Friday, 13 March 2020

@BescotBanter 4:00 pm Friday, 13 March 2020
Clarke Not Keen on 'Closed Doors' Games as Season is Suspended

Clarke Not Keen on 'Closed Doors' Games as Season is Suspended

Following the suspension of all professional football in England, Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has spoken to the local press and admitted the coronavirus outbreak is on the club's 'mind' whilst also confirming the club will respect the decision of the governing bodies.
The EFL, Premier League, FA and other governing bodies recently confirmed plans to suspend the 2019/20 campaign until at least early April as several players and staff, including Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi, have tested positive for Covid-19.

Manager Clarke, who has guided his team through five games unbeaten over recent weeks, admitted the ongoing crisis has been high on the players' list of conversations but went on to praise their professionalism as they prepared for the then-scheduled list of games,

Speaking via the Express & Star, Darrell said; "There's obviously a lot going off in the world so I'd be sitting here dishonest to say it's not on my mind and what the different options are.

"I'm not going to sit here and say it's about being professional, because it's on player's and staff's minds - everyone in the world's mind.

"It's certainly a lot bigger than football but we're governed by the experts, so we crack on and listen to their advice.

"We will follow the protocol if or when somebody does pick up the virus, because it looks inevitable to be honest, with the way things are going."

As several games in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League were played behind closed doors there remains a possibility of League Two games also being played without fans and insisted Clarke he is firmly against the idea with the potential financial impact being among his concerns.

Darrell continued; "For me, football is about the fans, there's no games without the fans. I wouldn't be an advocate of playing games behind closed doors.

"I win football matches not for myself, I'm not a selfish person, I win them for the chairman, the people here and the fans.

"You take the fans away, which is the key ingredient, it's not really football is it - it's like a training ground game. But we're governed by the powers that be and we'll crack on with whatever we're told to do.

"Nobody can (afford it), the Premier League is different with the TV money but we survive on our gates and the money that comes through the fans.

"Obviously it's very worrying times for that but we can't get ahead of ourselves, we just have to keep focusing on the day-to-day.

"There's a lot more problems in the world than football matches to be honest with you. We wish that everyone is safe and is looking after themselves."

Don't forget, you can also join us across social media, we're @BescotBanter on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.