The “Players Together” Are Doing The Right Thing

Well Done Footballers by Dan Smith

People (including here on Just Arsenal) have been very quick to criticise footballers for being hesitant in taking a wage cut. That’s exactly what the Premier League and Owners want you to do.

As Wayne Rooney was brave enough to point out, there’s a reason that an issue not even discussed with players was conveniently leaked to the media.

They know the average person in the street would be disgusted that say an Ozil would not lose 30 percent of his salary, therefore pressuring him to do so. In the process, of course, that takes the spotlight off why the League itself has so far only donated 20 million (towards the game) while the likes of Stan Kroenke, worth 8.8 billion is yet to publicly put his hand in his pocket.

Meanwhile 4 clubs have had the nerve to take up the government scheme of getting help to pay their staff. After pressure Liverpool changed their minds doing this, accepting football is not the kind of business the government had in mind when the scheme was set up.

It’s quite tacky just to tell players what to do. Chairmen accept they can’t legally enforce any reductions so have tried to peer pressure players. It means even if they got their way, the public would say they were forced to, so players wouldn’t even get any credit. My argument has always been let’s wait and see.

In terms of insurance, contracts, legality, etc, we need to stop pretending we know all the facts. No matter how rich you are, I believe most human beings are good people. It’s wrong to paint a picture of ‘just because your wealthy it makes you greedy’. Therefore it was wrong to assume players wouldn’t want to donate their money.

It’s not their fault how much income the sport generates. What we have to remember though, as much as they make, so does the club. They are right to ask what’s the clubs plans to help.

The idea that the players have set up their own initiative, called “Players Together”, is better than the 30 percent idea, simply because they have stressed that money is going to the NHS. That’s more important than their 30 percent going back into the game. Meanwhile the more they get paid, the higher the taxes they have to pay.

It’s unfortunate if football clubs lose revenue but it’s the same for a lot of businesses at the moment. Yet that is the owner’s problem to deal with. In no other profession would a billionaire owner look at losing millions and expect his staff to sort it out.

It’s 750 million owed to TV companies if the season can’t be finished. Again we need to wait and see what happens and not speculate. The season might finish. Sky might compromise. An agreement for the next season might happen. There could be a legal loophole?

FIFA have already said there is 2.2 billion to help the sport. In the worse case though that’s 38 million per club. Stan Kroenke can afford that.

In the worst case a club could sell a player to fund it. Not ideal, but put it into perspective in terms of what else is happening in the world. So anyone who told the players to hang their heads in shame needs to be big enough to say ‘well done’ now they are doing something through the Players Together Fund which will help the NHS.

It is still more then Stan Kroenke has done.

Dan Smith


  1. Dan, once again I salute you as the voice of reason.

    It amazes me how judgemental we can all be, without knowing the facts.

    It seemed as if football players were the first to ever try and evade paying taxes.

    In actual fact, if I am reading this correctly, the money being given is being directed to where the players want it to go and not disappearing down some black hole.

    Meanwhile, kronkie is, indirectly, also contributing from his billions, by continuing to pay the players.

    It will be really interesting to see how the “just arsenal” regulars view your article versus the response to Martins.

    1. The thing is Ken, we are unlikely to know what Kroenke is doing indirectly but I bet his personal wealth will have taken a hit too during this crisis
      I would suggest that some of the UKs billionaires do have an ethical streak. The entrepreneurial skills of Branson and Dyson for example have employed many thousands of people-albeit lining their own pockets in the process but they had ideas and turned them into success and good livings for their employees. I’m afraid it’s the likes of the shady Sir Philip Green that show off capitalism and billionaires at their worst
      Would it be the case that the Chairmen mentioned in the article have to pay the players even if it meant the collapse of the club? I can’t see how this could be enforced. When football does resume, will all those cash strapped fans around the country still be able to afford £60 for a ticket?

    2. BUT KEN, WE DO KNOW SOME VERY RELEVANT FACTS DONT WE? WE KNOW THAT WHEN FOOTBALL RETURNS, SOME WAY DOWN THE ROAD AS YET, THE WORLD AND FOOTBALL WORLD WILL BE IN A FAR POORER FINANCIAL PLACE. We know that ordinary folks will have less money to spend on watching football, don’t we! We know that however you put the moral argument, that in the end the players will be forced by their own need to earn a living and to keep the clubs that employ them in business ,TO REDUCE THEIR WAGES.
      We also know that the game is bigger than the players dont we! We know that fans, if forced to choose as it seems they might be by stubborn player intransigence, will choose survival of their clubs over players bank accoounts, dont we! We know a great deal of the pertinent facts that will decide that players will – no matter how naively some like Dan and yourself try to argue the warped morality of players not taking substantial wage cuts – in the end be forced to cut their losses and play ball with the new financial realities of life OR be unemployed.
      We know all those things. What we don’t YET know is timng, depth of world recession and how deep the cuts will be . But I suggest in all seriousness that the realists among us know a great deal already of what we need to know in order to keep the game from dying.
      What we also don’t yet know is how many fans ARE realists. I know I am though!

