News | July 21st, 2021
This week sees the return of football in England and it will be strange to watch matches without the crowd atmosphere which is a fundamental part of the English game. The truth is that people need a return to normality and football returning in the same week as shops re-opening will help to lift the national mood.
It may be some time before crowds return and that will increasingly focus clubs on their financial health and well-being. When clubs of the stature of Arsenal FC are closing their entire scouting department it is clear times are changing. Indeed, we may all look back on this lockdown period as the time the financial structure of our national game was dramatically changed with some clubs already asking players to take a 25% cut in wages.
The success of the Premier League is underlined by the ever increasing revenues from TV but the reality is the these revenues have underpinned a sustained growth in player wages and now that these revenues are under threat, along with a collapse in attendance and commercial income, there will be undoubtedly be an impact on wages and the level of transfer dealings when the transfer window opens.
Most clubs have taken the decision to allow fans to buy a cardboard cut-out of themselves so that fans feel they are there in the stadia in sprit if they can’t be there in person. The truth is though that for me thousands of others it won’t be proper football until I can meet up with my pals in The Bugle in Charlton Village and walk down to The Valley to take my place in the seat that I regard as mine surrounded by all the friends I have made over many years. When all that happens football really will be back!
In the coming weeks Liverpool FC will be crowned Premier League Champions and Leeds United FC and West Bromwich Albion FC will return to the Premier League. Under normal circumstances they would all celebrate in front of sell-out crowds, but they will be deprived of the memories that gives. I was lucky enough to be involved in two promotions to the Premier League, a League One Championship and a National League promotion and the joy and celebration of the fans, the staff and the players is what makes them special times.
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