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‘Out of business by Christmas’ – EFL club chairman pleads for Premier League help

The news that Macclesfield Town had to be wound up should’ve served as a warning to anyone with an interest in English football.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak its havoc, there’s every chance that more English Football League clubs could go to the wall because of a lack of paying punters coming through the turnstiles.

The situation is dire for Gillingham who could be out of business by Christmas according to their chairman, Paul Scally.

He’d also like to see the Premier League and their member clubs step up to save their EFL counterparts.

“You cannot tell me that with Chelsea spending £200m in the transfer market there is no money in the Premier League to help out the EFL clubs,” he said to the Daily Mirror.

“We should be a family in football. We’ve been a family for 125 years and now when a member of the family is struggling badly it’s time for wealthy big brother to step up and help the family. It’s as simple as that.

“This latest blow will be devastating for all clubs in the EFL. I’ve already been worried sick about it. Last night I woke up at 4am because I couldn’t sleep through worry, it’s a day-to-day existence and it will be the same for all clubs.

“We’ve been told they are going to try to help us, I don’t know in what form, but that can’t come soon enough otherwise clubs will go out of business.

“At the moment, we are surviving purely on what we get from the TV contract but that’s not sustainable. You can’t go on like that for any length of time.

“We rely on match day revenue and all the ancillary business that goes with that. We are losing £40,000-a-week at the moment and would be out of business by Christmas.

“It’ll be the same for so many others but I can’t worry about them because we have to focus on ourselves. Some clubs will be worse off than us, some will have benefactors but this is devastating for all of us.

“I’ve just got to hope that the Premier League do the right thing and I’m putting my faith in them, Rick Parry and the EFL to come to the rescue. The Premier League will know the importance of the football pyramid and help the family in our hour of need.”

The situation hasn’t been helped by the Government’s decision to reverse their pilot scheme of having up to 1,000 supporters back in stadiums.

“The reality is that 1,000 fans is not enough and you could even argue it’s not really cost effective to have to look after that number. But the hope was we’d have fans back in sooner rather than later.

“This is a huge disappointment because what is football without fans? I would even put up with the abuse that I get just to get them back in!

“I went to Wigan on Saturday, drove 400 odd miles there and back, sat with my daughter with a few of their staff, a few journalists and it was a terrible experience. Without fans, football is nothing.

“You have no feeling at all for the game, you feel like you are living on the edge of the game, you can’t get into it and I can barely watch it on TV.

“Never mind the financial implications, football without fans is just so wrong.”

With the current situation affecting everyone, including all of the Premier League clubs, one can’t help thinking that it’s an ‘every man for himself’ type scenario at present.

It’s clear that the top flight of English football has more money floating around in general terms than the lower leagues, but whether there’s enough to bail out every club looking for a handout is a moot point.

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