Fan’s View 2020/21 – No.6 – NOT Crewe at home

Article by Paul Beasley Saturday, October 3rd, 2020  

SEASON 2020/21 – FAN’S VIEW No.6 – NOT CREWE AT HOME

NB: All written prior to 14:30 on Saturday except for the last bit

Covid

Whether the EFL will receive a bailout courtesy of the Premier League has been much discussed. The figure mentioned is £250m. There are however so many issues involved. Loans have to be paid back and strings would be attached. The EFL, particularly the Championship already receives significant amounts of cash from the top flight. Not only are there parachute payments other Championship clubs get solidarity payments. That was £4.65m each in the 2018/19 season. During that time L1 clubs got £700k each and L2 clubs £470k.

If it was £250m how would it be dispersed? How long would it last?

Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe has said “A League One club or a League Two club wouldn’t give the local non-league club £200,000-300,000 for nothing. It’s part and parcel of football, we just can’t expect to be given money from the Premier League.”

Meanwhile Tiger has said we’re okay but we’re no closer to fans returning even in limited pilot numbers than we were last week.

Grimsby v Bradford is the only Covid hit EFL game this weekend. The Mariners can’t return to training until next Wednesday giving them just three days before they play Bolton, their first game since 19 September.

Liverpool have had Mane and Thiago testing positive. There’s no discrimination here. Premier League and park footballers alike. But where did these two catch it from?

An Oxford Mail headline on 1 October read, “Oxford covid cases rise after ‘red alert’ lockdown warning”. I’ve no idea what the reality of this is although I do know the figures for Cherwell, where I live, look a lot better.

We don’t really know what the risk is in attending a fixture at the Kassam with say 4 -5k mask wearing home fans in situ, social distancing in bubbles, refraining from the usual raucous activity, and being sensible when entering and leaving plus visiting the toilets. I suspect not that high as it is all just about outdoors(ish). There’s quite a few countries throughout Europe that are currently allowing fans into stadia. Numbers vary from a thousand up to the 15,180 gate in Budapest on Thursday night for the European Super Cup Final where Bayern beat Sevilla 2-1.

All we can do is wait patiently.

League One Rivals

Having known what it was like when the very existence of our football club was in the balance – Thames Valley Royals and the Robin Herd / Keith Cox project dramatically stalling – I wouldn’t wish that on any genuine fan of any club except perhaps just one. (Probably not the one many might think I’m thinking of). Bury are no more. Macclesfield Town are no more. Just try and imagine what the locals who turned up at Gigg Lane and Moss Rose every other Saturday and the few who travelled away are feeling at 3 o’clock when we are sitting in front of an iFollow screening watching a team that we feel belongs to us and our local community. Twiddling their thumbs? Watching another team as a distraction from thoughts of what might have been? Working on a phoenix club?

Two teams that we will be playing this season, Charlton and Wigan, have for some time had a very uncertain future, but within the last week or so by all accounts they’ve both taken massive steps forward. Whilst obviously wishing them all the best there’s also the thinking that perhaps I don’t want them to become too financially secure and hence much more competitive on the field of play. That makes it that bit harder for others in L1, including us obviously, to be successful. There remains just the three promotion slots. (Just look at me talking about promotion when after the Sunderland game I was saying we should be looking at avoiding relegation).

Football ownership and financial structure can be very complex and there are plenty of “wrong ‘uns” who bleed clubs dry and bring them to their knees, either knowingly or through incompetence.

In Thomas Sandgaard it seems that Charlton have got a cool dude with money and the best of intentions at heart as their new owner. He has just purchased the club from East Street Investments (ESI). Sandgaard is an American based Dutch man and founder of Zynex Inc, a multi-million dollar medical device manufacturing company.  He also plays guitar in a band. Just trying to picture Tiger with instrument in hand.

Paul Elliott (no, not that one) had thought he was the new owner of Charlton back in August but he failed the EFL Directors test. This prompted him to bring out an injunction to stop any one else making the purchase. Clever lawyers found a way round this by ESI selling the assets they owned, i.e. the football club to Sandgaard but not ESI itself. Perhaps Elliott has not gone away but for now it looks like he’s been beaten.

All this stuff might bore many but I find it both fascinating and also important to know because we swim in the same pool and there are certain similarities which cannot be overlooked. Charlton used to be owned by Ronald Duchatelet, who incidentally owns other football clubs, Carl Zeiss Jena and Újpest. For most Charlton fans his tenure from 2014-2019 was considered to be disastrous with the man seen as a villain.  I think he did cover losses though and he had paid £14m in the first place. But they key point here is that he still owns the Valley and the training ground. Sandgaard had initially wanted to buy the stadium and training ground but the deal signed with Duchatelet is a rental one for the next 15 years. Sound kind of familiar? I’m looking forward to finding out how much that is and how it compares with the rental / services charges we are paying FK for a vastly inferior smaller three-sided affair.

It was an absolute scandal what happened at Wigan with the club being put into administration almost immediately on takeover. Until now the administrators were really struggling to sell the club but they’ve now said that a Spanish investor has agreed to buy and has paid a “substantial deposit.” Athletic fans should now be sleeping somewhat easier.

I would think the odds on both these clubs returning to the Championship have now shortened. And we should remember that each have been in the Premier League this century. Charlton last played there in 2006/07 and Wigan as recently as 2012/13, when they won the FA Cup. That’s easy to forget.

Our Opponents

I know very little of the modern Crewe but when their name is mentioned two things spring to mind.

Firstly there’s the Dario Gradi era when they were known for playing good attractive football and developing young players and selling them on for a profit before that became such a thing. David Platt, Danny Murphy, Dean Ashton, Geoff Thomas, Rob Jones, Seth Johnson and Robbie Savage all started there and all played international football. On reflection perhaps not the most spectacular of footballers but I suppose that’s not the point. Secondly it is sadly Barry Bennell and the way Crewe allegedly turned a blind eye. That taints so much which should not be tainted. The 30 year sentence he was given was appealed but I think that failed. Good. He coached at Man City too.

They finished second in the points per games played League Two table last season and have kept just about the same team for this campaign. Nearly all their players are in their early to mid-twenties and some have clocked up around 100 games for the Railwaymen already. They’ve added Omar Beckles, a name it’s hard to forget, and Luke Murphy. At 28 and 30 they add experience and the mix looks a decent one.

Oxford United 0 Crewe Alexandra 1 (Not goals but positive Covid tests)

By two o’clock I was getting that pre-match feeling of great anticipation. It is almost the same as back in the day when I got into a car and drove or was driven to see live action.

Two o’clock is team news time. I rely on my son or wife to get that via the OUFC twitter feed. Nothing yet he said. At about 20 past he said still nothing. “Bet it has been called off” was my contribution to the situation. And sure enough. Bugger.

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 3rd, 2020 at 1:44 pm and appears under News Items. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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