AT first it started as a joke; the kind of gallows humour that tends to accompany moments of crisis.

Wouldn't it be just typical if Liverpool's first league title in 30 years was wiped out by the effects of coronavirus, went the general tenor of it. A few weeks on, though, and it's now a matter for serious debate and there is no sense of a solution in sight.

In the days since the suspension of English football – Europe-wide sport for that matter – everyone has lined up to have their say on what should happen to the various competitions affected.

The first board member from a Premier League club to have her say was Karren Brady. Writing in her column in The Sun, the West Ham United vice-chairman said: “As games in both the Premier League and in the EFL are affected, the only fair and reasonable thing to do is declare the whole season null and void. Who knows who would have gone down or come up if the games have not actually been played in full?” before adding that it was “a huge blow to Liverpool, who might be robbed of their first title in 30 years.”

That West Ham United, 16th in the league and outside of the relegation places on goal difference, would be one of the clubs to benefit most from such a situation seemed opportunistic on Brady's part. Furthermore, at a time when people are concerned about the uncertainty of coronavirus and what might lie around the corner, her response was flippant. Unsurprisingly, there was condemnation of her column.

Glasgow Times:

If you were feeling generous you could say in mitigation that Brady's comments would have been elicited by a newspaper ghostwriter looking for something controversial and the 50-year-old did not disappoint. It could also be argued that she did not have a huge amount of time to form a considered opinion but then contrast her observations with those of Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, a day earlier.

The German had used Liverpool's official website to address supporter concerns about what might happen in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak and the cessation of play in the league, preferring instead to concentrate on the ramifications for people's wellbeing.

“I’ve said before that football always seems the most important of the least important things. Today, football and football matches really aren’t important at all,” wrote Klopp.“Of course, we don’t want to play in front of an empty stadium and we don’t want games or competitions suspended, but if doing so helps one individual stay healthy – just one – we do it no questions asked. If it’s a choice between football and the good of the wider society, it’s no contest. Really, it isn’t.”

Only once did Klopp refer to the moral argument about whether his side should be crowned champions but he did so in a dignified manner saying: “None of us know in this moment what the final outcome will be, but as a team we have to have belief that the authorities make decisions based on sound judgement and morality.”

Glasgow Times:

For months, sportswriters have been saying that Liverpool will be champions – awarding them the title would not be some great injustice, furthermore the precedent has been set elsewhere. In Chile last year, when football was suspended due to civil unrest, the league took the unilateral decision to cancel the remaining six fixtures in the Primera Division. The clubs subsequently voted to award Universidad Catolica the title while promotion and relegation were suspended. One idea gathering momentum would be to expand the Premier League to 22 teams for one season only and allow two teams to come up from the Championship, ditto Leagues 1 and 2.

A recent other precedent – when Blackpool were relegated as a result of their failure to fulfil a fixture against Huddersfield in 2015 because of crowd trouble with the scores locked at 0-0 – seems to back the idea that final league placings should stand, if it becomes inevitable that fixtures cannot be fulfilled.

Without wishing to disappear down a rabbit hole, it is interesting to note the wider response to each of the messages from Klopp and Brady.

The former won plenty of plaudits last month for his letter exchange with a 10-year-old Manchester United fan who had requested Liverpool to stop winning matches. It was genuinely heartwarming stuff but he is not immune to criticism, either. He sounded particularly sour in the aftermath of Wednesday night's Champions League defeat by Atletico Madrid while his antics at the end of last season's derby win over Everton at Anfield make him look less than the wholesome character he is often portrayed as. He is nevertheless, unmistakably decent. His emotional outbursts demonstrate his human side which contrast with Brady's disdain for almost everything she addresses.

Glasgow Times:

In an interview on Sky earlier this year, in the face of questions about whether the move to the London Stadium had been the wrong one for the club she responded in typically blunt fashion.

“Absolutely not. One of the reasons why we’re in that league is because the opportunities that the Olympic Stadium has brought to us. We have a capacity of 60,000, we’ve put in a planning application to go into 62,500, we have 54,000 season ticket holders, 50,000 people on a waiting list to buy a season ticket, 35,000 families and we have the cheapest season ticket in the Premier League.”

Her comments hinted at a rosy future but they ignored West Ham's obvious failings since the move – they've finished 11th, 13th and 10th in each of those seasons. They also turned a blind eye to the continuous and widespread supporter unrest that has characterised a bilious period in the club's history. By attempting to mask those failures by taking advantage of unfortunate circumstances is an awful look and a PR disaster.