March: Champions League crunch time.
April: Quarter finals. Some semi-finals. Squeaky bum time in some leagues.
May: Finals, champions, relegations.
June: Euros! CONIFA World Football Cup! Euros!
July: Euros! Transfers!
August: League football returns! More transfers!
That's how it was supposed to go. That's how our content calendar looked, that's how our actual calendars looked, until the last couple of weeks directed a meteor into our collective normality. Can we go outside? What is a 'non-essential journey'? When will we be able to watch football again? Can we keep reading about football anyway? How do you work from home without going mad?
The answers to those questions, in no particular order, are: Have a shower and get dressed, if you have to, no idea, not a clue and yes...for now.
"Without doubt the toughest few days I've had working in football"
Football is a distraction – at the least – for millions of people across the country; watching it, reading about it, talking about it, thinking about it, playing it. Suddenly, at the time when people are semi-confined to their homes and most need 90 minutes of men in shorts, it's gone. Rain fell on empty stands this weekend, paying mute witness to games that may never be played.
For fans, it's weird. For people who work in football, the last week and a half has been like walking a succession of tightropes. What's the right tone? How much coronavirus news – 'real' news, not just football news – is too much? What are we going to do with the next months of our lives? What sort of shape is the industry going to be in after it gets kicked in the balls by the biggest enforced stoppage in football since the Second World War?
We're not really sure, so we spoke to some smart people in the industry to find out how're they're dealing with it.
In case you missed it earlier, here’s a bit of distraction from EVENTS (warning: contains some references to EVENTS): https://t.co/hbMcejp5Eb— David Squires (@squires_david) March 17, 2020
David Squires, best known for his football cartoons in The Guardian, told 90min: "I've always felt that my best cartoons are the ones that don't focus on the games themselves, but this is a bit extreme. I've got a few ideas for cartoons for the coming weeks, and the news feed doesn't stop.
"As for the cartoons themselves, I did find it hard to sit down and write eight zingers about a deadly plague this week. I've rarely felt less like writing a cartoon. However, once I started I was able to lose myself in the fantasy of microscopic James Milners, Shoegaze Roy Hodgson, and a giant, Gerrard-faced worm. Hopefully, the cartoon enabled readers to forget about that bastard virus for five minutes too."
The idea of providing a distraction from an ever-more serious news landscape appears to be a common one, with Totally Football Show editor Nick Miller adding: "
️NEW POD ALERT️ From isolation, it's @acjimbo, @oilysailor, @jacklang & @adrianjclarke, discussing the state of play with @RorySmith, the legend of Glauber Berti, Ronaldinho in prison & in happier times, plus Flicks & Kicks takes in Green Street https://t.co/WTxKz0OoU7— TotallyFootballShow (@TheTotallyShow) March 19, 2020
"In the grand scheme of things, we're a minor, minor distraction on a pretty catastrophic situation"
The Lionesses are just one of a number of clubs whose players are facing an uncertain future; with warnings this week that men's National League sides could need somewhere around £15-20m spread between them to avoid the risk of some getting into serious financial trouble.
WE NEED £17 MILLION TO SURVIVE:— Dulwich Hamlet FC (@DulwichHamletFC) March 19, 2020
Chairman @BenClasper and the @TheVanaramaNL put together plan to help all 68 clubs survive.
We need action for the rest of non-league too! Our clubs are all in peril, let's stick together and try and make this happen.https://t.co/oiL85ja2Ju
"We're worried about work, but just as concerned about paying rent and bills when there’s nothing at all coming in"
"There was a massive traffic spike on Tanzania Prisons vs Mbao and the Bhutan Super League playoff game between Tensung and Paro United"
Freelancer Tom Victor is one writer looking at least partially to work around the problem, starting a Patreon page to cut out the middle man of editors and publications.
"I think a lot of freelancers; while worried about work, are just as concerned about paying rent and bills when there’s nothing at all coming in. Obviously a rent freeze would be significant in easing this, though I’m under no illusions that freelance football writers are anywhere near the most important people in this situation."
Amid all the chaos though, some things remain constant. "