Although the footballing authorities are making all the right noises about ending the current football season, there are still some who question those thoughts. One of those that do is Arsenal fan, Piers Morgan. He says that voiding the season would be fair. Fair to who exactly? Let’s remember though that Mr Morgan has the platform of being on a commercial TV station and the advantage (or disadvantage some would say) of having an opinion on almost everything you can think of. Oh, and he’s loud. Should all that matter? Not really no. But, standing back a bit, let’s have a closer look. What exactly would void mean?
What Exactly Would Void Mean
I’ve pondered this question for some weeks now. On occasions I’ve debated the point with some pals of mine. What I mean when I say what exactly would void mean focuses on issues beyond the rather simplistic, “it’s the fair thing to do” thoughts of Mr Morgan. Let’s have a look at some of those issues. These will not be exhaustive as I’m sure so many issues will come to the fore.
It’s The Fair Thing To Do
So it’s fair is it? Let’s be clear here, Morgan is saying that the season be declared as void. So what does void mean? One definition says, “not valid or legally binding.” A keyword in the middle of that statement speaks volumes. You’ve probably guessed the word – legally.
So, what does ‘not valid’ mean? One definition of that is ‘not recognised or accepted’
If not recognised or not accepted, does that then mean it didn’t exist? If so, that is where the ‘legally’ word may well get some significant prominence. Furthermore, if declaring the season void would be fair, according to Mr Morgan, then let’s explore how far this ‘fairness’ may well go.
From many fans point of view the main beneficiaries would be the legal profession. Unless of course the ‘fairness’ inference means that it is to be expected that those fans who will suffer from a footballing point of view will play ball even more so and ignore everything else?
You know, things like being reimbursed for season ticket monies. Oh, and for those that maybe bought their season ticket by credit card, or by going overdrawn at the bank. Surely a bit more on top of the season ticket price would be in order to cover interest etc.
What Exactly Would Void Mean – Where Would You Draw The Line?
In touching on that word ‘legally’ there may well be several, big cans of worms being opened up here.
Now, I’m not a big gambling man. The odd fiver on a footie accumulator maybe now and then. But I’ve had about 5 or 6 accumulators this season. And lost them all. No surprises there. Hang on a minute though, this season didn’t happen according to Mr Morgan. It didn’t exist. So, if the season is void and didn’t exist, can I have my fivers back please Mr Hill? What about those that won their bets though. Will Mr Hill claim back the winnings they paid out? Good luck with that.
Oh, and while we’re at it, can I get my money back from Merseyrail for me attending all those matches that didn’t really happen?
What about the fans who went to away European matches? Those matches didn’t exist either did they. Air fare money back please. And the taxi fare to the airport. And the sandwich and can of pop I got in the airport cafe. Don’t worry, I’ve got all the receipts still.
A few cans of worms are already being opened aren’t they. No doubt Mr Morgan has thought all this through and can explain the full implications to the fans.
What Exactly Would Void Mean – Lower Down The Chain
I say lower down the chain as I reckon the fans are the top of the footballing chain. Without fans there would be no football. Although we should be top of the chain, we are never treated as such. But that’s another story.
But making our way along the chain in no particular order. What exactly would void mean to the players, the clubs, the TV companies, the sponsors, the investors and last and least, the agents.
What Exactly Would Void Mean To The Players, Clubs, TV Companies, Sponsors etc
Let’s take the example of a non-Liverpool player. Let’s consider Jamie Vardy. Isn’t he currently on 99 Premier League goals? Haven’t 21 of those come in the 2019/20 season? How old is he? About 31 or 32? So, plenty of time to make up the missing 21 goals again. Right, so chalk off his 21 goals for this season taking him back to 78 league goals.
And while you’re at it, try and recover the goal bonuses he has received as per his contract. A contract that may (as if!!!), or may not, contain some worldwide pandemic related clauses.
Maybe Jamie Vardy will agree to that. But will every player? If not, I can see a few more cans being opened.
So, in this instance, maybe Jamie Vardy is happy. But, hang on a moment. That’s not all is it? He has happily chalked off his 2019/20 goals and handed back any goal bonuses. While we’re at though, don’t forget all his appearance, win and other performance related bonuses. Any man of the match awards? We’ll have them back as well.
All good so far for this one particular player. Wait a mo, who’s that calling? Oh, it’s the sponsors. The sponsors are saying, “you know all that money you got back from the player Leicester City Football Club. We want it.”
“Oh, do you now” say Leicester’s owners and investors.
