September 12th – Too Soon For New Season? by Dan Smith
With 5 subs, water breaks, TV companies playing fake crowd noise, the football world really was prepared to do anything to get the season finished. I personally couldn’t watch Arsenal games without the sound effects but struggled to hear that in consecutive matches.
Stopping for drinks was pointless, while I maintain it’s harder to see upsets when the favourites can now change half of their outfield.
Whether it was lack of atmosphere or zero preparation, I also thought the quality of play has been poor.
I will never think morally it was the right time for sport to be played, and no I don’t think it was to give the public escapism.
I do though understand why…
I don’t want to see any business fail and clearly the priority for owners became about fulfilling contracts. Sky and BT were ready to ask for their money back if fixtures were not fulfilled, cash that clubs would have sued the Premier League for if they were asked to void the campaign.
Anyone that was relegated based on less than 38 games were ready to go to court. If the compromise was to ban relegation then Leed’s lawyers would pounce.
UEFA meanwhile felt bad for everyone suffering, but then said ‘hurry up we need to know who’s in Europe’. So, I see why everyone jumped through every loophole to cram a congested schedule into a month. What I don’t understand is the need to rush the start of the ‘new season’.?
Yes, I know the sport is trying to catch up with itself but with this decision you didn’t need to worry about legal action because everyone is back on 0 points. Surely sponsors and networks can wait as they eventually will get their content? Plus, won’t ratings improve if stadiums were full again?
As things stand it’s no clearer when people are allowed back into venues. Without knowing how much match day revenue is incoming that impacts transfers which impacts the product.
There are still cities in the UK with their own lockdown measures. As I write this Spain has been added as a nation where you have to quarantine if you visit.
Some experts still predict a second spike. I’m not saying we fear it, just maybe take a moment to collect your thoughts.
Football is being directed by wealth, yet the irony is in the long term you will damage this country’s favourite game.
I could tolerate adjustments for a month but I’m less excited about a Super Sunday if I’m still listening to a FIFA audio on loop.
I’m not sure about renewing my membership as it might not be till next year I’m allowed back into the Emirates. Do I really want to see a whole season of a watered-down version of the sport where the only thing that matters is getting games played no matter how it looks, sounds or feels?
Then there’s what really matters …. the quality of the football…
I don’t believe athletes need too much physical rest; I do think mentality is huge for a professional sportsperson. So, while some might count March-June as their ‘time off’, just remember they had the same stress and worries that we had.
How many times do we see Champions struggle with now being the hunted? Don’t be shocked if Liverpool are not quite the same right away due to the quick turnaround.
In theory Man City could be in a Champions League Final on August 23rd. The Prem then kicks off September 12th. How do you cope with that emotion in three weeks?
What if your transfer markets are based on winning the Europa? That’s the 21st August, giving you not long after to buy and sell.
What about who’s relegated? They have such a short pre-season to boost morale.
Oh and 11 days after the UEFA showpiece it’s international football because of course FIFA couldn’t pass up on a payday even though it’s the worst time for anyone to be travelling abroad. Oh, and if you play in England but fancy a move to Scotland, their season starts a week on Sunday while if you were sold to
France – 22nd August. So, in theory, you might not get a break at all say if you went from Arsenal to PSG
Don’t get me wrong, compared to what some have gone through these are small sacrifices. Yet we still need to look after the mind. We have come such a long way in understanding stress and anxiety and what It can leads too. These are still humans who, like the rest of the world, have been worried, confused and what answers.
Some wouldn’t have wanted to leave their families and be in a contradiction, where they have guidelines like wear a mask when entering and leaving the building, but zero protection from a corner and someone sweating and breathing all over you. Maybe reluctantly they could cope with 8 games but a whole season with this uncertainty?
It just seems wrong that at a time where we celebrate the kindness of some, such as the NHS and keyworkers, you see the greed of others. Whether you’re a brand in a rush to have your merchandise worn, a company promised TV rights, or you’re in charge of an association…. They could have come together, compromised and just waited for their money.
Instead they treat players like puppets, telling them when to dance. It’s okay though …. they will look after players bodies by letting them stop for a drink. What about their minds?