I like Liverpool. They are a club with a great history and have had many top players. Sir Kenny Dalglish, John Barnes, Graeme Souness, Steve Nicol, Alan Hansen, Steve MacManaman, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, and more currently Mo Sahah and Sadio Mane all were/are top quality. Thirty years is a long time for any club to wait to win the title.
But then the greater good trumps all.
So I’ll caveat this and say that I respect them as a football club. But they may have to have their title voided.
Let’s not forget that arguably the best moment in our history – and one of the most iconic footballing moments ever – occurred at their ground.
But for the benefit of the greater good, British society, and players at Arsenal, Liverpool and beyond – we may have to void the season.
The Coronavirus crisis has been unprecedented in its scope and reach. This may be the biggest national emergency since WWII in many countries. The last time things got this drastic in Britain at least were the trade union disputes of the 1970s, leading to the Three Day Week and the Winter of Discontent. But there were not the scale of national shutdowns that we’re seeing today.
19/20 hasn’t been a good one for us. Losing to Olympiakos was arguably the major low of the season and the Arteta era thus far. Emery deserved to go, and Arteta to be fair has done OK.
Arteta himself had sadly contracted the coronavirus, but posted since that he is now on the mend.
However, this pandemic has greatly curtailed society, and seldom of us have seen such in our lifetimes.
Football too has been affected – and Liverpool was on course for their first PL title and their first title since 1990.
The PL has been suspended indefinitely, as have many other European leagues.
And the sceptre of voiding is in the air.
Is it unfair to void the season? Would it be unfair to Liverpool? Or the teams remaining in the FA Cup (including ourselves)? Or those in contention for CL/EL places (including ourselves again)? Or those in the four pro-English leagues who are up for promotion/relegation?
Fairness is moot – it’s humanity at play
We know this disease is spread via close contact – and if tens of thousands in stadiums can spread it via close contact, then there is no choice but to suspend the season.
Moreover, we don’t know how long this pandemic will last.
If it abates by the summer, then completing 19/20 is feasible. It may mean a shorter 20/21 season, and then countries can prepare for the Euros in 2021.
But then until we know what happens – and how governments will give the all-clear – then we just don’t know. We’re in limbo.
This could mean that the season is voided – and that we’re in the process of removing all records/stats from this season.
Is this harsh? It is, in a way. But then the greater good and public health must trump that and override considerations.
Liverpool isn’t the only club with something at stake. Man City has won a trophy (League Cup) and could win the FA Cup and Champions League yet.
Most other sides in the division have either a European place, trophy, or dodging relegation to fight for. Even our good friends with their “world-class stadium and training ground” (like we don’t have either of similar qualities….) could still get a Europa League or Champions League place.
We face Sheffield United in the FA Cup quarter-finals and could still get top four no matter how slim this is.
But then if it’s not safe to hold the football, or for fans to travel on the Tube to Arsenal, Finsbury Park, or Highbury and Islington stations, then it has to be called off, ultimately.
– What can be done?
The eventualities depend on when the pandemic’s scope lessens to a safe point.
But as I see it, and I’m no epidemiologist here, the government has said that the crisis may dissipate in the summer. So in this event, let’s present a few scenarios which could affect football:
a – The pandemic ends in July. there is no Euro 2020, so once the players are match fit, the remaining PL, FA Cup, and UEFA competition games can be concluded before September. 20/21 season may see a shortened PL, FA Cup, League Cup, or UEFA competitions, in readiness for Euro 2021 (as it would be).
b – The pandemic continues until the autumn. IN this case, 20/21 has to be voided, with possibly the remaining fixtures in 19/20 played out.
c – The pandemic continues until 2021, and beyond. 19/20 and 20/21 have to be voided, and possibly the Euros to boot.
It may not be fun to be in limbo. But if anything this entire situation shows that we humans despite us “ruling the world” are at the mercy of things beyond our control.
It is boring without football – but then it’s just an event beyond our scope to note or handle at this point.
– Smaller clubs
Clubs like ourselves, or other global clubs like Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, City, Real Madrid, Barca, etc. may be fine. We all have reserves to rest on for the time being.
But clubs lower down the pyramid could struggle.
Could we, with a big and still modern ground, help them?
We didn’t cause this crisis. But then it would be good PR for Mr. KSE at the least.
Barnet has had issues – and yes Spurs is in the vicinity too. But why not offer them to play at our ground for a very minimal charge, and offer to man their home games via stewarding? Or run away game streams at their ground, and pay them the bulk of gate receipts that we would take in normally.
The same could be offered to even Sunday League sides in the London area and beyond.
We cannot be faulted for being a global club with wealth. But then many would say that the bigger clubs should help the smaller ones in this time of need for them. KSE could even ingratiate himself amongst our own fans if he offered a gesture here, who knows? He needs all the good PR he can get, let’s be frank.
So we live in interesting times, per the ancient Chinese “curse”. But football may have to take a back seat to the greater good here.