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Football Thread 2020/2021


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6 minutes ago, ckny said:

I know the Gunnersaurus stuff is amusing, but when you break it down we're actually all laughing at a man being made redundant. Still funny?

 

agree - its not funny and makes me very angry towards the club, bloke has been there for 27y (or course lots of long serving in other walks of life losing their jobs too).

 

In a PR war its not hard to make Arsenal look bad

 

 

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2 hours ago, Gotters said:

 

agree - its not funny and makes me very angry towards the club, bloke has been there for 27y (or course lots of long serving in other walks of life losing their jobs too).

 

In a PR war its not hard to make Arsenal look bad

 

 


Thats an incredible fuck you by Ozil, I mean well done him for doing it and I don’t think for a second he is doing it as he knows he is leaving - he is 100% doing it as he has been left out in the cold and it’s a decent thing to do!

 

I don’t think even if Spurs paid for his wages Arsenal could have come out of this looking worse :lol:

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Open letter from the Premier League, EFL, FA, WSL and Women’s Championship re returning supporters to stadiums:

 

Spoiler
Quote

The Premier League, EFL, The FA, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship want to assure all fans that together we are fully committed to your safe return to football grounds as soon as possible. 

The health of the nation remains our overriding priority, and for many months we have been working with experts to make our grounds as safe as, if not safer than, any other public activity currently allowed. And we are consulting with the Football Supporters’ Association to keep supporters updated every step of the way.

We know attendance at matches can play a positive role in people’s lives during these challenging times. And the past few months have shown how clubs can still feel the support of their fans. Even when you have been unable to get together, you and your clubs have found ways to make a difference in your communities, with clubs delivering food parcels, taking part in phone calls and online conversations with fans, the elderly and vulnerable and moving services and programmes online to make a difference in unprecedented and challenging circumstances.  

But we all know football is not the same without fans. Every player and manager is missing the direct connection with you and the impact that you have on our games.

With the EFL, Premier League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship already staging 11 successful test events recently, we have demonstrated that we can deliver matches safely. The sooner we can return, the sooner we can reunite communities and support local jobs, livelihoods, regional businesses and also the national economy.  

We will continue to urge government to allow us to return fans safely to stadiums. It is positive progress that major arts and music venues have been told they can run socially-distanced events indoors. And now football should be allowed to do the same - in highly regulated and stewarded outdoor environments. 

Additionally, representatives from football are active members of the government's Sports Technology and Innovation Group, as well as being involved with its ‘Moonshot’ mass-testing project to open up the economy. And in light of the postponement of test events we will intensify our efforts to pioneer new approaches - working with epidemiologists, scientists and medical experts in areas such as public health, clinical processes and occupational hygiene. This will make sure stadiums are COVID-safe by considering best practice screening and hygiene methods to ensure that fans and the general public will be safe and drive the government's sporting plans to move faster. 

Stadium environments can be modified and carefully managed. Measures could include screening spectators before they enter the ground, installing temperature checks, requiring masks to be worn, one-way systems and providing a code of conduct for all those attending on a matchday. This will all be bolstered by deep-cleaning practices to help further reduce the risk of virus transmission.

Clubs want to be pro-active on this matter and willing to consider measures both in the stadium and on the approach that will allay any concerns as to fans’ safety. From a travel perspective, clubs will work closely with experts and local authorities to model solutions relevant for each stadium to ease pressure on public transport, while extra parking facilities could be available so a greater proportion of you can travel by private car or bicycle.

We are determined to identify a path forward with government. We need clarity for our clubs and for you as supporters as to what the roadmap for change in this area looks like. We all know why caution is needed, and we ask government for consistency in their policy so sport is treated as fairly as other activities currently allowed to welcome spectators. 

So, we will continue to urge the relevant authorities to let us, together, use innovative ways to bring fans safely back into football grounds, starting with a return of the test event programme.  If we do so, then the benefits will be felt not just by fans but throughout society and the economy.
 
Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive 

David Baldwin, EFL chief executive 

Mark Bullingham, FA chief executive

Kelly Simmons, FA director of women's professional game

Premier League

FA

EFL

 

 

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The football 'family' bailout is getting further and further away from resolution apparently - can see how messy it is once you get into any details, good piece below from the Athletic.

 

Heard the interesting point raised yesterday why should Burnley's owner, who is worth £65m and runs their club tightly financially, bailout a lower league club owned by a billionaire who has not. I know not all clubs owned by billionaires but its such a messy thing to get to a resolution that makes everybody happy.

