George Parris: You can’t blame Deeney for putting his son’s health first

The Hammers' hero pulls no punches in his exclusive column

One question I’ve been asking myself during lockdown is whether or not I would want to be happy or comfortable returning to action.

The truth is I would be happy to but when you look at the stats of BAME victims, I’m not sure I would feel comfortable returning. I can completely see why Troy Deeney has taken the stance that he has. He has a young son who has had breathing difficulties and there’s the increased risk in BAME groups.

I think if you’re a young footballer – like 18 or 19 – and living on your own, then you’re not putting others in danger in the same way. As for the return of the Premier League, I did think when it was announced that football would return but as the weeks went by, I did begin to wonder if it was.

It does seem like an absolute age since that Arsenal v West Ham game where Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta had coronavirus at that time. For me, everything has happened quite quickly but given all the options, I feel this may be the best case scenario.  I do wonder what the Premier League might have done had all the teams played the same number of games. I think teams having games in hand forced their hand a bit.

It would have been a legal minefield to relegate a team who had played one less game than those around them. I think that’s why they have put these outstanding games first so they can essentially get them out the way and if anything happens and the season has to be suspended again, at least all the teams have all played the same number of games.

It is going to be interesting to see how the first round of games will play out like. They will have the feeling of a testimonial game I think. It will be interesting to see if the power and pace that we are used to seeing in the Premier League will still be there.

But then we’ll probably see improvements as the weeks go on. Just look at the Dortmund Bayern Munich game, the intensity was there.

I will be hosting a virtual evening for Blowing Bubbles readers in June.

The evening will be hosted on Zoom and will last 90 minutes with places limited. Whether it’s listening to stories from my long career in professional football, or hearing about my ups and downs professionally and personally, or whether you want to ask all those questions you’ve always wanted to ask an ex professional footballer but never had the opportunity – the evening will be led by you.

A minimum donation of £5 will be required to secure your place with proceeds being split between two charities close to my heart. There will also be a charity auction at the end of the evening.

We are yet to confirm a date because, at the time of writing, we are waiting to see what our fixtures will be but if you’re interested email 

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