Project Restart, showdown talks and Evra death threats

Hello, a quick Tuesday round-up.

After spending hours writing and getting the Strettycast ready on Monday, I’m taking it easy and have promised the dog I’d walk him in the fields. Unfortunately our latest podcast doesn’t feature dogs, but British singer Tom Grennan joins me to discuss his upcoming album and being a Manchester United fan it was a pleasure to have him on.

On Friday, we see the Premier League clubs vote on what’s being called ‘Project Restart’ following showdown talks to resume the football season — which provides guidelines to players returning to training and eventually football starting again but behind closed doors. It makes sense to allow discussion and planning take place because they can’t just do nothing and then pick up from where they left off.

Sports clubs and businesses will do whatever they can to avoid a greater pinch.

Some of the guidelines include (via Sky Sports):

  • Testing all players and officials 48 hours before returning to training
  • All footballs, global positioning system [GPS] units, cones, corner flags, goalposts and other equipment to be disinfected before and after use by staff wearing personal protective equipment [PPE]
  • Players to wear snood/masks at all times
  • Only visit training block to use toilet
  • Players and staff will be banned from spitting at the training ground

The list goes on, but that’s a few of the points outlined.

Some make sense and others will make you scratch your head. For instance, the ban on spitting is ludicrous and sounds as though they are telling the government what they want to hear as opposed to being realistic.

Six Premier League clubs are opposing Project Restart as things stand. You won’t be surprised to hear it’s the bottom six from the current standings, with no shame in their quest to avoid relegation, because no matter what they say to cover it up that’s the main reason.

My biggest concern is what happens if players contract the virus between now and when they plan to restart the campaign in June. COVID-19 isn’t like players being missing because of injury.

I’m really enjoying the UTD Podcast. It’s been a bit of a saviour in this lockdown.

Patrice Evra is this week’s guest and it’s bound to be a cracker. I haven’t listened to it yet but reading through some of the quotes this morning, as per RTÉ, I pondered a story about the Frenchman receiving death threats after the racism row with former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

Although it’s not the first time this has been revealed, Evra explains he needed security outside his home for two months. Suarez was handed an eight-match ban by the FA after being found guilty of misconduct at Anfield in October 2011.

Liverpool FC were a disgrace — for which Jamie Carragher apologised in October last year — and Evra faced a huge backlash directed at him and his family.

“Manchester United received so many threatening letters about me,” Evra told the UTD Podcast.

“People said: ‘We’re in jail, we’re Liverpool fans. When we get out, we’re going to kill you and your family’.

“For two months, I had security everywhere I went. They were sleeping in front of my house. Everywhere I went, the security followed me. It was a tough time, but I wasn’t scared. My family were scared: my wife and brother, but I wasn’t.

“I couldn’t understand why people hated me so much. They didn’t know the truth.”

Except they did — and were in denial.

Right, the dog is dropping hints for an early walk. Please check out this week’s podcast as I’ve dived a little deeper into the editing side of things. If you are a Stretty News member on Patreon (£), a video of this week’s interview is available.

READ MORE: Transfer profile: Sunderland centre-forward starlet Joe Hugill linked to Man United

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