Covid 19 – Football nil

Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that – unfortunately, it seems the Corona virus has failed to concur with that famous Bill Shankly quote. The increasing realisation that the global pandemic caused by Covid-19 is going to lead to increasingly more stringent measures, which will make any notion of normal life all but impossible. That in essence almost certainly means football will not be resuming in April given that some models indicate that peak cases of those getting the virus in the UK may not even be reached until June.

No definitive decisions have been made as yet but the word from football executives running the various leagues is that we are likely going to see the football season brought to a premature end. The mechanics of carrying on and playing games behind closed doors it seems has become impractical as the risk to players and staff being infected and then entire clubs being held in quarantine for 14 days makes planning near impossible – especially as clubs could face more than one spell in quarantine if a single player or member of staff tests positive. Another point also made to the footballing authorities by clubs is that players who face 14 days in quarantine would then require a further 14 days to get match fit – meaning players would face an enforced break of 28 days. OK, some teams may be lucky and avoid such scenarios but if the objective is to try and complete the season for all teams, then it wouldn’t take many outbreaks for any league to be unable to reach a conclusion. Indeed, that conclusion would almost certainly need to happen before the end of June as the contracts of many players from each club also end. Incidentally, what about the 72-year old manager of Crystal Palace, Roy Hodgson? Will he now have to self isolate and give up taking control of team affairs!

The question is therefore not about when the decision is made but how? Some clubs favour the season being declared null and void – especially those facing relegation! Still, it’s hard to see how teams could be penalised with relegation as it would essentially be in breach of the rules and regulations of the competition if it was sanctioned with a quarter of the season left unplayed. The threat of legal action would be real from clubs who could easily argue that they hadn’t ‘finished the season’ in a relegation place. Therefore one of the solutions being muted is not to penalise those clubs in a relegation place but to just reward clubs currently occupying the automatic promotion places. That would see Leeds and West Brom being promoted to form a 22-club Premier League and them being replaced in the Championship by the top two in League One (currently Coventry and Rotherham). Although, even that may eventually prove to be difficult to get agreement on.

However, it’s by no means certain that even next season will be safe from Corona virus disruption as many scientists predict even if cases fall away by late summer, it will likely return again in the winter. The hope is that governments will be better prepared to control a second outbreak but the prospects of when a vaccine will be available are not clear – it normally would take 18 months but even if that’s fast-tracked it would be pushing it to be ready before winter. In any case, the resumption of football or indeed any sport is not the pressing priority of any nation just now. The issue is about reducing the risk that health services become unable to cope and avoiding reaching the death toll of the worse case scenarios – not to mention the risk to the livelihoods of large numbers of those employed in businesses and industries.

So football is not a matter of life and death, it’s just a sport that many either enjoy or suffer as part of their weekly fix. As we embark on what will be a somewhat surreal year ahead, nothing is certain. Many are now being told they may need to spend the next four months in self isolation or risk succumbing to the virus with no cure. The best analogy is probably that the world is essentially at war, but with a disease. Governments and nations everywhere are preparing to do whatever it takes to keep casualties to a minimum.

Therefore, at this moment it’s hard to see when arguing over football tactics, team selections or transfers will once more become a meaningful topic of discussion. So like many aspects of life, football has suffered a heavy defeat from Covid 19 but will no doubt resume at some point in the future. In the meantime feel free to discuss any matters of concern with the Diasboro community or simply pop in to let us know you’re staying safe and healthy!


1,759 thoughts on “Covid 19 – Football nil

  1. Thanks Werder
    Appreciate your time posting this as always.

    I’m going for the eyeballs in the sky ! 0 0

    Thanks to all for the good wishes to Mrs OFB its very good of you all. She’s just taking things easy and so am I as I plan for the next four months at home with no footie to watch.

    Hopefully we won’t get relegated this season, good job we aren’t in the bottom three at the moment as if we were they would have said “right bottom three down”

    Mind they might deduct us three points for something or other!

    Pleased everyone got home safe


  2. 11 new cases reported in Northern Ireland. Lots of worry in the air here, naturally, but will keep you all informed.

    Apologies for the long absence. Am perfectly fine (at present), but have simply been busy. Hope all of you are as well as you can be.

  3. Passed our second virus test today at the hotel. So all go for our flight back tomorrow. But reading the media today, I think we would be better off staying here for another few weeks. There is not a problem in Egypt.
    I am incensed that the Government are asking people over 70 to stay inside for four months whether you have the virus or not. I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life. I consider myself at 73 fit and healthy. So they can sod off !

  4. Having returned from holiday to the chaos in the UK about the corona virus,I decided to look at some facts:

    Population of the UK – 66.87 million (2019 figures)

    Corona virus reported cases 1140 (0.00170% of population)

    Deaths from CV 21 (I haven’t even bothered to work out %)

    Compared to Gov figures from deaths from Flu in England only:

    2014/15 – 28,330

    2015/16 – 11,875

    2016/17 – 18,009

    2017/18 – 26,408

    2018/19 – 1,692 (only up to week 15 of 2019)

    I am not saying Corona Virus is not serious but let’s put it into perspective, the figures of Flu deaths relate to England only whereas the CV figures include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The big difference is the general population are unaware that we lose over 21,000 each year due to Flu in England.

    Come on BORO.

    1. Exmil

      Some of the coverage has been crass to say the least but sadly another 14 people died in the last 24 hours. Our thoughts are with their families and loved ones.

      A couple website giving the figures. Stats are not everything but nor are they useless.

      I think part of the problem is the fact we tend to look inwards rather than the whole picture. We rightly worry about closer to home but It is a world problem, as John said the horse has bolted. The awful truth is the horse had bolted before many knew about it.

      My daughter works for a pharmaceutical company developing new vaccines for a couple of conditions. You cannot go down to B&Q and ask them for a 50 million vials of vaccine for this new strain of cold virus.

      Are the government right in their approach. We pontificate from positions of ignorance about the science but we want people to act so that something appears to be happening. We will know in due course, I will not try to second guess the deductions from the information they have and I dont.

      GHW is right about social media and the media in general. The BBC thinks a spokesman from Sinn Fein deserves a phone in based on his views. Says it all.

  5. Thanks to Werder for yet another excellent piece which puts many journalists to shame. It is going to be a long period of time before football matters take to the fore.

    I admit to be confused about the whole thing- as Exmil says, the figures for flu are a lot higher and all the deaths thus far have been where the people have had underlying health issues and are over 60. Now I am not saying that that is not a tragedy for their families, every death is, but there does need to be some recognition of this rather than the somewhat sensational reporting that is going on.

    Not sure how we resolve the issue as surely once we all come out of self isolation, then it will only take one person to start the whole thing again. Compared to other viruses, it doesn’t appear that COVID 19 is percentage wise as deadly.

    Finally, I hope that those who are in Spain, KP for one and maybe Pedro as well, are coping with their lockdown. It seems so draconian although maybe we will all end up in the same position.

    Keep safe and well all.

    1. Thanks BBD. I am ensconced in Teesside at the moment, due to return to Espana at the end of the month, which will not happen now I think.
      Where would I rather be in in lock down. Sat on our terrace in the sun would be the preferred option possibly.

      Like Malcolm, it may appear to be selfish, but think I may take my chance in contracting the virus. 3 to 4 months locked up. I would go mad.
      Cuídense todos. Take care everyone. 👍

  6. I think with the Corona virus you have to realise that nobody has any immunity and if it was left unchecked at the current rate of infection it would spread to 80 percent of the population in around 2-3 months and you would see a minimum of half a million deaths – probably a lot more as in theory at least 10 percent need hospital treatment and that would be around five million people if 80 percent were infected. Clearly the NHS couldn’t cope with that number so maybe two million would die.

    So you can’t compare it to the flu as the measures being taken are to slow down the infection rate which doubles the numbers every 3-4 days. I should add that the UK has stopped testing people who don’t arrive at hospital feeling unwell. Germany is testing lots of people (upwards from 12,000 a day) and although they’ve identified nearly 6,000 infected, only 11 have died and only 2 are currently in critical condition as all people are being treated early. The UK’s chief scientist estimated they probably had 10,000 cases last week so the figures don’t mean that much – so far the UK has only tested 25,000 people in total.

    Also the reason they’re asking the over 70s to self isolate as perhaps 25-30 percent of this group may need hospital treatment and the whole of the UK only has 4,000 intensive care beds (Germany has nearly 30,000) so it wouldn’t be long before you reach the situation in Italy where they are now deciding whether to treat patients. Italy has currently had 1,800 deaths and over 350 today. Italy also has twice as many intensive care beds as the UK.

    So the situation is serious and if the UK can slow the spread far far fewer people will die – that’s the issue as there is nothing to prevent the virus from spreading unless people accept these measures are needed.

      1. Sounds like about 2500 a day – though the problem is that the UK don’t have the capacity to do more tests and the policy is now not to test people who are self isolating or concerned they have the virus.

  7. BBD

    Thanks for your concern and pleased to report we are both fine and getting over heavy colds and we have not been outside our property since Friday, since which the lock-down has been implemented.

    As we understand it, we can leave home to undertake shopping for food, visit the pharmacy, GP, hospital or bank for the next two weeks minimum. The police are monitoring and challenging people who are out and about.

    Dog owners are allowed out to exercise their dogs but we are not allowed to go out for a walk for our own exercise purposes. That being said, there is rain predicted over the next few days so we will probably be inside anyway.

    Local supermarkets are looking to ration the number of items an individual can purchase (max of 6 of any individual item) to try and stop people bulk buying. I suggested to Mrs P that we should purchase 6 cases of wine but she was not amused!

    Did the weekly shop on my own on Friday and most items were available with the notable exception of toilet paper. Word is people are stocking up as it is cheaper than purchasing tissues if you catch the virus!

    Apparently Saturday was not as calm with large queues at the supermarket and shelves emptying. Situation not helped by large influx of Spaniards from Madrid.
    Need to pop out tomorrow for a few items so it will be interesting to see how we get on.

    Best wishes to everyone else and let’s hope common sense prevails and that this can be put to bed as quickly as possible so that we can get back to normality.😎

  8. If you google SARS, MERS, Swine Flu etc there is quite a lot of information that mirrors what we are seeing here at the moment. The only difference I can seem to see, is the blanket 24hr coverage we see at the moment, compared to those outbreaks.

    I could be totally wrong, ( I often am), but this is being fuelled by a social media frenzy in my opinion.

    1. SARS didn’t really infect many people with only 8,000 cases and just 4 in the UK – which was lucky as it usually killed 10% of people but what was more lucky was that it mutated and lost a protein to stop itself from replicating. MERS also only had 2,500 cases worldwide though it killed around 800 people. Swine flu again wasn’t that serious as it was a mutation of the H1N1 virus and it was only younger people who didn’t have immunity but it was really only a mild flu.

      So despite the hype there’s been nothing as serious as Covid 19 since probably Spanish flu!

        1. I think by definition viruses that make people sicker or sick more quickly probably spread less easily – with the Corona virus it’s believed around 45% show none or few symptoms so people continue to do their normal stuff but are spreading the disease. For a virus to be successful it needs its host to be able to be fit long enough to pass it on and people generally avoid other people who look and sound quite ill 🙂

  9. Hand Gel dispensers are commonplace in all Hospitals, Medical Centres and Doctors Surgeries.

    If the government want to get people to wash their hands more often they should fund the placement of dispensers in heavily populated areas like Shopping Malls, Public Transport Hubs, Tourist Attractions etc.

    1. A great idea but as it relies on spending money, unlikely that it will happen! Totally agree that it should happen but sadly I suspect that many people would still not bother to use them. Those same people would then moan when they got ill!

      I despair at the level of stupidity that exists in the general population, fuelled by social media and the main stream media.

      This virus and the way we deal with it is going to leave lasting impacts and not in a good way. For example, airlines will go bust, lots of businesses on the high street will fail.

  10. Now that the public’s attention has been garnered, perhaps it’s time for new initiatives.

    There should be Hand Gel in all public places, not just with the current crisis in mind, but also to help protect all the vulnerable who face the threat of influenza viruses every year.

  11. I saw that GHW but Matt Hancock wasnt convincing me that the govt has a handle on it.
    Begging on live TV for firms to switch to manufacturing ventilators because we don’t have nearly enough and that whatever you charge us, well pay it…..

    What happened to the idea that a govt could choose to requisition equipment, people, resources…
    Govt could and should be decisive in these things and making those tough calls, not begging companies to produce something at an inflated cost.

    I’m sorry, but if that is the sovereign control we voted to have back, then heaven help us

    1. As I’ve already mention the UK has got relatively few intensive care beds in comparison to other G7 countries (4,000 vs 30,000 in Germany’s case). As Italy has shown, the UK really need to up that number fast to avoid making choices between who gets a ventilator and who essentially dies. As to how soon these ventilators can be produced (we’re talking maybe 10,000 needed) and put into service is another matter but if the UK is between 2-4 weeks from being in the same situation as Italy, then I suspect these new restrictions will come in sooner rather than later to slow down that possibility.

  12. Incidentally, as I’m posting my various views and opinions on the Corona situation, I should just reiterate an earlier point I made in that these (like anybody else’s) are just my opinions based on what I’ve been reading and listening to on the subject. People should make their judgements based on the advice of qualified professionals.

    I listen to a daily 30 minute podcast of a German doctor of epidemiology who spends 12 hours a day reading the research and studying the data of the Corona virus from various countries. He himself has admitted that it’s not possible to keep on top of everything and he often changes his advice as he becomes aware of new information.

    He initially wasn’t in favour of closing schools but decided last week it would be more effective than keeping them open. His view is that slowing transmission of the virus is the main course of action that has to be followed to avoid leaving health service unable to cope. Plus testing as many people as possible is the only way to be sure that you’re keeping on top of the spread – in Germany every health worker is tested in the morning and these results are discovered in four hours.

  13. I do suspect most of us will get it. I just hope that the consequences won’t be as devastating for the more vulnerable among us all as feared.
    There is a political angle to the healthcare resources available, but that debate is for later. Just now the practicality of mobilising sufficient resources is the paramount concern.

  14. At this moment the risk of contracting the virus where we live seems pretty small given the current number of cases. Bremen (population 554,000) has 53 and the district or borough where we live (population 114,000) has just 13 cases. To put that in context it means just 1 in 10,000 of the population have currently been identified with the virus.

    If you then surmise that none of these people or their identified close contacts are walking the streets and you are taking precautions of hand washing and social distancing – then the current risk is minimal.

    So no need to panic just yet.

  15. Werder has highlighted a major concern, no one has any immunity and the virus may well come back after this outbreak. We had our flu jobs at the back end of last year but that wont be much use against the current virus.

    Judith and I were talking about our childhoods, if someone got chickenpox amongst our friends we were all told to play together. Without social media and blanket media coverage we just didn’t know much about situations.

    I read up about Spanish flu and have to admit I didn’t know much about it. Scary.

  16. There is an interesting article in the on-line Guardian which questions the UK strategy:

    “The UK’s Covid-19 strategy dangerously leaves too many questions unanswered
    Anthony Costello”. 😎

  17. I mentioned last week that a doctor said that seasonal flu vaccine also offered some protection against the risks of catching pneumonia – which is one of the main causes of death from the corona virus. Well Mrs Werder checked our seasonal flu injection and it wasn’t covered in our particular package – apparently it’s something normally offered to the over 60s in Germany.

    Anyway, I’m now booked in for the Pneumococcal vaccine later today and I would advise anyone to check if they’re are also covered and get it if not – the good thing is that this vaccine offers protection for five years so even after Corona virus it is useful to have.

  18. Like everyone else I’m concerned about Covid 19, but I’m just glad to be back home cocooned in my own house. As I anticipated my car battery was completely flat and as most of my neighbours on the estate where I live are nearly as old as me I didn’t want to trouble them. My next door neighbour has a wife my age fighting cancer and a 93 year old mother at the other end of town to contend with, whilst my neighbour on the other side had the same problem as me with a flat car battery with leads through his letter box to his car battery. He has helped me before and if I was more patient he would have helped me yesterday, but I just wanted to get the shopping done with a busy week ahead with two doctors appointments and a visit to James Cook to see my Prostate Cancer consultant and another one with my urologist to insert a new catheter, so I decided to pay a call out fee of £114 to get my car on the road. A lot of money, but I can afford it and don’t consider it my money anyway, just less inheritance for my beneficiaries after my demise.

    As for the shopping I was previously well stocked with toilet rolls, baby wipes and tena pads, so no problem there. It was just a shortage of food that concerned me. I usually stock up after a long stay in the Algarve by just pushing a trolley down every supermarket aisle spending something like £150, but on Saturday my spending was just over £100 as I was unable to find everything that I would normally buy, but nevertheless I’m now reasonably well stocked with food at least for 10 days or so. Would I rather be in the Algarve where the temperatures last week were a maximum of 27 degrees? No, apart from it being a cold 5 degrees at Leeds/Bradford Airport, at least it’s been fairly sunny and a mild 10 degrees in Redcar since.

    I’ve got through my stack of mail, checked over my bank statements, got all the laundry washed and ironed, and once I get over this week happy to be back in what might be a boring life to some folk, but I’m used to that and just happy to still be alive and well. The only drawback is the lack of football, Boro in particular. I decided not to renew my Sky Sports channel through Virgin Media until there’s some sport to watch, even though Cas Tigers have two more matches scheduled to be televised in the next 3 weeks. Instead yesterday I listened to the commentary of Cas v Saints on BBC Radio Merseyside and was overjoyed at the 28-14 win which puts Cas second to Wigan on points average in the League table after 7 matches, but it’s likely that after a meeting today Rugby League will fall into line with other sports and be postponed till who knows when.

    So I’m happy with that outcome and the fact that one way or another Boro will still be a Championship club next season. Talk about Monty Python’s Life of Brian, well this is a summary of The Life of Ken which in the circumstances isn’t too bad. Thanks to all who have shown concern for this old codger, but to quote Mogga, it is what it is.

    1. Ken, when you are leaving your car for any length of time it is a good idea to disconnect the battery. Alternatively, if your car is garages it can also be beneficial to leave it hooked up to a trickle charger.

      I’m sure your local garage can advise you.

  19. Just meant to add that Chris Kamara, one of our own and a guest at yesterday’s televised match apparently went down a storm with Cas fans. If there is to be more Super League after today, perhaps Sky Sports will invite Jeff Stelling as a guest.

      1. OFB
        I can’t believe things have changed so much since Friday in the Algarve. Perhaps he’s in Lisbon in the Alentejo some 250kms north of the Algarve. At the time I left there were no cases in the Algarve.

  20. It seems to me that we all got off on the wrong foot regarding this infestation.
    I listened to stories of ” a heavy cough with Flu like symptoms, which died slowly away in the vast majority of cases, unless you were in poor health, and old. All taking place over two weeks.
    On reading reports by people who knew what they were talking about (generally foreign) I read that the flu like symptoms are (if you are unlucky) followed by the development of viral pneumonia, with added complications around the wall of the heart(very serious complications).
    Just thought I would cheer you up.

  21. Mrs P ventured out today, we were both going until we learnt that only one per household were allowed out unless one of us needed assistance.

    Our local card and gift shop was open so she managed to post a couple of family birthday cards and a Mother’s Day card. Remains to be seen if the courier will arrive to collect and if they will make it back on a flight to UK.

    Visited pharmacy for cough mixture and paracetamol. One meter distance between customers being observed.

    First Spanish supermarket she visited were only allowing a maximum of 40 customers in at a time so large queue in the car park and only one in and one out at a time. Police enforcing the policy and one meter distance between people queuing.

    Mrs P did not wait given the size of the queue and visited a smaller German supermarket which we also use which was well stocked and no queue.

    We also have a local Iceland shop which was very quiet and well stocked so we have enough to keep us going for a week or so.

    Running out of recorded tv programmes to watch so will have to give in and do some jobs around the house!

    Best wishes to all. 😎

    1. Sounds totally surreal KP – I’m not sure why people are not allowed just to go for a walk as they can’t pass the virus on unless there is close contact. Maybe you should get a dog as apparently it’s OK to go for a walk if you have a dog! Maybe you could put a lead on a soft toy and pretend it’s just lazy 😉

      1. Mrs P has decided to buy a dog lead then we can go for a walk and if stopped we can say we were taking the dog for a walk but it slipped the lead and we are looking for it!! 🤣😎

  22. Werder,

    I walked the two Jack Russells this morning and saw nobody until I met the farmer in his yard when I was fifty yards from home, I suppose hat’s one good thing about empty countryside.

    The farmer gave us some apples from his cold store and told us to help ourselves to his broccoli and various varieties of kale. Another farmer who allows me to fish and shoot on his land dropped us a sack of potatoes off. We’ve already been given venison, wild duck, pheasant and partridge so we have a stock of good things. then there’s my favourite, pigeon breast. The countryside may seem empty but there is real community spirit and care evident. We’ve given both farmers some of the Boss’ Crab Apple Gin and a trout each from our freezer. Barter works for us.

    I’ve had to stop watching the news or at least the Boss said it’s bad for my blood pressure I get so cross at the idiocy of bulk buying and fake news.

    On to Football I’ve no doubt they’ll be wrestling with the intellectual problem of sorting the leagues out. then there’s the finance and contracts.

    Stay fit and well out in the DiasBoro particularly OFB’s wife, Ken and all the others.



    1. John, we will all be coming to yours for the food then!

      My wife is also getting a tad fed up with my rants about the situation- says I need to start a group where I can vent off but it didn’t go down too well when I said that we wouldn’t be allowed to meet up!!

      Maybe this forum will have to do for now- there is a wealth of views and experience which makes it so good. Werder in particular is very clued up.

      I must admit to changing my view from it is all going to go wrong, to the Aussie “she’ll be right mate” attitude.

      But as others have said, it will be what it will be I guess.

  23. GWH – checked Middlesbrough postcode and found no reported cases of the virus in population of 140,545 so you see it is not just football players that don’t want to come to Smoggyland lol.

    Come on BORO.

    1. Only 5 in my area although given that tests are now given if you go to hospital (as I understand it) then I suspect there are a lot more out there!

  24. If the lockdowns succeed in slowing down the spread then all well and good but so long as there are still one or two carriers in a community (perhaps innocently not yet come down with symptoms) then it will eventually all flare up again. Granted lockdowns will temporarily ease the pressure on the health systems but at this stage it looks like its not going to go anywhere soon other than follow a Boro pattern of suppressed than flare back up in intermittent cycles.

    Schools and factories around the world can’t be closed for ever and will have to reopen at some point, even as an acceptance of defeat. People need to work to earn money to buy mountains of toilet rolls and pay bills. When Richard Branson is asking for Government handouts from the magic money tree then we know that redundancies and unemployment levels will rocket with businesses going to the wall from small family or self employed individuals through to major national and international corporations. If people are fighting in the aisles over loo rolls then just wait until they can’t pay gas or electricity bills and paper mills, bakeries and food manufacturers etc. start to cease operating due to illnesses or to their confined workforce being unable to travel to work.

    There isn’t a solution, only time will tell what worked best and what didn’t and why. Its a balancing act requiring the Wisdom of Solomon which in itself has always been in doubt due to being part of the Apocrypha. Probably ironic considering the level of fake news and misinformation which abounds today.

    However all this pans out it could very likely put the world back decades in terms of freedom of movement and open borders making Brexit look like a walk in the park. The fall out from this will leave many with serious concerns about China far beyond politics, trade and Huawei. Things also seem very quiet in Russia and I doubt because Western TV news channels are not camped in Red Square gorging themselves, streaming 24 hour updates from Moscow morgues doesn’t mean it isn’t happening there.

    There again it may just bang a few heads together and be a wake up call that causes our world leaders (term used very loosely) to realise that they can draw lines in maps defended by tanks and missiles, build their walls but in reality there is no border that controls the force of nature. As someone with a leaning towards agnosticism maybe it is an act of a supreme entity in banging some very thick heads together at a time when the world needed a harsh wake up call from being destroyed by political egocentrics.

    1. If we’re lucky the restrictions will keep the numbers down and we’ll get a summer with managing with hand washing and social distancing – then if we’re lucky we’ll get a fast-tracked vaccine in late autumn. It looks like we’re heading for a pretty severe world recession and can only imagine it will take a lot of government debt to bail out many sectors who just can’t operate for at least six months. Then of course there’s Brexit for all those who get through it to look forward to in January…

  25. Boro players reported at Rockliffe this morning for training, and the plan, say the club, is to work as normal on the Hurworth pitches.

    I still play football, too- OK on lowest level possible for old grumpy men – but our FA and our club did suspend all training on Friday. I do not thinks the virus are as bad over here than in the UK.

    The training is suspended till the end of the March but it can go on longer. Just surprised that Boro do still train.

    Up the Boro!

    1. You cannot get the consistency of our delivery without constant practice otherwise some of the deliveries would accidently end up between the six yard box and the penalty spot and within the width of the goalposts..

  26. Werder

    I forgot to mention the origin of the term Spanish flu. A very brief view of my understanding from Wiki it is not because it’s origins were in Spain but because during the First World War governments on both sides were bothered about keeping morale so kept a lid on the outbreak being made public.

    Spain was a neutral country so their press were free to report the facts about the outbreak.

    The article makes grisly reading, it is of course a different virus.

    PS, I put the latest test numbers for information, good to hear your area seems relatively untouched. Maybe Mrs KP can get a dog outfit for KP!

  27. I would suggest that the most prudent action to take if you have any Cold/Flu like symptoms would be to assume you have it and self isolate. Of course if you have any concerns or your symptoms worsen then calling 111 would then be the most sensible option to follow.

  28. Latest figures in the UK show 1543 cases and sadly a death in Wales taking the number lost to 36. 44100 people tested.

    As Werder has mentioned. no longer testing those self isolating with mild conditions.

    Even when we wrinklies are asked to self isolate we will be allowed out of the house but be wary of mixing and crowds, a case of being sensible.

  29. It seems many American citizens are now taking the Corona virus very seriously and are preparing in the only way they know how to fight the outbreak…

    Larry Hyatt, owner of one of the country’s largest gun shops said: “We are experiencing a massive rush to buy guns and ammunition as people feel the need to protect themselves and their families.”

    Hyatt said that the type of guns being bought was reflective of the fear prevalent among customers. There was almost no interest in hunting rifles. Instead, people were opting for target guns and there was big demand for AR-15 semi-automatic assault-style rifles.

    As demand grows, Hyatt added: “This is only the second time in my 61 years of business that we’ve seen anything like this!”

    I guess we should be grateful that in most places panic buying is mainly restricted to toilet rolls and pasta shells…

  30. I have listened to the latest press conference and apart from being somewhat concerned about how we are going to cope- does anyone have a clue as to whether the restrictions start now or at the weekend?

    And who is going to stop folk from going? It will make a lot of businesses go bust along with unemployment but I didn’t hear anything about support for them?

    Maybe I missed it………

    1. I suspect they’re still working their way through all the spreadsheets and models – I guess they may be more precise tomorrow once all the announcements have begun to sink in.

      Here in Germany all shops besides food and chemists are set to be closed from 6pm tomorrow – I went to the supermarket late this afternoon and most of the freezers, fridges and shelves for bread were empty. People are preparing for lock down!

      btw As mentioned I went for my Pneumococcal vaccine at my GP, there was a man in front of me at reception who started telling them his wife has a high fever and has been coughing continuously and what should he do – before adding, it’s ok I’m not ill at all. I took a few paces back, as did another woman and we both couldn’t believe he had no idea that nearly half of all infected people have few symptoms but are still infectious. Hopefully we made the right social distance but it brought the situation home. Incidentally, my injection was administered by a health worker wearing a full-face protective visor!