 

Spoiler

My eldest asked me a question about his physics homework recently and it sparked an embarrassing five minutes during which it became clear that I might have the driving licence and a couple of credit cards but if knowledge is power, I’m on my way out.

One physics factoid did eventually come back to me, though: nature abhors a vacuum. I am not sure I understand the science of it but I believe football is currently demonstrating that periods of nothingness will always be filled by something, which is basically what Aristotle was banging on about.

So, if fans are not allowed to attend games, the missing matchday income must be replaced by someone or something else. If the source of that cash is unknown, every possible solution comes flooding in.

Over the past week or so, The Athletic has spoken to dozens of clubs, financial experts and league officials about the COVID-19 bailout that non-League clubs needed to start the season, some English Football League clubs will need to see Christmas and some Premier League clubs will need if they are to maintain the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

And there is no consensus. In fact, some of the answers we have heard are far more baffling than the laws of physics are to a 40-something arts graduate.

To summarise, one of the following will happen:

The government or the Premier League, or both, are going to bail out the entire EFL or just Leagues One and Two

The EFL will borrow a large sum of money from the government, the Premier League or someone else — with the government or the Premier League guaranteeing the loan and paying the interest

The Championship will break away from the EFL and become a Premier League 2 or a standalone league, financed by selling a stake to a hedge fund or private equity firm

(Either that or the clubs will all go into administration at the same time, or they will go on strike, or they will just withhold tax payments until the government allows fans back in. I think that just about covers it.)

So who should foot the bill?

Some in the game argue the responsibility to intervene is on government. If the data or the optics make this key sector uneconomic for as long as COVID-19 is a factor, just print more money. It is what governments do in times of crisis.

But then how can there be a crisis when the Premier League has just spent more than £1.2 billion on new talent, at least £850 million more than they brought in from sales, not to mention the huge commitments made to cover future wages?

The league’s response to this line of questioning is it must keep investing in players to maintain its attraction to broadcasters and sponsors, and it is in competition with top leagues, and sports, around the world. Usually, this is a reasonable answer but that argument is harder to make when the Premier League’s response to COVID-19 is to spend a little less money than last year, while every other league cuts its spending in half. English football’s top flight appears to have viewed this crisis as an opportunity.

Nothing wrong with that, the red-blooded capitalists amongst you might say, but far more Brits go to the cinema or take holidays every year than watch football matches and British chancellor Rishi Sunak has already told those sectors he cannot save every job. You could even argue that Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil has helped prove football’s critics right by offering to save Gunnersaurus’s job with a fraction of the £350,000 a week he earns for watching Arsenal play.

Some sources have suggested there is a chance the government will agree to bail out Leagues One and Two, just as it has promised to fund the matchday shortfalls of the National League’s 67 clubs. The latter will cost about £2 million a month, which is approximately the figure being discussed for each EFL club below the Championship. Taken together that would be a total package of nearly £100 million.

Other sources, though, have pointed how difficult it will be for the government to do this, as some non-League clubs are potentially richer than sides in League One, while there are teams in Leagues One and Two that have been Premier League sides within the past decade. The point is football’s boundaries are fluid.

This would seem to reinforce the view that’s probably the most widely shared at the moment: the government will save the National League but the top four divisions will have to look after themselves.

Why does the EFL need the money?

Without fans in the stands, the EFL believes it will need £250 million to complete this season’s fixtures and avoid the risk of mass bankruptcies. This figure, the league says, is quantifiable and robust as it is based purely on missing matchday revenues, which become a bigger slice of the overall income mix as you move down football’s pyramid.

The league says the need is acute, as it is barely a year since Bury’s financial problems saw them crash out of the league, with Bolton nearly following them. Last month, Macclesfield Town went bust, only weeks after being relegated from League Two, and next month League Two’s Southend United must assure the high court they have paid their outstanding tax bill or risk going the same way. The domestic transfer window does not shut until October 16, which is another reason why both the government and Premier League can be forgiven for thinking EFL clubs still have time to help themselves before asking for charity.

The first big crunch, then, will come in November, or more precisely at the end of November when that month’s wages are due. The Athletic understands the EFL is concerned that as many as half a dozen clubs could struggle to meet those bills without external help.

What might some Premier League clubs want in return?

Top-flight clubs have their own, albeit more relative, losses to fret over, and some are seething about the inconsistencies they see in the government’s approach to opening up the economy. If, as Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish put it in his piece for The Sunday Times, Premier League clubs do rescue rivals in the Championship, the return of fans is the very least the government can do in return.

