In the words of Joe Gallen, the Portsmouth assistant manager, the results came back in “dribs and drabs”. The League One promotion chasers had ordered 48 of their players and staff to check for Covid 19 last Tuesday, within the wake of the club’s FA Cup meeting with Arsenal on 2 March. The Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, was diagnosed with the virus on 12 March, which was really the instant when everything unravelled in English football, resulting in the suspension of action.
And so, to quote Gallen again, there was “a little bit of a await everyone”. He was within the first batch to seek out out last Thursday, along side nine others. Everybody was clear. But things darkened from Friday because the next set produced three positives, Saturday another and Tuesday yet one more . The club have said they’re waiting on one last result for a member of the backroom team. agen sbobet online maxbetsbobet.org
All five of the Portsmouth personnel to check positive are players – Sean Raggett, James Bolton, Ross McCrorie, Haji Mnoga and Andy Cannon – and it means the club became the primary in British football to verify multiple members of their squad have the virus.
There is a sliver of excellent news, and goodness knows we’d like it. Gallen says the players, who are in isolation, aren’t suffering. “They are all feeling reasonably good,” he says. “One of them said that he’d lost his sense of smell, which has been mentioned now as a symbol , and two of the others … you’ll call them as having a chilly or a cough. They were all surprised to listen to that they had it – very surprised.
Symptoms-wise, there weren’t many flowing around our squad in the least .”
It is nevertheless impossible to shake the marginally unreal feeling that has enveloped the club. fortnight ago they were within the thick of it, having just played their 50th game of the season – the 2-2 home draw with Fleetwood within the league. it had been their sixth match in 18 days and left them fourth within the division, two points off automatic promotion.
After a slow start to the season – Portsmouth were fourth from bottom at the top of September – they need won 16 of 30 league games, drawing six – and also reached the EFL Trophy final for the second season in succession. They won it last time once they beat Sunderland. The run to the fifth round of the FA Cup which tie against Arsenal, which they lost 2-0, was an extra source of pride. But now the virus has gripped and uncertainty reigns.
“When we were told we were getting to pack up on 13 March, it had been an enormous disappointment,” Gallen says. “But after a touch of sober reflection, you are doing start to think that football does seem a touch irrelevant. It’s such a difference to eager to achieve success and win to, oh, hang on a moment , there’s other things happening that are miles more important.”