      Indeed, even at the supermarket their was a woman who sneezed four or five times over a freezer without covering her mouth. It seems it’s going to be a risky business going out as many people are just not thinking straight!

  31. I think people have to take responsibility for their own actions. There should be no need for any further government action.

    People who dont take care and implement sensible precautions are a liability to society. If it needs further action imposed that is not the governments fault, it is down to selfish people. Certain people will find away to get round it, they are basically immoral.

    Society has a responsibility, you should not need government imposed regulation if advice is given. I dont want a nanny state.

    1. Agree Ian that society should have a responsibility and a moral compass. However, as witnessed by the panic buying of stuff, then I am not so sure anymore……..

      There are a lot of selfish people out there and my view is that without draconian actions then it will not be effective.

    2. The paradox of freedom. As a society we subscribe to laws, rules and conventions because paradoxically despite restricting our freedom to behave as ever we like, they allow the rest of us to behave without fear of the consequences of someone else’s actions.

      The extreme example, we all accept the restraint that says we are not allowed to murder someone. Anyone who breaks, or attempts to break, that rule is punished and if possible restrained from exercising that freedom he/she might like to have, to kill someone. The rule is there to protect society.

      As it is with so many selfish, inconsiderate and ill-informed people who want to be “free” to behave as they like, spreading a virus that kills vulnerable people. It’s not a nanny state. The state is there to protect society. Sad that we need rules against murder and sneezing in the frozen food section, but so long as there are people who don’t think about the rest of us, it is good to have the rules and to be reminded of the rules.

      Sure, many of us don’t need them, because are good members of society. But we need them, the rules and directives and regulations, to cater for the significant number of people that ate not good members of society.

  32. It’s interesting that panic buying in supermarkets and the ‘I’m alright Jack attitude’ wasn’t addressed at the PM’s press conference.

    Is it a subject just to prickly to handle. Personally I’d make the bog roll hoarders eat them. I don’t understand their attitude at all. Enter their homes and re-distribute their hoard to those who need it.

    Let common sense prevail said a neighbour who works in the hallowed halls of Cambridge. Bollocks said I, it will never happen, not until someone forcibly stops them it will go on and on. If they continue to get away with it their actions are condoned.

    Major rant coming on so it’s time for a medicinal Islay malt.



    1. I am with you on that John – I get so wound up with panic buyers selfish attitudes. It kinda gets to the situation where the non panic buyers start to think that they had better panic buy cos they won’t be able to get anything and so the cycle continues!

      Whilst I like to think that society will self regulate, the reality is that it doesn’t and perhaps the supermarkets should start enforcing rationing cos I am not sure the government will.

      At least we have this forum to vent our frustrations in a sensible and well behaved manner naturally!

  33. I think the problem is that selfish people dont care, they will find a way to get around any restrictions.

    My wife has a couple of friends who are intent of visiting, both are similar ages, one has the initial stage of chest problems the other a grandson. All three are in their late 60’s. Judith has sent a warning text advising lets meet up another time.

    I saw a report on older people who didn’t want to take care because they wanted to do things.

    As my dad said, you cant educate pork.

    1. My wife suggested that perhaps they should be allowed do as they want and do things but be told don’t expect that there will be a NHS bed for them in their hour of need!

  34. As we have little hand wash with alcohol I have decided to use malt whisky. I know they say do not to use medicines internally but in this case I am ignoring medical advice.

    For information, I am using Lagavulin tonight. Being wise I will not use the same medication each day so the virus cannot develop immunity. I have plenty of malt whisky varieties but other alcoholic drinks are available.

    1. Lagavulin ! It even sounds like a hand wash 🧼

      I’m using neat vodka then licking it off my hands. I’ve washed 59 times today (hic)


  35. During the Second World War and for several years afterwards we had food rationing and families were issued with ration books but had to register with certain shopkeepers. My father used to help our local grocer with collating his ration coupons each month. Imagine if families had to register with one specific supermarket and could only buy a certain amount of food and essentials each month until their coupons ran out, would it be possible to administer today? The number of coupons per person could take into account the medical requirements for each member of the family as prescribed by one’s GP. After all it would appear that we are at war again, this time against Coronavirus.

  36. The supermarkets here in OZ are now rationing, only one pack of toilet paper per customer and 2 packs of pasta, rice and frozen vegetables. We still have sport at the moment.
    The Rugby League started last weekend with crowds and is looking to play on behind closed doors. Cameron Smith very senior player has said that they should not be playing and has been castigated publicly by the governing body. The Aussie Rules starts this week behind closed doors and they are looking to shorten the season by 6 rounds, and as a consequence the players have been told to expect a 20% pay cut! The A-League is looking to continue but two teams are in lockdown so no one knows what is going to happen there.
    Here in the Northern Territory we only have 1 case – an interstate visitor- so people don’t see it as much as a problem, although the population is less than the population of Middlesbrough and Stockton combined.
    Hope everyone keeps safe.

    1. PPP,
      Now that is serious and Australia has had enough problems without disappearing.

      On the subject of panic buying the supermarket environment almost condones panic buying, after all you just help yourself. Across a counter you were given your purchases and it went in a bag not a massive SUV, pick-up or estate car.

      Ian, the internal hand-wash system. Excellent.



      1. John, and I got hell off me mam if I ever went to the Co-op for the Saturday shopping at Penrith Road shops and forgot to put her “Divi” number over for record, those were the days, eh.

  37. Listening to the reasons why the UK government is changing their approach to the Corona virus was quite worrying. I was hearing phrases from NHS England like “we had hoped it wasn’t going to be as bad as other countries” or “we hoped we wouldn’t need to impose stricter measures”. There was never any reason to assume the Corona virus wouldn’t behave exactly as it had in every other country – it almost smacks of incompetence.

    Suddenly the data showed that the UK was heading for 250,000 deaths and the NHS would be swamped many times over. Though what was typical was how the people in charge started saying the usual things managers say when they are proved wrong – “We don’t want to dwell on what has happened in the past” and “What’s important is that we’re now doing the right thing.” Apparently the new strategy they say will restrict deaths to the tens of thousands.

    Meanwhile, the health ministers continue to be vague about the capacity for testing and the number of ventilators in the UK. They are unable to say how many they can put into service and when – because they simply don’t know. They have failed to prepare adequately in the two months notice they had and were also slow to take measures to keep the virus in check.

    OK, they are not alone as we now see with Spain but other countries were clearly more organised. Listening to the South Korean minister yesterday showed how they were quickly able to develop an effective plan and take control of the situation. The UK seems to have this public school bluffers mentality of appearing calm and a presentation that they are basing everything on advice from their top British scientists – what did they think all the other countries have been basing their strategies on?

    Hopefully we won’t hear further nonsense that the NHS is the best health service in the world – it’s not and hasn’t been for a long time and has been getting by for years on underfunding and shortages of doctors, nurses, beds and equipment. Those who work in it do their best under difficult circumstances but they can’t even be tested for the virus to avoid infecting their patients or have all the right protective clothing to minimise infection. They will be asked to save lives with just one sixth of the ventilators that German doctors can call upon.

    Basically, we have to hope the UK gets lucky and the new measures work in stopping the spread of the virus.

    1. Werder

      I very much agree with all that. I think that the government’s approach has been based on the fact that they are fully aware of the shortcomings in the NHS (driven on the back of years of under resourcing) and that it is far behind other countries in being able to tackle the problem.

      It appears the strategy is to delay and shield the NHS from the impact as long as possible. Part of the delay in closing schools is I believe down to the fact they don’t want already depleted front line staff taking time off to childmind.

      The failures in the area of testing is appalling in my view and I felt was very much glossed over in yesterday’s conference and spun on the basis that it was now being ramped up.

      Why on earth was some of the testing discontinued; how on earth are you going to get a handle on how effective measures are if you do know who is infected or being re- infected or are safe to be at large in the general community.

      I am not sure that self isolation measures are going to work if it is not backed up with penalties as they are doing here in Spain. We have already seen PL footballers ignoring the requirement and playing five a side with their mates when they had been asked to quarantine themselves. As someone with many years of audit experience I know how often that self regulation often fails.

      I also feel for those businesses which the public have been told to avoid, pubs, clubs, theatres and restaurants. In my view they should have been compelled to close thereby giving them an opportunity to claim some recompense for loss of profits, often via business insurance and no doubt also seeking support from the government which it looks as if they are trying to avoid having to pay/deal with claims.

      This all smacks to me of a government seeking to pass the buck to others rather than taking firm control and showing leadership. It appears more like a case of them saying it wasn’t me sir it it was them, the scientists the public et al.

      Today’s rant over! 😎

      1. Interestingly, on the subject of testing, I’ve just been speaking this morning to two Spanish friends who have lived in London for the last 30 years. They’ve both been quite ill the last two weeks, he had it the worst with fever and ultimately needed antibiotics for a chest infection. They don’t know if it was the Corona virus but they weren’t tested nor will they be – it’s possible that they now would have some immunity but they still have to continue as if they’ve not had the virus – with the added worry that they are now feeling quite run down and maybe even more susceptible if it wasn’t Covid 19.

      2. There is, of course, the possibility that having assessed the potential extent of infections and the associated mortality rate (of primarily older folk) that governement considers the future savings to the NHS, Social Care, State pensions etc etc etc bought about by having at least 1/4 million fewer wrinklies to worry about makes for just too good an opportunity to pass up …

  38. During the Second World War the BBC news and Cinema news reels were all about the War and as a child I naively assumed that once the War ended so would newsreels. Ignorance is bliss
    so they used to say. However I haven’t bought a newspaper for at least 5 years and rarely watch news programmes, in fact I didn’t own a television set for the first 3 or 4 years of my married life in the early 60s. So if it wasn’t for Werdermouth I’d probably be ignorant of the implications of Coronavirus as I’ve never even had influenza or a heavy cold in my life nor had flu injections.

    When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago
    my reaction was that I didn’t want chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but just to get on with my life as long or as short as it might be. I was concerned about the flight home from Portugal last week, but now safely at home I’m going to treat Coronavirus just as I have cancer and all of my other ailments just as an inconvenience, respect the problem and take sensible precautions, but continue to give news programmes a miss. I don’t need to be told how to take care of myself and at my time of life death is inevitable in the short time. I know my
    limitations and if I unluckily catch the symptoms of this disease will just thank my lucky stars on the wonderful life I’ve had to date despite losing my wife 11 years ago and for one reason or another not being able to have children. I don’t want to think of the future, but just take one day at a time. What else can I do?

    1. That makes sense Ken – if only everyone took the same approach. Just keep safe and posting in here for that social contact. It is not the same but better than nothing.

      Now I am not a techie and don’t use Facebook, let alone Skype but I wonder if there is a way that something can be set up so that those who want to “meet up” in a virtual pub, sup a few jars together and put the world to rights!

    1. I am surprised that It has taken you that long to work that out to be fair!

      It is going to be a long 12 weeks I fear.

      We have been to do our usual weekly shop and Asia was somewhat busier than normal with the tinned food aisle wiped out along with no eggs or flour!

      Oddly skimmed milk was also not there.

      I despair of people I really do.

    2. I know many knobs and I’m sure that the majority of them would take great offence at being compared to Piers Morgan. I can think of many more descriptions of him but I wouldn’t want this site shut down.

  39. Werder and KP – can’t disagree with what you both say. Here in the UK we have been badly served by our leaders for a long time. The sad fact is that until the smelly stuff hits the whirly thing, most people and the media(with exceptions) have chosen to ignore that.

    I am not a fan of Johnson and the previous government but I am not sure that the other lot would have done any better. As a society we have become far too self centered and greedy with a focus on the here and now rather than long term.

    I have seen stats that say a large percentage of people are only one month away from not being able to pay the mortgage – I have always, even when working, ensured that I have had 3 months of basic income tucked away in case of emergencies. And if that meant doing without stuff, then so be it – live within your means.

    The issue for the country and to be fair other countries, is what financial stimulus and assistance is given to both smaller businesses and individuals to see them through. I have reduced sympathy for the big organisations who have paid vast amounts to their CEOs and others and not built up a buffer. For example, why should we bail out Richard Branson and other billionaires?

    As someone said to me even before this situation, in today’s world we should not have the number of billionaires that we do, it is obscene.

    That is my rant over for now, sorry folks.

    1. I’m not sure how they expect people to survive for any length of time on the £94.25 a week sick pay. Some European countries have already declared they will be covering a large part of employees wages – The Danish government will pay 75% of the salary and Sweden 80%.

      Though not as bad as in the US where 39 of the 50 states don’t even have sick pay and maybe around 20% of the population don’t even have health insurance. Can’t see how many people will be staying away from work if they’re ill on that basis.

  40. Practical suggestion #243

    Couldn’t the trolley attendants in supermarket car parks be given spray cleaner and wipes for trolley push bars.

    1. The problem GHW is that getting hold of the sprays and wipes is nigh on impossible. I heard on the news yesterday that Cumbria County Council have unfulfilled orders for the very same and that they have been told probably about another three weeks at least. Meantime they have told staff to buy their own and that they will be reimbursed, problem is that shops don’t have any to sell.

      1. Apparently, from what I heard on a Radio 4 feature, some elderly groups have been explaining how to make your own sanitizer by mixing normal hand cream with vodka – though just how effective that is who can say. Maybe you’d need to use some of that super-strength Balkan vodka…

      2. What stocks? That’s the problem unfortunately. Priority is being given to the NHS one would hope with minimal retail stock being delivered to Supermarkets in line with their normal sales projections. From selling 12 bottles of sanitising gel a week to 500 an hour is not something that supermarket buyers had factored in nor their manufacturing supply chain.

        In France Louis Vuitton are now switching their perfume production to making sanitising liquids as a response to try and do their bit, that is how desperate the supply situation has become. Add in that many of the manufacturers are not actually in the UK but in Central Europe or even further afield and domestic demand is going to take priority with any excess production over exports. We are already seeing the European Union no longer United, closing borders and banning exports on vital equipment.

        Reality is that there are far more needy uses for the stuff than wiping shopping trolley handles. The same customers are pawing over fruit and veg and other articles in the shop as well as coughing and spluttering everywhere whilst they hand over notes to poor cashiers without face masks and gels or holding credit cards between their teeth while they look for their loyalty cards stuffed in the same pocket as their tissues. There was a case this week where some “person” has ripped the hand gel dispenser unit off the wall of a Hospital ward.

  41. In an effort to lighten the mood a little the following video is worth a look if you are not easily offended. Rather than post the link directly I have just posted the text for you to copy and paste (or ignore) in your search engine in case anyone may find the language used as perhaps “too descriptive”. The more commonly used word/term for defecation is used quite liberally throughout:

    Honest Government Ad | Coronavirus: Flatten The Curve

  42. Trying to find a more positive twist on things perhaps Western Governments globally may realise just how ill prepared they collectively were for this.

    As a consequence they may take time to reflect on policies that have emasculated ordinary working people’s opportunities for a self respecting life over the last thirty or so years. Its a long shot but maybe they will look to be more self sufficient (not just in medicine and ventilators etc.) and reintroduce more labour intensive manual industries. I know of one who will probably be of this mindset especially if the timing of it guarantees him election for another four years.

    Too many idle hands have caused the UK many social problems now for decades with zero political solution from any of those elected regardless of their rosette colour. The likelihood is that things could now become a lot more strained as many hundreds of thousands if not millions find themselves unemployed and broke.

  43. To give people a bit of an insight into what this means when you work in hospitality. My wife runs a soup business. She has a cafe, a van and makes soup for about 30 other cafes. She also donates soup for free (150 litres per month) to a local van that feed the homeless. She built it all from nothing over 9 months with her redundancy cheque. Now she employs 12 people.

    The £3000 the government is offering will pay about 1 week’s wages. Our wholesale orders are reducing by about 80% next week and our lunch time trade today is running at about 25% of normal.

    Insurers won’t insure you for business interruption for things like pandemics or terrorism. I know because a few years back I tried to get a closure due to terrorist attack clause in our insurance and we couldn’t. That said, if that was normal, the insurance industry can’t afford to pay out.

    This month we can just about cover wages with our reserves and, unlike Richard Branson, we have some (more) of our own money we will put in but odds are we’re going to have to let most of our staff go next month.

    People often think that cafes and coffee shops are a licence to print money. They aren’t. Pretty much every independent place on your high street has no more than 2 weeks cash reserves.

    We’re lucky. We have no debt but like everyone else we know, we operate on wafer-thin margins. We will have to either close completely or find a way to shrink our business to cope.

    Bottom line. Unless the government takes this seriously, over the next 2-3 weeks we will see about 3,000,000 people made unemployed. What is left of UK high streets will be destroyed. Even the bookies will go under if there’s nothing to bet on.

    My current forecast is that it will be July before trade starts to pick up again. Probably around 16 weeks. Even then, anyone still standing will have a huge back-log of unpaid rent and utilities and those 16 weeks of income are gone forever.

    Not exactly cheerful, I realise.

    1. A depressing but very true state of affairs Deleriad. Over the last few weeks I have had meetings cancelled but this week all of them were cancelled on Monday morning due to all non essential staff being banned from sites and premises.

      There are a lot of hard working people who may suddenly find themselves in very unfamiliar dire circumstances not of their own making. The level of disappointment, frustration, anger and resentment will manifest at some point and the longer it goes on the worse it will become. Unlike the US we don’t have the same level of gun problems thankfully as judging by social media there are a lot of normally very rational people clearly very worried, upset, concerned and all with good cause.

      At some future moment there will inevitably be a tipping point where Scientific evidence meets Social unrest head on. Hopefully a balance between common sense and managing risk will prevent meltdowns but “normality” with associated risks will need to be carefully timed by many European Governments.

    2. I feel for you and many other small businesses- I really do. I will be doing my level best to support them with my custom once this is over. I don’t live locally so can’t come in to yours but would do so.

      The thing is that I have a horrible feeling that many will not survive with the resulting impact on many lives.

      The test of a government is now it deals with a crisis and we will soon know how this lot are wired

    3. This is going to be the long lasting tragedy of this, and to a large extent could be mitigated. But that would take political will to do so and I am afraid we live in very selfish times, reflected in the nature of the politicians we elect.
      I hope I am wrong and woefully misjudging those who law and who would lead our country. Sadly, I am not confident that I will be wrong .

    4. Deleriad, I hope the UK government acts asap as I was hearing that the whole hospitality sector wouldn’t survive the measures and restrictions being taken. They need to cover the losses of what essentially is a national crisis.

  44. Deleriad

    My thoughts best wishes go out to you and your wife and her employees at a very worrying and difficult time for everyone.

    I posted earlier today of my frustration that the government seemed to be doing very little to support businesses and the self employed and in fact appeared to be distancing themselves from the problem.

    I just hope for you and your wife and my step daughter and her partner, all of whom are employed in the retail trade, that the chancellor will have some positive news and support to offer later today. 😎

    1. I also go along with you KP and hope that all those affected will be ok. It is difficult times and I know from dealing with many small businesses over the years, how hard it is in normal circumstances, let alone in situations like this.

      Whether our government do the right thing remains to be seen but if they don’t, then when the virus passes, as it will, then we be in a different world with a lot of difficulties.

  45. Deleriad

    Good luck to your venture and the same for everyone else.

    Following from KP’s point police caught a man in Spain pulling a toy dog.

    Macron has got angry with French people for ignoring advice, lets see what our population does.

  46. I don’t think enough emphasis is being put on Social Isolation. The only way this virus can be passed on is via person to person. Whilst I appreciate it is difficult to minimise contact between individuals, we could be doing a lot more on our own initiatives rather than relying on waiting for the government to impose draconian measures on us.

    Not being a drinker, it’s easy for me to not go to pubs and clubs. Most social activities require contact with others, perhaps it’s time to stop all of them until we can get past “ the peak” which seems to be the target at the moment.

  47. Just heard from some friends in our village that a work colleague of one of them has just tested positive for Corona virus after returning from holiday in Austria. The guy in question decided to have a test as the region in Austria had been having a lot of cases – though he said he’s got absolutely zero symptoms.

    Our same friends are also friends with another couple who have just returned from the same region in Austria – they also have no symptoms but have no intention of being tested, which given that they’re heavy socialisers and have subsequently met up with many people and been to a few parties may explain how the virus is spreading so easily.

  48. It seems rather incongruous to me that all the Television News outlets have roving reporters in popular landmarks around the world showing how deserted they all are ( except for the said reporter and sound and camera crew accompanying them). Surely all of these areas have public live CCTV feeds they could use?

  49. OFB
    Ive just rang my friends in the Algarve and just as I thought it’s business as usual with all shops, bars and restaurants open. Some restaurants up north have closed and also some shops, but one of the main reason for that is because of lack of tourists
    One must remember it’s still Winter in Portugal and primavera doesn’t start until next week, also there is a vast contrast in not only sunshine, but also in temperatures between Lisbon and the Algarve, and even more so between Porto and the Algarve, so my guess is that Jeff Stelling isn’t in the Algarve region.

  50. Following on from GHW’s comment, it is amazing that when a famine or medical emergency hits an area supplies cant get through but reporters and camera crews can.

    I agree with GHW, it is up to individuals to take responsibility, those people Werder knows show that idiocy knows no boundaries.

    For all my feeble attempts at humour we are taking it very seriously, we have stuff in but not much more than normal, we tend to buy when there are offers and dont wait until the last minute. Even so, we realise that there may be problems so are ‘one’ in front in terms of supplies than where we normally would be.

    Especially alcohol.

    1. I think there is a fine line between idiocy and reality. If they declare that they “may have” the virus is their financial status capable of seeing them through the crisis? Will their home be at risk and can they survive the financial penalties of late or even non payments? What other responsibilities or dependants do they have?

      Unfortunately the world we live in is less than perfect and more so now than ever. We all think and hope we would do the right thing but until we are placed in those stark and dark circumstances we don’t know if we would flight or fight. If people are arguing over toilet rolls that gives an insight into the psyche of human nature and what lengths otherwise “normal” people are prepared to go to.

  51. Now as it’s extremely doubtful that there’ll be any League football played again this season my solution would be to let the current League tables stand with no relegations but still retain the playoffs. Therefore we would have 23 clubs in the Premier League (the current 20 clubs plus Leeds, West Brom and whoever wins the playoffs Fulham, Brentford, Forest or Preston)
    The Championship would consist of the remaining 21 clubs since plus Coventry, Rotherham and whoever wins the playoffs (and because of the tightness of the League Oxford, Portsmouth, Fleetwood and Wycombe instead of Peterborough whose points ratio per game is the lowest of the top 7 teams.) Again 23 clubs an odd number, but there were precedents for that in 1987/88 season for both the two top divisions when the Premier League was reduced from over a two year period from 22 clubs to 20.
    Division One would consist of the remaining 20 clubs (remember at present Bury were expelled before the season started) plus Crewe, Swindon and Plymouth plus the winners of the playoffs Exeter, Cheltenham, Colchester or Northampton.
    Division Two would consist of the remaining 20 clubs plus 4 from the National League or 3 if Bury are readmitted.

    That only leaves the question of players contracts expiring on the 30th June to be decided, but that would have to be resolved anyway if football extended into July.

    1. Interesting idea but what will happen is that all those currently close to the playoffs (Bristol City, Cardiff, Milwall) will argue that they may have made the playoffs in a full season so it’s unfair.

      To be honest, every decision will be contested legally by some clubs. There is no good answer. I think the least bad answer is just to abandon the season as is and have the top 2 in each league go up. The parachute money should go to the remaining clubs in the championship and be spread out evenly. The premier clubs should also probably pool the prize money and share it fairly evenly. At this point there needs to be solidarity across the whole of football.

  52. Deleriad
    But what I advocated would be fairer to those clubs fighting for promotion to the Championship as Rotherham currently in 2nd place have only a 2 point damage over the current 3rd, 4th, and 5th clubs and only a 3 point lead of the 6th, 7th and 8th clubs and it could be argued that Rotherham could well be over taken by any one of them. I agree that the top 2 in the Championship and League 1 (top 3 in League 2) should be promoted, though you can’t say that Rotherham should be automatically promoted over any of the 6 clubs below them and then argue that Bristol City, Millwall or Cardiff should have a case of a playoff place at the expense of probably Preston. If we are to take all the current League positions as the basis for automatic promotion, I don’t see any valid reason that the current playoff places shouldn’t be afforded the same opportunity to gain promotion places also. The season started with the concept of 3 promoted clubs from the Championship and League 1 not only 2, and the only way to achieve that is to retain the playoffs with those currently in those positions to fight it out.

    1. There’s too many games left in this season to allow any team to deemed to win something or lose something. So I’ll stick by my suggestion that the season is declared void with no winners, no losers, no promotion and no relegation. The season simply didn’t happen. Then next season, when it starts can wither use the same fixture list, or a new set of fixtures can be compiled.
      If any club goes out of business in the meantime, their position can be taken by the current highest place team in the division below.

      The prize funds/pots for all of the top leagues (EPL, Championship, Leagues 1 and 2) of this season, should be combined and shared equally to each club. That will give the lowest ranked and poorest clubs a financial boost that could (should?) help them survive this unprecedented situation. The higher ranked and richest clubs are better placed to withstand the crisis and so need disproportionately less now to still be viable when it is all over.

  53. Rather amazingly, UEFA said yesterday after postponing Euro 2020 that it would give domestic leagues space to complete their seasons. Just how this is going to happen I’ve no idea (for all the reasons I mentioned in my article). Also it’s now generally accepted every country will be in various levels of the current situation until a vaccine is produced – with 12 months being an optimistic time period. Essentially, we’ll see strict measures for the next 3-4 months followed by relaxation, followed by re-introduction as the cases once again begin to appear. We could see 3-4 cycles of these stop-start measures before a vaccine is available.

    Therefore I think maybe football may have to rethink what they can do in the time they’ll have available to actually play games. Perhaps domestically they should consider some form of group competition and a final knockout tournament, much like the Champions league or World Cup. It needs to be a competition that probably has defined phases that can stop and start. It would be a mistake to assume either the current season could be completed and the next season won’t be disrupted.

    I also think UEFA should cancel all plans for any European club competition next season – they could possibly just have a mini-competition of just the actual Champions from each country (if that isn’t a misnomer given a cancelled season) but in reality anything that requires pan-European travel should be off the agenda for at least 12 months.

    Just to add, if the season is cancelled now then players can have their break now whilst football can’t be played. They could in theory report back in May with a view to start next season in mid-June and use the window of the summer to start whatever form the league should take next season. Perhaps those out of contract should consider 12 month extensions as which clubs would risk spending money until the corona virus pandemic is over.

  54. I’m now seriously doubting whether those making the decisions in the UK government are fully understanding the science. On the back of the nonsense that they were aiming for ‘herd immunity’ – where anybody with a grasp of simple maths (I posted last week why it could never work) soon realised that getting 60% of the population infected meant 40 million cases and meltdown of the health service.

    The latest mantra being repeated is that there is no need to close the schools because children rarely get symptoms and suffer from the disease. This is not the point of closing schools as it is to prevent children getting the disease and subsequently passing it on to their parents and relatives.