  2. I am sure someone will put me right but I thought that Arsenal made a loss this year so not everything in the garden is rosy
    As I’ve mentioned before millions in this country are facing financial hardship due to this unprecedented crisis and those who have taken pay cuts etc have done so in the knowledge that their employers were facing going to the wall. Billion pound businesses are struggling so I guess some of the big bosses are too. Is it not possible that the same could happen at the top level of football?
    I can’t imagine that those on furlough or reduced hours will come after their bosses once this nightmare passes. It will take years to get over this. It seems that players via their advisers expect everything to carry on as normal once a sense of normality resumes. Big money -I’m all right Jack!
    Do you think that football players should be expected to be treated any better than the masses? Personally, I don’t
    They have done extraordinarily well since the PL and TV money came to town and I for one hope that the insatiable greed that surrounds so much of this sport has a much needed realignment
    So whilst I applaud the Henderson initiative-which I do – 30% of a lot still leaves a lot. My self employed neighbour has seen his business wiped out and is now applying for universal credit to help feed his family. That is the difference

    1. SueP, I cannot and do not want toargue with anything you say, as I agree with nearly everything you say.

      As an old fogie, I always like to read the other side of the story and then decide which one is nearer my personal views.

      Like you, I have a horror story to tell, some great friends of ours have seen tehir private pension plunge to nigh on nothing, just three months before they were to take out a lump sum to reduce their new mortgage – another have seen their share portfolio plunge in such a way, he refuses to answer his financial advisors calls…times are indeed desperate.

      My eldest daughter, a teacher, has volunteered to teach the children if essential workers and her son, a trained pysio has been transferred to loook after high risk corona virus patients, initially without any protective clothing whatsoever.

      Up here, my youngest has volunteered to shop for all those who are housebound etc and makes regular runs for her aged parents as well!!

      I guess it all goes back to the half full/half empty scenario – I believe the majority of human beings are basically kind and honest souls, including the grossly overpaid and pampered ones!!!

      How they want to react is their choice and they, like the rest of us, will have to live with their decisions.

      End of sermon – sorry!!!

      1. Ken,
        Thanks for your reply. I applaud your family in how they are responding.
        I am an oldish fogie too. I daren’t look too closely at my pension portfolio, but I at least haven’t been told I am broke – yet! Having just about got back on track after the bank fiasco the world is now in a worse place
        You have put your points fairly. I trust in your optimism that the obscenely rich from all walks of life will do their bit. I ought to try the wine glass half full more often.

  3. I take some only of Dans points. Of course he is correct that Kroenke and billinaire owners can and must do more. In normal firms and businesses he would also be correct not to blame the employees for the firm going under and not expect those employees to take huge cuts.
    BUT Prem football, which is what we are discussing here, is totally unlike ANY other business in that its playing staff are paid more than anyone, owner and sometimes manager apart, so those rules CANNOT POSSIBLY MORALLY APPLY!
    Kens post at head of this thread is written from the perspective of a life long socialist. I AM NOT A SOCIALIST AT ALL BUT BELIVE IN FAIRNESS FOR ALL UNDER AN ETHICAL CAPITALIST SYSTEM.

