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You’ll never furlough alone and LFC’s special values

John Barnes was still in a shed suggesting the seventh richest club in the world needed state aid when there was a change of heart

10 April, 2020 — By Richard Osley

NOT Liverpool, surely not our beloved Liverpool.

There was a wheeze of dismay on Saturday when Liverpool announced they would be furloughing (getting the state to pay for) non-playing staff during the coronavirus crisis.

“Furloughing? Expected better from Liverpool,” tweeted The Times’ seasoned arbiter Henry Winter, as the Not Liverpool! gasps grew more audible.

“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is designed to help smaller, vulnerable businesses weather the storm, not give wealthy clubs taxpayers’ money needed elsewhere. Good that staff getting full wages but furloughing feels against LFC’s values.”

It’s a romantic idea, isn’t it? That a football club – Liverpool, it “meaning more” and all that – have a sort of higher plane for their values than other teams.

In truth, everybody thinks their own club is full of classy gestures, a cut above, the one that does things right by people. But if this is certain about Liverpool, these golden LFC values should be written down in a pamphlet or carved into a slate totem, and shown to all of the other clubs as biblical commandments on how to exist.

Paragraphs will include guidance on how to get fans to wear lots of badges, tips on generating gratuitous mystique around the club’s “boot room” and strategies for
erasing from people’s memories the fact that Graeme Souness, Julian Dicks, Neil Ruddock and others often roughed the field in a Liverpool shirt in a way that felt… well against LFC’s values.

In the end, as you’ll be very surprised to learn, Liverpool’s values appeared to be much like everybody else’s: play football, make money.

Mr Winter is right, the Chancellor’s furloughing scheme was surely meant to help small businesses to scrape through at least three months without income, not the
seventh-richest club in the world.

Tell that to John Barnes though, who was found in what looked like a sauna-shed in his garden, taking interviews about how Liverpool were doing the right thing and we didn’t realise how sodding poor the club would become if it wasn’t rescued by the tax-payer.

As the whole farce demanded, Digger was still foaming about how we all didn’t understand the finances when Liverpool, the club, finally saw their application didn’t match with their saintly values and reversed the application with an apology for having the cheek to ask for the money in the first place.

Maybe Arsenal will be next. I hope not. My team is the classiest in here.

But Liverpool’s chastisement should be a lesson to other big clubs, maybe even Spurs, who surely sooner or later will click that the state cash about to go into its payroll could be better spent helping people already living in absolute poverty due to this crisis.

Pay the staff yourself, guys, you really can afford to.

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