It's the end of huge wages, says Glenn Murray
Brighton’s Glenn Murray believes the days of superstar wages and big-money transfers could be over when football returns after the coronavirus crisis. And he has warned of the long-term impact on player health of rushing back too soon.
The veteran forward, 36, is preparing for a re-start after Brighton opened up their training ground this week — for social-distancing running at least — and expects the pandemic to leave a lasting effect on both the sport and its players.
‘I do think it will change football in quite a big way,’ he said. ‘All player contracts will be worded very differently from now on to include pandemic and epidemic, for a start.
‘I’m sure owners will run their clubs a little differently, too, and keep cash in the bank for a rainy day rather than spend it on that striker who is going to get you out of a predicament.
‘Do players fear it could be the end of superstar wages? I wouldn’t say fear but it is a huge possibility.’
Murray also has concerns about the growing pressure on players to return, especially after one report suggested they may be given less than two weeks’ notice.
‘I would say that sort of time period is impossible, and it can only end in tears when players are pulling muscles and getting injured on a regular basis,’ he insisted. ‘All footballers are trying to maintain a base level of fitness, but you can’t mirror that sharpness that we get day in, day out, playing five-a-sides and touching the ball in game scenarios. I think every Premier League team would need a minimum of three weeks to get back to their best.’
Murray also fears a long-term impact on player health as football struggles to cope with the time lost due to lockdown, attempting to shoehorn so many games into the calendar between now and the rearranged European Championship in June 2021.
He said: ‘Remember, we have been fit and raring to go since July 2019 and we’re sitting here in May 2020 when a normal season would be coming to an end and we can’t rest. Yes, we’ve had six or seven weeks off, but no one has sat on the sofa and rested, everyone is still training in case the season returns.
‘If we can somehow find a way of getting this season finished, we have to cram in nine games followed by a short rest and then the 2020-21 season and the Euros after that. ‘It’s not ideal. We’re not robots, we are humans. Yes, we’re fit but it does take its toll — and whether that toll comes in the next 18 months or at the end of someone’s career, who knows?
‘It’s certainly eating time off my career. But my career is irrelevant compared to people’s health and other players’ health.
‘I would prefer us to stay safe and healthy and come to a sensible solution rather than try to squeeze games in.’Daily Mail