Monday 3 May
Salomon Kalou has been suspended for filming himself at Hertha Berlin’s training ground breaching social distancing rules. The former Chelsea striker shook hands with teammates before barging into a room where a colleague was being tested for the virus. All while broadcasting to the interwebthingy.
Hertha authorities are furious with him. A bit of ill-conceived high jinks might just get him the sack.
The testing within Bundesliga have turned up ten positive results from 1,724 test. Three cases are at Köln.
On the same day the PFA has been explaining that players will be consulted about how and when football is resumed. Concerns about their health and playing games behind closed doors appear to be the main concerns.
Steve Parish down at Crystal Palace has been burbling about establishing the ‘new normal’ for other industries ahead of football’s ‘project restart’. Forgetting perhaps that most industries do not involve marking touch-tight at corners. Social distancing in football is going to present challenges. Parish is right when he says the return of football will help the nation’s mental health . But given behind closed doors matches, with squads depleted by out of contract and loan players leaving and those sick or isolating, most of the entertainment is likely to come from the legal challenges from clubs relegated.
Tuesday 4 May
The death toll in the UK has top 32,000. The most in Europe and only behind the USA in total fatalities.
This disease has hit almost every country in the world but some have handled it competently and others have not.
Germany has had a system for testing and contact-tracing operating since March. Our government has only just started to implement plan to set one up.
At the start of this process the UK government allowed the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead and Liverpool to play Atletico Madrid, all the while the PM wasn’t attending Cobra meetings – he was busy with Brexit.
When the chaos in Italian hospitals hit home Cobra waited a long weekend before meeting on the Monday. Further spreading the virus through our communities.
Chelsea’s game with Aston Villa was only called off when Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday 13 March. Ten days before the UK government initiated a lockdown.
Matt Hancock then spent weeks lying to us about PPE availability – once blaming NHS staff for using too much of a precious resource (a bit like the army where the infantry insist on having one tin hat each). According to the Health Minister PPE was in plentiful supply but it was difficult to deliver it to those in need.
Then we discovered that the test we have been using for Covid-19 was only 75% effective. Meaning infected patients were released to return to care homes where they infected other residents and underpaid and under trained staff who had little or no access to PPE.
Shocked by their own incompetence the government started lying by saying they had ‘followed the scientific advice’, without revealing that advice and keeping the identity of the scientists secret.
Then it emerges that the testicle-faced nutter behind Boris Johnson’s administration – Dominic Cummings – and his mate have been sitting on the secret scientific advisory panel.
And now we can look back on the last two months and count how many deaths the government are responsible for. Deaths in Germany are around 7,000 while here we have more than 32,000 and the death rate in care homes in accelerating.
We predicted tens of thousands additional deaths because of Tory incompetence and we write a football diary column, we don’t run government departments.
The Culture Media and Sport committee talked to representatives of different sports about their financial situation.
Wednesday 6 May
Chelsea 4:2 Watford
Billy Gilmour had been slated to take the chair in the ePremier League tournament but at the last moment we found Emerson in the hot seat. 1-1 at half time as eOlivier Giroud slalomed through the Watford defence to equalise. The second period was more comfortable as apenalty handed us the lead, Kovacic gave us the breathing space and Willain stopped their late strike causing any nerves. Spurs of Norwich in the next round.
There is a stark warning that the season could be cancelled if teams cannot reach a decision on neutral venues. The bottom six have objected to completing the season behind closed doors because of the advantage a home fixture can offer them.
Brighton’s chairman has said they will go ahead with the matches if relegation is removed, but that then stacks up legal cases from the teams that would have been promoted or sees a 23-team league next season. If they scrapped international matches and the League Cup they might be able to swing it.
You question what advantage a home fixture still bestows with no passionate home supporters and what exactly will be lost playing somewhere else without a passionate following. Overall, the move is most likely to favour Arsenal.
Training is going to have to accelerate if matches are going to start on June 12 but the confusion still seems the order of the day.
