FOR quite a long time now I have been wishing the word Brexit could be removed from day-to-day news and vocabularies all over the place.

It has now been taken over by coronavirus.

It’s very sad because this can affect anyone, anywhere and, to be fair, judging by what’s been happening around the world, even the medical experts do not appear to know exactly how to handle it.

Fortunately, in our country, we are getting it later than most and can hopefully learn from other people’s mistakes.

One of the obvious decisions to be made, if it hasn’t already been done, is whether gatherings of large groups of people should be cancelled or abandoned until everything has cleared up.

Obviously, at this time of the year, in terms of crowd gatherings, football is the biggest problem that has to be solved.

Some of our teams have already experienced this in their European games but the little clips which have appeared on TV with empty grounds, remind you that the biggest part of professional football, or of any football, is the atmosphere from the terraces.

From going back to the old days, the normal working man would spend his time earning money to help his family but the highlight for him would be going off to the football once every two weeks.

It got people like the factory workers and miners out in the fresh air for the afternoon, meeting up with friends and being able to shout their heads off and have a laugh together.

They would then pop into the pub after the game to talk about what the manager did well, discuss a centre-forward getting a hat-trick or blaming the manager for a bad performance.

I think this is still the case for the majority of supporters and if the decision is made to play Premier League football behind closed doors, that does not appear to help anyone because, apart from the supporters staying at home, the clubs will be hit financially.

I personally would not like to see the season finalised now and, obviously, decisions would have to be made about teams battling for promotion and against relegation.

If you managed a team in the bottom three now, to be told there are no more games, you would have to argue you should be given the chance to get your team out of that league position and others trying to get into the top four positions would also have a serious argument.

But health comes first, especially for the elderly, as lots of pensioners attend games because their working life is over.

They still want to meet up with friends every second Saturday, so let’s hope a quick answer is found on the virus and then we can get onto the next word as soon as possible.


AT Present we have, unfortunately, a bit of a record for home games which Ralph and the players will not like, having won fewer times than everyone else in the Premier League.

But one of the games we did win at St Mary’s was against Norwich.

Since then, they have been bottom of the league and this is where Saints will be playing today.

Some Norwich supporters criticise the manager for not changing the way they play.

I can understand that if they think the long ball would help them more, but he has stood by his principles with an attractive style of play and they were unlucky on the day to not get at least a point at St Mary’s.

However, I think this is the sort of time when team talks in the training ground dressing room will become more important because this is when players will be giving their say and the manager and his staff will want to come out with an agreement of how they tackle their position.

It will be interesting to see whether they play as they always have or if they now start fighting to get the points they desperately need at the moment.


SAINTS, after today, face two Saturdays without a game, not because of the virus, but because our game against Arsenal was postponed because they are playing in the FA Cup and then there are international fixtures following that.

Managers do not normally like an interruption at this stage of the season because they all have a target. And, as I’ve always said, the league is seven, seven, six.

If you are in the bottom-six you want to get out, if you are in the middle-seven most want to get up or ensure that they are in this position at the end of the season.

Players can sometimes like the break, but the managers don’t because they are left wondering whether to give them time off or to keep them training and have in-house games.

I think, generally, managers will prefer to play on until the end of the season before any break, so let’s wait and see how it affects everyone.