Gary Neville predicts ‘looming nightmare’ for English Football League clubs in wake of coronavirus

Ben Burrows
Gary Neville hit out at Scunthorpe United chairman Peter Swann for his desire to see player wages suspended: PA

Gary Neville is concerned about a “looming nightmare” for a number of clubs in the English Football League due to the financial impact caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Professional football has been suspended indefinitely since March in the wake of the pandemic.

While the Premier League and Championship intend to complete their seasons League Two clubs have already voted to curtail theirs with League One still in discussions over how to finish their campaign.

Huddersfield Town owner Phil Hodgkinson admitted over the weekend he was worried “50 or 60” clubs could go bust if they do not properly prepare beyond the end of this season.

While Salford City owner Neville disputes that figure, the former Manchester United and England full-back said on The Football Show on Sky Sports: “It will be July, August, September, October where the real pressure comes.

“I do think there will be clubs considering going into administration in the next three to four months, basically just to save themselves.

“Everybody’s looking down at their own feet and they’re not seeing the carnage that’s coming economically in the next three to four months.

“I do think there is a looming nightmare economically for the EFL clubs, quite a few of them. Whether it’s up to 60 I’m not sure.”

Speaking on Sunday, Hodgkinson said he was fearful for clubs’ futures without matchday gate receipts to fall back on.

“There is an absolutely real, stark probability that if something isn’t agreed now within football to ensure all clubs can pay their bills and get through to the point where income is resumed, you will be looking at 50 or 60 clubs ceasing to exist,” he said.

He suggested players’ wages needed to be reduced by 30 to 50% at every level until crowds could return, and accused some people in the game of “just sticking their heads in the sand.”

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Coronavirus could see 60 football clubs go out of business