A locked gate is seen by the Etihad Stadium where Manchester City was due to play Burnley in an English Premier League soccer match Saturday March 14, after all English soccer games were cancelled due to the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Photo: Jon Super/AP Photo
A locked gate is seen by the Etihad Stadium where Manchester City was due to play Burnley in an English Premier League soccer match Saturday March 14, after all English soccer games were cancelled due to the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Photo: Jon Super/AP Photo

OPINION: Players won't like it but pay cuts are for the greater good

By Danny Murphy Time of article published Mar 22, 2020

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The football family needs to come together now more than ever. We need to find a way to help those teams in the lower leagues that are in danger of going out of existence where gate receipts are imperative to their survival.

The funds at the top of football are able to manage that.

In a sport where we are creating so much wealth, clubs should not be going out of existence. We can’t let that happen.

Yes, it is easy for me to say. I am not a Premier League club owner. But, ultimately, we are talking about very wealthy clubs and, if the big boys have to lose some of their Premier League money to keep those clubs alive, then so be it. These are not just clubs, these are people’s jobs, their livelihoods, their communities.

I started my career with Crewe in the Fourth Division and it is those communities that make English football special.

We have seen what happened to Bury — albeit for different reasons — but we do not want to see that again and again.

Some players are going to be asked to take a pay cut. We are going to start seeing that all over the country.

It is such a delicate issue and impossible to generalise. If you are earning £200,000 a week, it seems greedy beyond the extreme to say no.

If you are further down the leagues and earning a 100th of that, it could be the difference between being able to pay your mortgage and put food on your family’s table or not.

Would I have been happy to do it? Of course not, no one is going to be happy to take less money but if it is for the greater good and is the only option you have to remain employed.

If lower-league clubs are saying ‘look, if you don’t take half then there is going to be no club left’, then you may have to say yes.

It is so difficult. I understand the belief that footballers on ridiculous money can give more back. We have already started to see some clubs and footballers dig in to help others. We will see more of that and so we should.

The rising death toll from the coronavirus cannot be underestimated.

But the spread of the disease is impacting our society in others ways as well.

It is affecting us financially and stripping us of the social activities that benefit our health, both physically and mentally.

Football, and sport in general, is vital to our wellbeing. It gives us a focus, a common ground, it brings together communities and allows us to escape from the difficulties of everyday life.

But the longer this sporting hiatus goes on, the more we are deprived of the games we love, the more it also brings further worrying problems about which we all need to be careful, not only for those who follow the sport but also those fortunate enough to play it for a living.

Football was all I knew. When I stopped playing, I suddenly stopped having a purpose.

When you deprive someone of their everyday life, of doing the things they love, it can quickly lead to mental illness, depression, addiction. All things that can happen when people are isolated without a direction, lonely, worried and anxious regarding their own predicaments.

Footballers are humans too. Well-paid ones, of course, but people whose lives are structured to the finest detail. What to wear, when to get up, what to eat, where to be and at what time.

They can have 20 years in an industry that does everything for them. Take that structure away and they can struggle.

Daily Mail

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