    As currently run the PREM is grossly unfair,UNETHICAL and has been since it began and getting steadily worse in morality. No sensible and wise fan can rationally deny that truth.
    Both DAN and KEN are trying, wrongly ,imo, to defend the players en masse by saying the owners and authorities should do more. I also MASSIVELY AGREE those should do more. But the difference between MY philosophy and that of DAN and KEN, is that I MASSIVELY BELIEVE that moral and brave people take the lead and do not , never ever, wait for others to move first and hide behind their inactivity. THOSE are the morals of cowards IMO, and theirin lies the difference betwen us.
    Top level football has been mired in a cesspit for decades and getting more filthy ech year. This crisis may , just may, be the saviour of our game from complete ruin. Thus far it has been on the road to nowhere and fast leaving all pretence -and pretence it is- to fairness, well behind. Witness the appalling way that fans who attend and who watch on TV are treated. Games are switched by Sky or BT etc entirely for their own profit reaons with NO consideration at all GIVE TO THE NEEDS OF FANS. Which other business can hope to thrive and make justified profits – and remember I AM a capaitalist, but an ethical one – by treating its customers as dirt and a gross inconvenience to be suffered only because they spend!
    It is a gross cop out to exonerate guilty players who alsoall abdicate morality by employing sleezy, greedy, crafty, self serving agents to represent them. And those players know that only too well but still they do it ! How can that be moral?
    NO Dan and NO Ken, you are coping out of the basic and overriding truth by endeavouring to excuse greedy players(not all, but most of them). I say without fear or favour or without any axe to grind, save only my passion for fairness and juistice, that the majority of Prem players are robbing the game weekly and are blind to REAL morals.
    To hide behind those minority,even though a sizable one,who are players of true honourand who massively contribute to charities and various good causes and give a substantial percentage of their wage, is cowardice. Pure and simple. Unless the players, enmasse, are forced by the new financial realities now all around us – which, eventually, they WILL be forced – they seriously risk fatally damaging the vital fan to player relationship, a mainly one sided relationship too and even killing the sport that keeps them and their familes in clover.

    1. I don’t always agree with you Jon, but my word, that was a cracking response.
      I’m giving you a virtual round of applause

  4. So Jon, as in the other debate, I ask you quite simply to name those players who you know are contributing and those who are not.

    The simple truth is you have no idea at all – you never will have, unless the players themselves divulge what they have done.

    It is easy to take the moral high ground, but without having actual facts (which you usually demand as being of the essence) your observations are just that – an opinion that has no factual base.

    No one is arguing that premier league players have the ability to donate money and I’m sure no one would argue that they have a moral responsibility as well.

    But your “scatter gun” approach in condemning all, but a small minority (who of course you cannot name because you have no idea) is taking away the very basis of our society, which is innocent until proven guilty.

    As a socialist, I have very strong feelings that every single person is equal and that they have every right to go out, use their own god given gifts to improve their personal status and then repay their good fortune by supporting those less blessed in life.

    To date, I have been given no proof that players are not using their wealth to help out in this corona virus age.

    You are condemning each of them with absolutely no proof whatsoever, save that of a politician who himself, lives a life of wealth and privilege and, as far as we know, has contributed absolutely zilch of his own estimated worth of over £1,000,000.

    Pot calling the kettle black!!!!

    I’m sorry Jon, but until people like this man sets his own example, he has no right whatsoever to criticize others, especially as, like you and I, he has no clue what said others have done anyway.

    1. Ken I’ll throw your own unansweable question right back at you . Which players DO give to charity and how much and how often? Details Please? Of course my question is every bit as daft as yours. Neither you nor I have any clue as to how many players give substantially to charity or good causes from their regular wage, as opposed to a one off donation. You are every bit as aware of this truth as am I but you are fond of asking unanswerable questions where you subsequently then claim that having failed to answer them, your own opinion is closer to the truth than mine. That is sly, in my opinion. Even a deceitful tactic and unworthy of your fine intellect and fine nature,. I ASK YOU TO CEASE DOING THIS IN FUTURE PLEASE, AS IT IS NOT AN HONEST WAY OF CONDUCTING A DEBATE.
      Now if I can get back to some realities please ! We are here discussing perhaps 20 times a squad of 25 , so approx 500 regular Prem players or at least in first team squads.

      What we do know from figures published is that the average Prem wage now exceeds £60,000p with many far larger and a smaller number smaller, perhaps down to around £5 000 pw for the likes of newly upgraded to the squad players, if very young. I will concentrate on that average of £60k pw and even a 30 % reduction each week leaves £42 k before tax. A donation of 30% after tax has been deducted , ie from nett pay, still leaves in the regionof £20k pw hardly peanuts then!
      Unlike you – as I have now twice written in posts you have presumably read- I concentrate on players and that they should do the right thing, quite irrespective of whether or not all other rich people who SHOULD give vastly , also do give or also do not.
      Unlike you , I am not a socialist and so do not approach all matters through a socialist perspective, as to being also concerned with what all others do. I accept but do not like it one bit, in fact I loathe it, that life is unfair and always will be and always has. if I could wave a magic wand and make it fair, I would do so this moment . But I cannot and I live in the world as it is and concern myself with practicalities above idealism, though fighting for idealism is also important.l But a wise person accepts that he cannot much change the world and has to live with its iniquities.