In fact, some Premier League clubs have an even longer shopping list of demands from government they would like to attach to any EFL bailout, starting with a very low barrier to entry for overseas talent once the post-Brexit transition period is over and stretching perhaps to tax breaks for their community work and efforts in selling UK plc around the globe.

Again, this might strike many of you as a reasonable set of quid pro quos from a significant contributor to the UK economy. But the league’s conditions do not stop there.

As has been reported elsewhere, the Premier League wants the EFL to support its laissez-faire stance on post-Brexit quotas against the FA’s desire to increase opportunities for English players. While this makes sense if you subscribe to the old adage that there is no such thing as a free lunch, it does not make sense for an EFL that depends on its ability to nurture domestic talent it can sell to the Premier League or as a competition that can provide playing time for English players. Backing the Premier League’s post-Brexit stance is clearly contrary to the EFL’s long-term interests.

There is more, though. Any Premier League-funded support for Championship clubs would almost certainly come with the insistence the second tier follows the example set by Leagues One and Two and introduces a hard salary cap. There are many in the EFL who agree but that would, again, give Premier League clubs a competitive advantage over Championship teams when teams come up, and have to scale up over a summer, and when teams go down and have at least a season to bounce back while they take advantage of any transition arrangements.

This desire to effectively ringfence the Premier League by permanently handicapping Championship sides has provoked fury within the EFL, with one club source likening the Premier League to “gangsters who are holding guns to our heads”.

Furthermore, it has also been suggested that some Premier League clubs would like to see the highly contentious issue of B or feeder teams back on the agenda, while others would like EFL clubs to effectively dismantle their academies so the top clubs can have unfettered access to the country’s best youngsters.

A Championship salary cap could make it easier and cheaper to buy players such as Ollie Watkins, who Aston Villa paid £28 million this summer, and increase their competitive advantage over clubs who make it up from the second tier (Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

“The Premier League is a disgrace,” says one Championship club chairman. “They told the government four months ago they wouldn’t let the pyramid suffer and now they’re looking to get more access to our young talent. This is why the government isn’t helping.”

The EFL’s chairman Rick Parry is the man leading negotiations with the government and the Premier League on behalf of the 72 clubs. The majority of EFL sides still have faith that if anyone can pull this off it is most likely to be an accountant who once ran the Premier League and one of its most powerful clubs, Liverpool, but there are signs not everyone believes Parry can deliver.

The EFL updated Championship clubs on the state of play last Wednesday before Parry held another of his regular meetings with Premier League chief executive Richard Masters on Thursday. Those sessions have been described by sources as “amicable” but “fruitless”. The EFL’s board meets later this week for another update but there are already rumours clubs are starting to take matters into their own hands and hold their own meetings, trying to build alliances around alternative options.

Alternative options? Tell me more…

Foremost among these ideas are the offers of large loans from hedge funds, pension funds or private equity firms, most of them US-based. There are at least two rival plans that are circulating, one led by former agent Jon Smith and another by football finance specialist Terry Pritchard, but both involve borrowing £200 million or so and paying it back over 20 years at an interest rate of approximately five per cent.

As with every other idea on the table, this could be done with the Premier League’s support, via an additional grant or even the top flight paying the interest, or without, depending on whether the EFL club you speak to feels the Premier League’s price is too high.

That is a question that has some in the league wondering if the Championship should consider following Premiership Rugby’s example by breaking away from the EFL and creating a standalone league or a Premier League 2, and selling a stake in the business to a private equity firm such as Bain or CVC, the two US giants competing for a slice of Serie A. In 2018, Luxemburg-based CVC Capital Partners bought a 27 per cent holding in Premiership Rugby, the top division of English club rugby union.

Donald MacKenzie, left, of CVC Capital Partners, who have bought into F1, rugby and football (Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

As one experienced former Championship chief executive says: “There’s not a lot of time for ‘old times’ sake’ or history if this is to secure clubs’ revenues. There is interest in the Championship from institutional investors and third parties.”

Others, however, despair at such thinking, describing it as “insane” and asking why anyone would think the solution to this crisis is either taking on more debt or selling a stake in future revenues.

How on earth did we get to this point?

What underpins all of this are three fundamental facts:

1) most clubs were losing money before anyone here had heard of coronavirus

2) almost all clubs are furious with the government’s U-turn on the phased return of fans this season

3) the football family is as divided by greed as the Borgias, ambition as the Corleones and jealousy as the Sopranos.