    Asymptomatic transmission of the Corona virus is already well known with a study by the University of Texas showing around 10% of all cases are acquired from people who have no sign of the virus. They also show that the time between cases in a chain of transmission is on average four days – i.e. Person A passes it to Person B who passes it to Person C (or more accurately Persons C, D and E). The current advice is only to self isolate if you are showing symptoms or someone in the household is. I suspect the virus would spread very quickly though a school given the interactions of children.

    The person in charge of the study, Professor Meyers, concluded: “Our findings are corroborated by instances of silent transmission and rising case counts in hundreds of cities worldwide This tells us that COVID-19 outbreaks can be elusive and require extreme measures.”

    If you want to read the article here’s the link…

    1. The problem with closing schools is who is then going to provide Childcare, Grandparents most likely or perhaps Parents who work in the NHS?

      I believe Sweden have closed Education establishments for older Children and Students whilst keeping them open for the younger pupils with the assumption that those who who would need Childcare remain at School and those who are old enough to not be dependant on Grandparents or Childcare providers do not become an additional problem.

      This is a fluid situation with things changing rapidly and there will no doubt be many more twists and turns. Everyone has a view of the situation based on their own individual circumstances. From panicking, greedy, selfish individuals buying up toilet rolls and pasta, Pensioners overlooking that those in employment need to actually work to pay bills, those with underlying illnesses wanting everyone isolated to prevent the spread, expectant Mothers terrified of what will happen to their baby. All understandable as we now dangerously slide towards a survival of the fittest mentality not helped by reactive management from all political leaders across the globe.

      The constant doom laden media is fuelling fear levels. I am staggered that there is no counter news from say a Paper Mill owner as an example stating that they have three months stock available and that the UK Paper Industry can double productivity if required and there is absolutely no reason to panic (camera pans away to show a loo roll mountain). We have Nissan shutting down with 7,000 people worried about their job security and we have Morrisons simultaneously announcing that they are going to take on 3,000 additional people to help with things as their sales grow.

      Just taking Morrisons as an example (who I believe have also said they will pay their suppliers more quickly over this crisis) if they are taking on additional workers its not because they are anticipating empty shelves. The world is gripped in a crisis unknown in living memory, conspiracy theories and rumours abound and if we are not careful people will start to point fingers at neighbours or groups of people who behave differently or even cough at the wrong time. Media is whipping up a frenzy and causing mass hysteria when they should be doing the exact opposite. The world Governments need to get to grips with it very quickly.

      Every single Coronavirus death is being sensationally reported locally yet there are around 10,500 deaths per week in England and Wales. There was an increase of 1.5% in deaths In 2018 compared to 2017 (this was the highest annual number of deaths since 1999) but there were no news reports on it.

      1. In Germany they have a system where children of key workers still attend schools but at least the numbers of children mixing is greatly reduced. Every cases that is prevented means the peak will be smaller and then hopefully the next outbreak will be better controlled.

        It’s become the problem of modern society that for economic reasons both parents now need to work and passing on the raising of children to grandparents has become commonplace – many of whom do it out of duty or being expected of them rather than out of choice. It’s a situation made worse by couples now waiting much longer before having children and therefore grandparents are often passed that age where they feel up to looking after small children.

        As a 55-year old father of a nine-year old boy I’m not expecting to be looking after his children – especially if he waits like me until 46 before having kids 🙂

      2. Yet again the voice of reason which I agree with. I dislike(could use stronger words) the way the media report things.

        I have told my wife that should I have to go into hospital or worse, I do not want any press or politician to visit me, nor do I want any reporting of my demise.

        That said about the media, I presume that they find out about the deaths by the family letting them know unless they trawl through “bottom book”. I don’t want my 15 minutes of fame thank you very much!

  55. Football will start again at some point, whenever that is Clubs should complete the outstanding fixtures and finish the season. Its simple and fair and is probably the ideal way of getting things organised again.

    Where Clubs stand with Players whose contracts have expired and indeed with the Players themselves is another issue. That problem is something that would need to be resolved in any case and freedom of contract won’t have considered this type of scenario. I see it as a separate but simultaneous issue.

    Clubs will already be feeling the squeeze and its highly likely that some smaller Clubs like other Businesses will not survive. I can’t see Clubs like Boro paying the seven whose contracts expire after June 30th if things haven’t resumed by then.

    The same goes for Loan Players who will have possibly returned to their Parent Clubs. It may mean Clubs finishing the Season with what they have left to pick from which isn’t ideal for Boro with so many expiring contracts and loans or there is a temporary 12 week contract extension on the same terms of their previous contract/loan conditions.

    Starting a new season will have the same complications of who Clubs wanted to retain and there will need to be discussion time for Clubs, Players and Agents. A 12 week “mini season” plus a four week gap between seasons would assist in getting things back on track. It may impact negatively or positively on some Clubs for the remaining 9 games or so but I would think Liverpool are still likely to win the Premiership and that Leeds and West Brom will still go up but nothing is guaranteed and there may be some surprise relegations or promotions caused in part by the disruption.

    1. Maybe they should postpone this season until next March and then in the meantime organise something like a group competition that requires fewer games and could stop and start. Although the problem for many teams is that this current season has no meaning and what would be the point of resuming a season for their supporters. There are no easy solutions but it does require leadership and a decision sooner rather than later on how to proceed – everything at the moment is based on hope and wishful thinking rather than the reality of the situation.

  56. The Gazette reports that Championship clubs have all agreed to complete the season by 30 June, I would expect that they have also agreed if necessary behind closed doors.

    Come on BORO.

  57. One politician who I’ve been impressed with during this Corona virus outbreak is Jeremy Hunt. It’s a pity he didn’t become Conservative leader because his knowledge of the subject and of how the health service operates is exactly what the UK needs in this crisis. He was one of the few dissenting voices in being critical of the government for not moving quicker and also quickly dismissed the herd immunity strategy. From what I’ve heard from him when he has spoken, he’s shown great knowledge and detail and is already working out what needs to happen and be in place in three months time. The government should perhaps put him in charge of managing the strategy as they’re often looking behind the curve.

  58. I am quite surprised when I caught up with posts this morning that nobody has mentioned the £330 bn the government has pledged to help businesses trough this crisis. !

    Come on BORO.

    1. Unless the UK government guarantees the wages of workers then these measures of cheap loans and deferrals of tax payment won’t solve the problem. A lot of companies will need to decide after the March payroll whether they are going to have to lay people off as they can’t afford to pay their wages if they have no income. One company director in the hospitality sector said they would have no choice but to make 80% of their workforce redundant if the government doesn’t indicate that they can cover the wages in the next week. They then hope they can continue in business and then face the prospect of trying to recruit staff again with all the costs associated. The worry for many is that the red tape in applying and getting the money pledged will mean it won’t reach them fast enough to be able to stay in business.

    2. But only by way of loans which won’t help in the long run as they need to be paid back. The small businesses will have virtually no income now and probably much reduced when things get back to normal. It will be difficult for them to repay the loans from cash flow.

      It is lack of cash that kills a business and giving a loan rather than a grant or free money is like putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound, the problem will return. Which is why, as someone who has been involved in lending money for 40 years, I would sadly decline loans to people whose business were ultimately going to fail. Harsh, maybe but it saved the people getting into more debt that they couldn’t repay.

      My other observation about the help proposed, is that is doesn’t appear to do much for individuals who will lose their jobs and sadly many business owners are not very principled. They will take the loan to pay themselves and then get rid of staff – believe me – I have seen it happen.

      Sorry to be negative – it is good to see the government doing something but IMHO it is not enough

      1. BBD

        As an ex bank manager for over 25 years I could not agree more.

        You should never encourage or support a customer to take on a loan when they do not have the wherewithal to repay. As you say the best advise is to say no.

        To lend in such circumstances is reckless and in part one of the reasons for the 2008 financial crisis.

        I also agree with Werder in that the government appear to behind the curve on all of this, it is a case of too little and too late. Grants/loans are not going to be available until sometime next week by which time many businesses will have gone to the wall or shut up shop leaving hundreds of thousands unemployed and living on limited income/ benefits which they will have difficulty accessing.😎

  59. Werder
    The most dangerous thing our club could do is to lay back and think that the Virus has saved them, it has not!
    I have just read a newspaper report which lays out the ‘thinking’ of the football power brokers. It is not good news for teams in our position.
    They are determined to somehow scramble the missing fixtures in before the end of June (three games a week?)
    The reason is not at all difficult to find, the multi millions from the European competitions, plus world wide TV income, plus it’s only kicking a ball about for ninety minutes.
    The Championship will be collateral damage, used to camouflage their desperate scramble for their lost millions.
    So, the message is be afraid, be very afraid, and be prepared.

    1. I would put forward the scenario that a team threatened by relegation could suddenly ‘discover’ a case of a squad member with suspected Corona virus and be forced to cancel games and go into quarantine and therefore being unable to complete their fixtures before 30th June – especially if one of their opponents was just below them in the table.

      1. Werder
        What you say is true, I even think it will happen precisely as you say.
        But, and there is always a but, they will be informed (very politely) that they are still in league one next season, please see attached fixture list.

  60. Well, my father spent seven years in the Second World War. So I think this is nothing as bad. We will survive as ever even it will be tough.

    BTW, both the Teesside live and the Echo has fascinating story about smallpox in Teesside a while ago. So Coronavirus crisis isn’t the first time a health scare has affected Boro. It’s 1898 all over again.

    I wonder if Ken has some memories from his parents or grand parents about those years.

    Let’s keep spirits up. The Boro will play one day again – as after 1986. Luckily we are in better shape financially than some of the other clubs. Up the Boro!

    1. FFP has never never been more relevant than it is today. Imagine paying (sorry sponsoring) Rooney’s wages to sit around doing nothing. Wage bills alone will cripple some clubs without any gate money coming through the turnstiles. I wonder if there will be a “relaxation” of the rules to get through this period and the FA can use the veil of virus to wipe out existing transgressions in one fell swoop.

    2. Jarkko
      Sorry Jarkko. However I did know about the smallpox epidemic and reported on the situation when reviewing Boro’s two famous FA Amateur Cup wins in my History of Boro at the time, but really have nothing more significant to add to what I initially reported.

    1. There are some studies that look into the possible transmission to cats and dogs – it is possible but thankfully at the moment the chances of dogs and cats then re-infecting humans is pretty remote. Although if the virus in cats or dogs was to then mutate and be able to pass to humans it is essentially the same as how the Covid-19 outbreak started.

  61. The ultimate game decider is the penalty shootout.

    All outstanding fixtures could be settled with each team taking penalties via a live feed behind closed doors from their own grounds. One day would suffice to complete the remaining fixtures.

    A maximum of 5 penalties and if the score is still level a draw would be declared. The points could then be awarded to complete the league table and determine the final placings.

    1. Haven’t quite thought that out. The problem arises with opposing goalkeepers. However it would be possible with only opposing goalkeepers having to travel over several days.

  62. Martin Lockwood of Waitrose told the worried queue outside the store this morning that he has had less than 20 units of toilet paper delivered today and they would only be sold to people the government has said to be vulnerable.

    Does that mean people who’ve had a dodgy curry?

    1. Never actually seen an episode of Eastenders, and haven’t watched Coronation Street since Martha Woodford, Minnie Caldwell and Ena Sharples were in it. I do still watch Emmerdale, but have been an Archers addict since the Walter Gabriel era. However my favourites as a child were the Paul Temple series and of course Dick Barton, Special Agent with Jock and Snowy which even stopped play at 6.45pm then we all came back outside again to resume playing cricket or football. I wonder why we called it steam radio!

      1. I’ve not watched a soap opera since early Brookside about 30 years ago and when I accidentally flick through the channels and catch a few seconds of Eastenders people are always have a cliched argument and shouting into each other’s faces. I’ve never seen the attraction of watching the mundane lives of characters who on the whole are just caricatures of real people.

  63. Following in from the thoughts of how the season can be concluded, I don’t think, that apart from playing the games, there is any solution that will please everyone. And even then, there is the risk that a club will complain if players are self isolating or worse.

    The FL and FA along with all the clubs need to have a good discussion about it (via video conference of course) and agree a plan that they ALL agree with.

    The fact that football at most levels is now sadly more about money makes it even harder especially as the smaller clubs will not be able to survive. Perhaps that is what the big clubs and Premier League want……….

    I tend to gravitate towards being fair so my vote would go for the season just to end now with all prize money for all competitions being distributed evenly between all clubs. next season to be a completely fresh start with new fixtures so that in effect season 19/20 did not exist. Maybe a bit unfair on Liverpool but they can always say they were champions designate and never let the rest of us ever forget it!

    1. Music isn’t what it used to be. One of the reasons I watch Call the Midwife is the 60s songs. I then look on YouTube to reprise the whole songs. A lot of them were jukebox items at the time about young teenage love. Aaaaah!

  64. Well as for my two opinion, for what it is worth…….the world has now been driven by greed and want, and not need.

    Money will drive the decisions being made and especially in Football. Our current younger generations believe in materialism, now not tomorrow. Hence in many many cases, the two working parents expecting their parents to take responsibility for their children.

    There have been some very good and reasoned posts on here this week. If only the experts would read them.

    1. I am with you there Pedro.

      I am feeling quite depressed about the whole situation right now and without wanting to be political about it – we are being led, if that is the right word, by someone who I do not trust one iota to do the right thing for the country as a whole.

      Now where is that bottle of red to drown my sorrows! Maybe not as I need to be hangover free to do my volunteer driving for the NHS. I don’t do much but it is the least I can do, especially now, to help out.

  65. If you’re wondering why politicians from all parties in the UK appear quite subdued and restrained, then it’s probably because they’ve seen the latest modelling produced by Imperial College on how the various measures proposed will mitigate the effects of the Corona virus.

    It makes grim reading and if no measures had been taken, it would have seen huge death rates (14,000 per day) peaking at around June. The introduction of all the measures may just about spread out the cases and keep the critical ones within the capability of the NHS but only if the Government can up the numbers of critical care beds in the coming months.

    However, if these strict measures are relaxed in the future it will quickly lead to another peak in deaths in mid-November that would equate to over 250,000 people. It basically means that until there is a vaccine the UK will need to continue impose these measures unless they can track all cases and shut down the spread by other means. Scotland has already said that schools could be closed until September.

    The German epidemiologist who I listen to daily says we must ensure there is a vaccine by autumn and if that means taking a few risks and shortening the development process, then so be it. He say there are already some good candidates but governments must agree to a shorter clinical trial process than normal.

    The alternative is literally millions of deaths or 12 months of lock down – this probably explains why even Donald Trump looks serious – the US under these models would see several million deaths alone. All countries must treat beating this virus like getting a man on the moon in six months or face the consequences.

    The good thing is that there are some very clever people in this world and when money is no object and the political will is there – anything is possible!

    Here is the link to the Imperial College modelling…

  66. Another great source of information- thanks Werder.

    The YouTube videos from Dr John Campbell are also worth a look.

    Situation in Italy looks horrendous- something has gone seriously wrong there.

    Just hope that what we are doing will actually do what we hope it will to flatten the curve and reduce demand on the NHS. I am still incredibly frustrated that the government of the last 10 years have let the NHS get into such a position whereby we are so ill prepared.

    On other things, good to see what Gary Neville and Abrahamovic are doing with their hotels.

    1. Another interesting study from China that I read today was that people with blood group A are more likely to be infected with the Corona virus and suffer worse symptoms, whilst those with blood group O have a significantly lower risk of contracting the virus and suffer less severe symptoms.

      OK, the paper has yet to be peer reviewed but they suggested that the higher susceptibility of those with blood type A could be linked to the presence of natural antibodies in the blood. The authors would like to see more widespread comparisons of patients blood group in different countries and possible treating people based on their blood group.

      I’m thankfully blood group O but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take all the precautions to avoid catching the virus – though I’ve read other studies that are indicating severe symptoms are related to the antibody response to the virus. It may also explain why younger people with immature immune systems seem to also suffer less severe symptoms.

      1. Damn – I am blood group A – will have to be extra careful then!

        Second what Len says about Werder comments. So knowledge and interesting.

        When all this passes and we can travel, hopefully Werder will visit the UK and I will be up for meeting up and buying the man who goes by the nom de plume of Werdermouth a beer or three!

  67. Thanks. Werder, for this, as for all of your interventions which I have found invaluable in keeping up to date on this crisis. It’s a great service you are providing for all of us.

    1. They might actually be a more dynamic midlfield three as they will flock forward! But ewe may think that they will just hoof it and be a a bit woolly in their passing.

      Sorry for the puns – cabin fever on day four in the Diasboro house.

  68. So the EFL met yesterday and came to the following agreement…

    The EFL Board, who have today agreed on the following objectives to support future decision-making:

    • Ensure the health and well-being of our Clubs’ employees, supporters and communities

    • Make a positive contribution to the UK’s efforts to tackle coronavirus

    • Protect the EFL’s financial model and Club finances

    • Enable the EFL to continue to function as a business

    • Deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season.

    They’ve also agreed in the interim to make £50m available to help clubs continue to meet their financial requirements. Although, whether most of that will get sucked up in paying players wages is another matter. I’d imagine the TV money will still arrive and as yet not much talk of clubs reimbursing season ticket holders since stadiums will remain shut whatever happens.

    The EFL want to conclude the season but will only start games if the government give them the green light – though how that squares with ‘point 1’ in the list of objectives is unclear if much of the country is in lock down and being told to work from home.

    As for ‘point 2’ and making a positive contribution to the UK’s effort to tackle coronavirus – not sure what that means unless footballers are going to volunteer for vaccine trials or maybe players agreeing not playing five-a-side football with their mates when they’re meant to be in quarantine. Maybe they think playing games will raise the spirits of the population but it’s just as likely to depress those who see their team lose again.

    Point 3 and protecting the EFL’s financial model sounds like they’ll tell Sky they either can’t have their money back or agree to provide them with games.

    Point 4 is basically hand out cash to stop clubs going out of business.

    Which brings us to Point 5 and delivering a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season – that could be literally anything and probably means like everyone else they’re still working out what to do. In truth there’s little they can do but wait.

  69. It’s sad that Coronavirus has brought out the worst in many people, the selfishness that wasn’t as evident during the Second World War when the nation stuck together. Of course
    we knew who the enemy was then as we do today, but the difference is that today the whole World is fighting the same enemy, Coronavirus. But in the main the British people were a nation of people who helped each other in those war years. My parents never dreamed of locking the doors of our home; today that would be foolhardy.

    I’ve always had an admiration for Londoners and Liverpudlians who suffered so much in the Blitz. Anyone who is familiar with Lionel Bart’s musical Blitz can only marvel at the wit of Londoners in some of Bart’s songs such as ‘Who’se this geezer Hitler, who does he think he is?’ which referred to him as a decorator, and despite losing their homes during the Blitz the song continued “he’s a nasty little basket with a black moustache and we don’t want any paper hanging done as he’d demolished most of our homes”. Bart’s musical could have equally been written about the City of Liverpool which suffered destruction from the Luftwaffe second only to London. Maybe that’s why the humour was always there as they produced a plethora of great comedians following adversity. And let us not forget the Hillsborough disaster either.

    Why is it then that some folk would be happy to see this football season voided as if it never existed, stopping Liverpool winning their first Premier League success? My sympathy goes with them if they are deprived of achieving that. Following the Munich Air Disaster most of the country wanted Manchester United to win the European Cup and except for Bolton fans, the FA Cup as well. London has so many football clubs so it’s hard for many of us to show some allegiance to one particular club in the Capital, but Liverpool has only two so it’s easier to place our colours to the mast, you’re either a Red or a Blue. As Everton were the first club I saw play Boro I’ve always been a fan of them, but nevertheless it was fitting that the Red’s should win the League title in the first season after the war coming back from mid-table at Christmas, and surely it is equally fitting that they should not be deprived of winning their first Premier League title this season.

    As an aside I’ve visited Auschwitz, a very harrowing experience which I’m nevertheless I’m glad I’ve had, though wouldn’t want to repeat. One of the facts I learned was that the Nazi’s used the hair of the inmates to make their uniforms. It seemed gruelling to me, but now I’ve learned that in peace time some sportsmen with long flowing hair are having it shorn to make wigs for children with cancer or alopecia. I imagine it might be a good idea for the likes of Ryan Shotton and Tommy Fleetwood as it would not only enhance their looks but be a kind gesture for those less fortunate. Women with long hair particularly might think about that instead of fighting over the purchase of toilet rolls, etc. As I say the nation stuck together during wartime ‘keeping the home fires burning’, so what has changed that today many of us have become so self-centred and selfish? Surely food for thought.

  70. My family are now on the plane heading back to Island in lockdown Bahrain. My boy looks very happy probably due to the fact he will have a couple of months off school playing on his ipad, or is it because he is spared another trip to the riverside this season? We will never know.

    How they finish the season is really up to the owners of the teams in the various leagues to sort. They need to protect the financial models and lets face it there are few clubs outside the PL who are money making machines so its not that they want to protect their investments its probably more how to minimise their losses to fight another day.

    IN our case we are not in bottom 3 thankfully so its a mute point although the thought of having to play out the remaining fixtures frightens me but let them decide its their money at the end of the day.

    If we do end up going down we cut our cloth to suit and start rebuilding again. The past two days of frantic remote planning to extract my little boy from boarding school [that’s another story] has taught me there are more import things to life than worrying about which league we may be in next season.

    ON the Bahrain front it is a 5 thousand pound fine for breaking the self isolation rules, which will be explained to the guys when they get here, both my b0y and his mum will go straight into 2 weeks supervised isolation – at least the internet is now free for 3 months.

    Its strange how this has panned out – we were more worried about Bahrain becoming another Iran and not getting back to UK in emergency and its turned out to be the other way around. Still I have my 2 Boro DVDs to watch with my red wine.

    Take care you guys and stay safe.

    1. I think you are probably safer in Bahrain as they’ve been pretty active on the Corona virus case since the beginning. It was interesting to hear Britain’s former public health director, Professor John Ashton, who was on Question Time last week compare how Bahrain and the UK had tackled the problem. Professor Ashton has been advising the Crown Prince of Bahrain, who he said has been very proactive in taking measures, testing and preparing Bahrain for Coronavirus. In contrast, he said he was totally embarrassed and angry by the UK’s response to the crisis and accused the government of simply making it up as they went along and had wasted a month by inaction. Within a few days he was proved right as the UK government quickly backtracked as their herd immunity strategy was shot to pieces and the realisation the UK’s health service would be swamped in matter of weeks. btw Bahrain currently has just 256 cases and has just one death.

      1. I saw John Ashton on QT and subsequently on several TV appearances on the back of that. He may or may not have his own agenda but I sincerely hope that we don’t end up with punditry type debates.

        1. He’s been quite forceful with his comments but I think it’s out of exasperation at the slowness of the government’s response – he worked in Africa on the Ebola outbreak so knows the consequences.

  71. Day Four Social Distancing.

    Penguins sleep more deeply in the afternoon than in the morning. French scientist Gérard Dewasmes discovered this by poking penguins with a stick at different times of day and recording how long it took them to wake up.

  72. Decided not to listen to government advice or 111, because Sandra on Facebook who lives next door turns out to be a microbiologist, national economical expert, housing advisor, mortgage guru, GP and national pandemic specialist …. who’d have thought eh? Only last week she was a full time mummy selling bath bombs on Facebook! … goes to show, never judge a book by its cover.

  73. Last Friday I was on the train to visit my 82 year old sister (and coincidentally go to the Boro match!) when I heard that the matches were postponed. I phoned her and we decided that it was best that I continued my journey as there was no knowing when we would next be able to meet. As things have turned out that was the right decision.
    I see that Tottenham and Crystal Palace have put off sales of 20/21 season tickets. I intend to renew my 3 year card but was waiting till nearer 9 April in the expectation that by then we would have a better idea of which division we were paying to see.

    Yesterday I would normally have had lunch at a pub just a 5 minutes walk from home. I started going there 5 years ago when my previous pub closed and the weekly treat became twice weekly as the food/drink is so good and the landlord and bar staff really friendly. It is more like a quiet country restaurant during the afternoon. After much thought about the government advice that over 70’s should not go into pubs I decided not to go. If people decide they can adapt the advice to their own circumstances, control of the spread of coronavirus will be impossible. As the pub is privately owned I hope they receive some of the promised government aid to stay in business. I will miss my visits as this was my only social life in Penrith though having lived alone for 44 years I will just have to learn to talk to myself (and regularly read the comments on Diasboro) in order to retain my sanity!

    1. Yes it’s going to be strange for many people to not to be able to socialise for a prolonged period – my father, who’ll be 82 soon, looks forward to his regular Friday nights at his club playing cards and snooker – plus 3 or 4 pints! He’ll go crazy having to stay in for the next six months or so.

      Hope you find a way round David – maybe once the weather gets better sitting in beer gardens at a safe distance in theory should be safe.

  74. I see Donald is in some bother with his “Kung Flu” and Chinese Virus” comments rather than call it Coronavirus or Covid-19. He is also of course claiming some sort of victory about his trade war with China now being vindicated because of the virus, no doubt with an eye on another term in the White House. It would appear that once again Diplomacy isn’t his strong point.

    When the world finally gets through this, I think a lot of things could change dramatically making Brexit look like a tea party. News on how Russia is coping still seems very vague.

  75. So the EFL and Premier League have issued a joint statement that there will be no football until at least 30 April now but are still committed to completing the season – though they’ve now removed any deadline for a date to complete that season by so it can now go beyond the end of June.

  76. Having listened to the UK’s chief medical officer and scientific officer answer questions from the media, it’s fair to say they’re not giving many clues as to how long the country will remain under various restrictions – or what they think the end-game will be. They’re not optimistic that we’ll see a vaccine within the next 12 months and quite logically suggest the virus will not go away on its own.

    The strategy is one of basic maths and involves keeping the number of active cases that require hospital treatment below the NHS capacity – which unfortunately is quite low given there are less than 8 critical care beds per 100,000 of the population.

    It also seems the announcement that the UK is looking to up the testing to 25,000 per day is more an aspiration than something that will happen in the near future. It’s just not possible or even credible given they’ve only just exceeded 50,000 test in total. The UK simply doesn’t have the kit or laboratory capacity or trained staff at present so it’s really about designing and implementing a system to achieve that goal.

    The reason the UK needs that testing capacity is about the need in early autumn before the cases will begin to rise again and this time the UK needs to isolate cases and slow down the spread even more so that it’s not back to square one and back to lock-down.

    OK, the UK is not alone in having this problem and no government has yet mentioned what they think the end-game is. The difference in Germany is that they have six times the capacity of the UK to treat severe cases in hospital so they have a bit more room to manoeuvre – they still have a relatively low death rate compared to cases (1.5% of the deaths of Italy but 40% of identified cases).

    Incidentally, the governor of Lombardy went on TV to tell people that he wasn’t going to ask them nicely anymore to stay at home. He said if they don’t stay at home and they get infected then they won’t be able to treat them as they’ve run out of beds! This is what the UK has to avoid and therefore the measures will stay in place as long as it takes – incidentally, northern Italy has around double the intensive care beds as the UK.

  77. If the season does in fact resume on the 1st of May and end before June all Championship clubs will be playing probably 5 weekend matches and 4 midweek matches. Quite manageable as it used to be the norm at the beginning of each season in the
    50s and 60s, although if Tony Pulis was still our manager he would still refer to it as 3 games a week. Some lower division clubs such as Coventry would however have at one point need to play 4 matches in 7/8 days to adhere to the schedule. It will be interesting to see how the midweek matches are played. Will it be the EFL that decide which fixtures will be played at the weekend and which in midweek, and in which order of sequence although I doubt we’ll be seeing any football at least until mid-July so it might require a rethink.

