Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward gave a revealing insight into Manchester United’s summer plans late last week.
As reported by the BBC, Woodward issued a warning it wouldn’t be “business as usual” in the transfer window for any club, including Manchester United.
Woodward has been at the forefront of incredibly lavish spending at Old Trafford since 2013 so when he says something like that, it hammers home what strange times these are for football.
Football’s finances have long needed a reality check. Transfer fees have become so astronomical they are almost impossible to view in context.
The amount of cash swilling around at the top of football has been put in perspective when compared with the money required to pay non-playing staff or the financial struggles faced by many ordinary people up and down the country.
The Premier League’s hesitation to cancel fixtures compared with the rest of Europe and prolonged attempts to hurry back into action indicate the pinnacle of English football remains detached or indifferent to the mood of the country.
However, the public reaction to elite clubs such as Tottenham or Liverpool furloughing staff provides an insight into how the next club that splashes mega money on a transfer may be greeted.
That may mean football finances are headed for a long overdue return to reality.
Any attempt to take a ‘positive’ from the current global situation risks being glib and trivialising the crisis – that isn’t this writer’s intention.
But the precarious nature of football finances has been laid bare, along with clubs’ over-reliance on the monumental broadcasting revenue generated by the Premier League.
There’s always the chance the richest within the beautiful game will ruthlessly ensure a return to “business as usual” as soon as they can.
But now football’s finances have been placed into their proper context, there’s hope they will become less grotesque and closer to reality. It needs to happen.
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