Here are your Stoke City morning headlines for Saturday, April 18…
Behind closed doors plan
The EFL plans to broadcast behind-closed-doors games to supporters, once it is safe for football to resume.
League chairman Rick Parry has outlined the plans in an open letter to fans published through clubs’ websites today.
The football season has been suspended since March 13 because of the coronavirus crisis. Parry doesn’t know when games will restart but expects them to be played behind closed doors whenever football can get underway.
He says: “To give you an honest assessment of the current situation; the point at which you will be able to attend games again remains unclear. Please be assured, however, that we are going to welcome you back to stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so.
“Your contribution to the matchday experience and atmospheres created in stadia up and down the country is something we should never take for granted.
“Unfortunately, I cannot tell you today when football will resume, though whenever we do return, matches are likely to be played without crowds.
“And whilst we are unfortunately without the presence of the hundreds of thousands of supporters who pass through EFL turnstiles each week, we will endeavour to bring live football direct into your homes once it returns.
“Plans are continuing to be worked up for all games to be broadcast either via our broadcast partners, iFollow or equivalent Club streaming services. We will update you on this once we know when matches will recommence.
“The contribution to football’s finances made by match-going supporters should not be underestimated. It is critical to the business model of league football. Perhaps the biggest challenge right now is not knowing when we will be able to reintroduce football in front of crowds. We can only hope that the situation develops in such a way that we will be able to do with the shortest possible break.”
The EFL has this afternoon written to all its clubs telling them to be “as prepared as possible for a start at relatively short notice”.
Rick Parry – the EFL chairman – issued an open letter to all supporters of clubs within the EFL on Friday morning informing them of the league’s behind closed doors plan.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought English football to halt, with the EFL and the Premier League indefinitely suspended until further notice.
Parry told supporters that progress has been made on player wage cuts and deferrals, and the EFL’s intention remains to complete the 2019-20 season.
While the former Liverpool chief also revealed that matches will be streamed live for fans to watch due to the action returning behind closed doors.
And now in a new letter to its clubs, the EFL have also recommended that sides don’t return to training until May 16 at the earliest, due to the backlash any such move would have on clubs.
Hilarious story from Crouch
Former Stoke City striker Peter Crouch has shared a brilliant story involving a team mate during his time with the Potters.
Crouch signed for Stoke from Tottenham Hotspur in 2011, and would go on to have his longest stint at a football club in his career.
The former England international spent close to eight years at the bet365 Stadium, during which time he amassed 261 appearances and bagged 61 goals.
He eventually left Stoke to sign for Burnley on a free transfer in January last year, before hanging up his boots a few months later.
Now Crouch has entered the punditry world, and the former Stoke striker has taken part in a Q&A ran by the Daily Mail.
One question asked the 39-year-old what was the best/funniest excuse given by a team mate for being late to training – Crouch answered, but would not reveal who the culprit was!
Stoke City fans have been reacting to the latest announcement from the EFL, which stated that matches could be played behind closed doors.
The Potters ’ season is currently suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, with no clear sign of when, or indeed if, the campaign will resume.
Prior to the suspension, Stoke occupied 17th place in the Sky Bet Championship table, three points above the relegation zone with nine league fixtures left to play.
In an open letter from EFL chairman Rick Parry, he admits he does not know when games will restart, but expects them to be played behind closed doors whenever football can get underway.
Stoke fans have been reacting to this news, with an overwhelming amount express their anger and frustration.