Mails on salary caps, PL all-stars, and defending Danny Rose…

Date published: Thursday 14th May 2020 8:53

Keep your mails coming to…


Cap concerns
A salary cap will have a massive impact in equalising the league as teams often have to get rid of players to make cap room and often favour younger cheaper prospects as a result.

This will have a massive benefit in developing home grown talent too.

Yes, teams like Bayern may continue to dominate by cherrypicking youngsters but they will be unable to bring in players like Coutinho on massive wages if they already have other huge salaries on the books. The reason why the Pats have done well, is by having a winning culture which the players buy into and willing to take a lower salary for.

The issue with instilling salary cap will be getting the major European leagues to sign up, deciding a fair cap that works for all teams and stopping leagues like China swooping up players in a non salary cap league.

Also, what happens to the cap when a team is relegated?
Adam, Midlands


In defence of Danny Rose
First time writing in but I just thought I’d send an e-mail defending Danny Rose although judging from the comments section I doubt I’ll be the only one. I’ll start by admitting I am a Newcastle fan but Danny Rose has barely played for us so there’s no bias involved here.

I think Rose has a way of speaking that rubs people up the wrong way; his tone, his choice of words. I think he struggles to articulate what he wants to say and a lot of people get the wrong end of the stick, it also doesn’t help that this site decided to use the quote ‘I don’t give a f*ck about the country’s morale’ as the headline. Yes, he did say that but out of context it looks like an attack on the public when in fact the deeper message was that ‘people are dying’ and he therefore didn’t want to risk playing football and potentially spread the virus further and cause more deaths (and I’m sure there was a part of it which was self serving but we all have to look after number one too). But he’s not that stupid, he surely knows he’s young and healthy and is unlikely to die, I genuinely think he was considering others during his rant.

When he said he didn’t care about the country’s morale, I think what he meant to say is, what use is morale if we’re causing more deaths by restarting football and he’s right. This whole ‘well I have to go back to work so why shouldn’t he’ attitude is flawed, I think Danny’s point is that no one should be going back while lives are still at risk, I think people are misplacing their anger at the wrong person in all of this. And furthermore, if I had to go back and I didn’t think it was the right time, I’d take that up with my employer or the government rather than other people who weren’t having to go back. We’re not just looking after ourselves here, we’re trying to stem the spread to protect vulnerable people remember.

But I do get why people dislike Rose but he’s a human and he doesn’t seem to worry too much about his public image which is quite refreshing. I respected him for his comments about Ruud Gullit but again he got a lot of stick for that based on the way he put his point across.
David, London


Global game
Quick point on the subject of the supposed “morale boost” which would result from Project Restart and the restart of the Premier League. From a UK-centric perspective, I totally agree with the doubts expressed by John Nicholson and many mailbox contributors about the likelihood of this actually working, both from the perspective that millions of Brits don’t care about football no matter what, and from the perspective that behind-closed-doors football would be spooky/eerie and not provoke the response hoped for.

However, there are 7 billion people in the world. The Premier League has quantified this by claiming that 1.35 billion people watched live matches of the 2018/19 season in some form. Does that change your perspective at all? This is a global pandemic, we are all in this together. I am not suggesting that the British government should put its own nation at unnecessary risk for the sake of entertaining the rest of the world – for the umpteenth time, nobody has ever suggested playing football until it is safe to do so, I don’t know why hypocondriacs keep insisting that safety is not being adequately considered – but rather that if the specific concern is “nobody will care”, I suggest that you think about the subject more broadly.

Other countries with other specialist industries will be thinking along the same lines. In Spain, for specific example, La Liga has outright pointed out that football represents 1.3% of the country’s GDP; the only more internationally-recognized brand than Barca and Real is ZARA. When Netflix and major Hollywood studios consider taking risks to begin film production again, they will be thinking about global markets, not narrowly considering how many Americans would enjoy watching new content.

