The beautiful game really doesn’t seem that important right now given what’s going on in the UK and the rest of the world. The coronavirus has put life into perspective for us all, and we will all have to get used to Saturday’s without football for the foreseeable future.
But of course it will eventually return and when it does there will be an almighty scrap between the authorities over what to do next.
One thing that was cleared up today was what would happen to Euro 2020 and we now know that it has sensibly been moved to the following summer when hopefully it can take place as was originally planned.
But for domestic football it’s very difficult to even plan a definitive way forward. Shortly before publishing this it was announced that all European leagues are committed to finishing the domestic season before 30th June if possible.
For that to be possible you have to assume that it would be cleared by mid-May to allow the Premier League, Football League and cup competitions to finish by that date, and given that this virus has lasted for nearly five months in China you’d have to be very optimistic to believe that’s possible right now. Games could be played behind closed doors but no one wants that and if that happens fans would congregate outside grounds meaning social distancing would spread the virus further, plus players could still catch it – it’s unworkable.
That leaves the options of finishing this season once it is safe to resume or voiding it and starting again next season from scratch. Now for me the idea of voiding the entire campaign is an absolute last resort. You can’t complete three quarters of a season and then annul everything. It happened in the 1939/40 season but that was very different as only three games had been played and when war breaks out it’s likely to last for years and you can’t then reconvene when it’s been that long.
We will likely to be able to resume within a year, so it seems natural to finish this season before we even contemplate what to do about the one after.
The Government are indicating that the virus will peak in 10-14 weeks and it is reasonable to believe that it will take a similar amount of time to the reduce and hopefully disappear. Ten weeks would take us to the middle of May, and ten weeks after that leads us to the end of July. Fourteen weeks meanwhile will take us to the middle of June and fourteen weeks after that would be the end of September.
But even then my view is that the authorities would be reluctant to restart until there’s a reasonable period when there are no new cases of coronavirus which is completely understandable.
Having not played for many months at this stage, or trained together it would seem ludicrous to not hold a pre-season for everyone to get up to fitness before playing competitive fixtures.
If any of that is accurate then even if the current season is declared void there would still be a big struggle to complete a full season and some sacrifices would have to be made.
Naturally there are pro’s and cons to every issue and Swansea City will be included in that. We have Erwin Mulder Kyle Naughton, Mike Van Der Hoorn, Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer all out of contract, so they will likely all leave before football is restarted as we have to slash the wage bill. Plus we have six players on loan who will return to their parent clubs so our chances of reaching the Play-Offs if the season is played to a conclusion would be incredibly slim.
You would like to think in those circumstances that the transfer window would temporarily open to allow clubs who will no doubt be short of players to make some additions to see them through those remaining fixtures.
If the season is voided it will also hurt us in terms of player sales if next season doesn’t start on time. We need to reduce our outgoings, and realistically no one is going to buy players until they know when football can recommence. This will particularly hurt us where Andre Ayew is concerned, his contract runs out in June 2021 and his value is continuing to reduce which is the last thing we need, especially when he’s most likely our top earner.
These will be some of the issues the club will have deal with in the coming months and will no doubt be very challenging.
But they’re not as challenging as the issues we will now all face on a daily basis so I would like to wish you all well in these testing times.
We will all need some welcome distractions so I will try and update the website more often in the coming months as I won’t have to focus on the print version of the fanzine for the foreseeable future.