The club are now just waiting to see if the EFL decide to afflict us with a points deficit which could amount to as many as 12-points being deducted. The general acceptance is that a points deduction is inevitable.
The points deduction follows the alleged breaking of the spending rules relating to the profitability and sustainability laws. The breach has been brought about by the club incurring more losses in the past three years than the current £39-million limit.
While the final decision won’t be known until after the meeting has been held, (expected to take place this month), the penalty could become larger. This is because of the recent event whereby a an idiot ran onto the pitch during the home game against Aston Villa, and assaulted Jack Grealish the Villa captain, striking him and pushing him to the ground.
The 27-year-old who pleaded guilty in court to carrying out the assault, has been jailed for 14-weeks.
The Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, was quick to jump to the club’s defence, and many think rightly so. Guardiola is reported as saying that the fan invasion problem is more to do with football society. He went on to say that nowadays there are no walls in football grounds so these things can easily happen.
The 48-year-old Spaniard maintains it was not the clubs’ fault; rather, the fault of one stupid individual.
Unfortunately, Mr Guardiola’s opinion isn’t agreed with by many soccer pundits. These include the likes of Alan Shearer who says that the assault on Grealish was “absolutely disgusting.” (Which to be fair it was). Shearer thinks that the harshest punishment should be meted out to Birmingham City Football Club, whether that should be taking points away from them or making them play games behind locked doors.
Phil Neville was of a similar mind. The England Women’s team manager thinks that football has a serious problem. He recounted how one of his players has received death threats. Neville agrees with Shearer that strong action needs to be taken now before things get any worse.
As I said in my recent blog, no club can be fully stop a fan from going onto the pitch unless we return to fences – to be honest I’m not that bothered about their opinion, I’ve never thought that highly of Shearer who’s career was built on making space by regularly fouling defenders. This issue isn’t about the football clubs, it’s a society issue. People in many walks of life think it’s perfectly acceptable to abuse someone either verbally or physically. This individual chose to run onto the pitch, and rightly got arrested, charged and a custodial sentence.
There was no excuse for what happened, and the apparent scuffles after the goal – although Grealish probably didn’t help himself by jumping into the crowd – all be it out of celebration.
Whatever the outcome, we are likely to be on the end of some form of disciplinary action. A points deduction could see the club facing a relegation battle, (coupled with the potential FPP points deduction), which I think would be very unfair. Although of course football clubs are responsible within the ground, I believe that the club had done everything he WMP had asked them to do. Unfortunately, individuals make their own decisions, and this, in the end, could cost the Blues dear.
Looking back, we had a relatively tough December schedule, but we outperformed predictions taking 11 out of a possible 18 points. January 2019 was something of a disaster with Blues taking only 2 of a potential 15 points. February saw another turn round when we secured 10 of a possible 15. With no points out of a possible 12 so far in March, and the threat of a points deduction in the balance, things are beginning to look worse.
Today there is a rumour going round that any FPP points deduction may not apply until next season. If that’s the case – the EFL have completely lost the plot. If it wasn’t bad enough that it has taken them two thirds of the season to get round to sorting this out – they now want to apply last season’s issues onto next year. That means going forward, other teams can gamble in their “spare” season – if they get promoted my belief is – the punishment won’t be applied. Well EFL – that’s fair isn’t it? If a points deduction IS our punishment – and I hope not, at least let’s have it applied now so we can start next season on a level base.