As the EFL board continues talks with the Government, the Premier League and other parties about a financial package to help clubs who are still coming to terms with the news that fans could be locked out of stadiums for as long as six months, Chris Beech spoke from his perspective today about the current situation.
“It’s all way above my wage scale, I don’t get involved in these conversations, but it will be interesting to see the outcome of that,” he said. “It was great to see some Premier League managers supporting some sort of structure to it and recognising the problem.
“At Carlisle we’ve had some unbelievable players, some really successful players long before me, who’ve gone on and played top level, and international football. Recently Jarrad Branthwaite leaving in January, it’s massive for the foundation of football and coming through.
“I’m sure, looking at the stats, in the World Cup for England, there was a lot of players who had been lower-league players in the squad. We’ve got to make sure we look after each other a little bit. I understand some Premier League managers are saying it’s over to you, manage your own wardrobe, it’s your own fault and if you’ve overspent you’ve overspent. I’m not too sure they’d say the same things if they managed at this level and it would be nice to have some support.”
“In terms of where we are, the Football League gave the clubs money in the initial lockdown, which was what they normally get in the summer, to get them to the summer,” he continued. “I think if you’ve gambled in the summer and gone heavy on recruitment in terms of the finance, you’re now in a bad spot because you were thinking you’d have fans back in October.
“We didn’t do that, but if you’re one of the clubs that has, you’re going to be asking for some favours somewhere. It can’t continue, any business that loses a major part of its income is going to take a hit.
“For football that’s match day income, and I read the other day that it can be 30, 40 even up to 45% of their income. That’s almost half. You can’t just half-pay people, and if you’ve committed to paying them, but you can’t have the fans in, I would imagine that will put a few clubs under a lot of pressure.”
But should there be an obligation on the bigger clubs to provide some assistance?
“There’s some clubs in League Two who could help us out, believe me!” he replied. “Obliged is probably not the right word, but we are a footballing family.
“I think it’s like helping your neighbour out if they’ve lost things and they need a bit of support, you tend to look to do that, but you can’t keep doing it and doing it.
“You offset that against the amount of money that’s involved at that level, and it’s ridiculous to think that just one transfer transaction could run half of the teams in League Two. I’d like to think there’s things going on in the background, but we don’t really get to know about that until it becomes relevant.
“The chief execs will be pushing things and I’ve been really pleased to see people like Frank Lampard talking about supporting the football pyramid, that’s been really pleasing. But then you have another manager suggesting that it’s down to mismanagement and that we should look after ourselves.
“I suppose it’s a little bit like dealing with your neighbour, at what point do you decide who is right and who is wrong. If we can’t get fans back, I would like to see some type of support because it will help.
“It’s good that we’re ok at the moment, but you need to play somebody, and we’ve already seen games called off because of the virus, which is difficult in itself. So, it’s tough, and we just have to hope that there’s an outcome that works for everybody.”