If we explore those facts one by one, we have an industry that entered the COVID-19 era with costs growing faster than income. The Premier League’s 20 clubs broke the £5 billion income barrier for the first time in 2019 but combined to lose £165 million that season, while the Championship’s 24 clubs lost more than £300 million as they spent 107 per cent of their income on wages.

This was the picture before the pandemic shut stadiums and forced the curtailment of every league below the Championship. Since then, EFL clubs have been losing a combined £20 million a month in matchday revenue, while the Premier League’s shortfall is about £80 million a month. If fans remain locked out of grounds until Easter, the top four divisions in England will have lost £1 billion in potential income over 12 months.

This figure could have been much higher if the Premier League, EFL and Football Association had failed to meet most of their contractual obligations to their broadcast and commercial partners by not finishing all of the remaining games in the top two divisions, FA Cup and various play-offs last season.

The success of Project Restart reduced the impact of what could have been crippling rebates to broadcasters and sponsors. It also provided hope that the new season would bring a gradual return to normality, or certainly something approaching that until a vaccine could do the rest. And that remained football’s hope until last month, when this summer’s relaxation of lockdown measures came to an abrupt end.

Nobody in football was surprised the UK government got cold feet about the scheduled return of fans from October 1 — the headlines about rising cases had been bad for several days before prime minister Boris Johnson’s update on September 22. But there was shock and anger when it emerged the postponement might be six months, as opposed to the few weeks most clubs thought they would have to wait.

The frustration has fermented over the last fortnight as the government has continued to encourage people to visit cinemas, pubs and restaurants, let some entertainment venues, most notably the Royal Albert Hall, make plans for the return of paying customers, and agreed a £1.5 billion bailout for the arts sector while saying the Premier League must save the national game.

Having let Burnley manager Sean Dyche and Parish be the initial spokesmen for the opposition, the bosses of the EFL, FA, Premier League and Women’s Super League combined on Tuesday to write an open letter that was addressed to supporters but was really intended for Number 10: give football the same chance you have choral societies and shooting parties.

“With the EFL, Premier League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship already staging 11 successful test events recently, we have demonstrated that we can deliver matches safely,” the letter says. “The sooner we can return, the sooner we can reunite communities and support local jobs, livelihoods, regional businesses and also the national economy.”

When you listen to those in football who point out how good they are at managing crowds and how much work they have done on ensuring fans will be safe, it all sounds reasonable.

But then you balance that against the calls city mayors are making for stricter lockdowns, stories of students locked in their dorms, perhaps until Christmas, health experts warning about overwhelmed hospitals again and this week’s news about the continued failings of the government’s track and trace regime, and the idea we will be watching football in the flesh by Easter becomes as much of a “moonshot” as Johnson’s ambition to provide tests with instant results for everyone.

Which brings us back to where we started, with a pressing question about something very few people really understand. As it happens, the homework question was about why balloons go bang when you burst them. I would be surprised if Sir Isaac Newton himself could come up with a better analogy for football’s predicament right now.

 

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As a much less important aside, who came up with that 'football family' bollocks?

 

It's somehow even more cringeworthy than the devaluation of the word 'community' over the past few years to describe any infighting-ridden online hellscape, any subreddit with more than one member or for companies to latch onto to try and engage with the disparate people who happen to buy their videogame/breakfast cereal/whatever.

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1 minute ago, Rsdio said:

As a much less important aside, who came up with that 'football family' bollocks?

 

It's somehow even more cringeworthy than the devaluation of the word 'community' over the past few years to describe any infighting-ridden online hellscape, any subreddit with more than one member or for companies to latch onto to try and engage with the disparate people who happen to buy their videogame/breakfast cereal/whatever.

 

always makes me laugh which is why I used it - its used to imply some cosy cabal of all in it together not-for-profits (which I guess most clubs aren't but not for any noble reason), there is never a 'burger chain family' or 'fashion retailer family' when they go bust. 

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4 minutes ago, Fry Crayola said:

"Family" seems an apt description of a large group arguing over an inheritance.

 

Perhaps it'll all end with a single favourite club being given the lot.

 

Ha, I kind of thought that afterwards. A group of people acting friendly in public whilst secretly plotting the best way to screw each other over actually doesn't sound a million miles away from my family :lol:

 

:(

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Re fans in stadiums - what's the issue and holdup in returning some fans to stadiums?  I mean the stadiums are all more open than the local pub that is allowed people.  Obviously no one is asking for 63,000 Spurs supporters to get access to Spurs games, for example, but surely 10-20% of fans could be allowed in as long as social distancing is observed?