In any event, I totally agree with Dave Allen, IOM when he wrote that morale will be boosted more by a quicker end to the spread of the virus; my argument in favor of Project Restart would not involve the words “morale boost” at all and would be entirely based on both adequate safety and economic necessity. But if anyone indeed wants to discuss a “morale boost”, you are talking about 1.3 billion people around the world, not 1 million on Albion.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


And another thing…
In response to those who disagreed with Mike, LFC, London’s morning mailbox entry on the “Get Back To Work” debate (Dave Allen, Gareth, Seamus, Dan, Steve, Neill) – I guess I would just want to understand whether you are arguing that Project Restart’s timeline is too aggressive by a factor of a few weeks, or whether you are arguing that Project Restart is months too soon, or whether you are arguing that football should simply be cancelled until there is a cure or vaccine.

If anyone says “I think Project Restart can work, but we are jumping the gun by 2-3 weeks”, I don’t think there is any way to argue with that. They might be right, or Project Restart might be right. I certainly don’t have the latest data on how infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the UK are trending, to help in predicting exactly when the improved situation in the UK would be in-line with what we have seen in other countries when they decided to open back up.

If anyone is arguing the latter, that Project Restart is months too soon or that football shouldn’t return before a cure/vaccine – I would just ask for their explanation for why the UK is different from other countries. It would be unfair to compare the UK to Germany or Switzerland, which have not been hit nearly as hard, but very fair to compare to Spain and Italy. These two countries have many parallels with the UK overall, and their two leagues have many parallels with the PL. They are 3-4 weeks ahead of the UK in terms of their COVID situations. La Liga is resuming play on June 12. Serie A have not confirmed a date but the government’s minister for sport “hopes it will return soon” (ie. not months from now, not “once a cure/vaccine arrives”).

My understanding of Project Restart is that they are putting things in place to get ready to return on June 13, and that this is entirely conditional on the situation improving in all key metrics (infections, hospitalizations, deaths, testing + safety equipment availability, etc). The decision can therefore be made to backtrack if the situation worsens, but it is necessary to plan weeks in advance, due to player mini-pre-season requirements. I really fail to see where the problem is, unless you are of the opinion that the situation will not improve ahead of June 13 and that the government will ignore this and decide to proceed anyway. While that isn’t strictly impossible, it is certainly very implausible.
Oliver (got my haircut 15 days ago, used a public laundromat 15 days ago, went to the gym last night – like/agree with it or not, life is only weeks away from some semblence of normality) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


Furloughing footballers
A few suggestions of “if footballers refuse to play then furlough” them in today’s mailbox. First off, refusing to play will almost definitely be a breach of contract and they’ll be able to be fined or have wages withheld as result.

However, they don’t have regular employment contracts so I don’t think the furlough rules will apply. But even if they did – don’t bloody furlough them! All that happens then is the Gov’t will expend more cash funding giving a bunch of vastly overpaid, multi-millionaires a few grand more. And by Gov’t I mean all of us via the inevitable increased taxation and spending cuts to pay for it. Furlough is not a good thing in any business; it’s supposed to be a measure of last resort. It’s 100% not being used as designed, with large companies shoring up their cash positions rather than genuinely at risk businesses using it to avoid redundancy. Football clubs (in the Premier League) absolutely should not be using it.
Alex, Ayr


Hey now, you’re an all-star
A Premier League All Stars game that Cormac (THFC), Co.Clare suggested in the Mailbox is something that would be awesome on paper, the best players from each European league in a knockout style tournament, it sounds something we would all be on board for, however as a huge NFL fan I can say that it is NOT what you may expect it to be, the NFL have a Pro Bowl game, scheduled a week before the Super Bowl, in the Pro Bowl you will have two sides, usually the AFC vs NFC, where the best players from that season as voted for by the fans play off against one another in an all star game (the only players who are not included are players who are in one of the two sides playing in the Super Bowl).

