Coronavirus 1 Football 0


Coronavirus. Well nobody seen that one coming did they. If nothing else it has blown Brexit as well as Harry and Meghan clear off the front pages of all the newspapers.

Although perhaps well intentioned, I am already looking forward to the day when people stop telling me to 'Stay safe'. It is like something you would say to a Kamikaze pilot. Which reminds me of the true story of the Kamikaze pilot who returned safely back to base on a couple of dozen occasions,telling his superiors that his aircraft wasn't safe to fly in. I cannot recall the pilot's name but he lived well into his eighties.

As we all know all footy has been suspended. Realistically unless some miracle cure comes along I can see the season being totally written off. If so, how will that affect one and all? The Football Association have stated that all the teams in the leagues below National Leagues North and South will have their results declared as null and void. I think that is a bit unfair. Can you imagine being the top scorer in a particular league or the chap who has got the most hat tricks under his belt only to see those achievements not being entered into record books. I would be well miffed. Mind, another part of me thinks if I was the chap who had scored the most own goals or missed the most penalties in 2019/20 season I would not mind too much if my faux pas were expunged from the annals of football history.

Whatever the decisions made by the powers that be, they are not going to please everyone. It could be a case of pleasing the few but annoying the hell out of the majority. I can see legal cases and law suits being the order of the day. What are the options? Abandon and write off the whole football programme altogether for 2019/20 season and no team will get promoted or relegated? Another argument is to promote and relegate teams based on their current league standings when the coronavirus put a stop to everything.

In the National League that would mean Barrow would get automatic promotion. How would second place and in-form Harrogate feel about that, as they are due to the play the Cumbrians at Wetherby Rd and victory would put them just one point behind. My solution for the National League would be to abandon the play-offs and give automatic promotion to the top two teams. The bottom four teams would be automatically relegated.
The big plus here, for the benefit of the whole of the National League and football in general, would be that that excuse of a football club, Ebbsfleet, drop out of the league and ply their trade at a rightfully lower level. If, by some miracle, football resumed in early May, most sides with the exception of Barnet have only seven or eight league games left to play to fulfil their fixture commitment. This could be achieved quite easily in less than a month provided evening matches were allowed to take place.
"On the plus side this measure would keep Leeds United out of the Premiership but the downside is that the Borer would avoid relegation to League One."

Presuming play is eventually resumed, many teams will be back in pre-season mode and it will be interesting to see which teams pick up the mantle and carry on were they left off post-corona. Or would we see a slump in form from others who have been affected by the long layoff?

What of the 'Greed is Good' League? Even if it is abandoned, unless of course you are a Manchester United or Everton fan, no-one in their right mind would begrudge Liverpool the Premiership title. For me, the football that they have played at times has been at another level, easily eclipsing the recent Manchester City title winning sides, particularly for pace. 

Credit to Pep Guardiola who is on record as saying that the Merseysiders rightfully deserve to be awarded the title. On the downside, if the season finished in the morning and Liverpool were rightfully crowned Premier League champions, it would be a very subdued celebration by their fans and players alike compared to, for instance, Liverpool securing the title by by taking one or three points from their opponents on the day.

That's the title sorted but what of the teams sitting in the bottom three of the Premiership. My view is that an exception should be made and that they should remain in the Premiership. Yes, there would be winners and losers. On the plus side this measure would keep Leeds United out of the Premiership but the downside is that the Borer would avoid relegation to League One. If there were no relegation in the Championship one can only imagine the delight of the Bolton Wanderers fans whose side are cast adrift at the bottom of that league, not being helped by a 12 points deduction. As I hinted at earlier there will be indeed winners and losers.

Another feasible alternative solution being put forward is to not relegate the current bottom three teams in the Premiership and admit the top three clubs from the Championship into the Premiership, which would sadly mean including Leeds United. Much to the chagrin of the top four or five clubs in the Premiership, this would mean the league having to expand to 23 clubs. This number would be reduced over the following three seasons by relegating four clubs instead of three.

The big freeze of 1963 put football back nearly three months. The Cup Final being played in the last few days of May however would much depend on the scale of the coronavirus and its time frame. Hopefully we will see the back of it sooner rather than later and get back to normal.

Occasionally, despite what Bill Shankly said, some things are actually more important than football. Stay safe. (groan)

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