Wigan Athletic ace on being in limbo and fears for football without fans

Wigan Athletic star Michael Jacobs has spoken about the ‘crazy situation’ facing him and hundreds of other players who are out of contract this summer.
Michael JacobsMichael Jacobs
Michael Jacobs

With the season having been postponed at the beginning of March, football is in limbo due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s still hoped the 2019-20 campaign can and will be finished – almost certainly behind closed doors – although there’s been no confirmation yet of a restart date.

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And the situation is particularly complicated with so many players – including Jacobs and Latics team-mates Gary Roberts, Anthony Pilkington, Joe Garner, Chey Dunkley, Danny Fox and Lewis Macleod – only being contracted until June 30.

“This summer is probably going to be a bit of a mess, in terms of scale of players that are going to be out of contract and football clubs that can’t bring in a certain amount of players on certain money,” recognised Jacobs, Latics’ longest-serving player.

“It’s obviously difficult with what’s going on, because you don’t know when you’re going to get back playing.

"It’s hard to put your finger on, but it’s one of those things you can’t really worry about until decisions are made higher up.

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“At the end of the day you’re still having to sort what’s going on short term before anything comes out of contract wise.

“It is a crazy situation to be in because this hasn’t really happened before.

"But you can just take every day as it comes, and hope the people above us make the right decisions.”

Jacobs also acknowledges it would be far from straightforward playing games behind closed doors.

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“It’s a difficult scenario,” he said. “Fans have made football.

“In pre-season, there’s a few games you might play without fans. But, in terms of a league game, the whole build-up and actual atmosphere at grounds, especially in our division, it’s hard to get your head around playing in front of no fans.

“If you’re playing behind closed doors, you’re also going to have to have ambulance crews, paramedics and all that sort of stuff...if you take them away from the frontline it just makes the situation even worse.

“You also don’t want to see a situation where footballers get tested before NHS staff. In the current climate, you’ve got staff not being tested in the NHS.

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"But if they come out with a thousand tests for footballers, so we can play, the whole situation would be a farce.

“At the end of the day, you’d like to finish the season. But until everyone’s safe and they’ve got everything under control, then I think it won’t happen for a while.”

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