Before I begin, if you’re a Liverpool fan, look away now. I incensed so many of them last Sunday they’re not going to find this one any more soothing. Just go.
Leeds fans too.
And to that West Brom bloke who has questioned my parentage on numerous occasions over the last week … I really don’t want a spontaneous combustion on my hands. Please switch channels.
Oh, and if you’re a Premier League executive you may want to give this a swerve, along with the dealmakers and moneymen at Sky and BT. You’re not really welcome here anyway.
While we’re at it, if you’re a fan of any team in the ‘top 14’ and you’re itching for the imminent return of football because you’re getting a bit bored, feel free to bu.gger off.
And, finally, if you were one of those people in that VE Day conga-in-a-northern-town, or were swaying and embracing with others while singing ‘We Meet Again’ … this is probably not for you either.
If there’s anyone left, I salute you.
And you probably know what’s coming, because my gasket had already been blown this time last week, when we were being drip-fed the delightful prospect of ten neutral venues, CGI fans, players in face masks, and the potential for this all to be taken to Perth, Austalia for completion.
Since then, the drip drip has suggested using five substitutes instead of three to make up for the lack of match fitness and/or for games to run for less than 90 minutes.
You know… the usual… just changing the basic rules of Association Football that have been around for over a century in order to satisfy the insatiable greed of those who will benefit from the earliest possible resumption of the game we used to love.
And then we come to the Premier League getting the hump because some clubs have expressed understandable reservations about resuming while there are still literally hundreds of loved ones dying every single day.
Then little gem popped up on my Twitter feed:
In a nutshell (*Danny Dyer voice*), ‘you lot in the bottom six had better have a long, hard think about which way you’re going to vote when we put forward the neutral venue proposal, because if you don’t, we can make life veeerrrry difficult for you’.
Or, to put it another way, if you don’t vote the way we want you to, we’ll relegate you.
Great eh? Democracy in action. Do as we say, or else… the highway.
The common consensus seems to be that the bottom six have taken a stance which will give them the best chance of survival, ignoring the fact that three of them will retain their status anyway if the season is concluded and points-per-game is the chosen formula.
It wouldn’t, of course, be anything to do with the fact that these clubs, City included, value health over wealth in the first instance and, in the second, they want, if the season is to be completed, to be offered a fair crack at survival.
The Liverpool fans’ ‘well you deserve to go down because you’re cra@p’ line flies in the face of the very same ‘integrity’ argument they like to trot out.
To be forced to complete the season in an abbreviated form that, at least, feeds the cravings of Sky and BT’s moneymen, is no consolation to City, whose chance of survival hinges mainly on eminently winnable home games against Burnley, Everton, Southampton, Brighton, and West Ham.
But, with that metaphorical pistol being pointed in the direction of Stuart Webber when he votes on Monday, I so want him to tell them to shove it. Is the product so valuable they consider its resumption worthy of putting human lives at risk?
At no point have we ever been truly welcomed in the Premier League – only ever tolerated at best – and now it spills over. They don’t need Norwich City. But they do need Leeds United. This is their chance.
That’s how it feels.
Of course, we need the Premier League more than it needs us, but only from a financial perspective and because it’s deemed the only place to be. As a football club, the aim has to be to play at the highest level possible but there is so much to dislike about the way it operates, it’s impossible to love.
So much so, I really don’t care if their thinly veiled threat to expel us comes to fruition. If they’re not prepared to give us a fair chance of keeping our heads in their revolting trough, then so be it.
Obviously the consequences of this would be catastrophic for the club’s finances and the team we currently adore would be no more; instead, would be ripe for cherry-picking by the macho-14.
But, once we’ve said our fond farewells, we’d be fine wouldn’t we? We’ll still have the memories of one of our greatest seasons ever, and we’d be free of what feels the almost tyrannical grip of our paymasters.
And we got here in the first place on a wing a prayer. Maybe armed with another wing, another prayer, and Webber & Farke we could have another go. And maybe, free of that feeling of being unwelcome guests at a posh party, football would be fun again.
The problem, if indeed it is a problem, is that once we’ve reset in that place the Premier League thinks is our natural home, the aim has to be promotion – otherwise, why are we doing it.
But right now, almost everything about the EPL is unedifying. The absurdity of it all was summed up nicely in @Holtamania’s tweet:
In addition to the above, which encapsulated in 26 words what I’m failing to in 1000, there were two pieces of writing published yesterday, coming from different angles, that also captured the crassness and unfairness of the Premier League’s stance.
One was by our Robin who, as ever, nailed it in his EDP column and the other was a statement from Watford chairman Scott Duxbury, who eloquently highlighted the injustice of having the season completed in a way that only appeases those with something to gain.
Ultimately, it boils down to money, and however much they like to tell us it’s all about ‘integrity’, it really isn’t. That’s just them trying to justify a stance that has £££ as its sole driver.
So, let’s not be bullied or blackmailed and if the Premier League wants to take its ball home, let them. There’s too much at stake here. I’d be more than happy for Stuart Webber, supported by the board, to take a stand and refuse point blank to kowtow to the demands of the EPL. He’ll, at least, have Scott Duxbury in his corner.
With every passing day, the Premier League appears more desperate. And yet people are still dying.
Make sense of that if you can.