding of human nature and how we work and behave, at least some of us!
    There is another matter and a possible game changer, in that yesterday for the firsttime in months London had NO new infections. IF -and its a BIG if- that is repeated and becomes a regular occurence, it tells us that London -in contrast with other English locations – is close to having the virus under control.

    IF this should prove as hopeful as it MIGHT, it will be a game changer for me and I WOULD THEN -AND ONLY THEN – be up for games resuming in London Stadiums very soon. I do see us making more active progress with Covid reducing than seemed possible even a fortnight ago. But safety for others lives must still be paramount until we have far more active evidence.

    1. Dan says:

      Jon that’s fantastic news about London

    2. Angus says:

      You understand that therefore if all you say is true that the act of having to play football and maintain various isolation and cleaning standards whilst training/playing will make them LESS LIKELY to be spreading the virus than if left to their own devices at home? Likewise with twice a week testing those catching it without symptom will be informed of this which most certainly see them isolate at that point to a higher degree as well as give appropriate authorities knowledge of a potential chain of infection. To suggest otherwise is total nonsense.

  2. SueP says:

    Yes Dan
    I’d take back everything I wrote if players and others manage to escape from their respective hotel rooms whilst being quarantined in order to finish the season. They should be sacked. The ones you mentioned behaved outrageously and without a care. Entitled and thoughtless.
    I’ve written before that I’d have rather the PL had been voided in March and that football should only return when safe.
    However, as it appears that football is restarting in late June the only way is quarantine to ensure that safety. I can see a difference between staying at home or being in a hotel with the prospect of 3 matches a week and numerous football colleagues to chat too etc etc. A bit like boys on tour but with a demanding manager/coach overseeing everything. I’m sure security would be tight as well.

    For the likes of Deeney who are deeply concerned about family safety he has taken the correct decision. He and his family will have to make enormous decisions not only about resuming his career but in living any sort of life for a very long time. Not easy

    1. Dan says:

      I agree Sue but would they be allowed to sack them legally ?
      Can you legally tell an employee you have to stay in a hotel for a month ?
      I don’t know the answer to that question

      1. SueP says:

        Nor me!
        It was just a strong desire to see them get their comeuppance

        1. towny 254 says:

          SueP I totally agree with you I would sack them they think they are above the law and can do what they want SACK THEM

      2. jon fox says:

        Dan, It has already been stated that players who choose not to play will not be treated differently from others. Rightly so, too. No one can lawfully insist ANY person stays inside an hotel for a month or anytime at all actually, unless the law gets involved for suspected criminal activity, which does NOT apply here.
        As a matter of fact, civil law(involving club contracts) and criminal law are completely different and different rules apply. Again, rightly so! On a technical point only , you CAN TELL a person to sat in an hotel but you have no power to enforce it, thus making it meaningless.

    2. Kenny Rolfe says:

      The Premier League and Sky Sports are not even thinking about safety, they’re only thinking about getting Liverpool the first title in 30 years. If it was anyone but them or Manchester United, the Premier League would have been declared null and void months ago.

  3. Jah son says:

    So now doctors are warning that the stay at home needs to end as it’s doing more damage to the nation and “CDC” America is now saying the virus hardly even spreads from surfaces. This is all politics.

  4. AndersS says:

    Only, I think this is part of a bigger problem, where we also have to look at ourselves.
    Players are at a very young age being put onto a possible road to fame and fortune, and many simply loose touch with society in general. Living in their own world with riches and being celebrated by fans etc.
    While we may moan a bit about it at times, it is also very obvious we don’t demand hat certain standards are held high. For instance, not long after the Grealish incident, you could see fans wanting Arsenal to sign him. And what about Laccazette? Shouldn’t he get not only a real telling off but maybe even shown the door?
    Personally, I would rather have Arsenal setting some standards, like a players codex, which we could be proud of. It might hurt us a little bit short term, but long term, I actually think we would benefit from it in many ways.

    1. jon fox says:

      Wise words Anders, as I have come to expect from you. The important principle you rightly propose is that the honour and standard of the integrity of football is FAR more important than the success of ANY single club, even our own. If only less worldly wise folk had the wisdom to see how vital that principle really is!

  5. Jah son says:

    At andersS
    In other words more government control on the lives of people. Here you are demanding to know and control the moment of athletes. AndersS I would love to have a camera on your life to see how uncomfortable you get.

    1. AndersS says:

      @Jah son.
      How on earth you get that out of my comment is a mystery to me.
      I have not mentioned anything at all About government control. You need to read it again my Freund.

  6. Sue says:

    Well, we always knew what a muppet Aurier was on the pitch, but he’s now proven he’s equally as bad off of it!!
    Hair cuts can wait, well for some of us anyway!!
    What amazes me is, with their big houses and everything in them, do they really need to break the rules?? Most have man caves, with pool tables, dart boards, bars etc in them. Some have swimming pools. They have every up to date gadget under the sun, cinemas, game rooms etc etc.. plenty of entertainment!! Plus these days there are so many different ways of keeping in touch with people.. more so than when I was young – which was either the house phone or by letter! I know it’s not the same as in person, but it’s not too much to ask to stay in and protect family and loved ones, is it? It won’t be forever…. but clearly for some it is….
    Thankfully though, not all footballers are as selfish….

  7. georgie b says:

    Fellow Arsenal supporters; I read every post and just need a lift so I replay” Piece of Cake” to salute the RAF heroes of Battle of Britain just for a bit of perspective.

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Good for you georgie b. real heroes of our country, can’t thank them enough what they done for us, everyone of them

    2. Sue says:

      Nice one, georgie 👍

  8. towny254 says:

    Well said georgie 100% behind that comment

  9. RSH says:

    Most people are not self-isolating anymore and the numbers are going down. We’re starting to just become hysterical about this when there are positive signs everywhere and people are still only gathering in small groups at most. Large groups of people was the main problem with how this virus spread. Folks, parks are open and random people are coming in contact with each other there. That is far more risky than hanging out with 2-3 people that you actually know and have more information about their isolating habits. This list has 2-4 people named out of hundreds and hundreds of EPL players. To expect a 100% self-isolation rate was never a reality.

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