We will though, soon be watching Bundesliga matches as they have been cleared to resume this month behind closed doors. Germany’s test and trace system is so robust that they are likely to recover months ahead of the UK where our government only started developing a system, that will require a huge infrastructure, a few days ago.
Thursday 7 May
Rangers have handed in a dossier of their evidence against the SPFL and it is not the size of a mountain.
Rangers have been busy slandering anyone who doesn’t agree with them and raising all kinds of questions which they have been promising to provide evidence for. This pantomime has been playing for weeks since Rangers failed to get the vote to end the season defeated because Dundee changed their minds.
In evidence to support their shockingly ill-advised undermining of the game in Scotland as a whole Rangers provided a 100 sheets of ‘evidence’ that effectively repeat the libellous misrepresentation of the SPFL and talk up a potential £10m clawback by broadcasters that might not happen.
Rangers still say that chairmen of Scottish clubs were coerced or bullied without providing any real proof. Which is a problem in most courts should they try to take this issue that far.
In effect to gormless, Gorbals, gobshites have been stirring up hatred and division without cause and to suit their own ends … but then this is Rangers we are talking about.
They have poisoned the well of Scottish football for no discernible gain and will likely work against them at the next disciplinary hearing.
Friday 8 May
Lokomotive Leipzig 5:0 Der Unsichtbare Gegne
Lok Leipzig announced a football match against the invisible enemy back at the start of March and started selling tickets for 1 euro each. They broke the club attendance record within a few days and had sold 171,000 before kick-off. The evening was little more than a mild grin as squad members took it in turns to have a shot at an open goal and, this being football, some of them missed. The commentators took us through the history of the club, the league they won in 1903 against DFC Prag a German Jewish club from Prague because the DFB invited clubs from the Austro-Hungarian empire to make up the numbers (and they probably sing “You ain’t got no history” to just about everyone). Lok had European nights when they were big hitters in the DDR, losing the final of the 1987 Cup Winners Cup to Ajax . Lok currently play in the regional fourth division but won their league, losing only one game just before the lockdown.
One of Stamford’s cousins, Lokki the lion, gave us a guided tour of Leipzig from the zoo, where he lives, past the club shop and the offices of the local newspaper.
They arranged for a flare display and a streaker just to round off the match going experience.
The euros will help them survive the lockdown.
Norwich City 3:1 Chelsea
Emerson crashed out of the eThingamy challenge in a cagey affair that was goalless at the break. Our goal was a late consolation at 3-0 down. Disappointingly our squad has been sitting around doing nothing for two months and so far we have won one, lost two with a 13- 4 goal difference.
South Korean football returned this morning with a hint that piped crowd noise is a really inappropriate.
The SPFL have abandoned talks designed to restructure the leagues. It means relegation is a near certainty for Hearts. The idea of having 14 teams in three leagues had looked a strong favourite because no teams would need to be relegated but while agreement looked close the talks broke down.
Scotland fucks up reorganising the league so often it is hardly a surprise they have bottled another chance to be part of the solution rather than the problem.
Kyle Walker is feeling victimised after he was caught breaking lockdown to wish his sister happy birthday and give her a hug, and then popping round to his parents for a bit of home cooking. This only weeks after he held a party at his place with a couple of sex workers. And he is complaining that criticism of his breaches of social distancing are starting to affect his family… while broadcasting yourself on the internet partying with a couple of brass nails will really cheer up your family.
Saturday 9 May
Optimists for project restart will be distressed to learn that Dynamo Dresden have place their entire squad on two-week’s isolation after two members of the squad tested positive for Covid-19.
The situation in Germany has been far better handled but even there with a restart date of Saturday 16 May for the top two league at least one side are not going to be playing.
Meanwhile in England, Watford have come out against plans to hold matches at neutral venues. The argument that home advantage is vital to sides threatened with relegation is difficult to ignore and the Premier League will need close to unanimity on the question if the integrity of the competition is going to be respected.
