Liverpool owners remain beyond reproach, and other mails…

Date published: Monday 6th April 2020 8:55

Keep your mails coming to…


Liverpool have done the right thing, you thickos
Well, this will seemingly fly in the face of received wisdom – but it is the role of all of us to stand up and speak the truth, even if the audience doesn’t like it.

So Liverpool have furloughed between 50-67% of their non-playing staff, agreeing to top up the government monies to ensure no one is a penny out of pocket. These, I think, we can agree are the key facts. We then learn that the Liverpool captain is at the forefront on a move to rally the playing staff of the Premier League to do the right thing (pretty easy – normally the opposite that the self-interested PFA Chief suggests) in the situation. Cue mass outrage from the knee-jerk keyboard warriors and sadly some otherwise sane/quality pundits like Carra (no comment for Collymore – his fists always do his best talking…..even Obama in campaign mode couldn’t express his true character as well as Stan in Paris…).

Pause chaps. Examine the facts

* the government – rightly or wrongly – decided that the Swedish model for dealing with Covid19 was not for us and pivoted to a lockdown strategy
* football as a key opportunity to spread was curtailed quickly
* the newbie Chancellor announced a package to encourage employers to retain staff who were unable to work, underwriting 80% of their costs
* to date I understand that this proposal (ie to avoid unemployment with a stitch-in-time backstop) has been welcomed by thousands of employers and their employees – including 36,000 at BA alone
* it is the duty of directors of any company to take such steps as they ought to ensure that a business (which LFC certainly is) remains as a going concern – a failure to recognise the unclear nature and timing of the lockdown and pursue the government scheme would be a dereliction of duty (consult the Companies Act 1982 if unclear)

So to all of the thickos and self-appointed lockdown vigilantes, take a f*cking breath and think what you are saying. There is no profiteering (they are paying 100% of employees incomes – I have friends who have seen their income dive 75% at the hands of less far-sighted employers); there is no loss of soul and your bile indicates the need to get acquainted with the facts before letting rip.

The stewardship of LFC remains in the hands of the most impressive team I have seen in global sport ever. They combine connectedness with the fans, the spirit and the reality of the club today/past and an understanding of the law.

The Queen made a magisterial speech tonight – the gist being – “get on with it and be nice to each other”. In that spirit, all of the pilers-on to LFC, Spurs etc – think it through, realise your point is a dumb one and find something else to worry about. Maybe like where Latte Larry’s will beat Mocha Joe’s !!!
Stuart, London


…Sorry but am I missing something about the LFC announcement to furlough some non-playing staff? They are still receiving 100% of their wage! They are putting staff that are not physically working in the government scheme and then topping up the rest themselves. I work for a huge multi million pound company and they have furloughed us and given us nothing, so now ‘only’ getting 80% of our wage. What makes a football team any different to other wealthy companies? Surely it’s down to the government to decide which business is or isn’t allowed to receive the furlough money.

As a business if you where allowed to receive a payment to help pay your staff, wouldn’t you take it? At least LFC have the decency to pay the 20% to their staff and if you have a problem with a rich business using the furlough scheme, blame the government who are giving it to them.
Jason, London


…Sorry wanted to add something else onto my mail from yesterday regarding furlough/football clubs and “identity”.

Footballs clubs are fundamentally quite stupidly setup businesses and make very little profit relative to revenue. Liverpool turnsover around £500m and made a profit this year of £40m. I think that profit was one of their best on record. 8% is an incredibly poor margin and Liverpool is one of the most profitable football clubs in English football. There may be some financial chicanery involved to keep profits (and thus taxes) low but ultimately that doesn’t look too sexy.

Liverpool’s wage bill is around £300m. So 60% of their outgoings are labour costs and right now incoming revenue will be close to nothing. In the face of no agreement with the players yet I’m not surprised they furloughed their staff. With 25% of the season outstanding that could mean a fall in revenue of £125m and suddenly that £40m profit becomes an £85m loss. Also factor in that profit was earned in a season in which we got to the final of the champions league.

Finally, Liverpool employs around 1200 people. Realistically their access to this government scheme will cost the government around £100k. Starbucks pay an effective tax rate of less than 3% on their profits in the UK, employs 5000 people and has almost certainly accessed the government furlough scheme too. The leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has a stake in an offshore trading fund which pays zero tax and they wrote a note to investors this week talking about how this pandemic was a great opportunity to make some money. Maybe we should focus on the actual corporate greed that is hurting this country instead of getting lost in the micro stakes that are football clubs.

Also lots of praise for Manchester City and United for not furloughing staff. Manchester City have paid zero corporate tax in the past two years despite making £20m over those two years. Manchester United between 2006 and 2012 paid less than £4m in tax. That was a period in which they were incredibly successful for the most part.

