Come on, Delia, let’s be ‘having you - we need a campaign leader here
PUBLISHED: 19:00 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 19:06 06 May 2020
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Your Posts is a new project which allows you to voice your opinions on the big sporting stories – David Thornton believes Delia Smith can dissuade the Premier League from the preferred restart option
Any ‘end’ to the 2019/2020 season will be ‘different’ and almost certainly ‘unfair’.
The three options are:
Complete (in some format)
Cancel (with current league positions standing or potentially being adjusted on a ‘points per game’ basis or some other arbitrary method).
For a few weeks now the Premier League have been hell bent on option one. That plan is slowly starting to crystallise and (almost certainly) will go ahead now if the Government say okay and the clubs vote in favour. The argument is that completion (which in theory is the correct course of action) preserves ‘the integrity of the sport’ and the Government (for some blind reason) seem to have fallen for the propaganda that ‘the nation is looking for a morale boost’.
I don’t need to go into any detail as to why both arguments are (in my view) fundamentally flawed and I’m pretty sure you probably ‘nod your head in agreement with me’.
Almost without exception there is NO groundswell among football fans or the general public for a resumption in the current circumstances and especially with the conditions the Premier League and Government will insist upon. Radio phone-in shows, comments on BBC website and fans’ forums confirm the overwhelming view that option one should be dismissed immediately. The disquiet is not limited to the punters, though (who are usually ignored anyway) but the players are not happy with resumption. It may just happen that they take the ultimate step and tell their ‘Masters’ politely to ‘go and do one’.
A really significant factor in this headlong stampede to get football ‘back on’ again is the hypocrisy of the argument being put forward by the Premier League (and, ultimately, by the Goverment) regarding ‘social distancing’.
Football is a full-on contact sport and we can all give the examples, we see them dozens of times each match. So, if social distancing can be 100pc ‘waived’ for the 90-minute match then surely it should be waived for ALL activities throughout the country? How on earth can football be granted this ‘exemption’ whilst restaurants, cafes, hotels, pubs and clubs will still be firmly SHUT early June when the resumption is earmarked to start? Okay, they might have been granted some minimal relaxation by then, for example, cafes may be allowed to open for outside catering only and with strict social distancing between tables etc. Many of these businesses are under extreme financial pressure, Government loans etc notwithstanding, and if they are not allowed to reopen fully, say, until autumn (or later), it is certain that several will go into liquidation with jobs lost and all the financial ruin that inevitably brings.
Meanwhile the Premier League cash train races forward at pre-COVID speed safe in the knowledge that all the TV money is there’s to spend and the ‘project’ remains on course! The arrogance is breathtaking.
I do not know the views of the Norwich City Board and/or owners but I suspect they are torn between agreeing with the fans’ views and going for Option One on purely financial grounds. I am dismayed that the club have been all too quiet on this issue whilst only the Brighton and Watford CEOs have publicly expressed ‘grave reservations’ about completion.
Some one needs to make a stance for our club, the game and the fans up and down the country.
I am not a fan of Delia Smith’s at all but she does have a popular image in the country, unlike many of her peers. She has (for years) railed against the nonsense of the money trough that is the Premier League and now is her chance to go public. Before the crunch Premier League meeting (always assuming the Government give the ‘okay’), I ask her to get in front of the media and make the fans case AGAINST Option One. All national media would fall over themselves to give this maximum publicity. She could lead the campaign to scrap Option One and fans across the country and the public in general would give her massive backing. If she did that the Premier League would crumble and this absurd strategy would be dead in the water.
I know the Premier League will still have to take a decision on Options Two or Three and here there are serious divisions of course, but I have advocated since mid-March that the season should be called as the tables stand. There is an argument for a points per game analysis to decide the third promotion place (normally via play-offs) and European qualification etc, but these all pale into insignificance when compared to Option One.
Forget the ‘financial impact’ on NCFC. We are dealing with far more important matters here.
Delia Smith is getting to the end of her reign as City’s joint majority shareholder. She is acutely aware of her image. This is her chance to really leave a legacy and go down in the history books.
Maybe, just maybe, this awful pandemic could pave the way for a more sensibly-run top league in English football where money is NOT the obsession. Smith could set the ball rolling towards that promised land. Over to you.
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