This is a tricky one, but I am going to dive in.
On one hand, Premier League footballers are workers and so shouldn’t be held to ransom by their employers. On the other hand, it is hard to separate yourself from the fact that according to the 2019 Global Sports Salary Survey, the average weekly pay for a Premier League player is £61,024 per week. Once you have been unable to separate your opinions from this, the result is constant low-level rage. Especially whenever certain rent-a-gob merchants offer their opinion on anything outside of the game or indeed, within it.
Disclaimer: With any luck I will have added enough disclaimers during the course of this article to avoid any quilts getting upset but we will just have to see.
NHS and Player Short-Sightedness
Let me caveat this. I am not saying that the players contributing to the NHS is a bad thing. What I am saying is that Premier League players unsurprisingly opted for the ego massage of a direct NHS contribution. They failed to see that the gesture was undermined by the fact that the vast majority of clubs in the football league have furloughed staff.
This means that their gesture is presumably offset by a decent chunk of government money (which will undoubtedly be recouped from the tax payer in the future) being poured into an industry that really doesn’t need it.
Disclaimer: Any Premier League player who has taken a pay cut or wage holiday (West Ham) to help their club, need not be criticised because they have absolutely done the right thing.
By and large, failing to take a pay cut and having a look at where that money could go was immediately vetoed in favor of something which was pure optics. Players giving money to the NHS and while their employer makes use of the furlough scheme may as well have given the health service one of Frank Abignale’s amazing bouncing cheques.
If you are a horrible cynical bastard like me, also feel free to consider tax relief applicable to any donation made when you are a higher rate taxpayer. After this, enjoy the self-righteousness as the information surges into your mind.
Some Players Care Less About Everyone Else
It’s unsurprising to see that players like Aguero and Danny Rose view themselves as indispensable compared with anybody who is still being made to go to work at present.
My own personal view is that nobody should be getting pushed into work right now. The UK Lockdown has been too light for the present suggestions to be safe. However, if teachers are made to go back on 1 June (this is morally wrong by the way) and anyone working on construction projects in most cities have been offered no protection (also bad), then why do footballers think they are exempt from working?
If we agree with Danny Rose’s assessment that “footballers are being treated like lab-rats” then what we are saying is this. A collection of hyper rich individuals who have access to probably the cleanest working environment available and the most accurate testing available should be able to not return to work if they see fit, without financial penalty. This is something that nobody else in the country can do.
Has Danny Rose made any comments about any other worker in this situation? No.
Premier League footballers think they are more important than anybody else. I would be interested to see how many saying it isn’t safe have criticised team-mates who have met up with a prostitute (Walker) or made their way onto a local golf course. Actually I wouldn’t be interested at all. Because the answer is none.
Compare the conduct of the German players, who returned at the weekend to those in the Premier League. https://thesportsdespatch.com/bundesliga-return-day-1-was-it-a-success
Disclaimer: There are obviously individual cases where additional care needs to be taken (Deeney) but the clubs as employers should be able to make decisions surrounding each individual player- almost like they do in the real world.
Remember at the start when they were all saying we are in it together? Well, quite unsurprisingly- a few of them don’t think we are.
An Additional Point- Cleanse Your Crap Team Before Sterilizing Grass
In a completely unsurprising move, some of the worst teams in the Premier League have come out and opposed the season finishing because they might get relegated if it does.
Impressively stupid Bournemouth have argued that finishing the season at neutral venues isn’t fair because any advantage for home games will be taken away, forgetting that any disadvantage for an away fixture will be in their favor.
Karen Brady of West Ham argued that if footballers are to return, then grass will have to be disinfected. I am pleased to see that she has had a similar concern for binmen after noticing a clever little photo appearing on her twitter feed which I share with you below. It seems the safety of her players is more important than those of her binmen.
Even Norwich got in on the act, with sporting director Stuart Webber suggesting relegation can only happen if the Championship also resumes. It’s absolutely none of his business what happens with the Championship. Leeds are where they are in the championship on present merit, while Norwich are where they are in the Premier League for the same reason.
Coronavirus isn’t a get out of jail card for being shite for three quarters of the season. Teams are not at risk of relegation by some incredible stroke of misfortune. They deserve to be there. The League has exercised it’s right as a special shareholder and said categorically relegation will happen, it remains to be seen how much clubs drag their feet.
No disclaimer is available for use by relegation threatened clubs.
A Brief and Rage Driven Conclusion
Unsurprisingly, certain crap teams have decided to weaponize a virus already killing hundreds of thousands of people globally for their own financial gain.
At a player level, coronavirus has also cemented the belief in the skulls/inflated minds of certain players, that they are more important than everybody else.
Hopefully, this article has been cathartic and will finally allow me to enjoy a day in the sunshine without getting annoyed with Premier League players and their clubs.