Paul Ince: Credit to Liverpool for furlough U-turn – now for government to stop hammering players

Liverpool got it right in the end



It’s easy to criticise Liverpool for the furlough decision, as many former players have.

And rightly so – Liverpool being the club it is, and even just the way the city and the people are, it’s a friendly place where they always to do the right thing.

It left a bitter taste in the mouth for everyone. It just felt wrong.

This wasn’t the right thing. The whole city felt that.

I’m just glad that they’ve been wise enough to make a U-turn. Some clubs will dig their heels in and say ‘we’ve made a business decision, this is the way it is’ and not budge.

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Liverpool, to their credit, have had the sensibility to sit back and think ‘hang about, maybe this wasn’t the right decision, maybe we need to rectify it’. That’s what they’ve done.

Everyone makes mistakes, but they’ve rectified it, and quickly, and it’s time to move forward.

The focus on footballer’s pay is unfair. I do understand what the government is trying to do by saying footballers should take pay cuts, but it isn’t that simple.

Yes, there are players who make vast amounts of money each week, who should be able to defer or cut their wages.

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But players are still people, and they do still have to live, they still have bills, they still have houses and cars. And, of course, they’re not all on hundreds of thousands a week.

So, yes, it’d be great if footballers could come together with a plan, but everyone is different. And I think you have to let them do what they think is best for their situation.

For instance, David De Gea decided to donate £270,000 to the local authority in Madrid, where he’s from, to help tackle the coronavirus. That’s the right thing for him to do, and I don’t think anyone can tell him otherwise.

Not everyone could afford to do that, though. Beyond the big clubs in the Premier League, the wages drop dramatically.

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When I managed in the Championship with Blackpool, the players got £2,500 a week. OK, so we had a tight chairman, but there’s suddenly a lot less wiggle room than the top 5% of players.

What I don’t like is how the government are going after the players, targeting individuals. That’s not on. They should be talking to the organisations – what are FIFA doing? UEFA? The FA? The Premier League? Not just the players.

And why is it footballers rather than stockbrokers? What about all the millionaires and billionaires in this country, where’s their naming and shaming?

It’s just not right, and doesn’t help.