Someone once said that football is a funny old game and this season that point rings true maybe more than any other one as we look at a season that will finish in July, or August if you allow for the play off final and then the conclusion of the Champions League.
A three month gap may be not something any of us has experienced before know and the ramifications of the pandemic on the game of football could be felt for quite some time to come yet both on and off the pitch. Games are likely to be played behind closed doors for some time yet leaving huge holes in the financial income of every club and very possibly for some it will be a period from which they may not recover.
In the middle of it all you have had the position where players have taken nothing more than deferrals and their union – the PFA – have stood firm in the face of the adversity hitting clubs by insisting that contracts are tight and that people should be getting paid what their contract says despite job losses and pay cuts across most industries.
The extension of the season as well – somewhat incredibly – could have seen players leaving clubs on the initial expiry date of their deals which is set to be 30th June. For the Swans that could have meant us heading into the last six games of the campaign without Routledge, Naughton, Van Der Hoorn, Dyer and Mulder – a big hole for any team that has so many games in such a short period of time.
“It’s been an ongoing process. From the first moment that we knew the season was going to over-run, so it’s just been about finishing that process. It’s pleasing to see how committed the lads are,” said Steve Cooper.
“If you particularly think about Wayne, Nathan and Kyle – and I don’t want to do Mike or Erwin a discredit, they’ve been brilliant – but they’ve been at the club a long time and have had great success.
“When you talk to Wayne and Nathan, they often refer to the club as being their own. They say it’ll always be in their heart. That’s the terminology they use. They want to be a part of what we do and they’ve been brilliant for me all season.”
Thankfully all five players have agreed a contract extension to the end of the season (at full wages obviously) but what it does highlight is how the game needs to move on very quickly from project restart to project reset which is what is desperately needed but that is for another story on another day.
For now we can just be happy that common sense has prevailed and we can move onto the end of the season with the squad that we would have expected to have back in March.