  78. To all of those virtue signallers who were spouting “ In a world where you can be anything, be kind” just a few weeks ago……

    Stop emptying supermarket shelves of stuff!

  79. So sad to learn of the passing of Peter Whittingham following an accidental fall at only 35 years of age. Thoughts are with his family at this sad time. RIP Peter. 😎

  80. Admittedly I’m not a drinker, but can someone explain to me why people are still going to Pubs? If it’s just a matter of alcohol, surely there’s plenty of cheap booze in supermarkets that can be consumed at home.

  81. Remember when you were underage and you used to hang around outside the “ Offie” asking someone older to buy you some alcohol and fags?

    Now it’s come full circle, when you use the “ Old Person’s Hour” for supermarket shopping, you may well be asked “ Mr, can you get me some toilet rolls please?”

    1. Judging by some of the pictures I have seen, the older generation are the ones who maybe emptying the shops first – just saying like!

  82. Going back to Donald and one for Werder to answer.
    Is it a fact that the corona virus did evolve in China? And if so, it is therefore Covid-19 the Chinese virus. Let’s be honest some of their eating habits are strange, well to us in the West at least.

    1. I think the fact that in Wuhan they opened a Bio-4 Lab is more likely a cause than strange eating habits despite the outbreak supposedly starting at a local Fish Market. It was the first Lab in China to meet bio safety level 4 standards, the highest bio hazard level. That means it is permitted to handle the most dangerous pathogens in the World like SARS and Ebola.

      From 2002 until 2004 SARS infected over 8,000 people killing nearly 800 and had allegedly “escaped” multiple times from a lab in Beijing prior to the latest Lab in Wuhan opening. These “escapes” were one of the of the catalysts for the current Wuhan facility being built and finally opened in 2017. Wuhan itself has had Laboratories in that region since the mid 50’s (please note there is no evidence that the followers of Wuhan Zall FC self deprecatingly call themselves “virals” instead of “smoggies”).

      Chinese Labs apparently still rely on the use of a lot of animals and one theory is that an infected animal passed it on to a Human but as information is either controlled, smothered or buried it will never be known or certainly openly investigated. How it was passed on, if indeed true. is open to imagination, internet rumours abound from a bite to close contact to actually eating a diseased animal.

      Very unusually and in a big break from the “controlled” norm in the news yesterday it was reported that severe condemnation has now been made by the Chinese State Supervision Commission, (China’s top disciplinary body) towards the Police’s handling of Dr. Li Wenliang (the whistle blower) and also of the Communist Party itself. It appears however that this may be reactionary rather than good governance as the Chinese people are now openly venting their distrust towards their politicians. It seems that realisation is both dawning and growing that even mushrooms get fed up of being kept in the dark and fed brown stuff.

      Ominously in 2017 a warning was given by Tim Trevan a bio safety consultant in the US expressing his concern that Chinese culture made the Wuhan Lab intrinsically unsafe because “structures where everyone feels free to speak up and openness of information are important in these Institutions”.

      Considering the reaction and consequential lockdown of Wuhan by the Chinese authorities I doubt that it was a deliberate controlled release to see how far and how quickly such a thing could spread. There again it just may have been caused by someone not washing their hands and eating a dodgy kipper down the market as the Chinese authorities spin would have us believe.

      1. Please note that the Wuhan Gazette have distanced themselves from any association with a PowerPoint presentation that may have had a virus, just saying like!

  83. Oops, we got some snow this morning. But yesterday was the warmest day this year and the snow will melt away as soon as sun shines a bit longer.

    Mind, this winter is the first ever, when half of Finland did not get any snow. In the past we had snow here in the Southern part from Xmas til beginning of April. But this year only had snow for three separate days. Strange!

    Our football season is yet to start. Our FA have informed that the season will start two weeks after the schools open again. So that is considered as normal time. They said they do not expect the schools to re-open before turn of April and May.

    So when people speculate about when the season re-starts in the UK, do not forget that the FA, the clubs and fans need some time to organise the ticketing, policing, travelling etc.

    So Ken is quite right that it will go well into the summer for Boro to start playing.

    Up the Boro!

    1. I think many of us have been thinking for much of the season that it looks like it will take till well into the summer for Boro to start playing. 😉

      1. Very good although you didn’t say which summer!

        That was said with tongue firmly in cheek – I hope that we some normality by this summer.

  84. Rugby League like football have postponed all matches at all levels until 30th April at the earliest. If as seems likely that matches cannot be played with crowds beyond that date, there is the possibility that Superleague matches might have to go ahead behind closed doors as is happening in Australia at the moment because they are contracted with Sky Sports to provide 70 to 80 matches this year. If that contract is broken Sky will probably pull out of subsidising Superleague and the sport might conceivably revert to a partly amateur sport as was the case before Superleague, and the death knell of the sport as we now know it with several clubs going into administration to be replaced by Canadian and American clubs in the future..

    No decision has been made at the moment, but the 6th Round of the Challenge Cup is scheduled to take place on the weekend of the 3rd April. Whether those 8 matches will go ahead behind closed doors or postponed has not yet been decided, but as that is only a fortnight away a decision will have to be made within the next 7 days.
    It is maybe a bit dramatic, but RIP Superleague.

  85. Day Five Social Distancing

    Still not heard back from the EFL after contacting them with my Penalty Shoot Out idea to complete the season.

  86. The idea of playing any remaining matches to complete the season a.s.a.p. In about 10-15 days is a real and serious trap for teams like us.
    Us teams in the bottom group will be fighting for every ball in every match.
    The teams in the middle will be going through the motions, and worse, they will be missing their best players (on a beach far away) together with their Managers probably.
    The above is not good news for us, as we need our fellow bottom strugglers to drop points.

  87. As we all know the current situation is being discussed in football. Harry Redknapp was asked his views and his response was ‘Coron Avirus? Triffic little player’

    In these troubled times it made me smile.

  88. One problem is that some players may get bored with training away from their regular training grounds. As Europe is almost completely shut down for holiday flights at the moment except for Portugal, it is unlikely that clubs will allow players to travel abroad in the next few weeks as if it was a close season Boro are taking the correct approach by having contracted players train at Rockliffe. Whether that will be an advantage when play resumes we shall soon find out, but it’s obvious that players on-loan will have no impact at all except possibly the away fixture at Sheffield Wednesday and that Boro will again have to rely on their younger players to help stave off relegation. Being an optimist I have no fears on that score.

    1. Talking of flights, I read this morning how Vietnam hadn’t had any new cases reported for three weeks which was great news then a new cluster broke all which they traced back from one flight from London to Hanoi. The sheer stupidity and predictability of it I find astonishing.

      Governments are trying their hardest in locking down areas and keeping people a metre apart at least to try control this thing from spreading yet a flight full of people presumably unscreened, unchecked and untested for over eleven hours wasn’t seen as both a risk and a breeding ground. I think in Singapore anyone arriving from an International flight has to be isolated for 14 days. Seems severe but if they are going to make these hardships work for heaven’s sake don’t leave the front door wide open.

  89. Full marks to the MFC website for arranging to show a recording for Boro’s EUFA Cup Quarterfinal on #BoroWatchalong. I look forward to the Semifinal and snippets of ‘This day on etc’. To those interested in reminiscing over the last 3 seasons there is Redcar Red’s excellent detailed reports on this website, or for those wanting to review past seasons Werdermouth has collated some of my input from the Northern League days up to the Camsell years on Ken Smith’s Boro History on the right hand side of this page. But for all Boro’s League results or any other clubs’ results log into

  90. There has been much speculation of the origins of the Coronavirus or more accurately COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019), which is also commonly referred to as SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus 2).

    Indeed, as RR has discovered, there have been theories on the internet that it was a virus that either escaped from a Chinese lab in Wuhan or was even deliberately released – these ‘theories’ have subsequently been repeated by politicians and media organisations who should know better. Of course there is no evidence for these theories, although it does appear at first glance to be plausible – unfortunately the actual science has already debunked those theories that Covid-19 started in a lab.

    Anyway, I’ve read quite a bit on the subject in recent weeks, particularly from scientific journals with reference to scientific studies that have been carried out on the virus. So here is a wider introduction to how Covid-19 is thought to have originated and how such viruses evolve and spread to humans. Note: Covid-19 is also often referred to as SARS-CoV-2 and the earlier SARS virus as SARS-CoV. Warning: this post contains science!

    For a virus to spread it needs to infect a host cell – whether it be human or animal. To infect a cell, a virus must have a key that allows it to unlock that cell and gain entry. That key for a coronavirus, takes the form of a protein spike on its surface or more technically a RBD (Receptor Binding Domain), which basically determines how it binds with receptors on the surface of a host cell. In the case of a coronavirus, it attaches to specific receptors on cells known as ACE2 receptors, which are found on the membrane of cells in the lungs, heart and intestines. A receptor is something like a lock and key mechanism in that when something binds to it, an action is triggered inside the cell, which essentially opens the door for a virus to enter.

    Six RBD amino acids have been shown to be critical for binding to ACE2 receptors and it’s the arrangement of these amino acids that determine which range of host animals that can be infected by the SARS-CoV-like viruses – i.e. which species the virus can infect based on having the right key to bind to ACE2 receptor and unlock the door to the cells.

    This is what scientists are looking at when they try to determine if viruses can jump species to humans (zoonotic transfer) and while both SARS viruses have been shown to have originated in bats they probably required an intermediate species to jump to humans as they were unable to directly transfer – in the case of the first SARS outbreak it was thought that the species involved was possibly a civet cat. While a virus seen in a species of bat called Rhinolophus affinis, is 96% similar to the SARS-Cov-2 virus that spread to humans, the position of those critical RBD amino acids is not quite efficiently placed for transfer to humans.

    Incidentally, the position of those RBD amino acids is the most variable part of a coronavirus genome (DNA) and they can change position randomly when a virus mutates. It’s these random mutations that may ultimately create a virus that is then optimally designed to be able to jump species if given the opportunity to do so. Indeed, it was a mutation in the SARS 2003 viruses that stopped it in its tracks as it was no longer able to spread among humans.

    A more likely intermediate species involved with Covid-19 has been shown to be the Malayan pangolin (scaly anteater) that are known to be illegally imported into the Guangdong province of China. These pangolins have been shown to be infected with a virus very similar to SARS-CoV-2 with some viruses having all those six critical RBD amino acids in the same place as Covid-19.

    There are still some differences in the pangolin virus that mean it’s not optimal for transmission in humans but there has so far only been limited sampling of pangolin viruses and there may yet be an exact match. It’s therefore likely that Covid-19 was either optimised in a host pangolin or even in a human through mutation and natural selection. So either it could have transferred to humans from a pangolin but it then wouldn’t have been easily transmitted between humans until it further mutated or it mutated in a pangolin to a version that was readily transmitted to humans.

    Geneticists who have studied and compared Covid-19 with other coronaviruses have discovered it’s probably most similar to SARS-CoV, which was the virus responsible for the outbreak in 2003. However, it’s also quite different as five of those critical RBD amino acids are found at a different place in the genome. Therefore, Covid-19 it is a new virus rather than one that evolved from the earlier SARS virus.

    Scientists studying the molecular structure of the virus concluded that Covid-19 was the result of natural selection and not the product of genetic engineering. This evidence for natural evolution was supported by data on SARS-CoV-2’s backbone (i.e. overall molecular structure). The Andersen lab argued: “If someone were seeking to engineer a new coronavirus as a pathogen, they would have constructed it from the backbone of a virus known to cause illness.” But the scientists found that the SARS-CoV-2 backbone differed substantially from all known coronaviruses and mostly resembled related viruses found in bats and pangolins.

    Dr Kristian Andersen at a lab specialising in infectious diseases concluded: “These two features of the virus, the mutations in the RBD portion of the spike protein and its distinct backbone, rules out laboratory manipulation as a potential origin for SARS-CoV-2”

    Epidemiologist, Dr Josie Golding, at UK-based Wellcome Trust said the findings by Andersen and his colleagues are “crucially important to bring an evidence-based view to the rumours that have been circulating about the origins of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) causing COVID-19. They conclude that the virus is the product of natural evolution, and it ends any speculation about deliberate genetic engineering.”

    Anyway, I hope some of you stuck with this until the end – these conspiracy theories often get a lot of traction because people want to believe them and it feeds some people’s perceptions that the evil Chinese are plotting to release a dangerous virus. Rather amusingly, in China many people believe it was a virus created by the US and then released into China. We’ve even seen people claim it came from fish – which I presume is because of the Chinese Whispers that ‘wet markets’ ended up being translated as ‘wet fish markets”…

    1. The Portuguese newspapers seemed to think that Coronavirus started by eating contaminated snake meat. I’ve tried it once about 30 years ago and it felt like eating wood from tree branches. Whatever, it was tough to digest, soon gave up.

      1. Thanks Jarkko, I have the same problem trying to understand technical German articles and programmes!

        btw congrats to Finland on being voted the happiest country in the world for the third year running – though we always suspected here on Diasboro based your positivity 🙂

  91. Werder,

    Interesting and informative, thank you.

    We’ve stopped watching Sky and the BBC because of the ceaseless bombardment of stuff. However, seeing the problems in Italy and particularly Bergamo I worry about the inactivity here in the UK. telling the public not to pillage the shelves doesn’t work, surely ‘they’ can see that? Supermarkets cannot expect the ladies on the tills to maintain law and order along with all of the other problems they face. At some point ‘they’ will put the fiddle down and face up to human nature in the many.

    Time for a lonely and breezy walk across the fields and through the orchards with the terriers.

    Stay fit and well everyone.



  92. I can see this getting worse.
    When the supply chain slows and food is of short supply. Petrol may be scarce, power may dwindle as workers are sick.
    Logistics will slow. Who will empty bins, people losing jobs, desparate for money, desperate for food. Social unrest.
    NHS staff get sick and beds are full, its only just begun
    Lockdown needs to happen now if its not already too late.
    Forget football, I have

  93. Thanks again, Werder.

    Agreed, John, the footage from Lombardy is truly horrific.

    The laxity of the government in preparing for the tide about to engulf us is disturbing. No testing equipment, not even the most basic protective gear for many of the heroic front line workers, no urgency over lockdowns.

    South Korea showed us the way but we have ignored it. The World Health Organisation says the key to containment is Test, Test, Test. We are even struggling to test our doctors and nurses. A few weeks ago when containment was manageable flights from Northern Italy and other infected areas were allowed to land without any checks. The lunacy of freely allowing the virus to spread to 40, 50, 60 or even 80% of the population in order to build up “herd immunity” (note the patronising comparison of people to animals) beggars belief. You can bet your bottom dollar that there was no one over the age of 70 on the committee recommending that particular policy.

    Even the most efficient health service in the world would struggle with what is to come. But we will really be reaping the whirlwind of the extended ideological project of cutting public services to the bone, presided over by a cabinet which has been specifically selected not on ability but through their decades-long commitment to market economics, de-regulation, low taxes, and shrinking the state services which we will all be relying on in very short order.

    What a shower, what a shambles, what a country.

    I have good reason to be grateful to the state and to the public services that it seeks to provide for the majority of its citizens. I grew up in the 1940s, courtesy of a socialist government which gave me and my family good housing, a free national health service, a free education (right up to university level), public libraries in every local area and good cheap public transport, as well as access to reliable information from the best public service organisation in the world. Since the 1980s I have seen most of these things dismantled, traduced, mocked and privatised by big business, billionaire newspaper owners, and their political cronies. And still they remain in power, in spite of the 2008 financial meltdown brought about by financial de-regulation, and now this latest health tsunami, exacerbated as is will be by the deliberate political policy of providing only a bare-bones service. As bad as this year will be, I fear that it is a mere prelude to the biggest coming catastrophe of all: climate change, which big business and conservative politicians continue to prevaricate over in spite of the overwhelming scientific evidence staring us all in the face.

    I take my leave of this great blog. I may not be returning for some time.

    1. Thanks Len and hopefully you won’t go all Captain Oates on us 😉

      I’ve been a bit staggered at the government’s inertia on the situation given they’ve known for two months that they were going to start from a much lower point in terms of capacity for tests and intensive care beds.

      What has also been staggering is how only one week ago they were reluctant to introduce any measures as they said they were four weeks behind Italy and now was not the time to act. If you thought a week later you would be taking measures to close all schools, bar, restaurants etc and told everyone to basically avoid contact with people, then I suspect you would have acted sooner.

      The herd immunity thing was almost a joke if you would have given the idea even two minutes thought. It’s not leadership but it’s a government being dragged by events into taking the measures that needed to set the agenda a lot sooner. At least they’ve now realised that their previous financial measures wouldn’t stop people either going to work when they shouldn’t or being made redundant and businesses going to the wall.

      Most countries will now be in a state of emergency until at least the end of the year – time is against the UK in getting to a position that starts to look like Northern Italy – I hope they can really galvanise the country to get everything in place but it needs great urgency.

    2. Len – there is no need to take your leave of this blog – we are all friends on here and I suspect all of a similar viewpoint to yourself.

      I have been more than frustrated with our excuse of a government and their inaction in what was clear to anybody with half a brain, was going to be a disaster and human tragedy in the making.

      That said, the contributions from others have kept me sane and Werder in particular has been a mine of information, as have others.

      The steps taken today are a vast improvement on the past inaction although it was taken too late. The help to people is also something that is needed although I never thought I would see a Tory chancellor do what Sunak has done.

      Please don’t be a stranger and keep on posting, we need to keep ourselves occupied and I find this forum a great place to do that.

      1. Thanks BBD but I’m not sure if remaining sane at the moment is the best option 😉

        The only problem with Rishi Sunak is that he seems to end all his announcements with ‘this is unprecedented’ – sadly he’ll probably need to be wheeled out again pretty soon to make another unprecedented offer to the self-employed and workers in the gig economy as they look set to struggle under the current offer.

        Having said that, he’s hardly been in the job so he’s been thrown into the fire with barely time to adjust to the heat. It’s not an easy job for any government but it may expose Boris Johnson as a leader who thought he could just wing it with a bit of bluster. This is a time for serious politicians with the grasp for detail and a lot of hard work and able to make tough decisions and offer leadership.

        Max Hastings said of Johnson “He thinks he’s Churchill but he’s actually more like Steve Coogan.” He better rise to the challenge!

    1. I recall hearing a pundit on Radio 4 this week saying that the Corona virus was going to be like the black death – to which the presenter quickly interjected “I sincerely hope not!”

      btw A plague is defined as a disease that is caused by bacteria rather than virus and many heath scientists are already getting worried that antibiotic resistance may ultimately see the return of such plagues that could kill millions. Something to look forward to if we get through this pandemic…

      1. We will get through it I am sure, it will take a long time though. At least a vaccine is being worked on and maybe available in 12 months at best.

        My prediction is that the social distancing, at varying levels, will continue until a vaccine is available. It will be a case of slow the spread down until the Health services can cope or has capacity, release a degree of normality for a while in the knowledge that it will have to be reined back in again.

        Politicians will need to be honest with people as to why this is happening and there must be a buy in to the plans. We are in it for the long haul and even in the end, the world is going to be a vastly different place. Hopefully a more caring, less selfish society that actually does the right thing for ALL.


        1. I actually worked out a strategy that could work without a vaccine when I was laying in bed this morning – it involves another magnitude of testing capacity altogether and self isolation and dividing every country into small geographic areas (or cells) that can be increased in size to include adjacent areas once each area has been deemed to be free of cases.

          It’s based on what happened in an Italian village of 3,300 people where the mayor locked the village down and tested everyone and isolated everyone for 14 days and handled those who tested positive (including asymptomatic cases) and then 14 days later re-tested to find out who were still positive and continue them in isolation. It worked and that’s why we need testing!

          In theory, in areas where you are free of cases, lockdown within that place is no longer required and that area will join with others to become larger and the people will start to have a more normal life. Indeed, if done on a country-by-country basis you could even fly between virus-free areas. People could be given virus-free ID cards.

          You would also need protocols for people who enter your area for deliveries or other essential things but if they wore protective clothing and kept safe distances then contamination could be avoided.

          The time to introduce that would be at the end of this lockdown phase when cases fall and the object is to keep them falling rather than rising again when restrictions are lifted.

    1. I am also struggling Ken. Used to play golf on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. With no golf and no football on a Saturday I am lost as to which day of the week it is! 😎

  94. Werder – that kinda make sense. Now if you can come up with that then what the hell are our so called experts doing?

    Can I nominate you to talk to Johnson et al to put it together?

    You are an absolute star

  95. I sincerely hope we have not heard the last from you Len.

    As for today. Disgraceful news of Btitannia Hotels at their Colylumbridge hotel firing their staff and throwing them out on the streets with nowhere to go and no hope of them getting to their own home countries any time soon.

    Now it is being described as an administrative error.

    Appalling behaviour thay will surely rebound on their business. They have no right to make a profit now.

    Praise to all the businesses in Aviemore that lived up to true Scottish hospitality and gave these poor people free food and shelter.

    1. Well the letter that I saw posted on the inter web could not be described as an admin error!

      Having had the misfortune to stay in one of their hotels (by mistake as it was a secret deal!) their attitude does not surprise me.

      Awful hotel and whilst I don’t wish misfortune on anybody, I wouldn’t shed a tear for their demise.

  96. I’d like to add my commiserations to AV.


    Thank you for that most illuminating article about the origins of Covid-19. I too have been thinking about the logic that needs to be applied going forward and have a couple of thoughts.

    Firstly, whilst the herd immunity strategy was clearly insane, there is an argument that the return to normal life may be eased by people getting and recovering from the disease rather than spending the next years in fear and semi-isolation. Quite how this could be achieved in practice is a moot point although it could be suggested that ‘government inaction’ could have been a deliberate way to move this forward, especially in relation to keeping schools open.

    Secondly, the most encouraging news seems to me to be the fast track vaccines that seem to be coming through. There are already some human tests taking place and early results from monkeys and mice seem quite promising. Whilst new drugs quite rightly need extended observation before being allowed into general circulation, most of the vaccines being developed come from well-known classes of molecules and we may see some quicker take-up if the early human trials go well.

    I did also see an interesting article from a nurse that pointed out the lack of information that was being circulated about managing and recovering from Covid-19 in comparison to the efforts made to avoid getting it in the first place. Whilst the majority of people on this blog seem to be at the older end of the age spectrum and therefore more concerned about avoiding the disease in the first place, here is the information that was given

    ‘What I have seen a lot of are recommendations for how to try to avoid getting coronavirus in the first place — good hand washing, personal hygiene and social distancing — but what I have NOT seen a lot of is advice for what happens if you actually get it, which many of us will. So as your friendly neighborhood Nurse let me make some suggestions:

    You basically just want to prepare as though you know you’re going to get a nasty respiratory bug, like bronchitis or pneumonia. You just have the foresight to know it might come your way!

    Things you should actually buy ahead of time (not sure what the obsession with toilet paper is?):
    whatever your generic, mucus thinning cough medicine of choice is (check the label and make sure you’re not doubling up on Paracetamol)
    Honey and lemon can work just as well!
    Vick vaporub for your chest is also a great suggestion.

    If you don’t have a humidifier, that would be a good thing to buy and use in your room when you go to bed overnight. (You can also just turn the shower on hot and sit in the bathroom breathing in the steam).

    If you have a history of asthma and you have a prescription inhaler, make sure the one you have isn’t expired and refill it/get a new one if necessary.

    This is also a good time to meal prep: make a big batch of your favorite soup to freeze and have on hand.

    Stock up on whatever your favorite clear fluids are to drink – though tap water is fine you may appreciate some variety!

    For symptom management and a fever over 38°c, take Paracetamol rather than Ibuprofen.

    Hydrate (drink!) hydrate, hydrate!
    Rest lots. You should not be leaving your house! Even if you are feeling better you may will still be infectious for fourteen days and older people and those with existing health conditions should be avoided!
    Ask friends and family to leave supplies outside to avoid contact.

    You DO NOT NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL unless you are having trouble breathing or your fever is very high (over 39°C) and unmanaged with meds. 90% of healthy adult cases thus far have been managed at home with basic rest/hydration/over-the-counter meds.

    If you are worried or in distress or feel your symptoms are getting worse, ring 111 and they will advise if you need to go to hospital. The hospital beds will be used for people who actively need oxygen/breathing treatments/IV fluids.

    If you have a pre-existing lung condition (COPD, emphysema, lung cancer) or are on immunosuppressants, now is a great time to talk to your Doctor or specialist about what they would like you to do if you get sick.

    One major relief to you parents is that kids do VERY well with coronavirus— they usually bounce back in a few days (but they will still be infectious), Just use pediatric dosing .

    Be calm and prepare rationally and everything will be fine. Share this as it’s great advice!”

    All the best to everyone

    1. Thank you for posting this Selwyn.

      It’s been said many times what a great, caring and intelligent place (Diasboro) is. You, ladies and gentlemen, really are the cream of the internet and it continues to be a pleasure as well as an education to read what you all have to say.

    2. Thanks for providing all that good advice SelwynOz and it’s sometimes hard for many people to weigh up the actual risk that they will either get the virus and not suffer the worse effects – especially as the media coverage tends to focus on the people suffering the worst. And it should be said given the unprecedented measures governments are taking. It’s almost counterintuitive to think it’s not going to be bad if you catch it – it feels a bit like a lottery at the moment in that many are thinking – will I catch it, will I need hospital treatment and if I do will there be a bed available in my area.

      As for the UK government strategy – well it appears to be about turning on and off the measures to regulate the flow of cases who need hospital treatment to keep within the capability. Though I’m not sure how they hope to do that without much more testing as it’s probably akin to turning the heat on and off on a pan of milk just by listening to the sound and hoping it doesn’t boil over – there’s always a lag in the effect of turning the heat off.

  97. First off – my condolences to AV and his family, the death of a parent and indeed any family member is always hard. You just have to remember the good times of which there are always many.

    Thanks Selwyn for the article, very good advice and hopefully none Of us will have cause to utilize it.

    It really is surreal times and can you imagine waking up after a long coma and finding out the situation that we are now in?! All you might want is to go for a nice meal and a pint and you can’t.

    As Werder says, the U.K. approach iOS fraught with difficulties but given what they have done (or should that be not done) thus far, I don’t think they have a lot of other options.

    Stay safe everybody

  98. You have probably all seen this but it gave me a chuckle

    The English are feeling the pinch in relation to the recent virus threat and have therefore raised their threat level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, the level may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.”
    The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.
    The virus has been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
    The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s Get the Bastard.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.
    The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.
    Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”
    The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”
    Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.
    The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
    Australia, meanwhile, has raised its alert level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far, no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

  99. Just wanted to add my condolences to AV and his family and my thanks to Selwynoz for his sensible and practical advice. Let’s hope none of us have to put it into practice! 😎

  100. Sorry Werder, I have had problems with PC and passwords so all my posts are being held in confinement. Are you applying social distancing to the blog! 😎

    1. I approved them for you but no obvious reason why they were being held as all your details such as email address and IP address were the same as normal – I’ll keep an eye out for your posts but I’m not always close to the laptop at weekends.

  101. Thank you Selwynoz for a very helpful article.
    Just one thing I am confused with is the cough and medicine line. It mentions “mucus type”, but is it not a dry cough and so there should not probably be any mucus.

    Apologies, I am not being picky, just did not quite understand the cough medicine type.

