Sheffield United defender urges Premier League clubs to help others survive the coronavirus crisis
Chris Basham, the Sheffield United defender, has called on clubs from all levels of English football to come together as they attempt to negotiate safe passage through the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
With all competition suspended until the end of next month at the earliest as the country battles to limit the spread of the disease, some teams are already fearing for their futures after being plunged into financial meltdown.
Although United and the rest of the Premier League have so far been shielded from the worst of the crisis, Basham insisted it is vital they do “the best” they can to assist those in need.
Speaking after the English Football League unveiled details of a £50m rescue package for its members amid reports many will ask employees to defer a portion of the wages, Basham said: “Football is definitely united and it needs to be, it needs to come together. Clubs and players need to help out and we’ll do the best we can.”
Asked if Chris Wilder’s squad had discussed what might happen if United were forced to implement similar measures, Basham highlighted his team mate Enda Stevens’ decision to donate to a fund set-up to help League of Ireland players facing hardship due to postponements there.
“We’ve not spoken about wage deferrals,” Basham continued. “Obviously it goes without saying that we hope our club is in a strong (financial) position and I’m sure it is.
“Enda has done a great thing and if the gaffer brings us anything or wants us to do anything, then I’m sure we’ll help out.
“If there’s other clubs around in the area who need help then, naturally, that would have to be something that comes from above us. But everyone is coming together and I’m sure everyone is trying to do what they can and will help where they can.”
United had climbed to seventh in the table - only five points behind the Champions League places - before the fixture schedule ground to a halt.
Wilder, whose side have also reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, has publicly petitioned for the season to be completed and, endorsing his manager’s stance, Basham said: “My gut feeling is that it will. Obviously with the Premier League saying it will be indefinitely completed put my mind at rest.
“He (Wilder) wants the season to end and so do the players. All the hard work and emotion that’s gone in, it would be heartbreaking if that went to waste. With everything else, promotion and relegation and whatever, I don’t think it would be fair if the season didn’t get finished.”