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Liverpool U-turn shows fans and legends can make their clubs do the decent thing


I do hope the supporters of ­Tottenham and Newcastle were listening on Monday night when ­Liverpool announced they would be reversing their decision to furlough non-playing members of staff.

Because they were sent a very powerful message that you don’t just have to take these things lying down.

I know in many ­scenarios it’s easy to think, ‘Well, there’s nothing I can do about that’, but at the very least you can always have a go.

And Liverpool’s U-turn should show all supporters that if you vote with your feet, if you have a strong voice in your fans’ group and club legends who are willing to speak up, then sometimes clubs have no ­option but to listen.

Liverpool performed a U-turn and will not put non-playing staff on the furlough scheme

I mean, did you hear Alan Shearer or Les Ferdinand speak out and ­condemn Mike Ashley when ­Newcastle announced non-playing staff would be furloughed? I didn’t.

What about Graham ­Roberts or Gary ­Mabbutt when Spurs did the same? No, me neither.

The difference is Liverpool expects people to speak out and once a club ­legend does it is very difficult to hold back the tide that rolls with it.

Liverpool’s ­decision to introduce the furlough in the first place not only ran contrary to ­everything the club has been about for many, many years, but to the way Fenway Sports Group have done things themselves since they arrived at Anfield.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was the first Premier League chief to announce furlough decision

That will have hurt supporters who have been riding on the crest of a wave because the success on the pitch was all tied in with the feel-good factor of ­having a manager who is a good man and, as they believed, people at the club in the decision-making arm who were the same.

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They’re probably realising now their owners are like all the rest after all and I know I’m waiting with bated breath to see what Aston Villa do.

There will be plenty of Liverpool fans around the world who didn’t care about the furlough – those who live in far-flung corners probably just want to see them play again.

Tottenham chief Daniel Levy followed suit by announcing his decision to use the government scheme

But Scousers will not have a ­situation at their football club that runs contrary to their beliefs and I don’t doubt there will be some who think, ‘Yeah, they’ve shattered my dream a little bit’.

Even so, it’s still fantastic news and what Liverpool can at least do now is row back and say, ‘Yes, we messed up but we realised and made amends very early on’.

And football fans are very ­forgiving.

Liverpool CEO Peter Moore penned an open letter to fans on Monday night

Four-star behaviour from Man City

The fact Manchester City have said they will keep everyone on full pay is welcome.

Although the caveat is that going overboard in our praise of City would be missing the point ­somewhat, because really they are doing the basics of what’s right and decent.

It would be absurd for a club owned by a nation and a sovereign wealth fund of double-digit billions to be dipping into the UK taxpayer fund – even if nothing in football would surprise us.

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So it’s four-star behaviour from City but what I’m looking for now is for a Premier League club to get the full five stars – a Brighton, Burnley, maybe Crystal Palace who says to its staff, ‘You helped us make hay when the sun was shining so we’ve got you these next three or four months’.

Manchester City will not furlough their non-playing staff

Footballers an easy target

I find it baffling that millionaire footballers continue to be a target for Government ministers and political correspondents yet billionaires in other industries aren’t being told that they need to do more to help the NHS and struggling families and communities.

I guess it’s a tap-in given most players are working-class, or perhaps it’s because they’re viewed as too foreign or too stupid.

It’s a tap-in for such as arch-critics Matt Hancock and Robert Peston.

What I find so odd about it all, though, is that there are footballers doing plenty to contribute and a lot more of them would have done so if they had been asked.

Many are getting up every day, thinking: ‘If someone had come to me to ask for five ventilators I’d have paid for them, but no one has been in touch to let me know how to go about it.’

Yet what of the other big earners living in exile in Monaco or the Cayman Islands with several times the wealth of football players and many more years of life experience?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock was critical of Premier League footballers

Hats off to Henderson and Rose for playing their part

A big pat on the back for Danny Rose after his £19,000 donation to North Middlesex University Hospital.

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And the same to Jordan Henderson for the work he has been putting in with fellow captains as footballers look to do their bit. Four or five years ago, a lot of us were asking, ‘What does Henderson do? He looks busy, but what else?’

But now he looks a quite incredible captain for Liverpool.

At the end of his career, we will look back and say how lucky we were to have someone like Jordan Henderson at a time like this. Across the board in sport, people are transient.

They come, they go, so it’s very important to have people like the successful Anfield skipper who clearly have a moral compass.

Henderson reinvigorates my belief in people in football when clubs are behaving dreadfully.

Jordan Henderson is coordinating talks over footballers taking wage cuts

PFA must intervene after Walker lockdown shame

Kyle Walker’s behaviour over the weekend, like Jack Grealish’s last week, sent out a terrible message to fellow pros.

He basically said: ‘We’ve got money so let’s spend it and continue to interact with others whenever we want.’ It looks like a God complex, which is a shame because he’s a good lad.

What I hope now is that the PFA remind players of their responsibilities throughout this period with letters through the door similar to the one I received from Boris Johnson.

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Leagues should work together to avoid postponing season

Given how the National League flows in and out of the Football League and the Football League flows in and out of the Premier League, I don’t see how we can void it yet.

Noises coming from FIFA suggest the current campaign at elite level will be finished as soon as it is safe to do so.

So it would be ridiculous to have a situation where the Premier League is carrying on in perpetuity, but the National League had been scrapped many months earlier.

I’d like to see all our leagues working towards a June restart and let’s give it a go if we’re told it’s safe to do so.

If the virus returns to any players or there’s another spike, then we will have to seriously look at calling it all off.





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