As football came to a standstill, with the last football fixtures played over a month ago, clubs submerged into circumstances which would cut revenue and throw thousands upon thousands of jobs into jeopardy. Uncertainty of cash flow has seen various individuals sacrifice a wage percentage to ensure non-playing staff receive income. In one example, Reading manager Mark Bowen and chief executive Nigel Howe took a ”substantial percentage” wage cut in order to pay staff at the Berkshire club.
In the uncertain times of today, football clubs and their players have not been short of ideas in helping out and keeping busy. Social media has been flooded with entertainment courtesy of the biggest stars in football, whether that be Cristiano Ronaldo using his children as weights in his home gym or Nottingham Forest winger, Joe Lolley throwing a pan over his house. We have certainly seen a variety!
With recognition that a football club is a colossal source of employment relative to a small town or community, it has become crystal clear just how important the football industry has become to towns and cities across the country. Fears of small clubs being disabled in recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic puts whole communities in a dismal situation. Despite this pressing thought, the football clubs we know and love are giving back through support in the community.
In regards to the 2019/2020 football season as a whole key decisions certainly need to be made. After all, with so much money at stake and livelihoods of many at risk, should there in fact be any relegation’s this season? Dropping down a league is a deeply emotional as well as a troubling financial affair and in the current situation may we see the Premier League and the Football Leagues decide to stop the drop? Perhaps the most likely of the options is to finish the season – when safe for players, immediate staff and reporters to do so- behind close doors. This option is certainly the safest and potentially most sensible option, but both players and fans alike will argue this does not allow for a true representation of the season considering how atmospheres in stadiums can affect the game.As for promotions and league titles this has to be concluded, not only because the whole team, fans included, have been building towards that target, but have also pledged large amounts of their budget on the basis of gaining promotion. Suddenly having that taken away could have dire financial consequences. When it is safe to do this is still unknown,however some reports say that the start of June is a possibility.
Another thing to consider is how will contracts and the transfer window work? Players and staff contracts usually run until the end of June/July in order to cover the season. Will contracts have to be extended to see out the current season or will a general rule be brought in? How will the Transfer Window work with Social Distancing rules? Could deals be done via video calls, potentially yes, but will everyone be satisfied by this ?
On a large scale, we’ve seen in the space of two weeks players unite with #PlayersTogether. A charity set up amongst the Premier League club captains in order to fund and provide PPE, vital equipment for NHS staff and key workers on the front line of the pandemic.
At a local level, many clubs have delivered for those wonderful individuals of the NHS. In Watford, Vicarage Road has been opened to allow a place of rest and recovery for Doctors and Nurses and Watford General Hospital.
While up north, Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook has transferred managerial skills to supermarket delivery skills, signing up as a key worker to deliver shopping to those in self-isolation.
Manchester United and England striker, Marcus Rashford has also continued his work within the community by partnering with FareShare, a charity which is reaching out to school children who would usually benefit from free school meals. Rashford’s involvement has helped the charity raise over £20 million which is directly bettering lives through distribution of meals to over 400,000 school children.
Arguably social media has been poignant in lifting spirits of everyone bound to their homes, giving us an insight to the lives of footballers and also allowing engagement between clubs and community. Various footballers from all teams have been video calling with young fans and we even had an insight to the Liverpool side having their morning meeting via today’s technology.
Furthermore, the Match Of The Days boys are ever present on social media and also completing one of many football podcasts. In the time slot of the regular highlights programme the show continues to add some routine to football fans across the country.
In a time of little positivity, it is these small gestures that are welcomed to bring light to the situation.
To hear more about football during isolation please listen to our podcast below.