Nathan Blake Critical of Football's Return

  • May 21, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Nathan Blake has described the return of football as 'crazy', after a number of clubs at Premier League level reported back to training on Wednesday.

Professional football throughout the United Kingdom has been suspended since March, although clubs in the top-flight and Championship are understood to be exploring every avenue when it comes to completing the domestic season.

Blake, who spent three years at Bolton between 1995 and 1998, was responding to questions on BBC Radio Wales Breakfast when he was asked whether he would train or play under the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

"Hell no, no way, no chance." he said. "And I wouldn't expect any fans to put themselves at risk and come and watch a game."

Data released by the Office for National Statistics states people of black ethnicity are almost twice as likely to die from coronavirus, a revelation Blake suggests isn't being taken seriously by the general public.

"This is entertainment at the end of the day and all this 'the show must go on' and all that nonsense - it's easy to say, it's a little different in reality though," he added.

"So for me, black people are clearly affected in a different way to white people or our white counterparts.

"I wouldn't be thinking about it [returning] at all.

"I would be expecting someone to come to me and guarantee my safety and we're not there yet.

"You've got a situation where it is literally life or death for a lot of people; a lot of people have been touched by what's gone on. I think it's crazy, really (to consider returning to football).

"People are scared out of their wits. I heard about people being dished out fines and what have you for being out and about and at the same time you're asking professional footballers just to return to action as if everything's A-okay.

"So for me, personally, I totally understand why people have their reservations about going back.

"I just think you're asking too much. I think you have to get to a position where you've got the whole situation in every country in the United Kingdom under control and then you can start to move forward when people's stresses are eased a bit.

"This isn't about whether you've got money or not or whether you're a football fan or sports fan or not; like I said, it's a case of life and death first and foremost and I don't see why anyone should be asked to play and go back to training until you know for sure that this virus isn't being contracted by people and being passed on to other people.

At least six members of playing and backroom staff throughout the Premier League have tested positive for the virus in recent days - three of whom are at Watford.

Although numbers of confirmed cases are slowly falling on a daily basis, Blake believes the risk of a full return to football isn't worth considering until the outbreak has been quashed completely.

"This is a virus, right, not something you can see. Everyone's an expert but no-one really knows exactly what to say, what to do," he said.

"So from a players' perspective are you going out there fully aware that every single player and every single member of staff is being tested or in and around you is going through the right procedures?

"It's almost impossible to manage.

"I think you just have to get to the position, like I said, where the [UK] countries are getting zero cases and people are allowed to move on and move forward with their lives."

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Pos Team Pld Pts
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21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
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