2019 is shaping up to be the year in which player power becomes a positive for the game, rather than the slur it has so often been used as.
Dignified stances from players against racism on and off the field, the promise from managers like Phil Neville and Mauricio Pochettino to pull their players from the pitch if unacceptable abuse is heard from the stands, and the discussion from ex-pros such as Alan Shearer around playing games behind closed doors - the deplorable faces of modern football are being challenged.
It’s not just intolerable behaviour from certain fans that should be quashed though. For too long, clubs have been financially mismanaged in ways other businesses would simply not be allowed to, and it’s not just the clubs at fault; it’s also partly the fault of an irresponsible Football Association and a systemic problem where success is chased like an alcoholic taking a payday loan for his next scratchcard. It has to stop.
Today could mark a breakthrough.
Taking unprecedented steps at this level of the game, Bolton Wanderers’ players have gone on strike, refusing to fulfil their remaining EFL Championship fixtures until they are paid the wages they are owed. Calls of “greed” will not be heard this time, for it is a perfectly reasonable response to an incredibly unreasonable position.
The club “regrettably” confirmed the action the players have taken, and regrettably it was all too inevitable that a day such as this would come. We express our solidarity with the players and fans of Bolton Wanderers.