Motherwell manager Graham Alexander has say on moving games in England and covid testing regime

There is no attempt from Motherwell manager Graham Alexander to present himself as some sort of oracle.

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander admits to being "glad" he isn't making the decisions over covid crowd restrictions that are causing such consternation in Scottish football circles. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Motherwell manager Graham Alexander admits to being "glad" he isn't making the decisions over covid crowd restrictions that are causing such consternation in Scottish football circles. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Certainly not over the issues for football in this country bound up in the Scottish government’s measures to limit the Omicron variant spread in the Covid-19 pandemic. The 50-year-old wouldn’t even pretend to have all the answers within his own domain - though he has impressively over a first year in charge to boast the best win percentage of any in the role for three decades.

Yet, Alexander knows when numbers simply don’t add up. Frustrations over the Scottish government’s 500-spectator threshold for large outdoor events, in contrast to the no such limits policy in England, has prompted calls to explore playing cinch Premiership games south of the border should restrictions remain on the resumption of the top flight on January 17. The former Scotland international, who spent his entire senior playing career in England before managing there with Fleetwood and Salford City, just doesn’t see such a move as workable.

"The grounds are there, but the whole travelling thing...” he said. "We got told the crowds were 500 not just because of stadiums, but because people travel on trains and buses. We're not surely going to send thousands across the border to go to games? I think it's a really difficult and fluid situation for people to deal with. We are trying to keep as normal as possible, but it's not a normal world. I am glad I am not making decisions at that level, as football is difficult enough. Even though we are a different country to England, you can drive over the border every day. It's an impossible question to answer.

"But you can see the contradictions all the time, can't you? I was watching the darts and you see the fans all jumping around inside, on top of each other. Everyone is saying, 'If that is allowed...?' but there is no one size fits all answer to this. That is the difficulty facing everyone making the decisions at the moment, and everyone is fighting for their own industry and sport. It's impossible to keep everyone happy and it's down to every group to make the best decisions for their environment.”

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Similar dilemmas exist in the testing regimes for Scottish football clubs, with the requirement to do so every day questioned by Alexander. Although the Motherwell manager does concede an added layer of difficulty comes through some players not having yet chosen to be double-vaccinated and receive boosters.

“Personally I don’t think it is necessary, I think it was fine how it was before [with testing twice a week],” he said. “If people have symptoms and such, then 100 per cent. But I think a lot of people have been taken out just by being in the same house as somebody. Every day we wake up and wait for those test results to come through and then we plan. It is quite a delicate situation. We are still trying to make out what the latest guidance means, still trying to get to the bottom of that because obviously people are at different stages of being vaccinated. It’s an on-going thing so you can’t say with any surety who is going to be here in two days’ time, or even tomorrow.”

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