Monday 20 April
Arsenal are the first Premier League club to announce negotiated pay cuts. The 12.5% cut has not been accepted by all the players, a small number have dissented. Players will be repaid agreed amounts if Champions League status is regained… so that is a long shot.
The agreements depend on the season being finished and the Gooners receiving the full broadcast rights payments… something else that is far from sure.
Chelsea are rumoured to be in talks with their players about deferring wages.
Reece James has been drawn against Everton’s Andre Gomes in the first round of the ePremier League Invitational Tournament. Televised matches start tomorrow, Reece’s game is on Wednesday.
In Covid news, the government have started to try to change the story of the lockdown. Eager to cover the Prime Minister skipping five Cobra meetings about the pandemic to “get Brexit done”, the Tory party have written rebuttals to detailed articles trying to discredit the accusation, from the Sunday Times, that the UK wasted five weeks at the start of crisis obsessing about Europe.
The editor of the Lancet tweeted that the government are “deliberately rewriting history in its ongoing Covid-19 disinformation campaign”.
One hospital doctor has started a lone protest outside Downing Street as the number of healthcare workers dead from this administration’s failure to supply adequate PPE rose to over 100.
She said that she wanted the government to know that many were angry because “it’s become normal not to have PPE or to accept that the guidelines about what’s required is based on supply, not the science.”
Anger is growing at the handling of the lockdown.
But it is not as crazy as the Americans waving placards which read “Social Distancing = Communism”. We have thumbed through our copy of the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, skim-read the works of and Lenin and Trotsky and checked Mao’s Little Red Book… nothing, so far, on pandemic response strategy…
In Russia, where they still understand what Marx was actually talking about, protestors are out on the word of an opera singer who has a feeling the corona virus is fake.
It seems the next wave of deaths will be among idiots who don’t believe what kills them even exists.
… perhaps they are thinking of the Khmer Rouge…
The government’s deputy chief scientific adviser, Angela McLean, has described as interesting a theory that cases of Covid-19 on Merseyside could be linked to the match at Anfield on Wednesday 11 March. Some 3,000 fans travelled from Madrid, a Covid-19 hotspot, to watch the match.
The “interesting hypothesis” that cases in Liverpool could be related to spread from Madrid is at odds with the government’s new rebranding of the early advice they gave. Then they said that ‘sadly’ we would be saying goodbye to the older generation in exchange for herd immunity. They allowed Madrid fans to travel to Anfield when most of the matches that week took place behind closed doors.
The government also carried out a herd immunity experiment with race goers as 251,864 were allowed in to watch the racing at Cheltenham.
Now they are pretending that they were only following scientific advice … but if you ask who was giving the advice or ask to see copies the police turn up on your doorstep.
So far 246 people have died in Liverpool NHS hospitals.
Tuesday 21 April
The world of football has become so politicised that it is small wonder that Amnesty International should lead a daily report.
Newcastle United fans thought they were about to be rid of Mike Ashley once and for all but… the consortium bidding £300m for the Magpies includes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. A country with an atrocious human rights record and one involved in an illegal war in Yemen.
In more confusing news Uefa said they still intended football to resume around the first of June but that leagues could be cancelled in ‘special’ circumstances. It is difficult to think of circumstances more special.
If football can restart in June, and that seems optimistic, it will only be able to carry on until a player or coach falls seriously ill and then we will be right back where we started.
If the 19/20 season takes up more time from the 20/21 there will not be any room for Euro 2020 in 2021.
In the Netherlands the KNVB have said they intend to cancel the Eredivisie. AZ Alkmaar and Ajax are level at the top but the ban on live events has been extended by the Dutch government, The KNVB have said that they will wait to consult with Uefa.
Depressing stories about Philippe Coutinho, 27, potentially joining from Barcelona. The current squad has a right to expect a chance in the first team on the basis that they have helped the club out during the transfer ban. Instead they are getting a failed ex-Liverpool player who couldn’t hack it at Barcelona and has been underwhelming on loan at Bayern München.
In mis-speaking government news, Matt Hancock has tried to deny that the UK opted out of a European initiative to bulk-buy PPE and ventilators because the government was acting tough on Brexit.
A senior civil servant in the Foreign Office was clear and unambiguous in telling MPs this morning that the UK had made a political decision to opt out of the scheme.
Sir Simon McDonald, permanent secretary to the Foreign Office was forced to retract the statement later in the afternoon. But Hancock is such an incompetent liar that he said: “We did receive an invitation in the Department of Health and it was put up to me to be asked and we joined so we are now members of that scheme.”
A quick phone call to the European Commission confirmed that Hancock was lying through his teeth. The UK are not members of the scheme to by masks, gowns, ventilators and laboratory supplies. “They are most welcome to participate in future rounds,” the Commission spokesman told the Guardian, but they missed the February and March orders.
Michael Gove, minister for looking like a burst condom, had circulated a story that we had missed or forgotten emails inviting us to take part.
So, their position is, seriously, that they were incompetent not bigoted.