    1. Yes, there was the point raised yesterday whether people who die from the Corona virus would have normally died of something else given over 600,000 people die each year in the UK. My German epidemiologist made the same point last week in that many who die with underlying health problems from Coronavirus would have probably died in the next 12 months from another illness or even the summer heat.

      So there will be an overlap – though some people suggest with all these measures to prevent the Corona virus (such as washing hands and social distancing) it may actually ultimately reduce the overall death rate for 2020 as there should be fewer flu cases and things like food poisoning. I guess we won’t know until it’s over. The real issue is that regardless of whether people die from the Coronavirus or not, many people who catch it will need 2-3 weeks in hospital for treatment and this the major problem. If the health service is unable to cope then people will die needlessly and others will also die as a consequence of not being treated for other conditions.

      1. Roughly 1% of the population of the UK die each year. At any given time around 2.5% of the population are at risk of dying from a long-term illness (including the side-effects of being elderly and frail). In numbers terms this is about 1.5 million people.

        Some people out of that 1.5 million who catch covid-19 will die from it. Generally speaking about 1/3rd of them might have died sometime during the next 12 months. Here’s the thing though:

        1 – instead of dying over 12 months, those people will die in a short period of days and weeks instead, overwhelming the ability of the health system to cope.
        2 – many of those who would have died of other things would normally have died at home or in an circumstance not needing critical care. If they die of Covid-19 they are dying in critical care, overwhelming the health service and potentially infecting health service workers. Unlike dying of a non-infectious disease, dying from Covid-19 puts everyone around you while you’re dying at risk.
        3 – many people who face a life-threatening health emergency from something other than covid-19 but would normally recover due to good acute care in a hospital will find there are no critical care beds left due to covid-19 and are significantly more likely to die.
        4 – there’s a belief that young people and children will be ok. Latest research shows that this is not a free pass. If a child or young person becomes symptomatic their chance of getting pneumonia and other complications is still significant. ( Normally someone under 40 with no other health conditions will survive this provided they receive good critical care. But see points 1-3 about the lack of such care during the pandemic. Some people who went out for a last pint last night signed their death sentence not to mention the death sentences of NHS staff who will die trying to treat them.

  102. During the Second World War several stars of broadcasting made visits to our troops abroad to give them some form of entertainment. The situation today is different with the whole country in self-isolation which although no great hardship to me,
    is untold territory for most people. The reintroduction of TV licences for the over 75s is no hardship to me either, but it certainly is for most of the older generation especially for those who live alone where television is like having a friend in one’s home. So perhaps abandoning the restoration of the over 75s having to pay for a TV licence might be a consideration, in fact for the over 70s, as what else can old people living alone do if they are isolated from the outside world than listen to the radio, watch television, play records, read a book, or do puzzles, crosswords or jigsaws? Of course some of us are more fortunate as we always have friends on Diasboro, even though in my case not knowingly having met any of them except Philip in Huddersfield. I’m one of the lucky ones living alone, but never lonely.

    1. I think there are a number of issues that may prove to be an obstacle – OK they’re suggesting the cruise ship would be for non-Corona related illnesses, which is because it would be very difficult to install oxygen for critical care beds. However, without testing to ensure nobody coming on board is infected then it’s essentially no different to the risks associated with any normal journey on a cruise ship. The other issue of course is where do the extra trained medical professionals come from to treat people in these makeshift hospitals?

    2. A floating Leper Colony for the modern age albeit a very luxurious one. When Covid-19 subsides (its well and truly with us now and I doubt it will ever fully go away) Cruise Ships will likely be viewed with a certain degree of caution especially considering their target age group. Whats the betting on seeing 18-30 cruise’s on next summer’s Cruise Ship itineraries?

      1. Recar Red,

        If there are 18 – 30 cruises they’ll all jump in the sea.

        Just a quick word about strategies for avoiding the virus. One of our near neighbours has, in her words, ‘finally decided to self-hibernate’. I bet the Chief Medical Officer and top Scientists haven’t thought of that angle. I did point out that it is self-isolation but was told she knew exactly what she was doing.

        Stay fit and well.



  103. I think we are seeing an increasing realisation from the general public that this is not just a “ nasty bug that’s going around”.

    Social Distancing should be paramount in people’s minds.

    1. Whilst watching today’s briefing by a minister and two advisors, a journalist asked if during the upcoming Easter holidays families could travel to holiday cottages they had already booked!

      What do these people not understand about social distancing and isolation. Clearly not paramount in some people’s thinking. 😎

  104. Do I miss football on a Saturday? Of course I do, so I decided this morning instead of self isolation in my home, and as it was a beautiful morning to self isolate in my car. With the prospect of not being allowed to travel except in necessary situations, I decided that I deserved a run out and so did my car. So off I drove to Glaisdale and up via Glaisdale End via the loop that leads up to Rosedale where I knew there was a grassy parking place high up overlooking the dale which along with Newgate Bank overlooking Bilsdale Moor are my favourite North York Moors panoramic views and arguably the best two in God’s own country.
    There were plenty of family ramblers on my way there, but not a soul to be seen where I was. I thought if this is to be my last year on Earth due to Coronavirus or any other illness, at least it would be enjoyable. The country lanes with daffodils which William Wordsworth might well have glorified instead of the Lake District if he had been born a Yorkshireman, the hedgerows, the frolicking of the little lambs at this time of year, etc. I stayed there for an hour just enjoying the silence and glorified at the majesty of it all.
    I then thought of the events such as the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race with one stage to finish in Redcar and scheduled to be shown on ITV4, now cruelly to be cancelled more than likely, and the cricket season also possibly to be curtailed. I didn’t get out of the car, unable to walk far in my condition, so no contact with another human being, but thankful how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful part of the World and still be able to drive. Who knows if I’ll be able to repeat my little journey again in my lifetime, but it brought back happy memories when my wife and I were able to walk the Glaisdale loop and have a picnic on that grassy car park. I really enjoyed the trip, and so did my car having been garaged with a flat battery for 10 weeks. Do I still miss football on a Saturday?
    Well I’ve discovered alternatives so probably not as much as I thought I would.

    1. What a fantastic idea Ken – glad you enjoyed the run out. The scenery of the NYM is lovely and it is often forgotten that it is so close to Middlesbrough.

      We all have to think outside the box in these times. I am just off to our local pub to buy some of their hand pulled beer which they are selling as an offie – if we don’t try to support business as best we can, then they won’t be around at the end.

      Stay safe all

    1. Jarkko,

      When I used to get the United Bus, can’t remember the number, at Kirby Schools to go to spend my holidays at my Uncle and Aunt’s farm at Chop Gate there was always a sign mounted on stone on Clay Bank that said ‘North Yorkshire Moors National Park’. When did it change to ‘North York Moors’? I think they should be South Middlesbrough Moors, but then I would. The name is up there with durham Tees Valley Airport, somebody’s marketing speak.



  105. Jarkko
    It’s actually called the North York Moors, not Yorkshire Moors, and a National Park extending from Guisborough, along the coast to Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay, Scarborough, then westwards including Pickering, Kirkbymoorside, Helmsley and Thirsk but not Northallerton. Centrewise it thus includes the small villages of Lealholm, Glaisdale, Egton, Egton Bridge, Grosmont, and Sleights. It doesn’t extend to Middlesbrough, Redcar or York, nor even as far west as the Yorkshire Dales which start at Ripon and includes Knaresborough and Harrogate. Hope that helps.

    1. Ken, sorry for my mistake. I have always though their were Yorkshire Moors, not near York. Visitem them in 1980 for the first time and not noticed the chamge.

      I have visted 90 % of the places you mentioned. Wonderful place.

      Up the Boro!

  106. Sorry to monopolise this forum, but as a child I wanted to be a sports journalist or statistician. Well the former of those was obviously out of my scope when considering our own Cliff Mitchell, Redcar Red and Werdermouth. Most little boys in my youth aspired to be footballers, cricketers, fire fighters or train drivers. However I never envisaged anyone wanting to be a refuse collection driver until I came across this story about 4year old George Ayton from Normanby.

    His mother wrote to Santa on his behalf, well actually to the local Environmental Department, and last month little George was granted his wish for a day. Donning his own special high visibility vest with his name on it, George was hoisted up into the cabin of the truck and shown all the controls. He smiled as he beeped the horn, strapped into his booster seat and driven towards the street where he lived, and disembarked to line up two bins to the rear of the truck and showed which button to press to empty them. He was then driven to a waste disposal centre to discard the rubbish. He was then told what happens to waste disposal before returning home to tell all his friends about his experience and a day he’ll never forget.

    His father when interviewed said for George collecting the bins is the stuff of dreams. For me it was a lovely story which made me smile though with tears of joy. It’s these hormone injections which make me so emotional.

    1. I don’t know Ken, you do a damn good job on your prose Nd s for the history and the stats you re up there with the best!

      Keep on doing what you do and for me, don’t apologize, we lall have to do whatever it takes to get through this.

      Bugger, just used the phrase that I dislike so much when our politicians use it!

  107. I bought a new book and went for a walk with my parents. To try and keep me occupied. To keep my mind off things.

    It’s impossible.

    Thank you all for continuing to share your thoughts. I have sent mine to AV too.

  108. Cruises. How many have actually been on one?

    Just for accuracy purposes this is what happens. You can of course listen to your mate who had a friend whose cousin’s wife was unwell on a cruise – in most cases it is too much Corona rather than a virus.

    When you get to the cruise ship you have to fill in a questionnaire, people are watching. Your passport is checked and on out latest cruise double checked by cruise staff.

    You cannot get on until you have used hand sanitiser and that goes for every time you go for food.

    The ratio of staff to passengers is roughly 1 crew member to 2.5 passengers. They have doctors and nurses in the medical centre on board.

    If someone is unwell they are checked and depending what it is the passenger(s) are treated or taken off the ship.

    The main disease that makes the press is norovirus, the stomach disease for want of less pleasant words. This is common all over the world but on cruise ships it makes headline news.

    It is prevalent in all countries, the NHS loses many thousand of bed days because of it but it might make the local paper. Hit a cruise ship and it becomes national news.

    A hospital will deep clean a ward, locally you will hear people comment ‘had that bug going around’. Please dont pretend you have never heard it. The outbreak peters out.

    On a cruise ship they will go in to lock down because the disease is isolated.

    The same goes for Coronavirus. You will get the virus because you bump in to someone who transmits it. It doesn’t matter if it is the bookies, the Navi, on holiday, Tesco or at work. The difference on cruise ships is that your know where it has come from and you are isolated.

    Diamond Princess had 712 cases out of 4000 people on board, 8 people died.

    The sad fact is that because it was contained it saved a lot of people but a worrying thought is that if it wasn’t on a cruise ship and isolated how many would have been affected and died?

    Sorry about the boring nature of the post.

    1. I suspect which ever way you look at it, without a vaccine for coronavirus cruises won’t be operating. While you could test people before they got onboard, you would also have to continually test them as most cruise ships will be visiting 7 or 8 ports for the passengers to get off the ship and visit.

      While you could argue they did a good job at containing the virus on the Diamond Princess – 712 cases from 3711 people is still 19% or nearly a fifth getting infected, which if applied to the UK as a whole would equate to around 15 million people having the virus.

      So stopping the spread in the confines of a ship are clearly much harder – incidentally, 410 of the cases found on the Diamond Princess were asymptomatic so it goes to show how the coronavirus can be silently spread if only people exhibiting symptoms are told to self isolate – I wonder if this is also the case in the general population that more than half infected don’t show symptoms.

      Still it’s going to be a massive problem for cruise operators to recover from this situation and for some years to come testing and proof of vaccination will be a requirement.

      1. It will set the cruise ships back some time.

        The outbreak on the cruise ship shows how difficult it is to stop the spread even when you know it is there and contained. On a cruise ship you have total lockdown, isolate passengers and there is a finite end to the matter.

        On land the virus can go anywhere as people move about as we are now seeing it is like emptying a sinking boat with a sieve.

        The likelihood is the genie was out of the bottle before we even knew there was a bottle.

        Lovely day here, sadly no kids to see Judith as Alex lives in London and Emma in Abingdon. At least I got the grass cut yesterday.

        Another weekend with Boro unbeaten

  109. This morning we walked Ito the village to by a paper and try and see if there were a few things left on the shelves of the local CO-OP for my 96 year old mother.

    Well the pubs and cafe’s were closed, but the “deli’s” and cafe take- always had a throng of punters outside of them enjoying the sunshine with their coffees. The Tesco Express had a queue a mile long, cheek I jowl. So where was the social distancing???

    I have to say we kept our distance.

  110. Decisions about how sport is to continue in this country will have to be made soon. No one really wants sporting events to be played behind closed doors but depending how long restrictions are enforced it may be the only alternative for some sports. Football is probably in a better position than most as the majority of clubs have only 9 or 10 matches to play, and with government help may well be able to resume playing in June if restrictions are lifted by then, but even that date is optimistic.

    County cricket may have to prioritise the competitions which bring in the most income such as the the T20 competition and the new 100 ball competition. In that case the 50 over competition may have to be sacrificed and sadly the County Championship where crowds per day rarely attract more than a couple of thousand spectators excepting Scarborough.

    As for Rugby League the season has barely begun for some clubs especially in Championship League One and there is the added complication of two French clubs and one Canadian club to consider. The Australian NFL continues to be played, but with all matches behind closed doors but with canned crowd reaction played to enhance the atmosphere of matches as most of the matches are televised. Rugby League in this country is in a much poorer position financially, and as yet has not received financial backing from the Government. It has two alternatives, either extend the season throughout November and December which could be the death knell for most clubs even some in Superleague, or do as the NFL are doing by playing behind behind closed doors with canned crowd reaction and Sky TV broadcasting, but that schedule only covers 3 matches per weekend, so it’s vital that the sport receives some Government backing.

    The RL Challenge Cup is due to continue in less than a fortnight’s time and that will probably be played behind closed doors although no decision has been made yet. There is the possibility of rescheduling Superleague fixtures by cancelling the loop fixtures where clubs play some opponents 3 times and cancelling the Magic Weekend at St James Park thereby reducing the season from 27 matches to 22 but that is not going to help the other 25 clubs in the Championship. So where does the sport go from there? Back to a part time professional sport? I wish I had the answer.

    1. Think I should do the same – I am getting really really angry with the stupidity and selfish nature of people.

      We have not panic bought at all and are now running out of milk. Went to the large Tesco this morning before 10 and couldn’t even get in the car park! Even the small shops have been wiped out. Crazy times.

      The only small consolation is that the supermarkets are starting to have special times for vulnerable people(not me) and NHS/emergency workers. I have upped my hours that I volunteer as a driver for the NHS so I am hoping that I can pop in tomorrow to get some!

      Yesterday, they said that there is an extra £1bn of food in peoples homes- all I can say is that hope they eat it all and that none goes to waste.

      Anyway rant over as I just needed to get it off my chest.

      Hopefully the online Pilates class that we are doing for the first time will help!

  111. BBD

    Couldn’t agree more. We are continuing with our normal practice of a weekly shop at the supermarket, purchasing just enough to last us the week. Also went to the English butcher we have locally and did our normal bulk buy (no problem with meat supplies) most of which will be frozen and last us a month.

    If everyone maintained their normal purchasing habits then there would not be any shortages.

    I was appalled and heartbroken to see the news item of one of the NHS nurses not being able to buy fresh fruit and vegetables having just completed a 48 hour shift caring for victims.

    It is at least pleasing to learn that the supermarkets are setting times aside for NHS staff to be able to shop and also the elderly but at different times.

    Some good interviews on the Andrew Marr show this morning with two hospital doctors and an executive of the WHO.

    They all highlighted some serious and concerning shortcomings in the government approach including the lack of proper protection equipment.

    Social distancing and self isolation are part of the equation but without adequate testing and being able to take the fight to the virus we risk being at its mercy for many many months.

    Just learnt that our 15 day lockdown in Spain is to be extended for another 15 days and will be approved by the Spanish parliament next week. 😎

    1. K P – Not entirely surprised about your continued lockdown tbh.

      Judging by the idiotic behaviour that we are seeing in the U.K., it won’t be long before it happens here – and about time too as well.

      I mean what stupid people think it is ok to go to a club and pubs on Friday night after they have said they are closing? And then go out to the country side en masse go potentially out the NHS under more strain.

      I have really begun to think that as a human race we are doomed and there level of stupid people exceeds the sensible ones!

      1. BBD…… unfortunately it only needs a small minority to start the ball rolling, then it turns to survival. I am with you and many on here. Successive Governments have been far to liberal and this over many years now has lead to where we are today.

        It is the same as we have seen in the past, when Company bodies or Newspaper groups have said we can self regulate. Rubbish!!!!

        Again unfortunately, to pull the irresponsible and selfish morons into line requires possibly draconian powers. The government knowing all this, should of insisted that from day one almost, that food buying restrictions be imposed. Security Guards with sticks at the tills, and those that abuse the limits, which should be lower than they are now, have their trolley taken off them and thrown out of the store.

        The world really does appear to be on a road to self destruction.

      2. KP in Spain and BBD,

        Absolutely bang-on. While they can get away with it they will. Sadly you can’t separate the idiots because the melt into the background because the are like terrorists in a way. Entitlement and all the other plaittudes that are trotted out, whether it is abusing food stocks or stopping them doing what they wish to do because they can ‘and there’s no law against it’. Horrible behaviour and inexcusable.

        As George Orwell said, and I paraphrase ‘society needs big rough men to enforce law so that we can sleep well in our beds at night’. No doubt some one could supply the correct quote but these chancers and thieves need to be brought into line.

      3. The computer took over, it must be Guardian reader. Anyway I feel quite tense about attitudes whether it be people filling Snowdonia, going to the Highlands of Scotland or rushing up to their holiday homes in North Norfolk. It will turn ugly at some point.

        Stay well everyone,



      4. And we have a much bigger issue with the global warming hitting us, too. We had the first winter ever without practically any snow in Finland.

        We used to have snow on the ground from Christmas till beginning of April (minimum, often longer) just 30 years ago.

        Personally I am more worried about global warming that this COVID-19. The virus will be gone one day and in a year’s time we will have vaccination for it.

        But global warming is here to stay. And some people like Trump pretends it is not happening which is worrying. And as dangerous as the virus now.

        I hope everybody keeps safe. Up the Boro!

  112. if you want idiotic behaviour look at what happened on Bondi Beach, full of people so the police had to close it off. Bonkers, especially taking the point Werder made about the Diamond Princess, 57% of the people who tested positive had no symptoms of the virus.

    How on earth can you test for that level of infection in the general public?

  113. I have seen that Nicola Sturgeon has told those publicans still open in Scotland to close. You cannot believe peoples behaviour at such a time.

  114. Actual interview on BBC.

    Florist. “ In my 34 yrs as a florist, this is the worst Mother’s Day I’ve experienced “

    BBC Interviewer. “ Why is that?”

    You couldn’t make it up.

  115. I have been delving into football preceding the First World War with little success. All I can come up with as far as Boro are concerned is what I previously reported. Boro had gained promotion to the First Division in their third season and had succeeded in avoiding relegation until 1924. On only two occasions prior to the First World War was it close though, in 1904/05 when they accumulated 26 points from 34 matches and finishing 15th only 2 points from safety, and in 1909/10 when they accumulated 31 points from 38 matches and finishing 17th again only 2 points from safety. Their most successful season was in 1913/14 when they accumulated 43 points from 38 matches finishing 3rd only 1 point behind Aston Villa but still 8 points behind the Champions Blackburn Rovers. When war broke out in 1914 amazingly football continued for a whole season with Boro finishing 13th. Even more amazing was
    that football continued throughout the war in Scotland. Some football also continued on a regional basis in England but I’ve been unable to ascertain whether Boro participated.

    As for matches played prior to the Second World War, Boro had
    finished 7th in the 1936/37 season in the First Division with 46 points from 42 matches 10 points behind Champions Manchester City, repeated the same number of points in the following season but in 5th position and 7 points behind Champions Arsenal, and then in the 1938/39 season 3rd accumulating 49 points but still 10 points behind Champions Everton. The following season started badly for Boro with 0-2 and 1-4 defeats at Villa and Liverpool respectively and a 2-2 home draw with Stoke and Boro second from bottom when the season was abandoned. When the League restarted in August 1946 the same schedule was played as in 1939 and Boro won all three matches beating both Villa and Liverpool 1-0 and Stoke 5-4. Not surprisingly only goalkeeper Dave Cumming, Mickey Fenton and Wilf Mannion were the only players to play in the last pre-war match and the first postwar matches.

    The only information I can gather about the Wartime League matches are that League tables were decided purely on Goal Average instead of points as clubs played a differing number of matches and were split into 2 Regional Leagues North and South, but I haven’t been able to obtain any results involving Boro but here are the statistics for each season :-

    1940/41 (Champions Preston)
    P27 W16 D1 L10 F84 A71 Goal Av 1.18 Pos 12th/36 clubs
    (including 11 home wins, 1 draw and only 1 defeat)

    1941/42 (1st Period Champions Blackpool)
    P18 W6 D3 L9 F44 A56 Goal Av 0.79 Pos 25th/38 clubs

    1941/42 (2nd Period Champions Blackpool)
    P18 W7 D4 L7 F37 A36 Goal Av 1.03 Pos 21st/51 clubs

    1942/43 (1st Period Champions Blackpool)
    P18 W4 D4 L10 F30 50 Goal Av 0.60 Pos 40th/48 clubs

    1942/43 (2nd Period Champions Liverpool)
    P18 W5 D0 L13 F31 A69 Goal Av.0.45 Pos 49th/54 clubs

    1943/44 (1st Period Champions Blackpool)
    P18 W4 D6 L8 F35 52 Goal Av 0.67 Pos 43rd/44 clubs

    1943/44 (2nd Period Champions Bath City)
    P21 W6 D4 L11 F41 A51 Goal Av 0.80 Pos 40th/56 clubs

    1944/45 (1st Period Champions Huddersfield)
    P18 W5 D3 L10 F34 A57 Goal Av 0.60 Pos 51st/60 clubs

    1944/45 (2nd Period Champions Derby County)
    P24 W6 D2 L16 F40 A70 Goal Av 0.57 Pos 43rd/54 clubs

    1945/46 (Champions Sheffield Utd)
    P42 W17 D9 L16 F75 A87 Goal Av 0.86 Pos 12th/22 clubs

    How on Earth Bath City a non-League club participated in the Northern Region in the 1943/44 season I don’t know, but they won 16, drew 3 and lost only 2 of their 21 matches and scored
    78 goals against 26, and the runners up were Wrexham. There were playoffs between the Northern group and the Southern group. Clearly the First Division had stronger fixtures than clubs from the lower leagues, but as there were matches also between clubs from different pre-war divisions that was the reason for producing only one consolidated League each for the Northern and Southern clubs. It must be remembered that players guested for a club near where they were posted. I do know that George Hardwick guested several times for Chelsea, and that Matt Busby played at least once for the Boro.

    I’m disappointed though that nowhere have I been able to find the match results, although for all clubs those results don’t count in clubs statistics. This raises an interesting point as to who for example was Newcastle’s top scorer. Jackie Milburn scored 38 goals in 95 Wartime appearances for Newcastle which don’t count as they were considered friendly matches. Alan Shearer finished his career with 206 goals for Newcastle in all competitive matches whereas Jackie Milburn scored exactly 200, but if the 38 goals he scored during the war had counted it is Wor Jackie who would be classed as the magpies top scorer. Nevertheless even that pales into insignificance when compared with George Camsell’s 345 in all competitions.

  116. We went shopping this afternoon and was disgusted by my wife stockpiling.

    Not beans, not toilet rolls or flour. Paint! I ask my friends on here should I self isolate or lockdown the garage.

    1. Mrs BBD has had us buying compost, soil and seeds so some work in garden planned. I am just the Labourer so have some digging to do as we need to build a new step as well!

      Keep me fit I suppose and in the fresh air!

    2. Ian

      Definitely self isolate. Lock Mrs G in the room to be decorated with paint brushes and roller. Keep isolated until decorating completed. 😂😎

  117. Just a heads up.
    The Ministry of Defence have been told to be on standby for complete UK lockdown as of Sunday evening at Midnight… No one is to leave their homes unless you work in Front Line Retail or the NHS…

    I heard this directly from my neighbour Trigger who is best friends with a guy called Boycey. Boycey knows a guy named Del who drinks down the pub with Rodney and their Uncle Albert. Albert was in the Navy during the war so knows his stuff.

    Please pass it on.

  118. I’m almost beginning to feel I’m now living in some badly scripted B-movie as it almost getting hard to grasp the enormity of what is happening. Germany announced today that all public gatherings of more than two people are now banned – since when has two people being together been classed as a gathering. It even includes children so they are now limited to one friend. Hopefully that measure is not escalated any further to gatherings of one person, otherwise we really will be literally all self isolating.

    I’ve no idea where this is all heading but it appears it’s not exactly going to end any time soon – governments everywhere have really screwed up and didn’t act quickly enough when they had the chance. People were still coming back from skiing holidays a few days ago and many are now returning with the Coronavirus. Can’t believe travel wasn’t banned a month ago but I guess now it’s too late and we’ll all pay the price with lock-down until it’s safe to come out again. What’s that word again that starts with cluster…

      1. Perhaps Boro were gathering momentum before the season was halted. btw Absolutely no chance of the season resuming in a month if governments are telling everyone to keep 2m apart – it would mean tackling will have to be banned…

    1. Yup – totally agree. I said way back at the end of January when it became clear there was a problem in China that we should have tightened our border entry procedures.

      And then in February, who the hell thought it was a good idea to let folk come back from Italy without even minimal testing and telling people to only self isolate if they developed the symptoms. Too (very rude word) late by then.

      Then compounded by our government not taking the actions they are taking probably 2 weeks ago when again the situation in Italy was clear to see.

      Words fail me and this human disaster is going take a long long time to recover from with the implications, including economic, are very severe.

      As yesterday demonstrated, people are stupid and do not appear to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

      1. Our sales out has increased as our customers want to have stock if transport is affected next. You never know – there have been some problems on the Polish border for transport companies as just truck with Polish number plates were OK to pass the border.

        In general transport should be running through the borders OK. Luckily the Brexit is not in affect yet for you guys in the UK :).

        Up the Boro!

  119. Well I’ve woken up into the world we all now live where physically avoiding people will be what will be required for probably at least three months. Although for the world to continue to function many will still be asked to go to work so that food still arrives in the shops and of course the sick are treated. Just how that can happen safely is another matter and somebody needs to put in place protocols of best practice to minimise spread of the virus – if that is even possible. We can only hope that it’s not too late and many countries are not heading to the same place as Northern Italy. I suspect stronger measures will be arriving in the coming weeks.

    In terms of perspective, currently our district of 114,000 people has 24 cases – maybe it’s a lot more, perhaps a 100 but unlikely to be as many as 1,000 – hopefully the measures will control the spread but governments have to stop travel within their countries to have any chance of containing the spread. It’s now a numbers game and a waiting game.

  120. We were very concerned to learn that a friend of Karon’s brother, who works in the care industry, was returning this weekend to the UK having been on holiday in Spain and going straight back to work today without any health checks or testing.

    There really are gaping holes in the government’s strategy which is clearly putting people at risk. 😎

    1. That is unbelievable KP. It just demonstrates the stupid idea of not testing and any checks.

      My MIL is in a specialist care home, now in lockdown, but no checks on the staff at all and a disaster potentially waiting to happen.

    1. Hear hear and also some of the supermarkets for what they are doing. Mind you it says a lot about the mentality of people when they have put in dedicated time slots in for key workers as all the other selfish so and sos take everything off the shelves.