“Nonsense, neither of you are getting any of it”, say the combined voices of Sky and BT Sport. “We’re having our money back.”
All the above together, “and while we’re at it, money grabbing agents we want to reclaim some of the huge fees you’ve earned as well.”
What Exactly Would Void Mean? Now We Know…ish. So Far, So Good….Yes, Or No?
So far, so good in this example. No complications whatsoever. And don’t forget, it’s fair. Or to be more precise, the quote was:
“Only fair thing to do is abandon this season & start all over again in August as if it never happened. Heart-breaking for Liverpool, Leeds etc but this is an unprecedented global pandemic that is going to get a lot worse & frankly a few hurt football fans’ feelings don’t matter.”
He’s obviously in a better position than the rest of us to know how things will pan out. Start all over again in August? I take it he means the 2020/21 season? Why would that be the case? Does he know something we don’t know? For instance, does he know there won’t be another breakout of the virus in the months ahead?
Because in this ‘fair’ suggestion, is not what he is saying, bin 2019/20 season? Just take it on the chin and move on to 2020/21 season when we can. No complications please viz-a-vis TV, sponsors, investors monies and fans season tickets etc. So, in actual fact, he’s probably asking fans to accept only a part of the full implications of voiding the season. Sort of a selective void if you like.
Why Start A New Season That Also May Not Be Completed?
With this ‘fair’ approach now in place we start a 38 league game season when we can. Say, 10 games into the 2020/21 season, there is another outbreak. Is this a possibility? Say there is. What then? Surely, using the same ‘fairness’ yardstick then, that season would need to be voided wouldn’t it? After all a precedent has been set now hasn’t it.
But wait, there’s an added complication. As a result of voiding the previous season ‘fairly for everyone’, some players have pandemic related clauses in their new contracts. However, some don’t. Not only the players either this time. So too do the TV companies and the sponsors. After all, everyone involved who have managed to negotiate new contracts in between popping in and out of court ploughing through the ‘fairness’ of ending last season unfinished will be more savvy this time.
And don’t forget the insurance companies either. Mind you, is it possible to add clauses into a contract if they involve an act of God. And won’t the insurance companies jump all over the act of God angle as well. Hold up though. Who’s actually confirmed that this is an act of God? While the USA are blaming China and China blaming the USA, who can confirm how the pandemic started?
If the USA are correct and it was started in a laboratory in Wuhan, even if accidentally, could it be treated as an act of God? It’s man made in origin in that case isn’t it?
Phew!!! Thank goodness ending the season early in the spirit of ‘fairness’ and starting a new season is so straightforward. I’d hate it if it became complicated.
What about this as a thought? Maybe, as it makes sense to the real ‘fair minded’ footie fans, we finish this season first? Whenever any football is allowed to be played at whatever time, the 2019/20 season is finished first. As it should be. Only 9 or 10 games to go in the League. Titles, promotions and relegations are sorted out correctly. No court cases involving fans, TV companies, sponsors, players, agents et al.
Also European competition qualifications are sorted. As per the Piers Morgan ‘fair’ idea then there won’t be any European football next season will there. A season that has been voided will ensure no one will have qualified at all anyway. As I pointed out to a pal of mine a few weeks back, as it stands currently anyway, only Liverpool have qualified for the Champions League. So if the season is not completed, Liverpool don’t win the title, they don’t qualify for the Champions League either. But by the same token neither do anybody else.
Maybe though, if European football next season is also sacrificed then it may not be too much of a problem to fans of some clubs. Say Arsenal fans for instance.
Not Only European Qualification Though
But even if sacrificing European football was satisfactory for some, the ramifications may even go beyond teams that had European qualification on their radar. Club owners and investors generally may well baulk at parting with their dosh if they feel that the rug may be pulled out from under them. For instance what if a club had a new stadium lined up but all of a sudden investors and club owners got a bit twitchy about still going ahead with such a huge investment on the backdrop of another season possibly being voided.
Does anyone know of any Premier League clubs looking to build a new stadium?
What Exactly Would Void Mean – In Summary
No doubt Mr Morgan’s ‘fair’ suggestion resonates with some fans. But in many instances their acceptance to such ‘fairness’ comes from a tribalistic viewpoint only. Not from a practical position. Denying Liverpool a title is merely scratching the surface. And is so short sighted. Any Leeds or West Brom fans reading? To name just two other clubs.
Following the money trail through if the season was ended void. Sky and BT and all other TV companies want their money back for last season that didn’t happen. Players are stripped of awards, money bonuses and achievements. Fans are embroiled in trying to get their money back for season tickets and Sky subscriptions.