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5 hours ago, Gotters said:

The football 'family' bailout is getting further and further away from resolution apparently - can see how messy it is once you get into any details, good piece below from the Athletic.

 

Heard the interesting point raised yesterday why should Burnley's owner, who is worth £65m and runs their club tightly financially, bailout a lower league club owned by a billionaire who has not. I know not all clubs owned by billionaires but its such a messy thing to get to a resolution that makes everybody happy.

 

 

Yes, weirdly Dyche's comments seems to have been the ones singled out for criticism when he's been the only one banging this drum for seven years.  When he was talking in the Championship about running the club to a budget and not being able to subsidise high wages and transfers like other teams, he was criticised by those teams fans, managers and directors.  Now they are coming and asking for a bailout.  I'd be pissed off at that.  Especially as the club have lost a big chunk of the "rainy day" fund built up in order to keep going.

 

(Feels odd to be talking about it that way when I was on a Clarets podcast yesterday moaning that the Board had crossed the line between being prudent and being cheap.)

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10 minutes ago, Plissken said:

 

Yes, weirdly Dyche's comments seems to have been the ones singled out for criticism when he's been the only one banging this drum for seven years.  When he was talking in the Championship about running the club to a budget and not being able to subsidise high wages and transfers like other teams, he was criticised by those teams fans, managers and directors.  Now they are coming and asking for a bailout.  I'd be pissed off at that.  Especially as the club have lost a big chunk of the "rainy day" fund built up in order to keep going.

 

(Feels odd to be talking about it that way when I was on a Clarets podcast yesterday moaning that the Board had crossed the line between being prudent and being cheap.)

 

Its totally valid, why should prudent/cheap Burnley subsidise pissed up drunken sailors on shore leave like Sunderland ? 

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31 minutes ago, kensei said:

Think one of the worries is fans congregating at the grounds. 


Also the bottlenecks within the stadium concourses will be an issue, plus policing in and around the stadium. Germany are increasing crowd numbers, hopefully leagues here are (or will be) following their example.

 

One way round things could be to open up corporate boxes / VIP areas as they tend to be more private with more spacious entrances, but not all clubs have the same facilities. Anfield, for example, also has a lot of bottlenecks around the stadium that can’t really be zoned off due to local residents also needing access.

 

Who gets tickets is another hurdle. Season ticket holders seems fairest, but not all such holders are local. Do clubs restrict sales to local postcodes only to minimise the likelihood of people travelling?

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International football going ahead at the moment is fucking crazy, perfect for spreading the virus like mad. 

 

Celtic, so far are going to be without t least Edouard and Christie for the old firm game, because of covid. 

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The ticketing suggestion seeming to be adopted in the Premier League is that it is Season Ticket holders only, restricted to a subset.  ST holders can register for a ballot and should they be successful, they get an e-ticket for the game (rather than their season card).  They are then removed from the ballot for the next game until all ST holders have had a chance to go to a game.

 

I can only speak for Burnley, but they have already said that you won't get your normal seat but allocated one in the same stand (if they are opening the stand that your ST is in) or the opposite stand (if you are in the Cricket Field Stand, which won't be opened.)  Your ST won't be charged if you are not successful in the ballot or do not wish to enter the ballot.  (The club are currently taking ST money by Direct Debit and have offered to refund or offset against next years ticket.)

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If you're going to come at the owners and a league like the English Premier asking for a handout they're never going to do it with no strings attached, especially if, as in the case of the championship, your wage bill alone stands at 107% of your total income.

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2 hours ago, Sirloin said:

England u21s are about to fail to beat Andorra u21s. Shameful.


How many players do Andorra have who are even eligible for U21s? The entire country only has a population of about 75000.  

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8 minutes ago, Naysonymous said:


How many players do Andorra have who are even eligible for U21s? The entire country only has a population of about 75000.  


I’m guessing at least 11...

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Poland absolutely leathering Finland right now. A few days ago, I would have been less bothered but seeing as Brighton signed two of them on deadline day I thought it was worth paying attention.

 

Grosicki seems to be having a mad one though. 

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22 hours ago, Fry Crayola said:

"Family" seems an apt description of a large group arguing over an inheritance.

 

Perhaps it'll all end with a single favourite club being given the lot.

 

Ah, the "F1 Family" approach.

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3 Scotland players out of Euro play off due to Covid.

 

I reckon this insane 3 game international window is going to be ruinous to the season in at least the short term with Covid spread, injuries and fatigue.

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