Eagles’ chief Hodgson echoes Farke’s call to be ready
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Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson believes finishing the Premier League season is the only fair option.
The Crystal Palace chief has penned an open letter to the Eagles’ support, adding his voice to the praise for the NHS and underlining dealing with the coronavirus crisis is the only issue that matters right now.
But Hodgson insists football must return when it is safe to do so, with clubs like Norwich City embroiled in a relegation battle while the Eagles themselves still have a shot at qualifying for European competition.
All 20 top flight clubs are scheduled to meet again via video conference call later this week as they try to plot a way forward.
Professional football has been suspended in England since the weekend of March 14 but Hodgson appears to share the view of Daniel Farke, who has told his Norwich squad to be ready if football eventually gets the green light to return.
“Everyone is in total agreement we need an end to this season. We don’t want artificial means of deciding who wins the league, who gets into the Champions League, who gets relegated and promoted,” said Hodgson, in a lengthy message on Crystal Palace’s official site. “Ideally our players would have three or four weeks’ minimum to prepare for the first match back, but I accept there may have to be a squeeze on that timeframe.
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“It might mean extra restrictions at our place of work - the training ground - for example. It may also mean that we have to play our nine remaining matches in a shorter period of time than we normally would have done, and subsequently receive a shorter break between the seasons.
“But I think with all of these sacrifices – and I am uncomfortable using that word in such a context - everyone will be more than happy to go along with what it takes in order to get playing again as soon as possible in order to get the season finished.
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“There is absolutely no doubt that football pales into insignificance at a time such as this.
“This lockdown will have a major effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing, and I hope that there is positive news soon, especially in relation to us being able to return and finish off the season.”
Hodgson revealed he had got his football fix from an unusual source during the lockdown.
“I’ve finally got round to watching several interesting documentaries from various football clubs,” he said. “I watched Manchester City’s ‘All or Nothing’, then Leeds United’s ‘Take Us Home’ which I very much enjoyed.
“I found a Maradona documentary, then caught up with the one done some while ago with QPR’s ‘Four Year Plan’, which was a bit of a debacle. Now I’m halfway through ‘Sunderland ‘til I Die’.
“It’s been bringing it home to me watching these documentaries, even more so than usual, the incredible passion of football fans, and how people really live for football.
“There are lots of forms of entertainment, but the one form that really does bring everyone together is football.
“Everybody is surely missing the game enormously, and like us, I’m sure they will be hopeful that every effort is being placed on bringing it back as soon as possible, once it’s safe to do so.”
Norwich City’s squad pledged their support for the #PlayersTogether movement last week, which will distribute millions to the NHS, and Hodgson himself is a passionate supporter of the National Health Service.
“One simply cannot praise the staff too highly, in my opinion,” he said. “I’ve always been a huge supporter of the NHS, they do and have always done a fantastic job.
“We’re so lucky in this country to have a system like it.
“I’ve always felt that we do have a fantastic service and now it’s being demonstrated to everyone so clearly, that the resources we put in are well spent.
“I hope it might in future make us more aware that if you want this level of service, it needs a certain level of economic support – and I’m hopeful it will come from our taxes.
“We can’t rely on the NHS being funded by charities or people making donations – it’s nice that such individuals and organisations are doing so, and I’m full of praise for those who are doing it – but the work they’re doing is quite incredible and needs adequate resourcing.
“The praise they’re getting however enormous it is, will never be enough.
“The job that doctors and nurses do is something you only fully appreciate at times like this, or when you are in need of help.
“To each and every one of them, thank you.”