Stuart Armstrong revealed every player was on the same page when it came to deferring a percentage of their wages until the end of June. Armstrong believes it’s all about sticking together – not literally, though, as that would break government guidelines – during this period of uncertainty. Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil recently came under fire after it was reported he was one of three Arsenal players who chose not to agree on a cut to his £350,000-a-week wages.
Stuart Armstrong said “It was a collective decision within the group that involved the players, the staff and the club. It was something we all felt we wanted to do and we made the decision together to ultimately help the club which will then help the community. It was a great decision and it’s great we’ve been able to help. Having that open communication where everyone has the right to express how they feel is important. But everyone was on the same page and we all wanted to help the club, the community and the supporters. We are all very much pleased and happy to be part of that decision making.In tough times, it’s about helping each other out,” the former Celtic star added. “The way the club have dealt with the situation and the way we are dealing with it as a community is a great thing for everyone involved. The fact that players, staff and the club can support everyone who works for it is a great thing.”
As well as being part of Saints’ deferral scheme, Armstrong also signed up to the recently launched #PlayersTogether initiative. This has seen professional footballers from across the country donate money into a pot which will then be donated to the NHS. Armstrong chose not to comment on whether footballers were an easy target but did say that most of the players do charitable work behind the scenes and choose not to make a big deal out of it.
Stuart Armstrong said “I think footballers want to do something to give back and even more so at this time. What I’ve experienced in a dressing room in the years I’ve been playing football is that people are doing things to support charities they are passionate about. But you wouldn’t even know that. Sometimes, as players, we don’t know what someone could be doing behind the scenes. I think what footballers do to give back to their local communities can go under the radar. But at times like these, all the football players across the leagues joined together to collectively set up something that gives back and supports the NHS and other charities. It’s a great thing for football as a whole.”
Saints became the first Premier League club to achieve such a measure in a move that guaranteed they won’t have to place any members of staff on furlough. Other teams have since followed suit but it’s the St Mary’s side who led the way and Armstrong is proud of how easily they reached the decision. Having deferred a portion of their weekly salaries until June, other employees at Saints will continue to receive 100 per cent of their pay for the next three months. And it was this trail of thought which led to the players, Ralph Hasenhuttl and his backroom staff, along with the board members, agreeing to the proposals.