Well, well, well… fan DISGUST still holds strong in the boardroom, even if that location sits in Boston. Liverpool dropped a 180 at breakneck speed and have now decided that it’s probably not the best look to furlough part-time workers when you’re spending £310m on front office wages and bragging about £31m in profit.
I’d congratulate Liverpool on the pivot, but to be honest, it’s still shocking to me that a club with a marketing slogan of ‘This Means More’ would hoover up a government furlough within 16 seconds of it being announced. Someone laid out the counter to this point in the comments, namely that the football clubs have dropped £3b in tax, they should be able to draw from the fund. It’s a fair point, but only if you look at football as a normal business, which it is not.
Clubs are expected to behave ethically, to think of the community first, to lead from the front. There’s an unspoken contract between fans and owners. Namely, we don’t behave with our football teams like we do with normal products. If my car performed as badly as Arsenal have over the last decade, I’d have upgraded. Fans stick it out with the inflated prices and offer up unyielding support regardless of what goes on. The exchange is that we expect the clubs to behave well in the community, we hope our players donate to charity (which they do) and we look to them in times of need.
The credit you can give Liverpool is that they acted. It’s hard to admit you’re wrong, especially in a moment so loaded with bear traps.
My hope is that Arsenal hasn’t considered any other course of action. We have a big cash position, we’re run by people that do a lot for the community already, and our owner’s heir said he wanted to make the fans proud. I have a lot more faith in Arsenal’s conscience than I do in their ability to make us an elite outfit on the pitch. Time after time we over-deliver. Whether it’s help for explayers falling off the wagon, support for local hospitals, giving kids fun experiences at the stadium, or letting Bobby Pires use the gym… we’re always there for people. Let’s hope they hold strong.
It’s interesting reading up about the Barcelona debacle in a little more detail (The Athletic). Their directors immediately applied for the furlough, then the players stepped in and said that they’d pay for the non-sport staff for as long as needed. Led by Lio Messi, who was pissed that they went straight for the government option. Their staff count is huge, it sits at 1300. So good on him. The deeper worry for them is that their business model is very aggressively about putting player salaries first. They were on course to make a billion euros this year, now that’s dried up, they are in trouble. They pay out a staggering £9.8m, that’s about £190k a week! They had to borrow the entirety of the £105m for Griezmann, which they’ll need to shift this summer to make ends meet… good to know that even a club as elite as Barca can run into trouble. I mean, no good, but you get what I mean.
Problem for football is no one ever envisioned a disaster this all-encompassing. Same for most businesses. Good job there’s so many mega-rich owners ready to dip into their deep pockets to bail out the clubs, right?
In other news, PFA lead Gordon Taylor has said there’s no chance he’ll take a pay cut. I mean, he doesn’t have to, does he? Not like he’s out of work at the minute. Watching his behaviour is quite something. He’s myopic, seems to have little consideration for the culture is negotiating in, and he’s making his members look cold and greedy. Hard to really feel pangs of the proles when you’re rocking £2m a year, so it’s no surprise.
We need the players to lead. If Jordan Henderson is the anointed god of altruism, he should step up his action. He should reprimand the union, take a stand and shift the news cycle to golfers. This inaction is killing any goodwill people had post-Hancock. The players look like they’re locked in delaying tactics, which grates normal folk because most of us had no choice. We took the deal, ANY DEAL that was offered.
At least the United players are going to war. They’re donating to local trusts. Marcus Rashford is making personal donations. The club is doing the right thing on every level. Great to see.
Everyone else that can afford to do so should follow suit.
Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments. x