What exactly are we trying to achieve?

Published: Sunday, 10 May 2020

Just exactly what is it that we are trying to achieve? Ok - so there are signs that we’re beginning to get to grips with the Coronavirus pandemic. We might just be in a place where we could consider that we might be winning. So why throw it all away now for Project Re-start?

Why are we trying to play football again? Who is it driving the agenda? In my opinion it’s madness. Do you remember why we stopped playing? No? Well let me remind you. It was because Mikel Arteta contracted Coronavirus. One man. One coach. At just one club. Now almost everywhere you look clubs are reporting cases. As I write Sunday afternoon Brighton are the latest. ‘No problem’, say the PL. ‘We’ll be testing every 24 hours. We’ll make sure everybody is safe’. I’ve got news for you Mssrs Hoffman and Masters. You can’t guarantee that. It’s impossible.

Part of the cunning plan to protect ‘everybody’ is to play in neutral venues. I’m with those who’ve raised an objection. And they’re not ‘rebels’ because they have. They simply want to protect themselves from a carve up. So far home games have accounted for 71% of the points the bottom 6 have amassed.

I read the conservative estimate for testing is going to be in the region of £4m. If PL footballers can be tested every day why can’t NHS front line workers?

Fans won’t be allowed into stadiums, so there’ll gather in each other’s front rooms. Liverpool fans will be marauding up and down the Anfield Road the minute their title success is confirmed. It will happen - despite the assurances supporters’ groups have given the local Police. It’s both inevitable and understandable.

Leave aside all the on-pitch changes that will make every game we watch an anaemic version of the sport we love - we’re told that cameras will be allowed in dressing rooms. Why? This is the holy grail for tv companies. I’ve always been against it and I still am. What purpose does it serve? We all know what the inside of a dressing room looks like and it’ll be two minutes before the boys are trying to prove who’s ‘longest in the showers’. That’s ok is it - but swearing on the pitch in empty stadiums isn’t? Someone please explain that to me.

So I ask again - who is driving this madness? Is it the domestic tv companies? Is it Govt? The same Govt whose Health Minister pasted footballers early in the Coronavirus crisis. Now they want the very same players to ‘lift the spirits of the nation’ and get playing again. And what of the BAME footballers - who we now know are four times more likely to contract Coronavirus? Should they not be four times more concerned about going back?

TV companies should be the last group to be consulted. Here’s an inconvenient fact - tv needs football. Football needs tv. It’s a partnership - never more obvious than during this period of time. So would tv really withhold monies and bankrupt the game? I don’t think so. I’ve said it before - re-set and extend all the tv deals by another year. It’s simple.

I love watching football. It’s what I do for a living, but it’s not so important to me that I could sit quietly knowing the dangers a re-start poses - and not just to the ‘guinea pigs’ on the pitch - but to others. What about the Police? I know football is a selfish business, but come on, not now for goodness sake. Let’s call it off and plan for a sensible return in August/September. I said this in the first week of the crisis and nothing has changed my mind.

Of course the PL has got another. massive issue to decide on this week. Does it waive through the Saudi led takeover of Newcastle? Before going into a bit more detail - let me say this - if it does, it will never again be able to mount a winnable case against Piracy. Stream away guys.

For getting on for four years now, the Saudi Govt has supported the theft of intellectual properties owned by the beIN Media Group. It has cost the company I work for millions - probably billions. It also cost 400 of my colleagues their jobs.

The PL know full well the extent of what’s been happening because they’ve been at the forefront of trying to sue for their losses. Nine times they tried to take legal action in Saudi Arabia. Nine times the companies they wanted to use were shut down. All the facts are available in previous blogs I’ve written.

People say to me ‘aren’t you scared of the Saudi’s? Should you really be saying what you do?’ Scared of what? The Sovereign Fund buying Newcastle is a separate entity to the Saudi Govt. Or at least that’s the basis of the argument that’s being made so that the takeover can be waived through. Of course that’s nonsense - but just to be sure - I’m not thinking of jumping off my balcony any time soon - nor do I have plans to visit any Saudi Embassy!

Mike Ashley has a lot to answer for if the deal goes through - and if half a dozen Sports Direct outlets open in Riyadh over the next few weeks then we’ll all know what it was really about. I’ve said for months that there’s another deal on the table - and the Daily Mirror’s article a week ago proved me right. The American, Henry Mauriss wants it and he’s not short of a few bob. Surely that deal would suit the Toon Army? Why not? It would get the PL out of a tight corner, that’s for sure.

Shame on the British Govt if they continue to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. What are they trying to protect? I’ll tell you what they should be protecting - the £7.6billion that the PL contributes to the UK’s GDP every year - and the 100,000 full time jobs underpinned by the League’s supply chain. How is this in danger? Again - simple. If broadcast rights can be stolen without consequence then they become worthless. Trust me, any time soon the big broadcast companies will start putting down sports rights. If the PL thinks it’s got a problem in the short term because of Coronavirus you ain’t seen nothing yet. The real problem is coming hurtling down the track.

Boris Johnson perhaps believes that he’s ‘protecting trade deals and jobs’ by cosying up to the Saudi’s. You always hear noises about ‘arms deals’ at times like these. Mr Johnson, have you noticed that the world has never been more ‘conflict free’ than it is now? We’re all fighting a common enemy - which doesn’t need ‘arms’. And we don’t need ‘arms’ to fight it. So what exactly are you protecting?

I expect the Saudi deal will get the nod of approval this week. If so - good luck to everybody connected with the club. As for the rest of us - as I said - stream away. What a sad, unprincipled world we live in. Be careful what you wish for Mr Masters. And all of you on Tyneside. Oh - one last thing. Has anyone noticed what a staggering resemblance the proposed in-coming Chairman Yasir Al-Rumyyan has to me? 😂😂😂😂😂