I’m all for different opinions, but I do have a problem when those opinions are ill-informed and trot out well-worn, ill-thought-through clichés. Witness Brett Ellis’ column in last week’s edition.

Firstly, he says it’s the FA talking about when professional football will return. Sorry, but that’s not the FA, it’s the Premier League. Apart from governing the game, the FA is primarily responsible for the grassroots game – the type played by numerous local amateur clubs in the Watford area.

Secondly, the FA announced this week losses of c£300m which will result in a vast swathe of redundancies, so it is not immune to the furloughing and job losses Brett seems to think are not its concern.

Thirdly, if football wasn’t worth it, why, within a few pages of Brett’s piece is the Watford Observer devoting two double-page spreads to the return of Watford matches? Answer: because it is worth it, and the Observer’s circulation and reader interest is built around it.

Fourthly is the lazy rose-spectacled view of football of yesteryear. Brett talks about George Best, a man who through the riches he earned sadly descended into alcoholism and a premature death. Yes, his earning capacity was hugely lower than today’s top players, but it was still enough to fund a lifestyle that was his undoing.

Lastly is the very easy characterisation of the modern player as ‘overpaid, underplayed and forever on the take’. It is not the players’ fault they earn vast salaries – they are the shop window of one of this country’s most successful exports over the last three decades. At the last count, the Premier League contributed £7.6bn to the UK economy per annum, and that’s not counting the English Football League and the FA Cup and England teams, which are run by the FA in addition to its grassroots responsibilities. This money has played in part in seeing us all through Covid-19. And on the question of being overpaid, is Brett suggesting that if his head teacher said to him: ‘You’re a really talented teacher, we want to pay you £100k a week’, he would say ‘no, please don’t’?

Of course there are bad apples in every walk of life – teaching has not been without its scandals – but please can we have columnists who base their views on facts and genuine knowledge – not half-baked misinformation.

Ed Coan

Breakspeare Road, Abbots Langley