Dont Blame Southampton FC For Project Restart !
Saturday, 30th May 2020 08:59
I have seen some self righteous comments lately on social media about the restarting of football, the most bizarre blaming Saints and claiming they won't be renewing season tickets, but it is wrong to blame the clubs at least directly for the restart.
There are many reasons for football restarting, some of them perfectly logical, there is a need for the season to be brought to a conclusion, there is also a need to use football to boost morale in the country and with every game televised it will also help to keep people indoors to watch it rather than packing beaches etc and potentially causing a 2nd wave.
It is not ideal to play games behind closed doors, but it is not as some will self righteously claim, the end of football as we know it, it is a necessity if we are to start to return to some sort of normal life and football is no different in this respect, we cannot just go straight back to how it was before it has to be phased and gradual and from this respect I would rather watch a football match on TV behind closed doors than none at all.
But there is also the real reason behind it and that is money and this is the case whether you support Manchester City or AFC Totton, football clubs need money to survive, they generate that through playing games of football, they budget for a season playing a number of matches, if they can't play those matches then they will go bust.
At Premier League level that is even more pertinent, rightly or wrongly most clubs will have budgeted and spent the Sky TV money, if the season isn't completed then they will have to pay a lot of that money back and for some clubs that will not be possible.
As it is, even finishing the season sees clubs needing to repay a total of around £340 million to the TV companies, this will vary from club to club depending on TV appearances in the season so far, so Saints will be at the lower end of the scale on this, but they will still have to pay their share of £170 million in August with the rest being spread over 2 years.
This will still be a sizeable chunk and likely to be anywhere between £12-16 million manageable if we get football restarted and then the season going next season.
But if this season is not finished, then the TV companies will be entitled to a lot more than £340 million and that figure could well bankrupt more than a few clubs and with the worsening political position between China and the West not just because of Covid 19 but the situation in Hong Kong, clubs with Chinese owners might find that although the owner is willing to bankroll a significant amount, getting that money out of China will not be possible.
So when Saints supporters rant on social media and state they won't be renewing season tickets etc, have a hard think about what you are doing to the club at the very moment it needs it's fans support financially.
Yes the club has taken the money, but it has to if it wants to compete in the Premier League, but it like every other club is now being hit in the pocket, we still have to pay wages and haven't taken the Government money to pay non playing staff.
I can understand fans annoyance that football is restarting, many feel that it is wrong, I can see why they feel that way, but the sad but hard fact is that the country, indeed any country and business's cannot just sit back and wait till we have a week with zero deaths and zero new infections, by then we will be bankrupted and essential services could collapse.
The economy has to be kick started again, it is not ideal but it is stark reality of the current situation, I don't know the medical realities of the present crisis, but I also know nor does the average person, so with all due respect when someone tells me on Facebook that we went into lockdown too late, should not reopen shops or re start football, I'm sorry but you have no idea either way and nor do i, we have to trust the experts for one reason, we have no other choice.
I do know though that playing a football match behind closed doors will not be any more dangerous than not playing it, putting the £80k a week aside I know where I would feel safer on the afternoon of Saturday 17th June, on a football pitch behind closed doors alongside 21 other players who have been constantly tested, re tested and monitored etc than in Tesco's battling with people in the aisles who if they have heard the phrse social distancing, don't consider it necessary.
Yes people will die as football matches are played, but the sad reality is that this will be the case whether football restarts or not. We cannot sugar coat the situation we have to adapt to it.
So now is not the time to whinge about season tickets or the fact you haven't had a refund on a ticket bought yet for a game now played behind closed doors, don't blame Southampton Football Club for the situation, they have not caused this crisis.
All football clubs need their supporters at this time, many fans of lower League clubs have said they don't want refunds, they have donated their money to their clubs, they want them to survive and know that a couple of thousand people donating that money could be the difference between survival and bankruptcy.
We as a Premier League club are dealing things on a larger scale, that means that it is a lot more money and we have a longer way to fall if things do not return to normal.
It is time to look at the bigger picture, yes football has to restart in the Premier League because of money, but that is not the fault of Saints directly, ask yourself this do you want Southampton FC to continue to exist ? If the answer is yes, then accept that the current re start has to happen, even if you don't like the reasons.
If it doesn't or it is unable to be completed and next season is then cancelled, then the TV companies will want their money back and as I said a lot more then they want now, football clubs will have no income and therefore unable to pay bills and will go to the wall .
I am a Saints supporter, lockdown has shown me that, I am not that interested in football anymore unless it concerns Saints, I haven't missed the games themselves, I have missed the cultural aspect, the fun of going to games, meeting with friends who I have gone to games with for decades, for me if Saints are finished then I am finished with football.
So let's remember why we support this great club, owners and players come and go, the fans are always here, blame the TV companies for asking for their money back, don't blame Saints for having to be a part of this system.
Photo: Action Images
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