Jordan Henderson’s programme notes for the postponed Leeds United game have been recovered and they provide a stern message from our captain.
Our No.14 wrote in his captain’s column ahead of the cancelled game and his thoughts on the fixture scheduling within the Premier League are clear and well written.
The Sunderland-born midfielder clearly doesn’t feel like the voices of the players and managers are being taken seriously and almost seems resigned to a lack of change within the game.
The 31-year-old wrote: ‘I cannot write this column without addressing the issue of the schedule. I do so knowing by the time this goes to print, it could have been made redundant if various changes have come into force, either in football or wider society via government guidelines. So although I will reference our immediate programme I hope my views here are taken in the wider context.
‘It’s something a lot of my fellow pros have been concerned about for some time, but maybe the recent crisis can focus minds on finding a collaborative solution. And by the way, supporters must be part of this solution also. They have to be.
‘We have to look at the schedule and the programme of games and start putting player-welfare further up the list of concerns than it presently feels like it is.
”Feels like’ is an important phrase here, by the way, because I know there are a lot of great professionals at the Premier League and the other governing bodies who care passionately about the players. But in this moment, it feels like those voices aren’t carrying through. Again, it’s how it feels!
‘I’m not saying anything in these pages that I haven’t expressed to my own bosses here at LFC and those who are responsible at the Premier League for it.
‘The fact that a meeting took place, where the issue of continuing to play and how we manage the schedule was discussed without any meaningful collective consultation with the players and the managers beforehand, is far from ideal.
‘At Liverpool those considerations were taken into account when reflecting the club’s position in the meeting. This was welcome, of course, but this had to be mirrored in broader discussions with the league.’
England’s vice-captain was crucial in bringing all the league’s captains together for previous discussions over NHS donations and actions in the face of racism, it appears though he is close to mobilising the players’ voice again.
It’s a shame that so much onus it put on players and coaches to do this themselves and that the organisers can’t just see the issue of player welfare by asking them to play so many games, so soon after the previous one.
Our club is not afraid to speak out and many rivals point at our captain and manager as a point of ridicule but our men only speak in the interest of everyone in the game – a point that seems so glaringly missed.
This is not a point that will go away and it’s great we’re the team shouting the loudest, in the interest in positive reform.