There is an apocryphal tale that when Jim McLean was manager of Dundee United, a 12-year-old wrote to him to dispute team selection. McLean, so the legend goes, drove straight to the senders address and on being introduced to the boy on the doorstep, stated, “I pick the team”, before turning on his heels and leaving.
When Neil Lennon and his former mentor Gordon Strachan coordinated a Man of the Match nomination for Scott Brown yesterday, it struck me that this was the modern equivalent of a McLean door-stepping. Neil Lennon picks the team and his MotM quote was him letting you know where authority lies. It’s not a McLean-level anecdote but is no less a classic of the genre.
Today, 10 MPs, two former chairmen of the FA and others, wrote to the Government asking for a taxpayer handout for the English Football League (EFL). They note:
“Without any plans being made to rescue football clubs, many in the EFL and others in the National League as well, are now actively preparing to make all but essential staff redundant, cease playing, close down their youth academies and community foundations, and put their business into administration.
“This could lead not only to the failure of many historic community clubs, but the collapse of the national league structure that we have known for over one hundred years. These are decisions that will be made in the coming weeks, with many clubs unable to meet their payroll obligations for next month.”
The EFL still hope for a rescue package from the Premier League. They are also pushing the Professional Players Association, the players’ union, to make massive concessions on wages that were never affordable in normal times. But right now, football in England outside the top flight is unviable this season.
Since the start of the pandemic, I have noted the precarious position of the EFL. Chances of the existing structure surviving have never been slimmer and probably never will. This bubble is ready to pop!