At least Spurs and Liverpool pay their dues. They at least have a reasonable right to claim the assistance the government is now offering; they’ve made their required contribution.

I don’t think any top football club comes out of this smelling like roses. Once again all those making tribal claims (I read the comments today!) are total idiots. Relegate or fine Liverpool for accessing a scheme that they’re legally entitled to take part in? Then you better also punish every club for every financial misdemeanour they’ve ever made. Guess what? None of them are innocent. See you all in the conference!
Minty, LFC



…We live in strange times indeed when I find myself agreeing with Stan Collymore.

Liverpool’s decision to furlough their non-playing staff is a disgrace. The fact that The Spirt of Shankly believe that this is a positive is unsurprising. Liverpool is a very left leaning city politically and as we have seen from John Nicholson’s ill-informed diatribes, many left leaning individuals have no idea about how finances work in a free market economy.

At the end of the day Liverpool have taken advantage of legislation that was quite rightly brought in to protect individuals who would have been laid off if it were not for the possibility of their employer receiving up to 80% of their salary. Like the charity for which I am the treasurer, we would have had to make redundant our counsellors as one-to-one counselling is not possible during the current crisis. We simply don’t have the money.

Looking at Liverpool’s numbers is quite ridiculous. If we assume that all 200 of their staff are on the maximum fuloughable amount of £2,500 per month (which is extremely unlikely given the nature of the roles that are being furloughed), Liverpool are saving a little over £100,000 per week. This isn’t £100,000 per week that comes out of a big black money pit in Westminster, this is £100,000 per week that all tax payers will have to find when the crisis is over and it is time to balance the books.

According to the website Spotrac, Liverpool’s weekly wage for their first team squad is £2.2 million. That’s per week. So instead of reducing their players wages by 5% to balance their weekly payroll, Liverpool (and other clubs) are exploiting hastily but necessary legislation that was brought in to protect small businesses and their staff, because it is free money they can claim that we will all have to pay for over the next few years.
Gwarrior (LCFC)


Smoke and mirrors
All the government talk about EPL players deferring or even not taking their salaries is all smoke and mirrors. The player on 100k per week pays over 46k in taxes income and national insurance (NI) on top of that the club pay NI of about 13k so all in all the government is down nearly 60k in revenue (HMRC websites are useful).
I believe it is far better as stated by Wayne Rooney yesterday you allow them to use their wealth in areas were there maybe isn’t government provision example food banks, and they keep paying tax. The situation which is affecting many of us of being paid less and therefore spending less then the outcome of this is that tax revenue will diminish further.
The idea of whether a footballer should earn 100k or whether taxation funds government spending are for another day and probably a non footballing website for the latter.
Gary in Germany (Keep safe)


Football shaming itself
I would like to be civil and calm about all these news slowly feeding through, but my feeling is that I will only be able to keep the lid on it for a short while… I am very close to making the decision of not watching/following football ever again because of the way these footballers and their advisors are handling themselves. I am a die heart Chelsea fan, been following them for 25 years and I am a season ticket holder. One of my sons, a 10 years old is completely in love with football and Chelsea. So, for me to read what footballers and clubs in the UK and elsewhere in Europe are doing is disgusting!! There are no words to describe how upsetting it is to see these overpaid people, obviously the type of people who think a lot about themselves, acting the way they are…

I would’ve had them all furloughed immediately! Them, and the next three generations of their families can easily afford to live confortably using the vast resources they have amassed while earning tens of thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of pounds or euros per week, over many, many years.

Do these people, footballers, agents, clubs really have no shame??? The clubs are sending home people who are contributing to the running of the club, people obviously you can get rid of, however the footballers themselves are spared?
The PFA argument for not accepting a 30% cut in wages is their worry the NHS would get less money in tax? Are these people for real? The question is: Who cares about football anymore when we all have to deal not only with the biggest crisis in a generation, but pottentially with the biggest crisis the world has ever had to deal with?

There is no solidarity, no empathy, no generosity… just greed!!! Football is built on greed!!! We’ve all knew it for a long time but lived with it, and tried to think that even if it’s wrong, life is like that and since football was one of your passions, maybe you’ve just ignored it and look at the positives it has brought in your life. The main one by far is the human aspect… the fact that you could meet a complete stranger God knows where in the world and have a common subject, joke, laugh, have a great time or even maybe go on and built a lifelong friendship just by simply talking about football. Not anymore!! I am absolutely livid of how these people are handling themselves and I know many people feel the same.

The whole world is trying to come to grasps with what is happening around us and how the world as we know it has changed in the space of a short few weeks, however these footballers are trying to build a wall to protect themselves from the coming tsunami. I would go as far as comparing them to hyenas hanging onto their pray… They are acting like nothing is happening and people around will just have to respect contracts and pay them whatever the consequences… they are like a 3 year old tapping his foot to the floor demanding a candy… Well, guess what? The wall will be flattened like it had never existed, the changes we will see in society are far more important and far reaching than football, more important than all these pathetic, plasticky lives they have built for themselves.

