There may not be a whole lot of football going on, but there’s still plenty happening in the Premier League as club owners, players and fans get to grips with the new reality.
We await news of when the league might resume but not everyone is in agreement over the way forward. There are all sorts of factors at play. For instance, while Manchester City’s domestic season is pretty much done, star striker Sergio Aguero could quite easily win the Golden Boot, as we reported here at SBOTOP last week; and that’s not an opportunity he’d like to pass up.
Meanwhile there are clubs and players who’d be happy for the 2019/20 season to be consigned to history, but they are likely to be disappointed. In the meantime players are making the headlines with their activity off the pitch, contract negotiations and social distancing slip ups.
Captains close ranks on 30 per cent pay cut
After several clubs, including Newcastle United, Spurs, Norwich City and Bournemouth sparked outrage by furloughing non playing staff to grab some state money, Gordon Taylor, the boss of the PFA, has done his usual trick of making his members even more unpopular with the general public.
He responded to suggestions that players should take a pay-cut, to support their non-playing colleagues, with a staggering lack of awareness, resisting calls for a 30 per cent pay cut. And it seems the captains of all 20 Premier League clubs have formed a WhatsApp group to form a united front, one such skipper calling the suggestion ‘disgraceful’!
We’d all love to know who that is…
To be fair to the captains, they have suggested they’d be happy to donate a pay-cut to charities, and are mainly concerned about the club owners pocketing the money. And they don’t want to be coerced into signing new contracts.
Kyle Walker’s big mistake
Manchester City and England wing-back Kyle Walker has been in the Premier League 2020 news too this week but for all the wrong reasons. While the vast majority of the UK responded to a rallying call from the government and Queen by showing the fortitude and discipline to avoid unnecessary spread of the virus, Walker hosted a sex party to make the lockdown more fun!
And that was after he publicly urged fans to work together to beat the virus… by staying at home with family alone.
The player has since apologised but that doesn’t wash with anyone, and when we get back to normal, fans of the other 19 Premier League clubs will not let Walker forget his hypocrisy, not to mention his phenomenal lack of judgement or sense of responsibility.
The song-writers will be working on the Walker chants as we speak!
What happens next?
Discussions are ongoing to try to find a solution to the problem of how to complete the 2019/20 league season. The option of cancelling the season is too horrifying for some clubs to contemplate, not to mention the fans. Liverpool particularly, and the clubs in line for promotion to the Premier League would be distraught.
The likely solution is to recommence the season behind closed doors, when it is safe to do so. The Premier League clubs and shareholders met last Friday to mould a response to the crisis, saying: “The restart date is under constant review with all stakeholders, as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic develops and we work together through this very challenging time.
“The Premier League is working closely with the whole of professional football and there is a combined objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played, enabling us to maintain the integrity of each competition.”
The financial implications for Premier League clubs could be quite damaging if no further football is played this season, with clubs standing to lose around £750m.
Of course, there will be a few clubs which would be quite happy if the 2019/20 season were to be erased from the records, relegation threatened West Ham Brighton and Watford, for a start. That trio of clubs sit precariously above the drop zone, and if you take a look at the latest relegation Premier League 2020 betting odds you can see just how close they are to financial catastrophe in any case.
But, for the vast majority in the football family, we just want to get the game back on.
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