      Now I know that that there are special times for the old folk now as well but looking at the queue of people this morning from 730 for a 800 start, then it would scary to see what was left come 9. I was able to get the few essentials that we needed (that we have thus far been struggling to get) by virtue of my NHS work that I do. Without that, then I suspect we would struggle again. Even then, I do feel slightly guilty about doing that and would not have bought anything that we don’t need right now, such as milk! No idea why people are drinking so much milk at the moment but I couldn’t get any at all yesterday.

      Mad mad times

      1. Sorry Werder. Given all the spare time i now have I decided to tidy up my lap top, including clearing the cache which appears to have mucked everything up – esspecially my WordPress link which keeps asking me to sign in via various options.

        This post has come up with “you are commenting using your account (LogOut/Change) I have clicked on change and input my email address and K P in Spain so hope that works – I suppose I will find out in a minute when I post.

        Sorry for all the extra work – good intentions and all that have bit me and you in the bum! 😎

        1. That still went into the approve folder unfortunately – in theory it shouldn’t as once an email address and IP address have been approved, WordPress shouldn’t ask again. Although it’s happened in the past with other posters and maybe it will right itself but in the meantime bear with me as I’ll just have to catch your posts.

      2. I had this problem once. When I scrolled down after having changed/signed in there was a box to tick asking to “ remember me” that I had missed. I remember sending an email to Werder at the time describing this.

  121. Well the last sport in Australia has now closed down with the NRL putting its season on hold indefinitely. They were thinking of taking all of the players to a mine camp in North Queensland and playing the games at one venue up there but then Queensland has closed its borders along with Western Australia, South Australia and here in the NT.
    In the AFL, Aussie rules all players have agreed to a 50% pay cut as they have a Collective Bargaining Agreement much like all other workers do so if they don’t pay their wages are cut accordingly. Most clubs are shedding staff has anyone heard if that is happening in the UK.
    We still only have 5 cases here in the NT so it all seems a bit surreal and they are talking about the closures of pubs etc going on for 6 months.

    1. Yes it does all seem a bit surreal but it was demonstrated on Channel 4 yesterday the difference between the spread of Coronavirus and Flu – on average a person with flu infects 1.3 people, whereas a person with Coronavirus infects 3 people. If you look at how the numbers differ after ten rounds of infection then you can easily see why strict measures need to be in place.

            Coronavirus     Flu
       0           1        1
       1           3        1.3
       2           9        1.7
       3          27        2.2
       4          81        2.9
       5         243        3.7
       6         729        4.8
       7       2,187        6.3
       8       6,561        8.2
       9      19,683       10.6
      10      59,049       13.8
      1. Werder
        That example was simply frightening, and I might say, blows out of the water any idea we might have of a relationship between this virus and flu.
        As a side issue, flu must be a serious attack on the human system, to rack up the victims whilst having such a poor transmission record.

        1. One of the main reason flu spreads to fewer people is because many have the seasonal flu injection so the virus is restricted to passing to people without immunity – that’s the problem with Coronavirus almost everyone can be infected as essentially nobody has immunity.

  122. I’m fully aware that the Coronavirus pandemic is very serious, but I’m sick and tired of reading about it especially on this forum. I’ve practically lived in isolation for the past 11 years at home since my wife died except for foreign travel. I’d already decided that my recent trip to Portugal would be my last and that has nothing to do with Coronavirus but the whole episode of airline travel which I now find so tiresome. I’ve seen enough of the world that I wanted to see and accept I’ve been very lucky to have done so, but enough is enough. I’ve got some 12,000 photographs to remind me of that, and now I intend to self-isolate by driving around our beautiful region without contact with the human race. I’ve had enough drama in my lifetime with enduring the Second World War, the death of my father in a road accident a week before Christmas in 1969 when he was only 57, losing my mother and especially my wife with cervical cancer at the age of 67. I’ve had a good life which I wouldn’t change even if I could. I’ve made mistakes along the way, but hasn’t everybody? I’m totally philosophical about things despite all my ailments, but am doing all I can to avoid any more including Coronavirus. I don’t think about the future but live for the present. My wife was never a moaner and neither am I, the only regret being we were not able to have children.

    I spent about 7 hours yesterday doing some research on Boro’s
    war record, but I doubt anyone is interested any more, and that’s sad as this is supposed to be a football forum about Middlesbrough FC and at the moment seems to have lost its way, with people angry and moaning about something that they have no control over. Accept the situation we’re in as we old enough to have lived through the Second World War had to, it is what it is and no amount of anger is going to change that. So like Len that’s me finished with reading or contributing to this forum until football returns as I’ve got better things to do with what remains of my time on earth. This isn’t a moan and I’m not angry, but just accepting how I want to get on with the limited time I have at my disposal.

    1. Sorry you’re getting frustrated with the Coronavirus taking over Ken but unfortunately it’s not likely to die down as a major news story of our time. Personally, it’s hard to even contemplate thinking about football at the moment as normal life is changing on a daily basis. I’m too young to have any sense of the war so it’s probably the most major threat to my way of life in my lifetime. Though I’d disagree that there’s nothing we can do about it as what we all do individually about trying to prevent the spread is what will ultimately make the difference.

      1. The one thing individuals do have control of is not spreading the virus. If you stay at home the chance of spreading the virus is virtually zero. Those in essential jobs don’t have that option, but if you’re in a position to stay at home then do so. It’s not just your own life that’s in jeopardy, but many others too.

        I’m currently self isolating as I have Asthma, so I’m following direct scientific/medical advice.

  123. Werder

    Apologies again. The comment box this time has come up with email address and name already pre-filled so I am hoping everything is back to normal – fingers and everything crossed! 😎

      1. I had this problem once. When I scrolled down after having changed/signed in there was a box to tick asking to “ remember me” that I had missed. I remember sending an email to Werder at the time describing this.

  124. Last month when we saw Coach Drivers without any protection driving a bus of potentially infected Tourists off to isolation with the front passenger fully kitted up in full head to toe PPE it illustrated perfectly just how incompetent the early handling of this virus was. Had the Chinese authorities reacted to the initial warning instead of publicly shaming the now (conveniently perhaps) deceased Doctor it could have had a different outcome.

    The act of repatriating instead of isolating those returning from areas of the globe and even ships of infected cases seemed dangerous at the time and ill thought through, with hindsight it was crass stupidity. I can’t wait to see the outpouring of grief when like as not Trump decides to introduce a “Virus tax” against all Chinese imported goods into the US, its a nailed on certainty. The impact to the Chinese economy will be punitive to say the least and just as we emerge from one crisis the world will sink into another perhaps more unstable and dangerous one.

    Fully understand Len and Ken’s feelings. I’ve all but stopped watching the BBC as they seem to be even outdoing Sky in their despondency reporting. What makes it worse (for me at least) is that I detect a bitter taste of it almost being enjoyable as the latest casualty figures come in for them to report on. I shudder to think what will happen will cases start dropping, people stop dying and having to report on upbeat news. Meanwhile the social media world abounds with more experts and theories than ever, some even sadly thinly veiled with their political bias and point scoring.

      1. I guess we should be thankful that we’re not living in the US as following the news of a surge in citizens buying semi-automatic guns, The Independent reported today that white supremacists were planning to weaponise the Coronavirus…

        Federal law enforcement warned that white supremacist terrorists had considered weaponising coronavirus through saliva-filled spray bottles and contaminating non-white neighbourhoods with the virus, according to intelligence briefings.

        A brief from the Federal Protective Service written last month reported that white supremacists on the encrypted messaging app Telegram discussing spending “as much time as possible in public places with their ‘enemies'” to transmit the virus.

        They also plotted targeting law enforcement by leaving “saliva on door handles” and elevator buttons at government offices.

        In a brief obtained by Yahoo News reports that “violent extremists continue to make bioterrorism a popular topic among themselves” and that “white racially motivated violent extremists” had expressed that it was their “obligation” to spread the virus should any of them be infected.

        If that wasn’t enough, Trump tweeted yesterday that as the economic impact of the virus became clear he may decide to lift the social distancing measures as he said: “we can’t let the cure be worse than the problem itself”

  125. Sorry to interrupt the Covid 19 discussion 😉 but this partly related.

    I wonder if MFC have given any thought to the deadline for early bird season tickets when it is not known, if or when this season will be concluded.

    Come on BORO.

    1. I think all the clubs are in such a state of unpreparedness (understandably) that nobody anywhere has a clue what is likely to happen or not. Its impossible to make any announcement with any conviction of confidence at the moment so probably best to say and do nothing.

      I would think that once everything is clear and there is a plan going forward then announcements will be made. Its entirely possible that next season may not take place or if it does it will be in a curtailed manner and environment.

      If the intention is to finish this season as a priority (which to me is as it should be) then the commencement of the following season will have to sit tight. It may well be January 2021 before the new season kicks off with possibly only 23 games in the Championship taking place. That would mean of course that some clubs would have 11 home games and others 12. Would the clubs charge 50% of the normal Season Card prices or would they charge based on the amount of Home games?

      After the starvation of football there is a likelihood that tickets could sell out fast to craving fans, desperate to see football action once again. Conversely it could take some time for Coronavirus fears to subside and that tickets are almost impossible to shift with people who have got used to social distancing as the new norm.

      I would guess that once things are decided Clubs like Boro will then revisit it. The simplest thing would be to just open up Season Card sales to everyone with existing card holders getting a 5% discount.

      1. I think one of the options being touted was starting next season in January or February and running the season over a calendar year. That might not be a bad idea and would work for the season after that too given the Qatar World Cup in 2022 is due to take place between the end of November until just before Christmas.

  126. A supermarket in Denmark got tired of people hoarding hand sanitizer, so came up with their own way of stopping it.

    1 bottle kr40 (€5.50)
    2 bottles kr1000 (€134.00) each bottle.

  127. RR, you are so correct about the BBC reports and the Journalist questions when Boris has his daily press conference.

    We all have our own views on Boris and this government and whether Jerermy would have handled it a lot better?

    But the stupidity and points scoring from certain journos is beyond belief. If it was me stood up there and had to take some of the crass questions being asked, I think I would have blown my top. Even the journos are “experts” now when you hear them talk.

    This morning I got up early to visit our local supermarket during the elderly allocated hour, but preceded by 30 minutes for NHS workers, who all came out with a bunch of flowers. Good on Sainsburys.
    Lots of basics missing and only just filling shelves. So very few T/Rolls, no sanitizing products, no bacterial cleaning products as well as many other items panic bought previously.

    I have a mother of 96, so requires carer visits, help from the family, as in shopping and meals, cleaning. How can she self isolate when she may get four different carers each week. How can the carers take care of themselves?? And then there is me!!!!

    It is all very difficult and an almost impossible scenario to deal with, and that is without the irresponsible morons that abound.
    Sorry about the rant.

    1. Pedro
      Next time you watch the daily show, listen to the journo’s question about testing. It is asked every day, and ignored.
      The journo’s do not press the point, and people are dying as a result of the free pass given to the three stooges.
      In Germany all health workers are tested as they come on shift and the result is known in four hours.
      Here we have no idea just how important testing is, and care less.
      There are reports starting to emerge of health workers starting to realise just what risks they are taking, and questioning the actions of the government.
      We, of course, have not the organisation or the will to alter this state of affairs.
      When one reads of a leading specialist critically ill, it makes you think, because they have already made one of the greatest errors one could make by announcing very early on that they wanted to create a big pool of people with immunity. Hhhm!
      Nice one.

      1. Which Three Stooges would they be? Are you referring to the two Chief Medical Advisors also?

        Slag off Boris all you want, but the other two gentlemen are doing their best under extremely difficult circumstances.

        1. And yet the Chief Scientific Officer seemed fully on board with the herd immunity strategy that the Sunday Times reported yesterday as being the brainchild of Dominic Cummins in order to protect the economy at the price of some necessary deaths of ‘pensioners’. Patrick Vallance defended this herd immunity strategy on March 13 and it was reported in the Financial Times – the logic of which I rejected after two minutes thought. The government has since dismissed that herd immunity was their strategy but I distinctly recall Boris Johnson speaking in one of his press conferences and saying he wanted healthy people to be infected as it was a mild disease for the majority.

          UK’s chief scientific adviser defends ‘herd immunity’ strategy for coronavirus

        1. I don’t know who devised it but no other country had opted for that strategy but everyone was on-message until they were hit with data in the Imperial College study and couldn’t ignore the fact of half-a-million deaths to reach herd immunity.

  128. GHW

    Boris is an easy target.

    He follows guidance from the ‘stooges’ next to him as well as all the other professionals feeding in to them such as Imperial College in London. Everyone can have a pop at him safe in the knowledge they dont have to deal with the issues.

    As Redcar Red said, the national and social media are revelling in it. The way things are delivered can make the situation much worse.

    1. I’ve said before that Johnson is being led by events rather than showing the attributes of leadership – granted it’s not an easy job but Boris is not really a details man. I read a biography of Boris Johnson a few years ago and he’s not someone who’s driven by any notion of public service – it’s purely ambition and the need for public recognition as he’s quite an insecure person who wants to be loved and admired. He also finds it very easy to lie to people he knows never mind the public.

        1. I’d actually be more worried if the herd immunity strategy had been proposed by an experienced leading scientist rather it being something plucked by a spin doctor out of a meeting when looking for something scientific sounding to justify government inaction

  129. It’s about time this political sniping and personal attacks stopped.

    It’s no secret the media have it in for Dominic Cummings. Instead of journalists badgering the Chief Scientific Officers and Matt Hancock they should just leave them to get on with their jobs. There’ll be time enough in the future for forensic analysis of what was done right and what wasn’t.

    No Health Service in the world were prepared for an emergency on this scale. Everyone should be concentrating on what they can do to support the NHS.

    1. I agree that no country was prepared for this virus on the scale that it has evolved and that any government of whatever persuasion would be struggling with the crisis that we are seeing.

      I also think that many members of the population have been totally irresponsible in their behaviours from clearing the shelves to not following advice on social distancing.

      Where I have a problem is that the government have known, or had a strong idea, that this situation was coming down the track since late January. That is getting on for 2 months to prepare and sort things out a tad better.

      My view, for what it is worth, is that the government have probably been at least 2 weeks behind where they should have been and that the utterances from our PM have been less than convincing and have been lacking in clarity. But that is, in some respects down to his fondness for 3 words phrases and using big words.

      The chancellor has done a very good job at dealing with a very bad hand and deserves credit for what has been proposed- in truth, whatever he does will never be enough. You can’t please all of the people all the time.

      In reality, it is an extremely difficult decision to make to keep the economy going to avoid longer term impacts on the whole country versus large amounts of people dying before their time. Not one I would want to make, that’s for sure.

      I fear that we will going into a stronger lock down tonight – and about time too- and only time will tell if it is enough to flatten the curve enough to keep the NHS functional and to save as many lives as possible.

      Finally onto other matters, I am looking forward to seeing Boro have an amazing game against Steau Bucarest and remembering happier times!


      PS and also to reading more from Ken with his facts and figures and recollections to take some of my mind away from where we are.

  130. I’d have to admit that from everything I’ve read about Boris Johnson or even the pieces about Dominic Cummins – the feeling of ‘trust them’ is not what I’ve been left with. Still, I’d rather people in power making decisions were held to account at the time when it matters rather than 5, 10 or even 20 years or so down the line when these Public Inquiries finally take place – Chilcot was 13 years after the WMD issue and we know Hillsborough Inquiry was 28 years after the event.

    While every health service is going to struggle in the coming months, some are considerably better prepared than others and as some governments have seemingly been caught by surprise by the scale of the Coronavirus, others have planned much better and much earlier to mitigate the impact on their health services. We will soon see whether our leaders around the globe rise to the occasion or not.

    OK, I guess there’s not much to be gained by further political discussion as everyone can make their own mind up and no doubt will. At least Angela Merkel has tested negative – so that’s finally one thing she has in common with Donald Trump.

    Anyway, with nothing pressing on the football front to talk about (or likely to be anytime in the foreseeable future) and clearly politics is problematic subject for many people, plus others are getting quite tired of the subject of Coronavirus – maybe it’s time for Diasboro to go into lock-down for a while as I can’t think of anything else to talk about.

    OK, Stay healthy everyone!

  131. Well the expected has happened and Stay at Home is the order of the day – had to happen and hopefully we can stem the virus and keep the NHS going.

    In is going to be long hard road but

    We shall Overcome – ERIMUS

  132. I’m aoeryvid we lock down in here too. I’m sure it is a source of support for many. Maybe leave the light on and people can contribute whatever and whenever.

    Whatever. Keep safe everyone and than you to everyone for being part of this.

  133. Camera zooms in or Boris with his two stooges.

    ‘I am addressing you in difficult times, my scientific advisers have told me not to lockdown but to do things gradually.

    I have decided to totally ignore them and the scientific evidence and do what I want to do.

    We will close everything form 3rd March.’

    BBC turns to it’s guests who all voted to remain who decry this move as an abuse of civil liberties and against scientific advice. Laura ‘any chance of a good opportunity’ Kuenssberg’ sees an opportunity……

    Damned if you do, damned if you dont.

    1. Correct! Whilst I feel we have been a bit slow, we are not in possession of the full facts and it is a horrible decision to have to make.

      The reality is that we will never know which was the right way to have gone and when. We will never know if different actions would have seen different results.

      I would not want to be the one making the decisions

    1. Thanks KP, there’s more out there and all as good as this, thankfully someone’s had the nads to throw PC out of the window to give us all a laugh, in the current times we need one.

  134. Boris has apparently created History as the man who has finally ended the DFS Sale!

    See its not all bad news out there, you just have to look for it and take comfort where you can find it.

  135. Werder

    Please keep reporting. Your insights and analyses are second to none, and I have found them very helpful, as i did Selwyn’s advice.

    The government’s original policy would have left us with over 200,000 fatalities, and their continued delay in testing and providing the most basic protective equipment even to front line workers still seem guaranteed to produce similarly horrific numbers. To suggest that the elderly should all proceed like lambs to the slaughter, and that we should stop criticising the government when the rest of the world is looking on aghast at the incompetence of the Johnson and Trump administrations seems incredible to me.

    The government’s claim that in allowing planes from pandemic hotspots to land untested across the country it was “following the science” is completely phoney. In this context there is no such thing as “the science”. There are contending scientific views. Those of the British, and those of the scientific consensus across the rest of the world, including those with successful experience of handling pandemics such as WHO, and S Korea. Their emphasis upon the importance of rigorous testing and containment of the virus is such obvious good sense that the scientific evidence for ignoring it would have to be conclusive. But what and where is that evidence? And if it were so compelling why has the original theory of building up “herd immunity” by aiming for a 40-80 % infection rate with pensioners written off as collateral damage been now quietly shelved?

    “Following the Science” is a mantra that suggests that the government has little agency in these matters. It’s doing what its chief scientists recommend. This provides a lightning conductor for any criticism and a convenient cover for the government when (rather than if) the policy finally and horrifically implodes.

    Far from being stooges, Whitty and Vallance are credible figures. Indeed, their credibility is what is keeping Johnson afloat. They come across as knowledgable, experienced, intelligent, well-informed and articulate. Yet there is a dissonance between the competence and sense of control which they exude and the impending sense of chaos and lack of control that we sense all around us, particularly amongst the elderly and in our hospitals. This needs some explaining.

    It’s a mistake to think that science is a practice that floats free of politics. Having worked in a university for over 20 years I was able to see at first hand the extent to which academic success came to be increasingly equated with the ability to attract research grants. Original thinkers who work to their own agendas are now an almost extinct species in universities, as money, promotions and institutional prestige flow to those most willing to work to the priorities and agendas of big business and central government. Those “experts” who rise most quickly to the top are not those asking the most difficult and awkward questions but those who are prepared to bend what they do to the requirements of their commercial and political paymasters.

    Both Whitty and Vallance owe their positions to political patronage. And the patronage in this case of a government which has shown itself to have no time for any form of dissent. It is their job to work to and support the government’s agenda. They are not the originators of the science they present. Rather they are co-ordinating the science presented to them by virologists, epidemiologists and behavioural scientists, all of them government approved, and some of them comfortably ensconced within No10 itself.

    “Behavioural scientists” is an oxymoron. Behaviourists are not scientists at all. The nomenclature of “science” is one they have given to themselves. They have no more right to the title than a tipster working for the Racing Post. He also looks at the available evidence and tries to make educated guesses about likely behavioural outcomes. In fact the tipster is more scientific. At least he applies what he knows about specific horses to the future behaviour of those horses. He doesn’t extrapolate from the behaviour of specific horses to the entire species. And he doesn’t, as the early behaviourists did, make generalisations about people on the basis of experiments with animals. The discipline has an inglorious history, flogging its snake oil solutions to advertisers, governments, and anyone else interested in trying to manipulate the public for its own purposes. The “behavioural scientists” informing Whitty and Vallance include No 10’s “Nudge Unit”. Presumably they are behind the theory of “fatigue”, the idea that lockdown should be delayed because the science says that we will soon get tired of making the effort of saving our own lives. There is, of course no reliable science to support this theory since there has been no precedent for our current situation within British society. But it is a “science” which gives support to the government’s strategy.

    It is simply not credible for the most ideologically driven right wing government in living memory, and one that was so contemptuous of expert opinion over Brexit to now claim that it is in thrall to the scientists. The public service cuts of the last decade and the commitment to shrink the state has led to a situation both here and in America of almost criminal neglect and unpreparedness for the epidemic. The scientists and health experts have been drafted in to rationalise the situation as best they can and they are doing this with great skill. But if they had any propensity or inclination to overtly criticise their political masters, they would not be where they are today. And if they did so now they would be marched from centre stage quicker than you can say Dominic Cummings.

    1. Glad you have continued to post Len. That is, as always from you, a thorough and (I believe) accurate assessment.

      To pinch the idea from K.P.’s post above:

      Q. When is a leader not a leader?

      A. When he is a reactionary.

    2. Brilliantly well argued post Len that highlight the subtleties of scientific advice and that ultimately it is political decisions which shape what actually happens. Indeed there will always be conflicting scientific advice in the same way intelligence from the secret services is based on probabilities – the UK opted against the precautionary principle and chose to ignore the wider scientific consensus that strong contagion measures were the only way forward until they had data that couldn’t be ignored.

      It seems the UK government originally went with the least intrusive scientific advice and the theory of herd immunity became their strategy. It’s always the danger that people will put more weight on the advice they most want to agree with – particularly if it means they don’t have to do anything drastic or expensive. This is what we’ve seen with climate change for decades as governments either ignore the science or wait for the effects to become too serious to ignore.

      I was listening to Italian physicist Paolo Giordano yesterday talking about the very subject of conflicting scientific opinion and that there will always be problems for governments making decision – though as you rightly pointed out Len, where was the compelling evidence of the herd immunity strategy versus stronger measures against contagion.

      Paolo Giordana wrote a short book in February when he started analysing this latest epidemic – it’s called ‘How Contagion Works: Science, Awareness and Community in Times of Global Crises’ and I’m going to download it as an ebook for just £2 from Amazon later. Interestingly, Giordano was asked yesterday why he thought Northern Italy has suffered so many deaths of old people – the answer he gave was almost counter-intuitive in that as Lombardy is a wealthy region with an older demographic, it subsequently has a very good healthcare system, which has been very good at keep many people with various health conditions alive and living longer lives. The Coronavirus has simply struck this group of people first and has meant they were more vulnerable to the effects – Giordano expects over time the average age of those killed by the virus in Italy will reduce to one that reflects other countries.

      So it’s hard to say whether the UK or other countries are heading for an Italian-style meltdown of the heathcare system – but the UK seems particularly at risk as it’s starting from a much lower base in terms of capacity than many other countries.

      America is potentially another disaster in the making if Trump carries out his threat to put the economy first. Trump perhaps epitomises the problem of only listening to the scientific ‘opinion’ that he agrees with or wants to hear. He claimed that if the economy tanks then many people will die from suicide – while there is data to suggest suicides do indeed rise in recessions and slumps, it won’t come close to offsetting the deaths from the virus if it is allowed to spread unchecked.

      Trump is also pinning his hopes on anti-malaria drugs stopping the spread after some preliminary studies showed that both Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine do inhibit the ability of coronaviruses to infect cells in laboratory tests. Incidentally, they do this by interfering with the virus’s ability to attach to those ACE2 receptors on cells that I mention in my earlier post about the origins of SARS-CoV-2. However, it’s still early days in terms of how these drugs function in people and as yet the data from clinical trials is not clear. It may have some effect but these drugs can be quite toxic and are not recommended to be taken by people with many of those underlying health conditions that makes them at higher risk of dying from Coronavirus.

      OK, that’s probably enough thoughts on the matter for now but once again thanks for the post Len!

  136. Len

    I think that is a bit disrespectful to the two people involved.

    From my understanding the scientists including those at Imperial College using their modelling have been driving the actions involved. The Government original policy was to take actions when it was appropriate and they clearly stated they would impose those actions in stages when advised to do so. That is what they are doing.

    The success of any country is reliant on people doing their part.

    Whether any governments actions were correct will only be known when the pandemic dies down.

    1. But the “science” changed from herd immunity to the social distancing and lockdowns. I may have misheard but I am sure that I heard one of the top two men make a comment outside of the official presser which contradicted what had been said earlier.

      And it doesn’t give one much confidence when the health secretary denies on live TV that the expert had said about herd immunity being policy.

      The government have been in a difficult position but have not covered themselves in glory – far from it – and it will cost lives.

      The problem is how far down the rocky road do you go between making the choice between lives lost and economic survival.

      There is an argument that says that if you stop everything in the economy and give help to everybody but save lives, then in the long run, even more lives will be lost with the resulting austerity or the fact that the country has slipped into bankruptcy.

      I am not in a position to say which way is right and do not envy those that have to make the decisions. The only observation is that the government would appear to have been several weeks behind taking action and have then only taken action when the general public and others have nudged them. It should be the other way round.

      I read that, I think Michael Hessletine, said about Johnson that he is the man who sees which way the crowd is running, elbows his way to the front and this shouts out “follow me”

      Seems like he was right in my view

      1. BBD

        To be fair, they did say that measures would be taken as the situation changed and at the most suitable time to implement them

        Whether they have got it right, only time will tell.

  137. Message from a consultant in ICU. Good info:

    Why do we need to shut places where people group?

    Remember this: VIRAL LOAD

    There will be a lot about this. Why is it important?

    With this virus, the amount of virus in your blood at first infection directly relates to the severity of the illness you will suffer. This isn’t unusual – HIV management is all about reducing viral load to keep people alive longer. BUT it’s very important in COVID-19.

    So if you are in, say, a pub or religious building or entertainment venue with 200 people and a large number don’t have symptoms but are shedding, you are breathing in lots of droplets per minute and absorbing a high load of the virus. In a crowded space. They become ill over the next 48 hours. You then three days later wonder why you can’t breathe and end up in hospital. You’d decided because you were young and healthy it wasn’t going to be a problem. Wrong.

    Fortunately but unfortunately because the elderly are isolating quite well, the initial UK data suggests that all age groups above 20 are almost equally represented in ITUs in England. Most of the cases are in London but the wave is moving outwards.

    This means that being under 60 and fit and well doesn’t seem to be as protective as we thought. Why? Viral load.

    This may be skewed simply by the fact that too many Londoners didn’t do as asked and congregated in large groups in confined spaces and got a large initial viral load. They then went home and infected their wider families. Which is why, as London is overwhelmed, we need to shut everything down to save the rest of the UK. We are a week at most behind London.