If the PFA came out and said to everyone:

We understand the immense changes taking place around us.
We respect the sacrifices the NHS staff, nurses, doctors, fire brigade, etc and people in the wider society are making right now. People who are volunteering to help in this national and global effort, even the people who are just staying at home and respect the government request for isolation and maybe seeing their jobs disappearing or their businesses falling apart without being able to do much about it, these are the people we respect and admire.
We acknowledge and are fully aware that we, as footballers are in a lucky, privileged position. We also acknowledge and are fully aware that none of this would had been possible without our fans in the UK, Europe and around the world. We can see that millions of regular people are or will be losing their jobs in the coming months, and we can all understand the frustration and the pain this will bring to many of our fans and their families.
We can see people are dying and we can feel the pain their families have to go through.

Therefore, we would like to contribute in a positive and active manner, so we have decided that the right thing to do is to bring our contribution right now and show a united front with everyone in society. Starting April 2020 and for the next 6 months we accept a 100% cut in our wages and we will together with our clubs look into how this money can be used efficiently and to the benefit of our health system and wider society, in our common fight against coronavirus.

Well… If this happened, they would have gained our respect, they would have gained our admiration, they would have served their ultimate purpose!! That of contributing through sport to a better, more united society. However, these footballers are people who do not care about these words, these words have no meaning to them and they are now showing their true face. They care about themselves and their money ONLY.

It is disgusting to see… I can only say, shame on you! The greed is making you blind, so you cannot see the reality.

I can speak for myself only but I hope this is a common feeling, I will not be attending matches and I will not be buying anything that contributes to this ugly side of football. I have a duty to my 10 year old son, I have to show him the difference between the good and the bad, between the right and wrong! If most of these footballer’s parents would have done the same we would not be where we are today!

Thank you for reading my email and have a safe week.


…Several backlash emails in the latest mailbox responding to Mike, LFC, London after his criticism of Spurs and the recent news of Liverpool following suit.

For the record, I am also a Liverpool fan and I agree with everything Mike has said in his mail.

But equally, I’m ashamed of my own club for going down the same route. A government scheme to help people who have lost income or jobs is not intended for hyper-profitable companies to exploit. Between this and the tone-deaf, braindead PFA statement about the loss of tax revenue from footballers sitting idly in their mansions, it is clear that many within football have a long way to go to clear themselves of their image as greedy bastards.

They’re not all bad of course: kudos to Jordan Henderson for trying to coordinate a fund through Premier League club captains.

The current situation has really brought home how unimportant football is in the wider scheme of things. And the response of some within the game is really leaving a bad taste.
Dave Lillis, Dublin


…I’ve always tried to be a rational football fan. To avoid rose tinted glasses, or being blinded by my support for my club. I’m not the kind of person who claims their club is morally superior, quite the opposite. I find it laughable when people bunch Liverpool supporters into one big group, as if we all share some strand of DNA that gives us all the same characteristics.

So, Andy, and many others, you want to hear my reaction? It’s exactly the same as it was when I heard the news about Spurs. Disgust. Shame. Sadness. Choose any other synonym you like, I’m probably feeling it right now. Liverpool FC are using taxpayer money to pay their lowest paid staff 80% of their salary. No, I don’t feel great about that.

Perhaps Minty is right, and we all just have to accept that football clubs are just a business, no more, no less. Maybe it’s silly to get worked up about this, I don’t know. What I do know is that a small piece of my love for LFC died when I heard the news.
Mike, LFC, London


Furloughing through the transfer window
At some point in the future football will return. At some point clubs are going to be operating from a ‘business as usual’ perspective and carry on with their footballing activities.

All of the clubs gleefully diving into the public coffers like Scrooge McDuck are going to need to add new faces to their squad.

I can’t wait for these clubs to try and justify how they suddenly have 30/40/50/60 million available to buy a player when the government has been paying the clubs staff for the past X months. I can’t wait to see how the clubs fans rally to the brand and explain how actually, it is all perfectly justified.

The nature of football is going to lead to some truly glorious mental gymnastics and ‘framing the narrative’ behavior when it returns. It will be really interesting if it doesn’t make you physically sick.
Still At Home Dan


The real issue
Most people seem to have missed the real issue here, what the heck is going to happen with the FIFA 21 edition, normally it’s out in September, the current season may not even be finished then coaches not sacked, transfers won’t have happened, who is going to be on the cover?

Can we please focus on the real issues rather than whether the current season is voided or not
Andrew goonerabroad Brown

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