The Labour MP who asked Sir Simon the question, Chris Bryant, said: “It seems that, not content with refusing to take part in a mass EU purchase of desperately needed vital equipment out of a fit of Eurosceptic pique, the government has repeatedly told fibs in a sad attempt to cover its tracks … It beggars belief that they deliberately, intentionally, with forethought and against advice, decided not to take part. And that they trotted out every excuse in the book when they realised they had messed up.”
Hancock blustered that no supplies from the EU scheme had been delivered yet but the Commission said that £1.3bn worth of supplies would be delivered in the next few days.
Meanwhile, Hancock’s white elephant Nightingale Hospital, built to great fanfare in just nine days, has been turning away patients because there are not enough critical care nurses to staff it.
Unlike the Tories to forget that staff are every bit as important as real estate. The 4,000-bed facility has treated just 41 patients so far.
You shouldn’t damn them too much for overreacting but forgetting to supply the facility with enough nurses, while not lifting bars to foreign nurse and doctors, resident here but qualified abroad, smacks to their ham-fisted arrogance.
Wednesday 22 April
Chelsea 0:8 Everton
Andre Gomes, who only got a PlayStation last week, thrashed Reece James to qualify for the quarter-final of the ePremier League Invitational tournament. This was the biggest tonking in the tournament so far. There is very little else to say but that James needs to spend more time twiddling his thumbs and less time on ball control skills.
Or is that short-sighted.
The Qatar-based TV company beIN Sport, a significant overseas broadcast partner of the Premier League, have asked them to ‘fully interrogate’ Newcastle United’s proposed takeover by a Saudi backed group.
Those who follow middle eastern politics will not be surprised a Qatar based group should be suspicious of a Saudi takeover. A call from a significant broadcaster will carry weight with the Premier League.
The England women’s team are to be relieved of the millstone of a manager they have next summer. Phil Neville has steered the national team into a cul-de-sac and looks clueless about how to manage change.
The National League has voted to end the season immediately. Promotion and relegation will not be decided yet but ending will allow clubs to “to make business decisions with greater clarity as soon as possible.”
Latest in Covid news. The government’s lie that they didn’t take part in the EU bulk PPE scheme further unravelled as the European Commission revealed that, far from missing or losing an email, the UK were present at four meetings (one on January, one in February and two in March) where the scheme was discussed in detail. The UK made a political decision to opt out of the scheme and then lied about it.
Worse they pressured Sir Simon McDonald, permanent secretary to the Foreign Office, to lie to cover their tracks. Hancock and Raab have been caught lying to the public to cover their tracks and mask their incompetence – if you’ll excuse the pun. If they were football managers they would have been sacked by now.
Thursday 23 April
The government have said they are not going to intervene in the Newcastle takeover. The lax attitude is typical of a party that feels the country doesn’t need or deserve leadership.
German football might be reinstated by the end of May. The federal authorities in Germany have been testing and tracing and have seen far lower infection rates than we have.
Possibly because our Covid-19 test is only 75% effective. A quarter of infectious people have been cleared to work in the NHS and care homes since the lockdown started. That is probably why the carnage in care homes is being so carefully kept out of the death statistics.
And we have been accusing China of massaging the figures.
Friday 24 April
Do not inject disinfectant into your veins. Trump has out done himself by suggesting that we examine if injecting disinfectant or ultraviolet light can be used to treat Covid-19.
It shines a frightening light (not UV) into the workings of his brain and the kind of briefing he must get behind the scenes.
The Eredivisie has been cancelled with no champions and no relegation with immediate effect. The Dutch city government have banned all public events until September meaning no matches behind closed doors. Liverpool fans will be getting more and more anxious. If the Dutch have set a president acceptable to Uefa then they might not be winning the league after all.
Covid news: the secret committee offering secret advice to the government on Covid-19 since the start of the crisis contains both Dominic Cummings and his data science mate Ben Warner.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has never had political had political appointee on it before.
Dominic Cummings is the Brexit fantasist who exists entirely in his own nervous breakdown. Cummings might be mentally and emotionally underdeveloped but he does have a degree in ancient and modern history. Leaving him completely unqualified to sit on a committee offering independent scientific advice.
The government have been covering up their incompetence and mistakes by saying that they followed the scientific advice. Only we are not allowed to see that advice or know who sat on the sage committee. Now we discover that not everyone on the committee are qualified to give scientific advice.
That is probably why we are heading for the largest death toll from Covid-19 in Europe.
Not ruled by Brussels means ruled by these shitwits.
If government incompetence wasn’t a recurring theme of the lockdown then Rangers’ belligerent attitude would be all we had to write about.
The SPFL paid accountants Deloitte to review the voting practices in the recent vote end the season in Scotland. Surprisingly, the corrupt and incompetent shower at Deloitte paid to find no wrong doing found no, er, wrong doing.
However incompetent the SPFL and Deloitte are Rangers still haven’t got anything to show for the dossiers of proof. Like City’s irrefutable evidence about FFP, football clubs caught with their proverbial knickers around their ankles always bluster about the written depositions that prove the tighty-whites were up where they belonged the whole time.
