Happy Friday to you all, who’s hitting a Virtual Happy Hour this evening?
Yeah? Can I join? PLEASE.
What an absolutely crazy time. I moved halfway around the world for the American dream, which currently has me sitting in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years scared to pick up the post. To make matters worse, there’s an outbreak in the building… and get this, the person above me is a ball bouncer and his little shit of a dog has nails that are too long so he scratches across the wood floors like a 5-year-old on ice skates.
I am not built for home life.
Though I will say, I’ve taken up this new diet and exercise regime that seems to be working nicely. I start the day with a Yoga class, which if you haven’t tried, is fucking brutal… but you do feel smug. My class teacher said this.
‘I want you to focus your energy on that lower leg. Channel yourself. Imagine you’re sending all your energy to those that need it in the world right now’
So I did, and you know what? I honestly think I made a difference. Anyway, I then starve myself for the entire day, then I drink beer freely in the evening with carrots. It’s working out so far.
In the world of football news, Mikel Arteta dropped a prezzer on this 39th birthday from what looked like a shower room. He’s back fighting fit and telling us to stay at home. Solid messaging.
The Premier League story has started to deviate from ‘IT MUST FINISH’ to Dave Ornstein dropping this great quote from a top dog at a club.
“The fact is they are not as important as a Tesco delivery driver at this time. We run a game. No more, no less. There is no place for sport at the moment.”
You simply can’t knock that comment. The country doesn’t need much of an excuse to break quarantine… the idea that we’d shove football in their faces and expect civil obedience after seems a reach. It is just football. If the season is voided, nothing terrible is going to happen, especially compared to the nightmare of more people getting sick, particularly footballers who are very public-facing.
I also wonder whether the fact Boris has been infected might shift the severity of the thinking for the league in the direction of voiding the season. When you can’t keep the top geezer in the UK Gov healthy, what chance do you have when you’re sending footballers up and down the country to finish off games? At the very earliest, June ‘could’ see a restart, but that seems unrealistic to me.
Word on Boris Johnson. Isn’t it incredible how so many of the folk who bleat about compassion on the daily are more than happy to revel in the leader of our country picking up a horrible illness? Very grim. Especially after he delivered for business, salaried workers and now the self-employed in a way that has never been matched and stands as one of the most generous packages on the planet. Sure, mistakes have happened, but name a country that dropping a 10/10 performance so far? Very few. Those that have had the benefit of recent mass spread disease experience.
There’s a lot of talk about the club commemorating Arsene Wenger this summer. There’s apparently going to be a statue and a stand named after him. No doubt the man deserves this sort of treatment, he’s a legend in every sense of the word, but as I’ve said before, this is a guy that’s desperate to get back into competitive sport… and he’s being eulogized like he’s dead. Who wants to be the statue guy when you’re trying to find work?
I find it odd that Arsenal is so eager to jump into things like that, but we do have a very vocal cuck element of our fanbase that eulogizes Alex Hleb’s tenure, reimagines Tomas Rosicky as a legend, and generally attaches themselves to twee stories that make me cringe. I’m totally game to commemorate the past, but I’d rather do that when we’ve something to celebrate on the pitch. We’re still dealing with the aftershocks of Wenger’s slow decline, we’re barely a top half of the table side at the moment, the timing seems odd… shifting any sort of focus from the massive project we have ahead of us seems very frivolous, but there we go.
Agents are trying to whip up interest in their players, we’re being linked with names, and some of ours are being hawked around the big leagues. We’ve been linked with Nabil Fekir, Raul Gimenez, and Ousmane Dembele. All lovely talents, but so far out of our price range it’s criminal… unless we sell all of our players for top dollar.
Even that proposition is under threat. On the last podcast I recorded, we asked the question: will transfers ever be the same? ESPN had these quotes from exBayern President, Uli Hoeness.
“It all stands and falls with the fact if we can play again this season,”
“Games without fans still guarantee the distribution of TV income and if that happens there will not be any existential problems for the 2019-20 season.
“But if we can’t play until Christmas — as the worst-case prognosis suggests — the entire league’s existence will be threatened.
“The illness is like the plague. We must wait. Those who forecast the return of football are nothing but charlatans.”
“The current situation is a threat, but also a chance to change the coordinates,”
“You can’t dictate it, but transfer fees in excess of €100 million will be a thing of the past for the next few years.
“The transfer fees will drop and will not return to the current level in the next two, three years. All countries are affected. There will most likely be a new footballing world.”
A few of the posters in the comments mused in the same direction. I think the reality of any business that depends on business from crowds is they’ll have to be smart with their money. The SwissRamble had the Premier League running at a loss, even with the HUGE TV revenues.
Even before coronavirus, football did not look like a particularly healthy business, as few clubs actually made any money. Premier League clubs earn a lot of revenue (£5.2 bln), but make a net loss of £160m, averaging £8m a club. Half of the 20 clubs have reported losses. pic.twitter.com/AvAUqNIhNn
— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) March 24, 2020
I think clubs, outside Arsenal, might consider building cash piles moving forward, just in case of future pandemics or force majeure like situations.
The economics of football are quite complicated… but I ‘might’ have a special guest who is expert in all things finance and football on the podcast next week, so keep your ears close for that one.
Ok, that’s me done for today. Stay safe this evening, download Animal Crossing, and have yourself a great time in the virtual outdoors where NOTHING can hurt you. ALSO, PLEASE LISTEN TO THE PODCAST.