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Dont Blame Southampton FC For Project Restart !
Saturday, 30th May 2020 08:59

I have seen some self righteous comments lately on social media about the restarting of football, the most bizarre blaming Saints and claiming they won't be renewing season tickets, but it is wrong to blame the clubs at least directly for the restart.

There are many reasons for football restarting, some of them perfectly logical, there is a need for the season to be brought to a conclusion, there is also a need to use football to boost morale in the country and with every game televised it will also help to keep people indoors to watch it rather than packing beaches etc and potentially causing a 2nd wave.

It is not ideal to play games behind closed doors, but it is not as some will self righteously claim, the end of football as we know it, it is a necessity if we are to start to return to some sort of normal life and football is no different in this respect, we cannot just go straight back to how it was before it has to be phased and gradual and from this respect I would rather watch a football match on TV behind closed doors than none at all.

But there is also the real reason behind it and that is money and this is the case whether you support Manchester City or AFC Totton, football clubs need money to survive, they generate that through playing games of football, they budget for a season playing a number of matches, if they can't play those matches then they will go bust.

At Premier League level that is even more pertinent, rightly or wrongly most clubs will have budgeted and spent the Sky TV money, if the season isn't completed then they will have to pay a lot of that money back and for some clubs that will not be possible.

As it is, even finishing the season sees clubs needing to repay a total of around £340 million to the TV companies, this will vary from club to club depending on TV appearances in the season so far, so Saints will be at the lower end of the scale on this, but they will still have to pay their share of £170 million in August with the rest being spread over 2 years.

This will still be a sizeable chunk and likely to be anywhere between £12-16 million manageable if we get football restarted and then the season going next season.

But if this season is not finished, then the TV companies will be entitled to a lot more than £340 million and that figure could well bankrupt more than a few clubs and with the worsening political position between China and the West not just because of Covid 19 but the situation in Hong Kong, clubs with Chinese owners might find that although the owner is willing to bankroll a significant amount, getting that money out of China will not be possible.

So when Saints supporters rant on social media and state they won't be renewing season tickets etc, have a hard think about what you are doing to the club at the very moment it needs it's fans support financially.

Yes the club has taken the money, but it has to if it wants to compete in the Premier League, but it like every other club is now being hit in the pocket, we still have to pay wages and haven't taken the Government money to pay non playing staff.

I can understand fans annoyance that football is restarting, many feel that it is wrong, I can see why they feel that way, but the sad but hard fact is that the country, indeed any country and business's cannot just sit back and wait till we have a week with zero deaths and zero new infections, by then we will be bankrupted and essential services could collapse.

The economy has to be kick started again, it is not ideal but it is stark reality of the current situation, I don't know the medical realities of the present crisis, but I also know nor does the average person, so with all due respect when someone tells me on Facebook that we went into lockdown too late, should not reopen shops or re start football, I'm sorry but you have no idea either way and nor do i, we have to trust the experts for one reason, we have no other choice.

I do know though that playing a football match behind closed doors will not be any more dangerous than not playing it, putting the £80k a week aside I know where I would feel safer on the afternoon of Saturday 17th June, on a football pitch behind closed doors alongside 21 other players who have been constantly tested, re tested and monitored etc than in Tesco's battling with people in the aisles who if they have heard the phrse social distancing, don't consider it necessary.

Yes people will die as football matches are played, but the sad reality is that this will be the case whether football restarts or not. We cannot sugar coat the situation we have to adapt to it.

So now is not the time to whinge about season tickets or the fact you haven't had a refund on a ticket bought yet for a game now played behind closed doors, don't blame Southampton Football Club for the situation, they have not caused this crisis.

All football clubs need their supporters at this time, many fans of lower League clubs have said they don't want refunds, they have donated their money to their clubs, they want them to survive and know that a couple of thousand people donating that money could be the difference between survival and bankruptcy.

We as a Premier League club are dealing things on a larger scale, that means that it is a lot more money and we have a longer way to fall if things do not return to normal.

It is time to look at the bigger picture, yes football has to restart in the Premier League because of money, but that is not the fault of Saints directly, ask yourself this do you want Southampton FC to continue to exist ? If the answer is yes, then accept that the current re start has to happen, even if you don't like the reasons.

If it doesn't or it is unable to be completed and next season is then cancelled, then the TV companies will want their money back and as I said a lot more then they want now, football clubs will have no income and therefore unable to pay bills and will go to the wall .

