The last #premierleague game was played on Monday 9th March 2020. I know this because I was there. It was a cold wet night at the #KingPower but my football team @LCFC were on fire thrashing #AstonVilla 4 - 0. #AshleyBarnes, a product of our brilliant academy scored the last goal at the Kop end finishing off a brilliant move. As we walked away from the game salivating about the fact that #LeicesterCity were back to their very best, I never dreamed that it would be the last time I would see a live football match for a very long time. I went to bed that evening dreaming that this could actually be the year we win the #FACup with a home tie against #Chelsea to look forward to.
Later that week it was revealed that 3 of our players had been sent home showing mild symptoms of #Cov_19, then #Watford stated they had asked for all their players to be tested, then all the games due to be played on the 14th March and beyond were cancelled. #Cov_19 has hit us all hard, unable to see family or loved ones with to many losing loved ones and being unable to say their goodbyes as they lie alone in isolation units. Football quite rightly has taken a back seat.
Now 10 weeks into #lockdown and the virus peak hopefully passed, football at the elite level at least, is slowly getting back to normal. But what is normal? It certainly will not be in front of fans and many of the rules we started the campaign with are having to be modified to maintain safety. So will it fair? Will it maintain the integrity of the competition? Will LCFC get to Wembley?
My answer to all of these is No, except the last one! But for financial reasons the premier league season must be completed and Liverpool crowned worthy champions and plans must be now be made for the 2020/2021 again without the fans!
Some clubs have already started offering season ticket holders refunds for this season others a credit for next which at the moment seems a little optimistic to say the least but I guess there thinking is that it helps with their cash flow. Some clubs chose to furlough non playing staff, this caused a backlash amongst fans and many high profile clubs such as Liverpool and Spurs were forced to reverse their decisions. I personally found it quite distasteful, that a club would do that whilst paying extremely high wage levels to players and also taking an HMRC holiday! If any good comes out of this it must be that in future clubs wage in relation to turnover should be at a more manageable level. Leicester City's wage bill, like many clubs in the premier league in relation to turnover was very high. In 2018/2019 the ratio was 84%, the second worst. So take away your revenue from home games for a season and you don't need to be an accountant to work out what might happen! Fortunately, our owners are not about to give up on their project here at Leicester when they have come so far and will no doubt bail us out if need be.
The longer the fans are omitted from games the more I fear for the product the premier league has spent years developing. German football behind closed doors has worked to the degree that matches have been played but in terms of a spectacle, its not something I want to watch. Of course when Leicester play I have a degree of interest but again, these games have a look of a pre-season friendly at best and if this continues will fans start to turn off? I personally miss the whole match day experience, the meet up with mates, the banter and the after match inquest and pint! If the product is diminished then the TV money for next season could well be reduced, if less people are going to tune in to watch. That again will impact on clubs so I still believe the PFA are going to swallow hard and accept that players wages will have to be re-structed otherwise clubs will start to fold!