On paper it sounds fantastic, fantasy stuff, but as I can say the Pro Bowl is one of the most laid back, almost a bit boring games to watch, mainly due to the rules put in place to stop tackling, it is played at quite an exhibition style pace, as no one wants to get injured and most are thinking about their long earnt holiday break coming up after the game, which you cannot blame them for, but I would have loved to have seen the 2015/16 La Liga and Premier League Team Of The Seasons play off against one another, for those who don’t know, these would be the line ups;

DDG, Bellerin, Morgan, Alderweireld, Rose, Kante, Alli, Mahrez, Payet, Vardy, Kane
Oblak, Ramos, Godin, Pique, Marcelo, Busquets, Modric, Iniesta, Suarez, Messi, Ronaldo

That would be one incredible game, I am sure some are laughing at seeing Wes Morgan come up against a front three of Messi, Suarez and Ronaldo, but he may surprise us, this was after all the Leicester title season, where Wes Morgan was arguably one of the best centre backs over 38 games.

Which other vintage year teams would others like to see play against one another?
Mikey, CFC


Time travel
I liked Johnny Nic’s piece on time travel at a game, but I think he does a disservice to rugby and cricket in his piece.

What I’m going to describe will firmly place me in a particular era, and I’m sure a lot of your readers won’t have a clue what I’m talking about, but I’ll give you a couple of examples from each game.

When I lived in London I went to test matches at Lord’s (down the street from me, I never went to the Oval) and rugby – internationals at Twickenham and Harlequins games at The Stoop.

Have you ever heard the expression “a six from the moment it left the bat”? You knew. When Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Ian Botham, Sunil Gavaskar put a foot down the pitch you could see the eagerness in their eyes. And boom! There it goes. David Gower? My favorite of the time, but “a short life but a merry one” was his motto. You never got the same feeling about him, he was more likely to play two great square cuts to the Tavern boundary, and then wave at an outswinger and get caught in the slips. Bowling? Imran Khan, Dennis Lillee and Richard Hadlee. It was not the one ball, but the lead-up. Two teasers, play-and-misses and you just knew that the third would be outside edge or straight through, bowled middle stump. The West Indian quicks, and Jeff Thompson, Bob Willis – great bowlers all but you always had the feeling they could go for 20 or more in the over as soon as take a wicket.

Rugby? Rob Andrew with a penalty or a point-after conversion. You knew the moment you heard that “thump” that the ball was headed straight through the middle, no matter how far or how wide the ball was placed. Thump, Andrew turns away, and it’s good.

The Stoop? Harlequins flanker “Mick the Munch” Mickey Skinner. When he came off the scrum within ten yards of the try-line with the ball in his hands, you just knew he was in. He’d do the Roman “salute” – one fist to the chest – as he was jogging back for the restart. And he had “that tackle” on Marc Cecillon against France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Paris in 1991.

So John – you’re right, you do have that great “I know what’s going to happen” moment, but it’s not just soccer.

Stay safe
Steve, Los Angeles


World Cup farce
In the most recent mailbox, Glen was reminiscing about England’s Admiral kit, Spain ’82 and little facts that he had discovered. During my own research, I found out that the controversial West Germany-Austria match (the last game of Group 2) was played at the same time as England-Kuwait (the last match in Group 4). Different groups concluding simultaneously!! No wonder people doubt FIFA’s organisational ability. For some bizarre reason, England and West Germany played their first round group games at the same time.

Everyone “remembers” being outraged about the West Germany-Austria farce but this game wasn’t shown live anywhere on British TV. No viewer in the UK ever saw the full 90 minutes live. ITV showed the England game but the Beeb ran its usual late afternoon schedule. The Beeb didn’t show any football that day until 7.30pm – the mighty Northern Ireland’s 1-0 win against Spain (“when yer man get the ball, Northern Ireland has it all…”, not my words Carol, the words of Dana and the Northern Ireland squad).

Compared to today, coverage of World Cups, even as late as 1994, was quite haphazard with full matches not being shown live.
Matthew, Belfast


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