Time for action
Some clubs in the Championship are demanding that their counterparts who are deferring payments to their players during the lockdown should be punished with transfer bans once the normality resumes.
Stoke City, under Peter Coates, have continued to fund their staff and players and will do until at least the end of August.
Matchday staff will also get a salary for every game postponed due to the pandemic.
While football clubs have been criticised for putting staff on furlough since the suspension of the season, the Potters have received universal praise for the way they have treated their employees.
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Former Stoke City European scout Gary Penrice is the big favourite to be installed as Celtic’s new chief scout in the near future – and he’s been given a very positive reference by a former Potters boss.
Penrice arrived at the Bet365 Stadium in 2008, shortly after the beginning of City’s first campaign in the Premier League under Tony Pulis had begun.
He worked well alongside Pulis, as the Welshman oversaw the establishment of the club in the top flight.
And the chap in the cap has now given Celtic the thumbs up as they close in on his appointment more than 10 years later.
Shaq on the move
Xherdan Shaqiri will be permitted a transfer from Liverpool for less than half of his market value in the next transfer window, it’s been claimed.
Former Stoke City winger Shaqiri made for Anfield in the summer of 2018 after the club’s descent into the Championship, for a fee of around £13m.
It brought to an end a three-year stay in the Potteries in which time the Swiss international netted 15 goals in a little over 90 appearances.
Calls for voiding
The pressure on the Football League to cancel the remainder of the season is growing from clubs in League One and Two who are struggling financially and predict more trouble ahead if asked to complete their fixtures.
Sides in the lower reaches of the EFL are already having to put measures in place, including the furloughing of staff and players, just to tick over amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Many clubs live hand to mouth, and depend on the income generated by match-day gate receipts and club shop sales.
The proposal to complete the campaign behind closed doors, then, does not permit either of those streams of revenue to return.
Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross has paid an emotional tribute to the local NHS frontline workers after joining a radio phone-in to say thank you to one particular member of staff.
Potters fan Will is working in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, alongside his wife, who is also a nurse.
Speaking to BBC Radio Stoke presenter Matt Sandoz, Will explained the challenges he’s facing everyday, the worries he has for his loved ones and how he’s trying to maintain the high spirits of his children in such difficult times.
The next level
Stoke City’s youth chief Gareth Owen is looking to build on what could be a breakthrough season for the Academy.
Stoke have enjoyed good results at junior level, with the under-18s reaching the Premier League Cup final – chalking up a fine win over Chelsea and, 8-0, against Norwich – while the under-23s had got to the knock-out stages before the shutdown.
More importantly, players have been pushed towards the first team. Tyrese Campbell has leapt up the pecking order while Tom Edwards, Nathan Collins and Thibaud Verlinden are firmly on Michael O’Neill’s radar. Lasse Sorensen is knocking on the door too.