‘Life is changing’ – former Stoke City boss on football and the coronavirus crisis



“It was strange at the Macari Centre for the homeless when there were no final scores to watch on the TV at 5pm on the last couple of Saturdays.

We’ve got Stoke fans, Vale fans, Crewe fans, Man United fans, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal.

The banter gets quite competitive, but not anymore, at least not for a long time.

It’s become obvious that the coronavirus crisis is here to stay for longer than anyone probably imagined.

Our whole way of life is changing and the absence of football, and all that goes with it, is just a small part of it.

We are doing our best to keep everyone safe at the Macari Centre by regular cleaning and what have you, but it is a worry of course.

But what we have learned, I think, is that this virus is the great equaliser.

It doesn’t matter if you are Mr X or Mrs Y, whether you are homeless or live in a plush mansion, it can get you.

And the sooner these people who are still socialising realise that the better.

Surely, everyone realises just how serious this whole thing is now?

For football managers up and down the country it must be hugely frustrating.

Normally, they are in control, they decide what their players do and don’t do and when they do and don’t do it.

But now their players are scattered to the four winds and having to stay at home and hopefully stay healthy, but the manager has little control over that.

The only consolation is that every single club, in whatever division you are in, is in exactly the same boat.

We just have to hope that when football does restart, it restarts in a country that is back in a good condition.

It’s been interesting to see just how much football nostalgia is appearing on our TV screens as broadcasters struggle to fill their airwaves without any live sport. 

I would love to know what the younger generation think of the football they are watching from the 1970s and 1980s, for instance.

I’m guessing it’s an eye opener for them to see how the games were refereed, the number of real tackles flying in and the high level of skill on what were often terrible surfaces.

And what about the crowds with all those high banks of terracing?

Younger Stoke fans will wonder what is going on when they see the Boothen End swaying back and forth after we see an old Stoke goal go in at that end.

They might also wonder where the goal celebrations have disappeared to because back then there was no silly strutting and pretend serious faces.

They might be wincing if someone like `Chopper’ Harris is featured because he got away with murder, almost literally at times.

* Follow Lou on Twitter @LouMacari10

He didn’t have that nickname because he was a nice guy and he got me a time or two, just like he did most players.

Then there were the quiet assassins, those who tried to conceal their crimes, like the Arsenal midfielder Peter Storey and Johnny Giles up at Leeds.

They were great days and I’ve got the bruises to prove it.

I didn’t see the film on Diego Maradona that everyone has been praising.

There’s no doubt he was some player, but there were a few around that time, and for me, at least, Pele always tops him in that great debate about the greatest.

I see the BBC are showing something called Scotland 78: A Love Story on their i player.

Now I haven’t a clue what that could be about.”





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