BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Gary Rowett reckons the coronavirus pandemic will have an effect on football club’s spending – and fully supports that staff and the community need to come first.
The Premier League and EFL have already pushed back resuming the domestic football season until at least the end of April.
And Millwall have furloughed nearly all of their non-playing staff.
A number of top European clubs have already agreed to player wage deferrals or a temporary reduction in salaries.
Lions manager Rowett said: “I know FFP [Financial Fair Play] has hit clubs a bit anyway, but if you’re a Championship club that had been looking to spend £10million this summer – I’m sure your owner and your club might now start to think ‘look, we don’t think that is probably now appropriate in the current scheme of things having lost quite a bit of income in the short term’.
“I don’t know the answer but I’m just surmising that the transfer window might look a little different on the back of it.
“That’s why it’s difficult to plan and be too prescriptive. It’s a case of doing your diligence behind the scenes, having a list of players you’d like to potentially sign if the scenario is right and seeing what happens.
“We could be back playing in a month, we could be back playing in six months – who knows?
“It’s a strange time. I don’t know how everyone else feels but I’ve tried to watch some games and it’s actually quite hard when you’ve got no end goal. We’re all used to working towards that Saturday game and a little bit of a deadline, you tend to have a little more focus when you’re doing it.
“Also from a managerial point of view, we’re talking now about a slightly different picture.
“If the club came to me in the summer and said they didn’t want to sign any players and they wanted to make sure the club is in a much healthier position – making sure the staff are back in work and the community is on a better footing – any manager would want that to be the case.
“We’re all going to have to be a little bit flexible when it comes back and look at the bigger picture – which is the health of our community and health of our football club.
“This all seems to be quite small in comparison to what is going on nationally. We’re focused on supporting the NHS and seeing if football can come back and help spirits.”
Millwall were recently linked with Bristol Rovers centre-back Alfie Kilgour, 21.
He has made 44 appearances for the League One club this season, scoring three goals.
“If that’s an agent talking and linking one of his players then it’s probably not the best time to do it – because hardly anyone is even going to look at the story,” said Rowett.
“I’ve spoken to plenty of agents just on the situation at the moment, because everyone is at home trying to do their little bits of work.
“Our situation is quite simple. Most of the staff have got time on their hands at home with the families. Most of us will have a list of players to look at and we’ll continue that recruitment process.
“I’m sure if and when football gets back on then that recruitment situation will look slightly different from a financial aspect. I’m sure the landscape will have changed a little bit.
“We’re certainly not making any decisions at the minute. It would be unfair for me to start pushing John [Berylson, chairman] on who we can and can’t sign. I don’t think anyone is in that mindset.
“We’re just doing what we did before, the background work is still being done by the recruitment team and we’re all just planning for when we can get back.”
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