Last night’s breaking news – that a City player had tested positive for Covid-19 – was the denouement of what had been the most miserable and troubling week imaginable.
First things first, and it goes without saying (even though I am saying it) that everyone’s best wishes are with the player and his family.
The fact it was uncovered as the result of a random Premier League test rather than because the individual was feeling unwell, is encouraging in itself, and let’s hope after the mandatory seven-day quarantine the player is able to rejoin the squad with no wider effects.
It’s also worth noting that under the agreed Premier League protocols this does not impact other City players or any of the Tottenham squad who played against us on Friday afternoon. The testing regime is such that players who test positive can, at least as things stand, be treated on an individual case basis.
But it does serve as a reminder of the tightrope on which we currently all walk. The complacency of some who crave for a wider, more bullish, easing of lockdown has no place in a country that still announces three-figure death tolls on a daily basis.
It also brings back into sharp focus the Premier League’s desire to ‘get this season done’ for all the wrong reasons. But ‘get this season done’ they will and whether we like it or not, Friday teatime will be the time many have waited patiently for over three long months.
It looks highly likely that, given one week’s worth of isolation means no training, City will be one down before we even begin against Southampton, but the players themselves appear enthused about the restart – at least until last night – and maybe the reset will count in their favour.
What the news also did was bring to fore all the idiots who still continue to believe that our club is doing everything it can to get the season cancelled in order to save its Premier League skin.
To give you a glimpse into the type of morons we’re dealing with…
” Relegation threatend (sic) club gets positive test.” – Sheffield United fan.
“Norwich?!?! Surely not” – Liverpool.
“You couldn’t make this up” – Everton.
“Of course it’s a Norwich player” – Middlesbrough
“Do the relegation-threatened players go round licking door handles or something?” – Sunderland
“Of course it had to be a relegation threatened team” – Anon.
“Shock horror. #NCFC who have tried to void the PL already, are trying one more time” – Real Madrid!
You get the gist. There were more – loads of them. All fixated on the fact the club were somehow able to conjure up a positive test of a life-threatening illness purely in the hope of getting the season null and voided, even though our only hope of survival is, in fact, accruing enough points by playing our nine remaining game.
My god it’s tiring.
So too the fact the media attention is not on how this may affect a City player and his family, but how it may affect Tottenham’s playing and non-playing staff. The very same Tottenham who are knocked out of all the cups and who already looked destined for mid-table nothingness even before lockdown.
We, of course, hope there is no impact on Spurs as a club, or anyone else for that matter, but why is the first thought not for the player concerned?
Yet, having got that off my chest, for our club there is still plenty left to play for.
For City there is a very clear and defined target – to win as many games as possible in order to give themselves even the remotest chance of survival – while those with nothing to play for, other than which mid-table position they will end up in, will probably have a ‘why are we doing this’ type take.
Equally, with Friday in mind, the home advantage that a vibrant Carrow Road would normally bring is negated by it being crowd-less, and the Bundesliga restart has supported this theory with away teams enjoying more success than those playing at home.
Once upon a time, part of home advantage came from knowing the quirks and traits of a home pitch, but given they all play on part-synthetic carpets today, one pitch is very much the same as the next. Those of a certain age will recall the pitch at Derby’s old Baseball Ground – and I use the term pitch loosely.
Now that would have offered a massive advantage for those who were used to playing on it, but I’m not sure knowing the layout of Carrow Road and being au fait with where the toilets are will give City be a massive head start on Friday.
What we have to hope for is that City are better prepared, more committed and hungrier than Southampton.
But, most important of all, and infinitely more important than Friday’s night’s result, let’s hope the City player who has Covid-19 gets well soon – very soon.