No going back to normal: The way football works will have to change completely when this hiatus ends

Ordinarily, it’s not in football’s interests to look long and hard at itself. It should be, but it isn’t. Those who hold the cards are doing very well for themselves and seem primarily intent on maintaining a status quo that enlarges their slice of the pie. It would take something unprecedented to challenge this ugly convention, to force a bit of introspection - something like, say, a pandemic shutting down the sport.

You’d have to be old enough to remember when Portsmouth were back-to-back champions of England to have lived through this kind of societal shutdown before. The 1946/47 season may have been protracted by a brutal winter and the government’s desire to end midweek sport in order to increase productivity in the wake of the Second World War, but not since the six years of conflict themselves has the game - well, life - been impacted on the scale we’re experiencing right now. And while war comparisons are generally unhelpful in this different time of crisis, there is one parallel: no one knows when football is coming back.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1