    Our sympathies go out to the families affected in London and the critical care teams battling right now to save as many as they can.

    If I sit with one person and catch this virus, I get a small viral load. My immune system will start to fight it and by the time the virus starts replicating, I’m ready to kill it.

    No medicines will help this process meaningfully hence there is no “cure” for this virus. All we can do is support you with a ventilator and hope your immune system can catch up fast enough.

    If I sit in the same room with six people, all shedding I get six times the initial dose. The rise in viral load is faster than my immune system can cope with and it is overrun. I then become critically ill and need me (or someone of my specialty) to fix it instead of just being at home and being ok in the end.


    If you are a large family group, remember that by being ill and in the same room, you will make each other ill or “more ill”. If you get sick, isolate just yourself to one room and stay there. Don’t all sit in one room coughing. You will increase the viral load for all of you, reducing your survival rate.

    A family of six people may produce double the droplets of a family of three in the same space. Maths is important.

    If one of you is symptomatic, assume you are all shedding and make sure you keep some space.

    Parents are getting it from their kids because no one is going to stop comforting their child (nor should they) so the parent gets a big hit as well as the child. I don’t think that can be helped.


    It could save your life or your child’s.

    1. Your posts with those links both went into the spam folder for some reason – I checked the website (science media centre) as sometimes they are blacklisted for whatever reason.

      Nothing obvious, although rather interestingly the Science Media Centre is run by Fiona Fox OBE, who used to be a leading member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Even more interesting is that she is the younger sister of the Brexit Party’s Claire Fox, who was also apparently a leading member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and is now the director of the think tank ‘The Institute of Ideas’. Not that I’m suggesting Brexit was a plot by communist sleepers 😉

      btw I’ve got an interesting but somewhat amusing anecdote about my own brief experience of inadvertently ending up on the front cover of the Trotskyite Workers Revolutionary Party’s magazine when in my early twenties, which I should probably write up one day.

      1. Apparently we are going to be hearing a lot more about Viral Load.

        ( both links are the same so you can remove one, or both if you prefer)

  138. Following on from GNW’s post I see pubs in several place have had lock inns. Exactly the things we dont want.

    I know of one pub in North Yorkshire that opened over the weekend for ‘takeaways’ and had crowds stood outside drinking. Authorities had a word.

    We are self isolating but it is easy for us, my wife is rushing through an emergency to do list which should be published shortly. It is not advice but an instruction.

    Keep safe everyone, many of us are beyond the first flush of youth.

  139. The German epidemiologist I listen to spoke about the issues around viral loads last week and explained that it’s one of the main reasons some of the younger people and in some cases doctors have suffered serious complications and in some cases died. That’s why health workers need proper PPE to avoid receiving large viral loads when treating infected patients.

    The other issue related to the viral load is that it’s far more serious if you contract the virus initially directly into your lungs through inhaling rather than perhaps simply by touching your mouth, nose or eyes before it spreads to them. The reasoning being similar to viral load in that your body mounts a defence which usually manifests with symptoms like a sore throat, which by the time it has eventually spread to your lungs your immune system has already got up to speed and therefore the effect on the lungs is usually minimal.

    So better to avoid those deep breaths when getting exasperated at the behaviour of those around you!

      1. Sadly just another hoax based on hot water killing the virus as you’ll be unable to wash out the virus from your nose and eyes as well unless you’ve got a particular unusual drinking habit 😉

  140. Despite 24 hour constant news stories and updates, followed by and repeated by daily despairing breakfast news from the BBC and Piers Morgan’s daily monologue (he asks a guest a question and then proceeds to talk over him for twenty minutes giving himself his own answer) on ITV’s morning “news” the message just isn’t getting through to some people.

    The Politicians are doing their best and whilst I don’t rate any of them from either side of the House (bar literally a handful) these are the idiots we elected as the best of a very bad and poor lot. Whether we like it or not they are now charged with trying to steer the country through this mess but they are not responsible for the incredible ignorant stupidity of the masses.

    There are of course mitigating factors many of which are borne out of necessity and the desperate need to provide the basic essentials for families. Modern life is stressful at the best of times and the thought of impending poverty with no electricity, gas or food on the table is scaring some people far more than the invisible enemy. The fear of being homeless through an inability to pay rent or mortgages let alone rates are driving many peoples stress levels through the roof. Expecting rational behaviour in these circumstances is naive. The minute someone approaches you with that immortal phrase “now I don’t want you to panic or worry but…….” sends the heart rate of 99% of us through the roof. Do it to a nation and the panic buying that we witnessed was mild considering the circumstances.

    Unfortunately things are getting worse and will continue to worsen with death rates now approaching triple figures daily in the UK. Crowds of youths gathering in Middlesbrough, spitting at people for fun (I’m sure it is replicated nationwide if not indeed Europe wide) illustrates the incredible level of crass ignorance and a lack of social awareness. Its hardly surprising. We have had several generations now living in peace (and also poverty) for decades. A sense of unjust entitlement allied to being shaped by Kardashian culture has left the UK with a lot of individuals whose contribution or at least their value of contribution to this world questionable. A good World War or even two would have culled many, the lack of one has created social issues today that older generations never had to deal with. Keeping the sun from setting on the British Empire meant the ongoing need for cannon fodder for centuries and limiting the breeding potential of those who would always be first out and over the trenches.

    Trying to get a “me, me, me” generation to realise that their fake tans and botox supplies are going to dry up any time soon is proving to be a huge culture shock. Being told “No” when their Teachers have been forbidden to teach them and their “Parents” beforehand discipline and respect (thanks Esther Rantzen, a good idea gone way too far) now means they are incapable of taking instruction. Mentally they are no longer wired for it, selective breeding has seen to that.

    Northern Ireland was and still is governed by Westminster yet it was deemed acceptable to put armed Soldiers on the streets of a part of Britain to maintain law and order. The “Troubles” claimed the lives of around 3,700 people. Corona virus is going to eclipse that by the end of next week more than likely and will keep gathering pace. We have the Troops, we shhould be utilising them. One Police Officer to two armed Soldiers should become the norm immediately. We can crack down on idiots gathering and loitering when they see a no nonsense approach from the Government. All those years of ill discipline can be quickly brought into focus for even the most lobotomy challenged.

    Inaction is the friend of this virus, delay by Governments has been tantamount to collaboration. Places that have clamped down quickly and maintained it have had the best results so far, its neither a surprise nor a coincidence. I would have liked to think that common sense would have prevailed but for the above factors it isn’t going to happen unless enforced. If that means shooting a few “exuberant lads” with rubber bullets to bring them to their senses and commandeering a few redundant Cruise liners as Prison ships offshore to make a point then so be it. Nobody has ever won a battle let alone a war by being half hearted. Shut down the Tubes for everyone bar Key Workers and the rest of the Public Transport network and then enforce it with a rod of Iron. That unfortunately requires strong leadership and direction, something which not just the British electorate struggled to find when voting.

    1. Rather spookily I just wrote about Me Me Me generation before seeing your post – people are going to be in for shock of just how long this episode is going to take and how life will change for many months if not years.

    2. RR – as usual a very well put together piece. Thanks also to all others who post on here with their views and comments. It helps to keep me sane in this mad mad world that we are in.

      As my Grandma used to say, “stop the world- I want to get off” but there again I want never gets!

      We all have to do what we can to help everybody else get through this – and we will albeit in a different place I strongly suspect.

    3. The “me too” movement has had a lot of media attention lately. During the election campaign with all parties promising truck loads of free cash, I refered to Britain as the “wheres mine” movement.

  141. I think we’re seeing the inevitable fallout of how politicians lost what trust they had (and it started from a low base) with the whole Brexit fiasco since 2016. People seem to only trust those politicians who took their view on Brexit regardless of whether those involved were found to be telling the truth or not.

    If you throw in the whole social media cultural change of truth moving towards agreeing with opinions rather than checking what is being expressed is actually based on facts, then there’s a large degree of cynicism that anything been said needs to be believed. It’s a bit ironic that we now only want to here from experts after spending three years being told experts didn’t know better.

    I even doubt that a large percentage of the population have the concept of the greater good or something beyond self as this is the time of instant gratification and look at me, look where I am, look what I’ve seen, look at how many followers I’ve got – not so much #MeToo but #MeMeMe.

    This crisis will most likely bring some harsh lessons and it’s not certain many are willing to accept the novel concept of taking responsibility – at all levels of society.

    1. I received a phone call yesterday from someone desperate to source masks and disposable aprons and coveralls for the NHS. Their Sister works as a Senior Nurse in a North London Hospital and they have literally just about ran out of PPE gear with promises of “its coming tomorrow” being repeated but tomorrow never comes.

      Some have proposed alternative masks and aprons from non standard sources which may or may not be as good as their existing preferred choice (equally they may even be better). Their Purchasing people have “allegedly” refused to buy as they need to conduct trials and approve them prior to use. Under normal circumstances that is the correct procedure to follow. In a time of crisis and with people literally dying around you, when you are out of ammo and the bullets are pinging around your head when someone offers you a machine gun you just grab it.

      These product carry EN certification (which of course may or may not be bogus at this time) but they should fulfil the criteria and in any case better than literally nothing. Most masks etc all come from China and the Far East which is now back manufacturing and crucially exporting again. A lot of these products come from the same factories but with different brands (including the famous ones) stamped on them. I am far from convinced that those who are currently sourcing and purchasing are the best individuals to firstly know where to go and secondly make the decision. Meanwhile not for the first time we have the countries finest being let down by idiots.

      When all this is done and dusted I hope that the NHS is removed from political control by having a Governor put in charge like the Bank of England has to run it properly. They can then send a non-negotiable annual bill for whatever it costs to run the NHS at maximum effectiveness for the benefit of the people to the existing Prime Minister.

      1. It must be a real worry for NHS frontline workers when they turn up to work then wonder whether they’ve got the right kit – you wouldn’t expect firemen to tackle blazes without all the right gear as it would risk their lives so why should NHS workers be any different.

        I’ve heard quite a few politicians, past and present, tell us that there are pandemic plans in place but it seems these plans didn’t include all the small details of having all the kit ready to go.

        The German health system is a bit different in that firstly it’s run on a state level rather than national so each region plans their budget and organises their capability – it’s probably why Germany had seven times the number of critical care beds. In addition, the healthcare is funded through a health insurance system, where treatment is still free at the point of delivery. It means it’s not at the whim of government spending plans. People pay their health insurance through a deduction from their monthly salary, which the employer also contributes to – if you’re unemployed then the government pays you health insurance instead.

        I think there will be may lessons to learn once this is over as the short-comings will be exposed. The bad news is this pandemic is unlikely to be the last and it’s no use running a health-care system that can’t upscale quickly when its needed.

      2. Werder there is a shortage of PPE in Germany also. The main difference is that I suspect Germans are more Swan like in their approach, very graceful on the surface but paddling like crazy underneath.

        1. From what I’ve heard Germany was well stocked but some hospitals didn’t order enough so there’s been some redistribution – though I guess much will depend on how long the pandemic lasts and how stable supply chains are.

  142. Other than the Virus itself the other large problem the government face is the distribution of funds. Now that they have gone down the line of releasing billions of pounds of aid (and rightly so) everyone will be lining up to get a share. From Airlines to Shipping, Construction to the Self Employed, Leisure Businesses to Retail Stores and many more.

    Unfortunately this pot of money is not unlimited and there are going to be many hardships. The Chancellor and the Treasury are under extreme pressure and I don’t envy them.

    1. There’s almost a case for some form of guaranteed national income in times of national emergency as it’s not as if people can go looking for work. I saw an item where people were being forced to go to food banks as they suddenly had no income and it was still unclear when government money would arrive. The food banks themselves were struggling to get food because of all the panic buying and many poor people complained only the expensive items were now left in supermarkets.

    2. Agree – and whatever we borrow to cover it all, will accrue interest which will have to be paid before we even try to chip away at reducing the level of debt.

      The only saving grace maybe that the whole world is affected so we are all in the same boat, thus avoiding any one country taking advantage.

      That said, China and Russia may be in a good position which is a worry.

      1. I seem to recall one of the Scandinavian countries introducing a basic income for every citizen whether they were in employment or not. Perhaps Jarrko knows?

  143. I play a war game online and my region is mainly Russian players, when I asked about Covid 19 in Russia the majority response was that it was all propaganda by the west media and scaremongering. They really don’t think it is anything to worry about and make fun of me if I raise the subject.

    Looking at the reported cases in Russia, who have a large border with China, it is suspected by WHO that Russia is not being totally honest with it’s figures.

    Come on BORO.

    1. There is a generation under Putin believing themselves to be super Russians and that they are almost bulletproof. Due to past hardships people dying won’t raise the same level of questioning that it perhaps would in the West. Raising the subject and questioning it is also perhaps not a great career move for any aspiring journalist who values their after shave.

  144. I have long suspected that Russia are not giving out their true figures – they just seem so low.

    When I said that Russia and China would be in a good position, I meant that as they are yhe ones who appear to have money, then financially they are the countries who will be able to clean up and lend to the rest of us.

    1. A huge concern is that the rest of the World is battling this virus to limit its spread. As we initially seen with China. Ignorant, backward, arrogant, denial was perilous in preventing and controlling the spread.

      Russia’s seeming detachment and unwillingness to share credible information leads to the conclusion that they are either blissfully unaware and doing very little or perhaps just relying on macho herd immunity and all that entails.

      My worry is that as Europe and the Far East clamp down and belatedly get control of this the entire process is then punctured by Russians playing snakes and ladders, continuing to spread the Virus and in doing so putting the World back to the starting point.

  145. I’m someone who always thinks there’s probably always a better way of doing things and that’s just as much towards my own work and projects as with those in more lofty positions – I’m merely only just about second in command of my own household (perhaps third at worst).

    Anyway, it’s clear that many countries are in their own way understandably struggling to deal with the Coronavirus and when to act. I guess few in the west are particularly prepared to essentially become authoritarian by consent – though it may have been a fantasy for a few who shall remain nameless. It’s probably even harder for the majority of population to suddenly find the rules have changed – we’ve all become used to doing what we want when we want in what has become almost a 24-hour culture that runs 7-days a week.

    Indeed, for many their lives now exist in the unbounded world of the internet through smart phones and smart devices. Our lives have almost lost touch with physical reality and many live in a no-questions-asked bubble of convenience or even morality – swipe left (although it could be right) for a good time and just click here to get whatever you feel you need the next day (or even in a few hours if you’re particularly impatient consumer).

    It seems this world would last forever and it’s been powered by a global economy that most won’t ponder too often at what cost that brings to people’s lives, whether in Asia or the delivery driver on a zero-hour contract. We also don’t really care that it may even be driving the planet to destruction – just as long as we feel we’re doing out bit by recycling our endless Amazon cardboard boxes and empty bottles of wine from Chile.

    So will the invisible threat of a virus stop everyone in their tracks and make them think maybe we’ll just about get away with it this time and we should change? Or will the moment it all finally ends see a massive party and a return to business as usual?

    Being a bit of a cynic (sorry to shock those who have so far missed that), I suspect the latter – though as someone who thinks things can be done better, I’m hoping for the former.

    Anyway, I’m going to sleep on that idea as I need to get up early as I’ve had a tip-off from a woman at the local supermarket that there’s going to be a delivery of toilet rolls at 8:00 tomorrow morning – so it will no doubt be social distancing using elbows and fake coughing as the first test of this new dawn of awareness arrives!

    The battle to reconcile human nature and mother nature continues…

    1. Werder

      I was dismayed to see your lack of planning in quest for the holy grail.

      From a later post I noted you cycled to the supermarket. Just using elbows and fake coughing is fine but a long ride, going in to the store hot and sweaty and mopping the brow and sighing with discomfort, shaking your head would make the task that much easier.

      It would complete the picture and gain precious space. Of course that would rely on your ability to act, acting a bit boorish and talking loudly in English would produce the complete performance.

      Let us know how you get on.

      1. Despite the 2km cycle no sweating was involved as it was distinctly parky this morning – though I should remind you that I’m also now a German citizen and subsequently blend in seamlessly with the locals – nevertheless, whistling the Colonel Bogey March as I left the store with my toilet roll may have given the game away…

  146. It’s not getting any easier over in Northern Ireland. But we are hanging in there and hoping.

    In the midst of all this, a poem by young Nieve Conlin, shared by Headstart Boro over on Twitter, has both moved my heart and brought a tear to the eye. So much so I felt inclined to type the whole thing out.

    It goes something like this…

    “A lot of things went wrong lately,
    “And a lot of things still will.
    “Yet we decide to worry
    “And think everything is going downhill.

    “But that’s not the way to do it.
    “No. Worrying is not okay.
    “We need to think it will all get better,
    “As we know it will some day.

    “It might be in September,
    “Or maybe in July.
    “And when you remember how much you worried,
    “You should just think why.

    “Why have I been worried,
    “All night and all day.
    “When we know in the end
    “It will all be ok.

    “So why rush to the shop.
    “And get things in a hurry.
    “When you could just use what you’ve got.
    “And just don’t worry.

    “So don’t start crying and
    “Don’t get upset.
    “I just want to tell you
    “What everyone forgets.

    “One day it will be better.
    “In every which way.
    “No one will be crying.
    “As it will be OK!”

    What was it Andy Dufresne said? Hope is a good thing, and no good thing ever dies.

      1. Britannia Hotels hadn’t exactly endeared themselves to the British public before all this Virus outbreak, after how they callously dismissed employees they will struggle to get fresh bookings. Mike Ashley has made a career out of being Public Enemy number one and it will be like water off a ducks back to him.

        Richard Branson hasn’t exactly boosted his credibility with worries he might be down to his last Island or even Yacht by the time all this is over if the Government doesn’t pay his bills. Certain Chemists will also likely see customers remember how they hiked up paracetamol prices and the list is growing daily.

      2. Maybe, or maybe not RR.

        Once it is all over I agree with Werder’s second proposition that (in general) we will all revert to type and nothing really will have changed. If Sports Direct sell the cheapest gear, that’s where most will shop for it; if Britannia still own the hotels in the places we want to go to, we will still book with them; who is going to stop going to their local Wetherspoons I ask?

        No. Nothing will have changed. Some self centred entrepreneurs will win out of it all at the expense of the majority of ordinary folk who will have suffered long term economic as well as emotional damage.

  147. Managed to procure my package of toilet rolls this morning, though I arrived at 8:10am to see people already walking out of the shop with two packages each (20 toilet rolls) and wondered why they needed to buy two. Anyway, when I got to the shelf in the supermarket it was already empty with just a sign saying “One package per customer” – I was a bit annoyed and questioned a member of staff as to why people were walking out with two packages – she seemed puzzled and said “OK I better remind the checkout operators to stop people buying more than one”.

    So I continued shopping and then noticed another shop assistant handing out toilet roll packages to some customers they knew from a secret stash. So I asked (nicely) for a package too and have returned home with the trophy strapped to my bicycle – something we’ve not seen in the shops for over a week and who knows when the next batch of bounty will next arrive. Even strangers were pointing and remarking as I cycled home that I had the much coveted prize – who needs sport when there’s competitive toilet roll purchasing!

    1. Strangely Werder, toilet rolls now appear to be less of a problem, so I have stockpiled some as we are also shopping for our two mothers.
      The one mystery is, where has all the pasta gone. We like pasta, but probably once a fortnight. Have not seen any on the shelves for two weeks or more. Is this all some people eat now that McDonalds have closed?

  148. Secret Life of cells

    I just remembered a brilliant CGI documentary about how cells work that I watched a couple of years ago – it’s well worth watching as it is compelling viewing as good as any movie. It covers how viruses invade cells and how the immune system attempts to fight it off. It lasts about an hour so grab your popcorn and make sure you sitting comfortably (albeit 2 metres apart)…

    Our Secret Universe: The Secret Life of Cells

    btw Once at the site just click on the image to get access to controls such as volume and full screen

  149. On BBC this lunchtime

    Some coronavirus news from the land that gave you lager.
    An appeal has been launched in the Czech Republic to “save” the equivalent of 1,305,552 pints of craft beer that will go off “within weeks” if it is not drunk.
    The beer is languishing undrunk in barrels in 32 craft breweries across the country. All pubs and restaurants are closed to the public (they can serve through hatches) but customers can buy direct from breweries.
    Pale lager as we know it was invented in the Czech city of Pilsen in 1842. The Czech Republic has the highest per capita beer consumption in the world.
    If you’re in the Czech Republic and think you can help, see:

    Can Diasboro help in anyway?

  150. Is the FA heading towards cancelling the professional season? Perhaps the first step has happened today after it declared the season has been cancelled and all results expunged below National League level (where the National League is the league below League Two). Much will depend on how viable it is to still play football this year.

  151. I wouldn’t be surprised. Possibly with the caveat that Liverpool are crowned Champions but with an asterisk next to their name in the record books.

    1. That would probably be as fair a way of doing it. Whatever games were to be played over the rest of the season, there is no way that Liverpool would not have been crowned champions.

      Wells it would have to be a complete an utter disaster- what’s the betting that if Boro had been in that position, we would have contrived to blow it!!

  152. I think it’s outrageous that the Leagues below the National Leagues have been made null and void. The fairest system would have been what the Rugby Football League did during the Second World War – League positions decided by points accrued divided by matches played. Two of our local teams, Stockton Town (who incidentally have a 13 point lead over Shildon and have only lost once this season) and Redcar Athletic have both been denied promotion from their respective Leagues where a % ratio would have promoted both. It’s one thing to make a season null and void after only 3 matches as happened to the season prior to the Second World War, but quite another when teams have completed over 76% of their fixtures. Of course the % ratio wouldn’t matter in the Championship as all clubs have played the same number of games, and hardly significant in the Premier League except for Wolves who are on equal points with Sheffield United but having played a game more.

    As it stands if the Leagues below the National Leagues have had their seasons voided, there is no reason why all the Leagues should not be treated accordingly, but of course they won’t for fear of litigation which clubs in the lower leagues and the grassroots of football in this country couldn’t afford. By the FA’s reasoning Liverpool shouldn’t be declared Champions either if as now seems likely no football will be played this side of July. That would be ridiculous. However the % ratio would rectify that for the likes of Coventry.

    Apart from qualification for European Football another problem to solve will be what happens to clubs who have had points dedicated this season such as Birmingham, Bolton and Macclesfield. Will they start next season on minus points, or start on zero?

    1. I do find it a little odd that games played in this season are to be expunged from the record like they never existed – OK it’s one thing to decide the season has to be ended but it’s declaring that games that have occurred have no meaning outside the context of having played all the other games.

      Perhaps it would have been been better to make fair judgements where possible and where it was too close to call then either share the title or give it to nobody. I think some teams had already secured promotion. As for qualification for European – I don’t think there can be any European competition next season unless there is a vaccine – if indeed next season even gets underway.

      Perhaps it was the only way to avoid legal disputes.

        1. I couldn’t believe all the fireworks and applause and noise that was made in Middlesbrough at 8:00 tonight in support of our NHS workers. We all salute you and respect your dedication and professionalism “we love you all”


  153. Another point if this season’s matches were declared null and void, all matches would be expunged from the records and thus treated as friendly matches with all appearances of players and goals scored also expunged as happened in the 1939 /40 season.

  154. I think to totally expunge the results is completely unreasonable for any league. The average calculation would be one solution although not sure where that would leave Boro.

    My solution which will no doubt have its flaws, would be to finish the season as the tables stand now, have no promotion and relegations and the total prize monies that would have been paid out to be distributed evenly between all the clubs.

    Liverpool could be crowned champions with the asterisk next to their name.

    I am not sure how the division of the cash would go down with the bigger clubs but it may give the smaller and lower league clubs a chance of survival.

    I can see that many clubs, like many small businesses, will not survive this crisis and that when football resumes, there will be less teams in the lower tiers.

  155. Never mind about thus football and virus rubbish, how can we liberate lots of Czech beer?

    We could send Laura Kuenssberg, she has an answer for everything. Or is that a question? Apart from good news.

    Prime Minister, why isn’t it hot and sunny?

    Thank you Laura, we are in January and in the middle of low pressure with a North Easterly wind.

    Yes, Prime Minister but when will the pressure increase and wind change and July be here, what is the government doing about it?

    All that beer going to waste. Maybe Laura can ask!

  156. If only our politicians were as competent, on top of their briefs, intelligent, articulate, dedicated, hard working and professionally competent as Laura, few could complain. She’s a fantastic role model for girls and young women everywhere,

    Johnson could scarcely complain even if Laura dealt in complete fabrications, since these were the stock-in-trade of his own journalistic career. His made-up and grotesquely exaggerated stories about Europe were legendary and he was eventually sacked for lying.

    So Laura has far more competence and integrity as a journalist than Johnson ever aspired to. He was only ever a propagandist. But there again he was a man, and an old Etonian. So, in spite of getting the sack twice for lying, and numerous other scandals, he got to be Prime Minister. For me, the young woman asking the questions, in spite of her lower status, is the more admirable professional.

    1. I agree Len. Let’s face it she is in a position where everything she asks about, the politicians: evade; skirt around; ignore; answer a different question they would have preferred; lie; bluster; accuse; ridicule; and evade some more.
      We have the journalists we do have because the top politicians as a class by and large lack any integrity and live in fear of their real position on many things being exposed. How else can the journalists press the politicians?

    2. I think we should admire any journalist who is prepared to ask difficult questions of those in power as it comes with a price. Laura Kuenssberg receives a lot of online abuse and death threats from both sides of the political spectrum – Indeed she was seen as a Tory by many supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and had to have a personal bodyguard when covering the Labour Party conference. Indeed, she also went to the Conservative Party conference with a bodyguard after threats from some of their supporters too.

      A former BBC Editor commented “The graphic level of threats to women is quite extraordinary and it’s one of the worst things to have happened in recent British public life.” There has also been a tendency for women in senior positions to often get referred to as ‘girls’, whereas men are seldom referred to as ‘boys’. Kuenssberg will be 44 in August and is nearly 5 years older than the current Chancellor Rishi Sunak – or the same age as both Tony Blair and David Cameron were when they became Prime Minister.

      Perhaps Labour’s Yvette Cooper put it best when she defended the BBC’s political editor: “It’s her job to ask difficult questions. It’s her job to be sceptical about everything we say.”

    3. Len
      Good on you.
      Tonight I listened as a journo asked. Why is it, we cannot test our health workers every day as they come on shift, with the result known in four hours?
      The stooge who answered, ignored testing, and answered a non existent question.
      He made a mess of that as well.
      The press have given them a free pass, and several health workers have died as a result.
      Germany have tested all their health workers every day as described above.
      We have been run by the three stooges, with the result as you see.
      The grotesque incident of the couple quietly walking all alone in the country being accosted by police is beyond belief, I can understand them being bored with nothing to do, but why draw attention to themselves, it was bound to lead to big problems, and now they will be found work to do.

  157. I think while NHS workers will have no doubt have had their spirits raised by the round of applause (btw I’m not overly keen on the ‘clap for carers’ phrase), they would perhaps swap that for being provided with the right personal protection equipment (PPE). Despite what the UK government keeps saying, many workers on the frontline still don’t have even adequate protective equipment. Especially if you consider that over 6,000 hospital staff in Italy have already been infected and over 6,000 also in Spain too – with some indeed dying from the virus. Many NHS workers are already off sick and that will only get worse as more and more people start turning up for treatment. So the clap is just a small gesture for many people who head to work every day with the fear of becoming seriously ill when it could and should be avoidable.

