The Benchman: Barrow load of problems

MYSTERY PICTURE: Who are these three players?MYSTERY PICTURE: Who are these three players?
MYSTERY PICTURE: Who are these three players?
This week, our columnist wonders about the impact the current crisis will have on salaries and the National League’s leaders Barrow AFC.

DOES IT MATTER?: Having listened to over five hours of Radio Scotland sports programmes on Saturday and Sunday, I was left wondering if we had got our priorities wrong. Rangers-Celtic-Celtic-Rangers on and on it went. The airwaves were full of pundits, philosopher kings, and in many cases- comic singers. Rangers should “make a great sporting gesture” and concede the title said the entirely impartial John Hartson. When pushed, we said he would be saying the same if the roles were reversed and Rangers were so far ahead. Aye right.

EERIE COINCIDENCES: Watford offering Vicarage Road to the nearby NHS hospital to use in emergencies was a great gesture. Football grounds have often been used in times of crisis and Brockville Park was on standby in 1939 to be used as an emergency mortuary. There was a real fear that aerial bombardment was imminent and that casualties would be too great for the Infirmary to cope with. Let’s all hope that we will be able to stem the tide and get back to normal soon.

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DESERT ISLAND GAMES: If you were marooned on a desert island and could only have one DVD of a match to watch over and over again- which game would you choose?

THE LONGEST CLOSE SEASON EVER: It must be disconcerting for many football players. Contracts for next season present a major challenge. Will they be able to find a new club? Will some clubs move to part-time status? Will the current crisis mark the end of inflated salaries for players as a period of national austerity is a distinct possibility? Players are like everyone else and have major financial commitments. There will be little sympathy from those who think all players are on huge wages, drive around in Ferraris, Porsches and Maseratis and have holiday homes in Spain or The Bahamas. Not so.

BARROW-LOAD OF PROBLEMS: The National League is another organisation that seems to have pulled the plug on season 2019/20. It would end weeks of uncertainty and leaves big questions unanswered. Barrow, who I remember as a League team back in the day, are waiting for the big decision. They are top of the league with nine games of the 46-game season left to play. They’ve been top for five months and are four points clear. The feeder leagues want to stop the leagues immediately as they cannot honour player contracts indefinitely. Barrow could have been promoted to the Football League and the financial benefits are enormous.

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