Saturday 25 April
Chelsea announced that the players will not be taking a pay cut and that we will not be using the furlough scheme for non-playing staff.
Cesar Azpilicueta has been representing the players in talks with the club but they stress that there has been no falling out over the issue. Instead the club praised the players for working to support various charities.
The club also confirmed that the women’s and women’s academy players would be paid in full too.
Liverpool can’t even win the ePremier League as Diogo Jota of Wolves beat Alexander Arnold 2-1 in golden goal extra-time.
Monday 26 April
The Premier League announced the slightly stir crazy idea of Project Restart. They imagine that June 8 will be the resumption of the season. Clubs will meet on Friday to discuss the details but given that Italy are weeks ahead of us in the cycle of this pandemic and they are not restarting Serie A it seems wishful thinking to imagine the Premier League will be able to restart.
Gary Neville, fast emerging as the voice of reason, restated his view that as soon as a player or coach catches the virus at a behind closed doors match and passes it on to his family then we will have to shut down again.
Saint Boris made a stumbling return – a man with a soul like cold boiled string – in which he said we had wrestled the virus to the ground. A representative of those working in care homes pointed out that we are nowhere near the peak or wrestling anything anywhere as the slaughter of residents and staff in care continues, while the PPE supply is actually getting worse not better.
Tuesday 27 April
Uefa have handed out another deadline. This time we have to decide how to end the season before 24 May so they can get on with planning next season’s competitions.
The French have already had their decision made for them. The French government have banned any sporting events, including behind closed doors, until the end of September.
The French are looking to ease lockdown measures in the second week of May but even then cannot envisage sport being a priority. It is for the league to decide if they abandon the season or award the championship and decide relegation on current standings.
The nerves on Merseyside maybe strained but the title is losing its importance as they said goodbye to Michael Robinson who won a treble with the Reds in ’83-84.
Robinson built a very successful broadcasting career in Spain and dies aged 61 after a diagnosis of skin cancer in 2018.
A novel search for the most successful team in European history placed Chelsea 12th overall. Points were awarded for winning the European Cup, Uefa Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup etc as well as appearances in finals and semi-finals. The Falangist scum from Madrid topped the table with 243 points but we have totted up 72 in far fewer seasons in European competition. We are third in the English table behind the usual suspects but 29 points ahead of Arsenal in fourth.
Damn lost three days work…
Friday 1 May
The FA are still pretending that they are going to get the season finished. The meeting they held today raised the prospect of over 20,000 tests being needed and neutral venues and, and , and… the prospect of fans being able to watch live matches recedes in 2021. The health implications of project restart were put into perspective as Cologne announced that three members of staff had tested positive since training resumed last week. Imagine the situation where a team loses because it has three players in quarantine?
Holding the rest of the matches behind closed doors, at neutral venues, using testing to ensure players don’t have the virus seems a million miles away from the spirit of the game.
We’d watch it, don’t get us wrong we’d watch anything about now. Sky and BT have been rerunning a few of this season’s games over the last few weeks. And it is strangely uninteresting the absence of competitive football is impossible to properly fill. Recordings of matches that have already happened are of little interest… football is set always in the future, not the past. It has a role in preventing suicide… however badly the present is being handled by Albion or Argyle, Wanderers, Old Boys or Casuals… there is always next week… the next match, the next signing, the next season. Even when you win something it is eclipsed by the next immediately. So, however yawning the chasm in front of you there is always a next. Keep walking past the open windows/waiting for the next youth team graduate.
Replays of 1970s football are another matter. It is almost impossible to remember what happened, exactly what happened, and it is surprising exactly how much of the entire decade involved Jim McCalliog… he was everywhere, in everything, he even popped up in the 1976 FA Cup final with Southampton as Bobby Stokes beat United: Brian Greenhoff, the Doc, young Steve Coppell and all.
Chelsea have been strangely absent from most of the repeats so far. there was a 1972 2-1 home win over Manchester City but little else.
The government have actually been congratulating themselves on meeting Matt Hancock’s absurd 100,000 tests a day target. It is a completely meaningless achievement. Not just because the target was only met by posting out thousands of home testing kits. or that the tests are not reliable, but that they are not connected with an effective tracing and isolation system.
To meet his artificial goal Hancock has used resources that should have been allocated to a proper track and trace network.
The government have announced they are starting to set up a system… eight weeks after the German government implemented their system.
Germany, with regional testing facilities has carried out ten times the number of tests the UK has managed. Deaths in Germany are around 6,700. In the UK, where Boris Johnson congratulated himself on our successful strategy, we have lost at least 27,500 and we still are not counting everyone who has died in care homes or at home.
Saturday 2 May
The academy season has been cancelled. The decision leaves the younger players free to enjoy lockdown and gives some clarity to the situation. Refunds for the Wolves U23 game are already on their way out.
The USA women’s team have had their case for equal pay dismissed by a judge who totted up a few figures for himself and decided that the women are paid more than the men.
It seems judges in the US are cut from the same two short planks they are made from here.