I am a Saints supporter, lockdown has shown me that, I am not that interested in football anymore unless it concerns Saints, I haven't missed the games themselves, I have missed the cultural aspect, the fun of going to games, meeting with friends who I have gone to games with for decades, for me if Saints are finished then I am finished with football.

So let's remember why we support this great club, owners and players come and go, the fans are always here, blame the TV companies for asking for their money back, don't blame Saints for having to be a part of this system.

Photo: Action Images

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SalisburySaint added 09:54 - May 30
Fully agree we what you say, just can’t get interested in German or other football, but looking to seeing Saints play on TV

But as you say football for me, most of my mates and a lot of others nowadays is about the day out associated with the game rather than just the match itself and that’s what I miss.

saintlee added 10:17 - May 30
The season definitely needs to be finished if only for the financial security of Saints and every other club. I dont think Sky, BT and all the other domestic broadcasters are they problem. They dont show every game live so some deal can be reached I'm sure. Probably screening more live games next season for the same money.
The problem are the foreign broadcasters who show all 10 games live every week. They're the ones who are going to want their money back which would be a catastrophe for all clubs of our size. United, Chelsea etc will be able to cope with it but Saints, Norwich, Leicester and other clubs of our size will struggle badly. I fear for clubs like Burnley and Bournemouth whose rely on that TV money more than anyone else because of the crowds they get.
Worrying times indeed so its imperative we get it done soon.

Number_58 added 11:01 - May 30
Of course a football forum editor wants football to return. Not many others seem that bothered. If it wasn't for the fact that Saints could conceivably go bust without the final lot of TV money, and the fact that so many people rely on football clubs for their employment, it would be quite amusing to see an industry that is so dripping in money and greed suddenly implode. This crisis should act as a dire warning to football, but it almost certainly won't.

SAINTSNIL added 11:32 - May 30
To be honest not missing football at all, and watching your team on TV with no atmosphere is probably the worst thing I can imagine.As mentioned previously, it's all about the day and not just 90min.
If the Premier-league goes tits up and somehow we get our football back to a supporter based game, well,
Bring it on!!

claus5 added 13:20 - May 30
Those last two comments are very odd things for a football fan to say. If the Premier league goes bust it will be the end of football as we know it. We won't get our football back, whatever that is? If you want to watch amateur football fine, but i want to watch Southampton FC. Playing at the highest level, and maybe occasionally winning a Trophy or two. I'm not a happy clapper and many things annoy me about modern football, i would love to go back to the 80's when tackling was still allowed. Unfortunatly this isn't going to happen. So let's get back to supporting OUR club in any way possible. If you no longer want to be a part of it that's your choice.

saintmark1976 added 15:10 - May 30
Nick, the only reason that there is any desire that the Premiership recommence is to avoid costly litigation between the various interested commercial parties of which S F C is one among many.

There is no moral or ethical reason why the season should be concluded in the manner previously suggest by you in your last post on the same subject.

Genuine football fans and the vast majority of the public can see a restart for exactly what it is. I respect your point of view which is purely that of benefit to big business. Acknowledging the same and refaraining from comments such as you made yesterday suggesting that recommencement is a benefit to public health by keeping people away from the beach would not go amiss.

the_saint added 15:54 - May 30
Football just got to greedy, fattening that pig and you know what happened to that.
I'm afraid that if clubs go bust it's their own fault for allowing agents to negotiate stupid money on transfers and wages.
It's footballs own downfall.

Whatsforpud added 17:39 - May 30
Contrary to a lot of posters here, I, and I suspect a majority of fans, ARE missing football. I have been missing the anticipation of going to a home game, the stadium experience itself, and the after-match analysis. Then looking to other results to see how we are affected. I am also missing the chance of seeing other live sports on TV. Cant understand it when sports fans say they are not missing it. Perhaps it is the politically correct thing to say in this pandemic.

ItchenNorth added 20:16 - May 30
Football is nothing without fans. I understand that we need to play out the fixtures, but I don't think I'll bother watching any of the games on TV if stadiums are empty. It just holds no interest. I'll look for our results and walk through the turnstiles in whatever league we end up in when football truly returns.

SaintPaulVW added 15:44 - May 31
Finishing off the season is just fulfilling a contract. It's not the real season and has literally nothing to do with the fans.

The one thing the German games have shown is how important the crowd is. I hope that the Premier League learns a lesson from this.

kernow added 19:14 - May 31
Two more wins needed Nick.

wibbersda added 15:11 - Jun 1
Better off without the crowd, let's not forget how nervous the fans made the players with their moaning and booing.

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