Everything will be okay when we get back to normal! But can ‘normal’ ever be the same as before?
The Premier League financial ‘bubble’ could be about to burst and the ripple effects felt throughout the game.
No one can predict what will happen when we finally emerge from the carnage of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an ideal world football will do a complete ‘reboot.’ There will be a major review of Premier League parachute payments, salary caps and the way in which millions of pounds of TV money is distributed.
But does anybody believe that will happen? Unless pigs fly, self-interest will rule the day again.
Talks between the Premier League, EFL and the PFL are ongoing and proving difficult as they seek to come up with a rescue package.
But you get the feeling this may not end well for many lower league clubs.
It seems everyone is determined to complete this season and so salvage some of the losses. Games may have to be played behind closed doors. But when will it be safe? Nothing will happen until June at the earliest.
The Premier League has agreed to advance the EFL £125million to help those struggling with cash flow. But it is money clubs would have got anyway – so it could be just pushing the problem further down the line.
The big boys face the prospect of losing millions but, judging by the ridiculous amounts they pay some of their players, they can afford it. It is further down the pecking order that clubs face destruction.
FA chairman Greg Clarke has warned “we face the danger of losing clubs and leagues as finances collapse.”
The decision by some Premier League clubs, to put non-playing staff on ‘furlough’ – effectively getting the government to subsidise their wages – hasn’t gone down well and there are likely to be repercussions.
But at lower league level it is an arrangement that could help clubs survive.
It is certain to be a challenging time for the Blues. They are in complete lockdown and, all but a few essential staff required to keep the club going, have been furloughed.
Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens has welcomed the advance payment from the Premier League but has stressed the club need to be ‘cautious.’
If the season isn’t completed the Blues will lose out on income from four home games – money that has already been budgeted for. They are waiting to see what happens before announcing plans for next season’s season ticket sales.
Even before the pandemic the Blues were making a loss of around £500,000 a season and clearly that would not have been sustainable without the help of EWM.
However, the recently published accounts show we have cut costs back significantly. And the sale of Jarrad Branthwaite to Everton in January brought in some money that could prove critical in the short term.
Hopefully, we are in a better position than many clubs at our level to weather this storm. And one thing is certain when we eventually come out the other side our loyal fans will rally round.