Sponsors and investors get twitchy and either want their money back, or won’t invest. New stadiums plans are shelved. Players agents and their lawyers are in and out of court on both sides of the fence. So much integrity and credibility in the game is destroyed. Possibly for ever. And for what? Some tribal point scoring?
And, as a precedent has been set, possibly rinse and repeat for seasons to come. If there is no attempt to complete this season then you may as well say no more football at all until we are certain a vaccine is found and tested to show it works OK.
Let’s see what the next few weeks bring. And if and when a football restart can be considered (even behind closed doors as we expect), then for simplicity and real ‘fairness’ then let’s get this one finished first before considering the next one. Isn’t that better than Mr Morgan’s ‘fair’ suggestion? Why should 2020/21 season leapfrog this one?
As I said above, those that will benefit the most from ending this season early will be the legal experts. You can imagine it can’t you. A follow on to PPI. No win, no fee companies sprouting up everywhere.
“Did you have a season ticket with Liverpool FC during the season 2019/20? And did you travel by car and incur travel expenses? We can help. Just ring……etc”
Practice What You Preach
Morgan at awards ceremony
A final word on Mr Morgan. There’s a couple of photos on here where he seems to have forgotten about what this pandemic is all about. Have a look at them and then try to reconcile them with much of what he says. In other words, does he practice what he preaches? I don’t mean in the football arena in this case.
I must admit I don’t watch a lot of breakfast TV. If I do, I mainly watch BBC. But in the last few weeks I have seen a fair few “Good Morning Britain” (GMB) mornings. Let’s consider this for a moment. Bear with me.
Mr Morgan is employed by the commercial ITV station. Is that correct? Or maybe he’s a freelancer where his services are called upon by said commercial TV station. Either way, he will be reimbursed for his services by ITV.
How do ITV get their money? A fair chunk of it comes from advertising revenue. Last year, according to The Guardian, ITV’s revenue was £3.3billion, with advertising revenue £1.76billion. Roughly just over half their income is from advertising.
A few weeks ago Mr Morgan was laying into some builders live on GMB for going out to work. “Not essential workers” was the cry. Fair enough maybe. However, back in the studio there are at least two presenters giving us the daily news stories etc. Sometimes there are three, but invariably the third is the doctor. So, you’d keep him. The question then is, are two presenters essential?
I remember when he was banging on about the builders I was talking back to the TV, “couldn’t agree with you more fella. Essential workers going out to work only. Now get yourself off home then. Only one presenter needed.”
After all if you have the radio on, how many presenters do they have? Jeremy Vine show for example. Or the Ken Bruce Show. Only one presenter. Yes, they may have guests. But that’s it, they are guests. Only one presenter.
Some Things Are Agreeable
To be fair I don’t disagree with all that he spouts or presents. I watched him really go to town on Helen Whately (Health Minister) and Matt Hancock (Health Secretary). Some of it on point to be fair. Other bits, not so. Part of the grilling for Matt Hancock was to ask him if he was going to voluntarily take a 20% pay cut in line with his New Zealand counterparts. After some typical politician ‘ducking and diving’ Hancock confirmed that he wouldn’t take a pay cut.
Cue some aggressive reaction from Morgan. The programme by the way is littered with many stories of people and organisations doing their bit. Contributions and donations aplenty. Maybe I missed it, but I can’t remember hearing a mention of ITV themselves making a contribution.
We’ll Be Back After The Break With……
So, we have politicians being put under pressure for not volunteering to take a pay cut. NB: Hancock did say he did make private contributions to charity by the way. No need to dispute that. No doubt Mr Morgan does as well.
And we get the criticism of supposedly non essential workers taking risks by going out to work.
“Right, let’s take a commercial break and after the break……”
Well, blow me, during the commercial break in this lockdown period, we are seeing adverts for IKEA, Ninja Food Grill, Nintendo, Elveve, Nivea and others. You know, some of the things that we can’t actually go out and buy as we are under lockdown. No internet either in some cases, so no online shopping.
Some of the advertising revenue earned of course is going towards Mr Morgan’s salary. Or fees earned. And towards his sidekick. You know, the other ‘essential’ worker.
So, the question is. Are ITV collecting 100% of the advertising revenue? And are the two ‘essential worker’ presenters being paid 100%. Probably not, he said with some scepticism, as to be consistent and to practice what they (him) preach and to fall into line with the question to Mr Hancock, 20% of advertising revenue and 20% of the presenters salaries are no doubt passed on to the more needy.
As I say, I missed that announcement.
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