Liverpool are still likely to win the league with an asterisk. The question is how many:*season finished behind closed doors, *at neutral venues, *matches without VAR, *matches with five substitutes,*40-minute halves, *squads depleted by contracts expiring, *depleted by loans ending, *depleted by isolation protocols… at what point is it not the same competition?
Sunday 10 May
Stay Alert – Control the Virus – Cost Lives. Boris Johnson spluttered out a moronic message ordering everyone to go back to work on Monday morning. Without any corona virus regulations or guidance in place. He told construction workers to go back to work on sites where distancing is impossible. Business leaders, workers and trades unions have been holding discussions about how work can be carried out in different workplaces. But no regulations are in place. Boris ordered people not to take public transport but to flood the roads with cars.
Germany and South Korea have both experienced an upswing in infections since they introduced relaxations of their rules. Last week Spain and Italy relaxed their much stricter lockdowns by allowing people out to exercise for the first time but our Prime Minister has just ordered everyone back to work. We are at least three weeks behind the infection curve of Italy and France, we started our lockdown two weeks late and we are relaxing it three weeks early.
This move will cost lives. Bodging a relaxation without properly implemented workplace regulations will kill people. They will take the virus from work to their families. Johnson also announced that he would be throwing children back into schools from June so they can carry the virus home with them.
The Conservative Party – cavalier with your lives and the lives of your family.
Monday 11 March
All 20 clubs want to play home and away if football can resume. The government have said sport can resume if sufficient progress is made in limiting the spread of the virus.
If, is the significant word in that sentence.
Given we have just embarked on a reckless experiment with the health of the nation by relaxing lockdown weeks early, the chance are that infection rates will steadily climb.
Players whose contracts were to run out on June 30 can be extended, if the player agrees. But the same meeting also agreed, for the first time, finishing the season if play cannot resume.
Ah, Liverpool, so near and yet…
The meeting was a Premier League affair. The FA reminded the league that the FA have a final say, a special share, and Greg Clarke reminded the clubs where the FA stands. He said they wanted a sporting conclusion but ultimately they will have the final say if they feel they need to.
Tuesday 12 May
Rangers lost their resolution to hold an investigation into the SPFL’s handling of the vote to end the Scottish season. The divisive vote was called by Rangers on the basis of evidence they said they had of bullying a coercion, having failed to present any real evidence the Scottish clubs voted overwhelmingly against Rangers.
Celtic have been very quiet in all this but released a statement: “We greatly regret the denigration of named individuals who have, on every occasion, acted upon decisions which were made by the board of the SPFL … We now appeal to all clubs to look to the future in the knowledge that the threats which exist to the fabric of Scottish football are grave and unprecedented”
Which means; stop bellyaching about a vote that you lost, spewing allegations around without and proof and help solve the problem.
Friday 15 May
Phew phased out for a few days there.
On our return things are just the same the Covid R value has already increased before the government’s hasty and incompetent easing of lockdown on Monday. An App for care Workers turns out to be a backdoor for employers to monitor complaints about wages and PPE. The British Medical Association and the teaching unions have condemned government plans to reopen schools. So, same as…
It’s the level of incompetence that is so astounding.
League Two has been cancelled with unweighted points-per-game used to decide the outcome. They have asked for relegation to be suspended. Cheltenham Town are the side crossing their fingers. League One will carry out more talks but the WSL looks like finishing too. The main driver is the cost of resuming, testing players and policing events with no income.
Chelsea women would win the league if points-per-game decides the league because we are a point behind City with a game in hand.
Project restart for the Premier League is looking ever shakier. Government backing looks more like opportunism.
Saturday 16 May
Well, it is football, but not as we know it. The Bundesliga popped back up, with matches in home stadiums and without any crowds gathering, which gives us a real look at what our game will be like when and if they get round to it.
A bit like watching the reserves at Aldershot. Just the sound of coaches bawling instructions and swearing. Sky commentators will be busy with “we are sorry if you heard…”
Borussia Dortmund really put on a show, scoring four really classy goals in thrashing local rivals Schalke 04.