  158. Talking of showing solidarity, despite cases in Germany now heading closer towards the 50,000 mark, Germany has offered to start offering critical care beds to Italian patients in hospitals that have spare capacity as they struggle to cope.

  159. The whole scenario for Northern non-League clubs is very confusing. At the moment after a reshuffling of the number of clubs in the National Leagues North and South (Step 2 in the pyramid system) at the end of last season the number of Leagues in Step 3 were increased from 3 Leagues to 4 (3 in the South and 1 in the North) to reduce the number of fixtures from 46 matches to 42 (22 clubs). This season there were 3 Northern Premier League regions (Step4 in the pyramid system), Marske United being one of them and currently 5th in the North West Division and would have been in a playoff position to join Champions Workington for promotion to Step 4 in the pyramid system. It would appear that the intention was to have all Leagues to be reduced to 20 clubs, that being a reduction of 4 clubs over 2 seasons for those clubs in National League North (where Darlington are and currently headed by York City) and National League South (currently headed by Wealdstone).

    The Northern Premier League (Step 3 in the pyramid system) is currently headed by South Shields who have a 12 point lead and would have thus been assured of automatic promotion. Scarborough Athletic are 8th with little chance of reaching the playoffs, but both Whitby Town in 7th and Morpeth on 9th are so far behind in matches played could conceivably have a chance of reaching the playoffs.

    The Northern League Division 1 (Step 5 in the pyramid system) is headed by Stockton Town who have a 13 point lead over Shildon and a 15 point lead over Hebburn Town and with no playoffs envisaged, all three clubs would have filled the automatic places to Step 4, although North Shields being 8 points behind Hebburn Town have played 3 fewer matches. Only one club would be relegated though, probably Northallerton Town who are 10 points behind Penrith. Former famous clubs such as West Auckland and Bishop Auckland are in 9th and 11th place so out of contention for promotion but safe from relegation, as are local clubs Guisborough Town and Billingham Town, but Thornaby were in a precarious position and as in the case of Penrith could conceivably be caught by Northallerton Town who have games in hand over both of them.

    Now if one should find this scenario confusing, it becomes even more so in Northern League Division 2, for despite only one club relegated from Division 1, with no playoffs to contend with 4 clubs were scheduled to be promoted West Allotment Celtic currently 68 points from 28 matches, Redcar Athletic 65 from 30, Crook Town 60 from 29, and Billingham Synthonia 56 from 30. Heaton Stannington (the pre-season favourites) have 53 points from 28 matches and along with Ryton and Crawcrook Albion and Carlisle City could possibly have caught Billingham Synthonia. With only one club relegated from Division 1, and 2 to be relegated Durham City with only 8 points from 26 matches together with either Brandon United 15 points from 27, or Washington 19 from 30, it paves the way for 5 clubs to be promoted from Step 7 from the pyramid system instead of the usual 3 (one from the Wearside League two from the Northern Alliance). Where the other 2 promoted clubs were to come from I’ve no idea, so unless Northern League 2 is to be reduced to 18 clubs I don’t see the logic of the scheduled scenario.

    Apparently the Northern League Division 1 is one of 14 Step 5 Divisions and 12 of those would be relegated to Step 6, yet 2 of those would be from Northern League Division 2, so that is where I’m completely confused. Anyway as things stand with all Leagues below Step 2 being declared null and void that is now not going to happen, so the likelihood is that the National League and its 2 regional Leagues will both be declared null and void. However there is a problem to be resolved for the EFL Leagues as following Bury’s expulsion there are at present only 71 clubs instead of 72, so surely if they are to be declared null and void there will still be only 71 clubs. The original idea was to only relegate one club from League 2 but with only 23 clubs in League 1, I’m not currently aware whether the intention was to promote 5 clubs from League 2 instead of 4 clubs. In any event League 1 will have to resort to 24 clubs instead of the current 23 and whether the EFL is declared null and void or not, it will have repercussions for all non-League clubs throughout Step 1 to at least Step 7.

    Of course the situation concerning what happens to Bury and which League they might be relegated to, has also to be resolved if in fact they are to be allowed to continue as a club. Like many others I’m of the opinion that all Leagues be they the Premier League, all the EFL Leagues or non-Leagues must be concluded, and if that isn’t possible then League positions must be decided by the % ratio of points accrued divided by matches played. You either have to void all Leagues or none at all. That is the only fair option, and % ratio is in my opinion the only acceptable method of doing that with any playoffs taking place before the publication of next years fixtures even if it delays the start of the 2020/2021 season. In the meantime it will be interesting to see how the other European Leagues tackle the problem of finalising League positions.

    1. Ken – thanks for this and all your other articles and research. If only those in power had your attention to detail and common sense.

      Keep on doing what you do and please keep safe


  160. I had a bit of a ‘Road to Damascus’ experience this morning while I was walking the two Jack Russells. Nothing religious but simply a realising of how lucky the Boss and I are to live where we do.

    Put simply, where I walk the terriers I’ve got hundreds of acres where there is simply nobody apart from the farmers in their tractors and they just wave from their cabs on their blue, red, green or light green tractors and get on with their work looking after their potatoes, cereal crops, salad crops, rape and soon to be drilled peas.

    It’s strange how something you take for granted can be thrown into sharp relief as a real benefit and bonus. One neighbour about a mile away has said walk over and fish my small lake if you get cabin fever but with all the space that we can enjoy it would be hard to get cabin fever. He also has a large organic area where he grows vegetables and the pigeons are starting to ravage the plots, he doesn’t shoot so there’s a game food bonus to be had there for both families.

    There you have it, blessed in many ways, sometimes it takes a crisis to wake you up it.

    Stay well everyone and your families too.



    PS I still can’t work out how to get all that Czech beer over to drink and distribute.

    1. We are fortunate to have a garden- even though I don’t normally enjoy gardening – and also the ability to get out and walk in the countryside.

      I really do feel for those who have neither or who are unable to get out so easily. I have read somewhere that getting out and about is good for your mental health and I fear for some people.

      Whilst I get the message about not going out unless necessary, I do hope that the police will be lenient with people like Ken who are it very mobile but want to “excerise” and get fresh air in whatever way they can.

      I also would wish to liberate some beer – a local small brewery was trying to find a way to get rid of their excess beer. I volunteered to help them but I have heard nothing more yet, mores the pity.

      1. A new pub opened in Mickleover (it calls itself a village but is a suburb of Derby) on the 12th March in the old NatWest branch. It is called The Hole in the Wall and is another venture by a local craft brewery.

        Sadly it closed after the shutdown but offered a proper take away service that seemed to shut almost immediately. I thought they had been warned off but it is open again. It is a genuine take away and you cannot stay in nor does it do lock ins. It has the normal spacing rules in force.

        You can buy bottled beer or re usable containers which hold four pints of craft ale.

        I will try some, probably tomorrow – I have had my walk. As fate would have it I walked by on Monday at 2.30 but it was due to open at 3pm, then it was shut but on my walk around it was opening again from 4-7pm. Of course I walked past at 3.30pm!

        What odds I go at 4.15pm tomorrow to find it is open 5-7pm?

  161. The football pyramid system is so complicated I may have tied myself in knots, but basically as it concerns clubs from Northern
    England it works like this:-

    1. There are 5 LEVELS from 1 to 5 which are obviously the Premier League, Championship, League 1, League 2, and the National League (formerly the Conference League).

    2. After that each LEVEL is divided into STEPS, so the National League North and National League South each containing 22 clubs are of equal status in LEVEL 6, STEP 1. York City head League North with Spennymoor 6th, Gateshead 8th, Darlington 11th and Blyth Spartans 21st

    3. It then tends to become more complicated as just referring to Northern Clubs, LEVEL 7,STEP 1 includes 4 separate Leagues of 22 clubs each or qual status including the Northern Premier League headed by South Shields with Scarborough Athletic 7th, Whitby Town 8th and Morpeth.

    4. LEVEL 8, STEP 4 includes 7 separate Leagues of 20 clubs each two of which are in the North of England. Northern Premier League East are headed by Leek Town, but Northern Premier League West are headed by Workington AFC, but does include Marske United 5th and Pickering Town 20th.

    5. LEVEL 9, STEP 5 includes 14 separate Leagues of 20 clubs of which only one the Northern League Division 1 concerns our region and is headed by Stockton Town and includes famous clubs like West Auckland Town 9th and Bishop Auckland 11th, but also Cleveland and Teesside clubs Guisborough Town 7th, Billingham Town 10th, Thornaby 18th and Northallerton Town 20th.

    6. I don’t know how many separate Leagues make up LEVEL10 STEP 6 but it does include Northern League Division 2 which is headed by West Allotment Celtic and includes Redcar Athletic 2nd, Crook Town 3rd and Billingham Synthonia 4th.

    7. I don’t know either how many separate Leagues make up LEVEL 11, STEP 7 but it does include the Wearside League which is headed by Horden Community Welfare, and the Football Alliance headed by Newcastle Blue Star.

    8. The North Riding League comprising 15 clubs is headed by Boro Rangers, but also includes Yarm and Eaglesliffe 2nd, Stockton West End 3rd, Grangetown Boys Club 4th, Thornaby Dubliners 6th, Redcar Town 8th, Redcar Newmarket 9th, Fishburn Park 11th and Stockton Sports Club 14th, but I don’t know how far that League is placed in the pyramid system.

    I may have confused even myself in my earlier blog as well as everyone else, but the above should help to clarify matters.

    1. That is a good educational post Ken.
      Do you know how promotion and relegation is managed between the levels when there are multiple different leagues feeding into fewer higher level leagues?

      1. Powmill- Naemore
        1. National League Champions are automatically promoted, then 2nd v 3rd to playoff Final. Winner of 4th v 7th plays Winner of 5th v 6th and Winner of that match plays Loser of 2nd v 3rd with the Winner reaching the playoff Final the Winner of which is also promoted. For example last season Leyton Orient were automatically promoted as Champions and as far as I can recall 2nd placed Solihull lost at home to 3rd placed Salford City. 4th placed Wrexham beat 7th placed Eastleigh at home, and 5th placed AFC Fylde beat 6th placed Harrogate at home. Then 4th placed Wrexham lost at home to 5th placed AFC Fylde who then went on to beat 2nd placed Solihull away, which left the Final between 3rd placed Salford and 5th placed AFC Fylde which Salford won 3-0.

        2. The National Leagues North and South followed a similar pattern with Stockport automatically promoted as Champions from the North and 2nd placed Chorley gaining promotion by beating 4th placed Spennymoor 4-3 on penalties in the Final after extra time following a goalless draw. In the South Torquay were automatically promoted as Champions whilst 2nd placed Woking beat 3rd placed Welling United 1-0 in the Final to also be promoted.So basically 4 clubs were promoted to the National League and the bottom 4 relegated whilst the bottom 3 from both National League North and South were relegated.

        3. Things are simpler in the 4 Leagues making up LEVEL 8, STEP 4 as though 2 clubs are promoted and 2 relegated the playoffs only involve the 2nd to 5th placed clubs with 2nd v 5th and 3rd v 4th and the winners meeting each other for a promotion place along with the 1st placed club.

        4. LEVEL 9, STEP 5 follows the same format as LEVEL 8, STEP 4 but after that there seem to be different formats for the other Leagues from LEVEL 10, STEP 6 downwards depending on how many clubs there are in each League.

        5..All Leagues involving playoffs consist of single matches with the higher placed club playing at home.

    1. I was interested to read that the PL and Championship have been discussing matters in the last couple of days and it’s been reported that the majority wish to complete the season, whenever that may be. They also prefer to finish this season playing behind closed doors and then look to have a shortened season next season. Apparently one of the issues of not completing this season is that clubs may have to return money to the TV companies, which would be financially disastrous for many who are on the edge. So it looks like the driving force of money may mean the professional leagues won’t be voided this season.

  162. While some of the oldies on here may not know too much about the popular beat combo Oasis, many may be interested to hear how one of UK’s biggest names of the Britpop era are planning to raise funds for the NHS.

    Liam Gallagher has announced that the band will reform “with or without Noel Gallagher” – who if you haven’t guessed is his brother. The pair fell out after a back stage brawl back in 2009 and have not spoken for many years and rumours of the band reforming have been the celebrity gossip for many a year – especially for their fans. You may be aware that both are also big Man City supporters but now watch their team from opposite ends of the ground.

    Anyway, so what’s the plan – well Liam has declared (add your own Madchester accent for full effect): “Wanna clear a few things up. Oasis gig for NHS charity as in all money raised goes to NHS not to me will happen with or without Noel Gallagher.”

    Now a few may have already spotted an ever so slight problem with this plan… A Gig? Liam Gallagher is planning a big Oasis reunion concert to raise money for the NHS – shakes head – At least we can be sure Liam and Noel will observe the two metre social distance between themselves…

  163. I posted about Liam and Noel but oddly replied to Powmill not Werder, it happens with age.

    🔴 Luckily I can move it here to make you feel younger – Werder

    A great quote repeated by Giles Brandreth by Liam about Noel ‘he was born with a fork in a world full of soup’. or words to that effect.

  164. Nice to hear many of you are OK. Especially Ken, who I believe is one of the oldest in here. But also others as I know many bloggers are very seasoned Boro followers.

    Keep spirits up. Up the Boro!

  165. Like John, we’re quite lucky in that we live in a small village of about 6,000 people and we’re practically on the doorstep of the surrounding countryside so it’s easy to go for quiet walks and avoid people without any effort. Plus we’re not living in a Coronavirus hotspot with still only 36 cases out 114,000 people in our district.

    Anyway, we went for a walk yesterday and we tend to bump in to the odd family also doing a walk – this time we spoke to a guy who works in the medical supply industry. He’s currently working on supplying similar projects to the Excel Centre in Bremen, which is not for critical care beds but normal beds. He says what people forget is that once (or if) people recover from their time in a serious condition with pneumonia, most are going to require several months in hospital before they’ve recovered enough to go home – indeed many, particularly the older patients, will never fully recover.

    It certainly makes you realise that this pandemic will have long-lasting effects for a long time to come. Health experts are still predicting 12-18 months before a vaccine is ready for the general population, so we will be in and out of isolation measures possibly until autumn 2021.

    1. We went out for a walk yesterday and I was surprised how many people clearly do not know what 2 m is. Either that or they don’t care.

      I ended up, as walkers approached, saying to my wife in an overly loud voice, “it’s amazing how many people don’t know what 2 metres is”. In fact on one part of the narrow lane, someone had painted a line on the road with 2 metres on it! And still people couldn’t work it out. Maybe they don’t think it applies to them?

      PS will read Kens pieces later on after I get back from driving people to hospital appointments for the NHS.

  166. Apparently the voiding of STEPS 3-7 of the National League pyramid system has yet to be ratified by the FA Council and already 30 clubs have objected to the voiding notably South Shields who looked almost certain to replace Bradford Park Avenue in National League North. However there are two cases where Jersey Bulls and Vauxhall Motors cannot be caught and would have actually been promoted already if the season hadn’t been voided. Also South Liverpool unbeaten all season and leading the West Cheshire League 1 and only needing to finish 5th in a League to be restructured and already holding a 16 point advantage over Ashville in 6th place.

    How is it fair to void a League where two clubs cannot be caught and were already celebrating promotion? If the FA Council decide to overturn the decision to void one League they must do so for every League, so that would certainly benefit Stockton Town and Redcar Athletic in their respective Leagues though not Billingham Synthonia who have played more matches than clubs behind them and would be overtaken if the points per game ratio were to be implemented.

    I have always taken an interest in non-League football and update League tables weekly on paper despite the fact that they can be found via the internet after some research. It’s something I do to fill the time in as I live alone, and as statistics have always been a hobby of mine. I do the same with Rugby League, keep updating Yorkshire’s batting and bowling averages throughout the season, even used to do it for Boro Bears Speedway Club till they moved to Cargo Fleet and changed their name to Redcar Bears, and have still compiled the final scores of the Open Golf Championship each year since Nick Faldo’s first win in 1987. I also save records of the Belgian Juliper, Dutch Eredevise, French Championet, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, Portuguese Superliga and Spanish Superliga League tables, that’s what budding statisticians do. Boring for most folk, but a time-filling hobby for an eccentric like me.

    So as you can see I’m usually well up to date on statistical data especially where non-League football is concerned and could envisage the problems that might occur if football was voided by the Coronavirus pandemic. The trouble is that nowadays the press seem to centre mainly on the Premier League and the Champions League forgetting that football existed before either competitions and have suddenly woken up to the fact that there
    is still amateur football played at grass roots level in this country. No other country in the World has such a huge pyramid system as England, and perhaps it has taken the Coronavirus epidemic to make the tabloids including the Gazette to realise that. My opinion has always been to update League tables via points per match if the whole season is to be voided. I would have preferred that all football were to be resumed when circumstances allow, but I can’t see that happening and there must surely be a risk by playing matches behind closed doors for the players, and there will still be some fools ignoring the government guidelines by congregating outside grounds, so the playing matches behind closed doors for me is a non-starter.

    Finally I’d like to thank all those who have shown concern for me. Apart from another kidney infection I’m in reasonable good health, the cancer seems to have stabilised and if I can get through this year, I might be here for a few more years yet. Keep safe everybody, and up the Boro and Cas as well if you don’t mind my saying so.

    1. Thanks Ken, for adding the extra details about movement between the leagues. I’m still not clear how they balance out teams going up and down levels when the leagues are regional and not always with the same number of regional equivalents at the level above or below.

      I assume the winners of the National League South and National League North (level 6) must get promoted to the National League (level 5). But then two teams are relegated from the truly national level 5, down into the regional level 6. But if it is 2 northern clubs going down they would have to go into the National League North.
      So do teams near the border between m
      North and south get switched between the Noth and the South league from one season to the next to keep the numbers of teams the same?

      1. Powmill- Naemore
        Correct, that is how it works. I remember the seasons when we had Third Division North and Third Division South. Notts County
        particularly moved regularly between the two Divisions depending which clubs were relegated from the Second Division. It’s also noticeable that when Marske United were promoted last season there was no space available for them to play in the Northern Premier League East, so they were admitted to Northern Premier League West, although that seemed a bit extreme as there was surely some way of moving another club just this side of the Pennines from East to West to accommodate Marske.

  167. Ken

    It is a tricky decision for football to make, there is sure to be disappointment for some and relief for others.

    For supporters whose clubs would have trophies/promotions taken away it would be a bitter blow at all levels of the game. As you have highlighted It isn’t just about the premiership, people invest emotional energy in the clubs they support, it is hard for a player down the pyramid to have their hopes dashed as it is for the millionaires at the top, probably worse because many may well have their living taken away as well.

  168. BBD

    Went for a walk with Mrs G yesterday and popped in to a Sainsbury local to get some paracetamol. The shop was empty and I kept my distance from the lady behind the till. The store had one door

    Paid contactless for the paracetamol and as the automatic door opened a lady saw me and stood back. As I left the shop and said thank you a young lady pushed past me with not a word. In the words of Kammy ‘unbelievable Jeff’

  169. I did the weekly shopping at Tesco in Redcar two days ago. They were only allowing 50 people in the store at a time, as one exited the store one person entered it. There were taped markers 2 metres apart outside in the queues and also inside the aisles. I wasn’t able to get a shopping trolley near where I stood in the queue so as I approached the entrance I asked one of the guides if there were any trolleys near the entrance. There weren’t but the lady in front of me seeing that I was partly disabled leaning on my walking stick asked if I needed a trolley. I replied that I really could do with one depending how much shopping I would be allowed to do. She instantly got the person in front of her to hold the her trolley whilst she went to look for one and brought it back for me in the queue. I thanked her for her kindness and didn’t hear anyone grumbling about having to stand outside for half an hour to enter the supermarket. It took me back to the war years when most people looked after one another.

    Inside I was greeted by an assistant to show me where to sanitise my hands and the arm of the trolley if I wished. She informed me that I was allowed to purchase no more than 2 articles of a product except chickens and bags of 9 toilet rolls for which I was restricted to only purchase one. All the aisles were also marked on the floor with adhesive and it became obvious to me that if someone was taking their time to select an item, you were expected to wait until they had vacated their space before entering it. I spent just over an hour in total shopping almost twice as long as I would normally do, but it was a small price to pay and of course there were no children running around.

    It was an experience to see a supermarket with only 50 people in it with of course many empty shelves, but I was chastened to see how people observed the normal courtesies. I love children but as I’ve grown older am also terrified of their running around indoors and especially outdoors in case they should knock me down, for once on the floor I have great difficulty in getting up again even with a walking stick. So well done Tesco for banning them at the moment whilst acknowledging the fact that with no schools open it must be difficult to leave them at home often unsupervised.

  170. Ken

    Apart from the rude young lady I mentioned earlier it is heartening to see the response where I live. Everybody is courteous and respecting peoples space.

  171. Hope everyone is coping OK with their isolation.
    For all fans of Harry Pearson that he has a new book out on May 28 called the Farther Corner, similar to the Far Corner focusing on 2018-9 season in the North East.

  172. I’ve just read the 2 Philip Tallentire interviews with Tony Mowbray, don’t know how I missed them when they were originally recorded. I have to say how articulate Mogga was, never once said ‘yer know’ but came over as a real football man
    who always wanted his teams to play attractive football. Not an arrogant man, but didn’t suffer fools gladly. Such a pity he came back to Boro at the wrong time, but is doing exceptionally well at Blackburn Rovers. If this season does manage to continue I hope Rovers reach the playoffs. I know that Jarkko sings his praises, but for me he would be wasted as a Director of Football as he has so much more to give as a manager/coach. Would have loved to have seen him manage Boro when we had money.

  173. I miss Mondays especially in the Algarve where after having lunch at 3 pm at ‘Restaurante Dois Irmaos’ Georgio the proprietor and I used to chat for an hour about the weekend’s football results in Europe. Georgio in his thirties is a Benfica fan, but running a busy restaurant has never seen them play even when Benfica have played in the Algarve. I tease him sometimes by stating that I support Sporting Lisbon, but after having only lost once in their first 19 matches and with a 5 point lead over FC Porto, five matches later they find themselves 2 points behind the Dragoes with 10 matches remaining and in a League where surprise results are few and far between they might find it difficult to regain lost ground especially as they have lost twice to the Dragoes this season. As happens also in Spain where clubs have equal points, goal difference doesn’t count in establishing League positions, but match results between the two clubs does.

    We also ponder over the decline of the only Algarvean club in the Superliga SC Portimonense who have only won twice this season but a succession of draws have placed them second from bottom and now 6 points adrift of Pacos Ferreira but probably will be replaced by another Algarvean club SC Farnese was who are lying second 2 points behind Nacional Madeira but 6 points ahead of Feirense with 10 matches remaining. Of course all this happened before Coronavirus took hold of the Country so will the Portuguese Leagues be declared null and void thus saving the club from Portimao at the expense of the club from Faro?

    We then talked about the Spanish La Liga where the last results had Real Madrid losing 1-2 in Seville against Real Betis whilst FC Barcelona beat the Galician club Real Sociadad 1-0 a club twice managed by John Toshack. Those two results had the Catalonian club overtaking the club from Spain’s capital. There won’t be another El Classico this season but like the rest of Europe will this season be voided or played behind closed doors?

    Georgio always asks about the Boro and now knows where Middlesbrough is on the map, though he’s never been abroad except to Dublin and we reminisce together about Temple Bar. I also learned that Portugal is the only country to span 3 continents:- the mainland obviously in Europe, Madeira is part of Africa, and the Azores is part of North America.

    I miss my Mondays, but hang on today is only Sunday but with no football to watch or listen to, I have difficulty in remembering which day of the week it is. I suspect I’m not alone in that.

      1. Been to Azores once. Had a tour there and went to a small village. Heard someone talking Finnish, joined the same table in the cafe. Of course I asked where they were from. They were farmers next to my uncle’s farm. So I kind of knew him – at least by name and where they lived. Small world.

        But this is more strange. In 1989 I was visiting Ireland (and Boro 😉) by car. I was travelling with my wife and one-year-old daughter.

        We went to see the tallest water fall (sorry do not remember the name any more). We were returning from there via a very narrow road. A car was driving towards us, so we needed to stop and let the car pass. As said, it was very narrow road.

        When we stopped, there was a couple walking. The guy was my best friend from the school time and we had not met for the past five years. Note that that was before the mobile phone time.

        You can imagine how surprised we were. And laughed about the meeting point with a class of beer. Nowadays we keep in touch regularly and it is quite a story to share.

        Up the Boro!

  174. Ken

    An anecdote I have posted before but you talk of football conversations in the Algarve brought this one back.

    It is from the season when Giggs scored the super goal to give ManU a victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup. We were staying in Olhos D’Agua – I think I have spelt it correctly.

    There were more people on the postcards than the beach and the weather was warm after Easter. We had settled on a restaurant on the beach. We got quite chatty and a few days in went for another lunch. Alex was wearing the blue and white striped away shirt.

    One of the staff came over and his first question was whether TLF would be coming back to Boro. That took us aback, we are not ManU or Liverpool after all. We talked about the Boro so I asked how he knew so much living in a then pretty, quiet resort on the Algarve. (it may still be pretty and quiet but I know building work has continued around the resort.

    Mr Gibson comes in here was his proud reply. A small world

    1. We went to Olhos last year to meet neighbours during our tour of Portugal. They’ve been going for 20 years and we’re keen that we joined them.

      I’m not a beach holiday person and I’ve got to say I hated every minute of it, especially the karaoke bar and the need to dash to a bar because the lager was on offer at €1 a pint.

      I was very glad when it was time to move on.

      1. That is a shame, we were there at the start of the season and as I mentioned there was building work going on. there was a largish hotel on the cliff to one side of the village/small town.

        There was one English style pub on the top of the cliff – it was easy getting down to the village and a lot harder going back up the hill!

  175. It sounds like the football world is getting ready to accept that there will be no football anytime in the foreseeable future and are now poised to send their players on an early summer break as it’s just not feasible to maintain them at the fitness levels needed indefinitely.

  176. I think there is a lot of head burying in sand by the football authorities, who despite governments talking in terms of around 12 weeks social distancing measures and basically lock-down for all but essential work, appear to be hoping that game will resume before almost anyone else gets back to work. In addition, they haven’t really come up with a plan that covers all the different scenarios.

    for example…

    – if no football before end of June what needs to be done
    – what will happen with next season and can the possibilities be defined based on the number of games possible under different cases of disruption
    – Will (or even should) there be European competition
    – Should domestic cup competitions go ahead
    – Can players be transferred or what happens to players out of contract in June

    OK, it’s probably not of great importance but you’d expect executives in all industries to be currently working out detailed plans to protect their operations and businesses.

      1. Maybe we need an unbiased pools panel algorithm that runs the games many times and then picks out a random subsection of the virtual scores and averages them to give some degree of unexpected results.

  177. Jarkko
    Talking about a small World my wife and I were on holiday in a village just outside Benitses in Corfu. It was May 1992 and Albania had just opened its borders so I was itching to go to see so enquired how to get there. Anyway the visas almost cost as much the trip as we set sail to Hyras Sarande and a trip to the historic ruins in Butrinti. My wife at the time was manageress of a patisserie shop in Redcar and saw a lady who she thought might have been a customer in her shop, so she ventured over to speak with her and sure enough she did live in Redcar. I never expected to see an English person on a boat to Albania never mind a person from Redcar.