      Otherwise they much risk bankrupting the game they love and which supports them and their families and many other far poorer people and their families too. A number of PREM CLUBS ARE NOT BANKROLLED BY BILLIONAIRE OWNERS – AND ARE VERY IMMEDIATELY VULNERABLE TO THIS VIRUS AND THE LOSS OF MONEY CAUSED-THOUGH SOME ARE. But such billionaires also have large outgoings and are extremely vulnerable to the world downturn, Kroenke being , thankfully, a good example.
      I stress that I have zero sympathy for Kroenke and fervently hope he goes bust and will sell AFC, even at a forced loss to stave off going bust. Him actually going broke is of course a fantasy and I don’t believe for one moment he will suffer THAT badly, though he will probably lose a fair chunk of his wealth, as much is tied up in sports franchises. REASON TO HOPE THEN FOR GOONERS!
      In todays paper a list of all Prem clubs total income through tv money was published ranging from 88% for Bournemouth-an alarming figure – down to Man Utd at 38.5. We were third lowest at 46.3,with all bar five bigger clubs having higher than 50% wages liability, relative to TV income which will surely sharply reduce very soon. Plus the PREM may well be liable to pay back to Sky and BT approx three quarters of a billion already spent by clubs. Alarming I’d say!

      Too conclude Ken, and though neither of us can prove our case with figures of individual players givings or none, I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT ALMOST ALL CAN AND WILL NEED TO GIVE UP A FAR LARGER CHUNK OF THEIR REGULAR SALARY IN ORDER TO SAVE FOOTBALL FROM GOING BROKE. Time will tell but when it happens, as I believe it will, I will remind you of this conversation. I have no tIme for Matt Hancock and he spoke without real knowledge, though, ironically what he asked for will certainly happen and indeed must. But he is an irrelevance to the substance of our debate.
      Stay safe KEN!

      1. Jon, the question is not sly in any shape or form and I canand will answer your question immediately.


        You clearly state that your criticism is not aimed at those who are contributing, but then condemn the other whatever %, so asking you how you got to think there is a positive/negative thought is not sly at all – it really needed you to be as honest as I have been in answering your question…simply because that is the honest answer.

        My question to you, as a broader enquiry then is this…how can you possibly condemn anyone, if you don’t know if they have contributed or not?…you can’t!!!

        I’ll even put it another way, how can you praise a certain % of players, if you have no idea who has contributed… same anwer must apply Jon

        It is such a basic logic Jon, I’m amazed you think it a sly question.

        I would add, however, that YOU seem to have taken it upon yourself to do the complete opposite by ASSUMING that they are guilty….well some of them anyway and by what criteria I now don’t understand, especially if you are asking ME for such details.

        Forget liberalism, socialism, conservatism, even brexitism – if you don’t know the facts, wait before condemning anyone and err on the cautious side.

        All the other points, future of the game, salaries, contracts, greed, clubs folding etc etc we have agreement on, but the “INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY” basic right of any human being seems to have passed you by in this instance.

        1. The tardiness by which the football fraternity decided to come good showed their total lack of connection to the world outside of themselves and is quite frankly disgusting.

          You seem to have an almost religious fervour in your support of their inherent goodness which I’m afraid I don’t share.

          There are many players, managers etc who have shown individualism and compassion by acting directly and quickly to answer the call. Others seem blissfully unaware of their privilege, their good fortune and their so called title of role models

          I’d be more impressed by any player from any sport who actually volunteered To deliver food or prescriptions like a heartwarming number of our unsung general public

          1. Well, any religous fervour I have would be the one that “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” has to be observed in a civilized country such as ours, despite any personal feelings.

            Football players, while being paid by their employer, are under the instructions of said club.

            All Arsenal employees were ordered to stay at home and self isolate until further notice – the headlines following mourinho and his players training together brought scorn and criticism down on them and the club itself.

            Once the virus first effected our manager, the shut down of the premier league the government made it perfectly clear and precise what was expected from the governing bodies and the clubs themselves – to date all our players and staff have followed club and government instructions to the letter…unlike, for example, Grealish and Walker, who I believe you criticized on here for doing the complete opposite, with the fervour it deserved.

            I cannot see any reason why the situation has changed and still find that kind of behaviour dangerous and also disgusting, as it seems did the media, their actions have resulted in fines for both players (i believe) and reports that Walkers international career lies in tatters.

            Once again, it seems that they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

            Let’s hope that, once The Arsenal lift their clear instructions to our players and staff, we see the kind of action you and I hope will happen.


          1. Certainly Jon, I’m sure we both want the same final outcome and the blame game helps no-one.

            Working on a David Dein article, let’s get back to some positive debating – take care as well.

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