Few people appreciate the importance of the muck and nettles of lower league football more than Simon Weaver.
Weaver spent his entire playing career chiselling out a living at non-league clubs like Ilkeston Town, Nuneaton Borough and Kidderminster Harriers.
The highest he climbed the ladder was a two-year stint with Lincoln in League Two between 2002-04. His 88 appearances for the Imps were interrupted by a brief loan spell with Macclesfield Town.
The same Macclesfield that went bankrupt earlier this month due to a combination of woeful leadership and the impact of Covid-19.
Macclesfield aren't the first club to go to the wall – and won't be the last. Bury set the depressing precedent in the summer of 2019, getting expelled from the EFL just four months after winning promotion to League One.
Predicted losses of £250m in revenue due to the continued ban on supporters attending games have left those in the EFL staring into the abyss, while the argument rages on about how much financial support Premier League clubs that have spent £1.3billion in this transfer window should now provide them.
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Weaver is now the manager of Harrogate Town and led them to promotion to League Two for the first time in their history last season.
He is reluctant to call out those in the top flight, but makes the point that if the Burys and Macclesfields of this world continue to disappear into a black hole, who will some Premier League clubs turn to when it comes to signing emerging talent of the future?
He cites one of the most famous examples of all, in the shape of England and Leicester superstar Jamie Vardy.
Weaver said: "Premier League clubs rely on the pyramid when it comes to players like Vardy. But there might not be a pyramid too much longer, so I think it's only fair this is taken into account when it comes to discussing bailouts."
Nick Pope is another case in point. The Burnley goalkeeper was included in Gareth Southgate's latest England squad yesterday as he continues to live out another footballing fairytale.
His career ironically began with the Shakers in 2008 and included eight loan spells elsewhere, such as the footballing backwaters of Welling United, Harrow Borough and Aldershot.
He joined the Clarets in 2016 before going on to establish himself as one of England's best goalkeepers. Like Vardy, he also went to the last World Cup.
Pope's road trip, which included him having to take a job at Next when Ipswich Town ditched him a decade ago, might have been long and tortuous at times, but it also made him the man and footballer he is now.
His manager at Turf Moor, Sean Dyche, appears to have forgotten where Pope came from when he argues that football shouldn't be the only business in which those with all the cash ride to the rescue of those with none of it.
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When the Clarets hosted Southampton last weekend, seven members of Dyche's starting XI were all signed from EFL clubs, while two more came through the youth academy before it had reached the top flight.
The pyramid links all clubs, through transfers, cups and youth teams playing in the same leagues.
Few have plundered the lower leagues for players more than Dyche has, but the talent pool will no longer exist if those that provide it don't – and what will managers like him do then?
Wish they'd been more sympathetic to the plight of his providers when they had the chance. That's what.
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England's cricketers might have spent their summer in a bubble – but it hasn't stopped them from keeping in touch with the real world.
Joe Root and his team-mates have made huge sacrifices to salvage the game's future by completing a full international programme in a biosecure environment – lifting all our spirits in the process.
Now it has emerged those with central contracts have agreed to take a wage cut that could be worth millions to the game.
Like most sporting bodies, the ECB has been hit hard by Covid-19 and been forced to slash 67 jobs following losses of more than £100m.
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This hasn't been lost on our leading stars, who are now negotiating reduced terms on their contracts in a bid to make savings running into seven figures.
Test contracts are worth in the region of £700,000, which is not much more than Tottenham star Gareth Bale earns in a week.
Don't get me wrong, cricketers are well paid, but compared to footballers, golfers and tennis stars they earn peanuts in comparison.
But this hasn't stopped them from seeing the bigger picture and maintaining some perspective to help save a sport which is now on its knees.
Root & Co deserve huge credit for doing the right thing and taking the initiative. They continue to be an example for many others to follow.
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