Fondly remembered by both Hull City and West Brom fans alike, Goalkeeper Boaz Myhill spoke about football’s current suspension in an interview with Tigers Tigers Blah Blah Blah Podcast run by Luke Flanagan and his co-host Rich Walker.
The episode, due to go out next week, discusses Myhill’s time at the East Yorkshire club as well as his take on the current situation regarding restrictions placed on football across the leagues due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Myhill retired from football last year but is currently a Development Phase Coach for West Brom’s Under 23 side. He exclusively revealed to the Podcast hosts, “I’m actually on furlough at the minute, I’m not allowed to work. I’m not allowed anywhere near the training ground. What we were doing was we had – up until we got put on furlough – I was taking the goalkeepers’ training.
He continued, “Basically I was going to the training ground and recording myself doing exercises – on my own to start off with – and then with somebody who could kick balls at me so that in a six-yard box-sized space, everyone could do that in a back garden or in a park. We basically did that for six weeks and then it got to the stage where they cancelled our league (U23 Leagues were cancelled at the start of May); we worked for another week, in a similar way, and then we moved to this furlough situation”. Myhill also raised concerns about the restrictions that may be placed on players if the season gets back underway in the immediate future. “I’ve watched the kit man disinfecting balls!”
When asked about what the shutdown will do to teams across the leagues, Myhill was very quick to raise concern for clubs such as West Brom and Hull, as well as teams in Leagues One and Two. “I do worry. I worry a lot for a lot of the other teams lower down. I keep hearing Gary Neville say that the Premier League is going to have to do something, and I do think that will have to happen. I worry about a lot of the out of contract players this season. I think the clubs are going to be a lot more powerful now and I think the player power side of things will die down massively”.
“I don’t know how the teams outside the Premier League are going to make money, because as I understand minimum it’ll be Christmas time before we see supporters in the stands again. It’s going to take clubs giving a massive share of the television money (to stop clubs from going bust)”.
He also admitted he is relieved he is now on the coaching side of the game, rather than considering the prospect of having to go back on the field and play a competitive game. “I’ve got to be honest, I’m glad I’m not a player now. The original plan was to start back in the middle of June and to sum up, they will have had 13 weeks from game to game. They were planning on having a two week preseason – which, how you’re supposed to play at a good level after that I don’t know. It’s not safe simply from a fitness point of view. The quality of football would be nowhere near the level that people want to see”.
Regarding how to finish the season, Myhill revealed that he thinks the season should be played out when possible – although admitted that it will be a massive headache for clubs, players and fans. “I don’t know how they can do it fairly. I don’t understand – and I’ve said this a lot – why there’s a desperation to cancel this season, to start a season that hasn’t started yet. I don’t understand why they don’t take as long as it takes to finish this season safely. It will have something to do with money, I just don’t really know what it is”.
“Again, you’re talking about clubs doing the right thing but at some stage as well the players have to… its got to be ethical rather than a selfish professional decision, but it’s difficult to do that isn’t it.”
Wise words indeed from a goalkeeper who spent seven years in East Yorkshire before moving to West Brom in 2010 and then subsequently moving into coaching last year. Does he have a point? Are we too quick to want to cancel the season? Should we instead defer next season until the current one has been finished safely?