Joey Barton Says Working Class Footballers Need to Resume Play to Survive

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https://www.theguardian.com/international

Fleetwood manager Joey Barton says that it will be “out of order” to settle Sky Bet League One on a point-per-game basis.

A number of high-profile players in the Premier League, including Sergio Aguero, Willian, Raheem Sterling, Troy Deeney and Glenn Murray, have expressed concern for health, but Barton’s gut feeling is that most of those below the ladder want and need to return.

“I’ve got a lot of lads in our care who want to play. They don’t have a surplus amount of cash in the bank and a lot of them live week to week to a month to month,” he said.

Barton went on to outline his fears for both the livelihoods of players and the continued viability of some clubs if the break-in competitive action continued in an open-ended fashion. He stated:

“You’ve got 1,400 players in the lower leagues out of a contract. They’ve got no money in the bank, kids to put in school, mortgages to pay and cars to pay for.

“If the Premier League boys don’t want to go back because they don’t feel safe and have got the money to be able to do that, no problem, I’m not forcing anyone.

“But a lot of clubs need to get on with it. Some clubs won’t survive. The working class that football is…we need to crack on if it’s safe to do so.

While League Two clubs voted to bring their season to an early end, there is no sense of unanimity at a time. The owner of Peterborough, Darragh MacAnthony, has already spoken on behalf of six clubs participating in the promotion and relegation war and expressed their deep desire to play.

“We’ve got Sunderland, Peterborough and Wycombe all scrapping for one play-off place. It looks like Wycombe are going to get it if they go points-per-game,” Barton told Matchroom Boxing’s Talk the Talk YouTube show. “Darragh MacAnthony is alluding he’s going to go bizarre. I’d go nuts as well. It’s out of order. We’ve got to finish the league.”

Barton’s side was fifth on the table when the coronavirus pandemic forced a sporting suspension, but just six points separate the division’s third and eighth-placed teams, with different teams playing varying numbers of games.

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