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A Manchester United fan’s COVID-19 outbreak diary: Day 8(?)

Do weekends even exists anymore?

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World Companies, Organizations And Coronavirus Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Day eight? I don’t know. I think I’m just counting business days at this point, but then again what are weekends anymore? I guess that means it’s day 12? Is it? Again, I’m not sure.

This lockdown — for lack of a better word — and lack of sports is playing havoc on my brain. Mental health is key these days and I can only imagine that it’s wearing other people’s brains out just as much if not more than mine.

It’s basically day-to-day at this point. You have some good days and some bad ones. Sometimes you wake up thinking it’ll be another bad one and it turns out to be a good one, sometimes you just know, today isn’t going to be great.

It’s hard to stay optimistic when you’re given no guidance from leaders. I don’t want to get political here but that’s what this has become. Both sides are trying to politicize COVID-19. Our elected officials are supposed to be leaders. Yes, they have their policies for day to day life that you and I may or may not agree with but in times of crisis that’s all supposed to go out the window. They’re supposed to forget that petty stuff and lead.

That is obviously not happening. Instead our “leaders” are more worried about their wallets. That’s not surprising. I think it’s human nature for men to want money and power. Those that have it don’t want to lose it. The ones currently in power don’t care about the little guys, they just care about maintaining their money and power. Until the little guys realize that, and put aside their desire for certain policies, nothing will change.

What does any of this have to do with Manchester United? Well every day I when I watch this incompetence I can’t help but feel that the number of days until sport returns is increasing by 2x. It’s hard to imagine anything happening until at least June, and even that may be optimistic.

If it goes longer than that, what do we do? In America if we can’t play until July there would be time to finish the NBA and NHL seasons. The players would already have an extended layoff, so you could take a 2-3 week break before starting the 2020/21 season.

That would cause a lot of burnout on the back end so maybe you can work a 2-3 week break into the season. For the NHL, maybe do it after Christmas when there’s plenty of College Football on and the World Junior Championships for your hockey fix. For the NBA, how about early March when there’s plenty of college basketball?

But ultimately, what’s the point of that? Could you imagine winning the championship this season and instead of being able to celebrate all summer you’re told “actually you need to report to training camp for next season in four days?”

That’s just America. Europe is a whole different story. UEFA announced this week that the Champions League, Women’s Champions League, and Europa League finals were all postponed indefinitely (I thought that was a given when they suspended the competitions).

When can they even resume? Some countries are doing better than others (maybe, maybe we’re also just not getting all the numbers from them). In that case some countries may be able to resume their seasons before others.

That’s a problem for UEFA because they need teams from multiple countries to be ready to go. You can’t have the Champions League if Italy still isn’t safe for games.

The Premier League seems hellbent on completing this season. That probably has less to do with Liverpool winning the title and more to do with The Athletic’s report that the Premier League would have to return £762 million to their TV partners due to lost matches. That’s caused several ideas to float around about completing this season, no matter how long it takes, and then possibly playing a shorter season next year.

Does that make sense? When does that become not worth it? I’m not an expert here but didn’t the TV contract say Sky and BT sport paid x amount of money to show y amount of games in 2019-20, and then paid x amount of money to show the same y amount of games in 2020-21? If we chop games off 2020-21 wouldn’t the clubs still end up owing their broadcast partners money?

An idea for England would be to take as long as you need to finish the season — maybe that runs until November. Then start the 2020-21 season at the end of December, perhaps on Boxing Day! You can then play the full season from then until October. You can also flip the Champions League stages around. This would really help accommodate the winter World Cup in 2022.

How do you get back to your regular schedule after the 2022 World Cup? I have no idea.

But of course what works for England doesn’t necessarily work for the rest of Europe. In England you can play games through the summer, the weather isn’t that hot that you can’t (seriously guys — it’s not). However you can’t do that in Spain. In July in Madrid it’s still 97 degrees (36°C) at 10 pm! After the sun has gone down!

So there’s no perfect answer. We’re just left sitting here wondering. But that’s why it’s important to remember it’s only day 12. I know it feels like it’s been forever but we’re not even two weeks into this thing. We have to remember that. Right now it’s just day to day. Today might be bad but we can hope that tomorrow is better.

Book Recommendations

As I said I’d be trying to post book recs every week and no point in giving up during week two. I’m still currently reading that damn book on the Qatar World Cup because, like I said, not a page turner.

United book: Manchester’s Finest by David Hall

A great memoir about how the city, not just United but Manchester as a whole was rocked by the Munich air disaster. Hall was only around 10-11 years old at the time and recounts how the city coped and got through the devastating accident.

Football book: The Mixer by Michael Cox

By far the best tactical book I’ve ever read. Michael Cox does a great job breaking down the tactical history of the first 25 years of the Premier League. This is not an x’s and o’s book. He uses the seasons, the great players, and great teams to illustrate his points, and weaves it into a very entertaining narrative. It’s written in a way that whether you have a strong tactical background or no tactical background you will find this book entertaining. You’ll also probably end up watching tons of Youtube clips about players/teams you may have forgotten about.

Until next time.