Is the End Nearly Nigh?


What’s going to happen to the rest of the season? That’s what is taxing the minds of Poolies as we contemplate issues such as promotion, relegation and play-offs. 

The National League seem determined to see the season out but I have my doubts as to whether there will be any more games this campaign. Its all based on geography – there are eleven clubs located in London and the South East and it's this region which is the worst affected with coronavirus - over one third of the cases and more than one half of hospital admissions. It's therefore going to take a lot longer for the game down there to get back to normal. And is it possible to contemplate a play-off final at Wembley?

As I see it, Barrow should be automatically promoted to League Two. They’ve led the league for most of the season and I’d be delighted to see them promoted. They failed to gain re-election at the end of the 1971-72 season – losing their league status to Hereford United (what happened to them?). Its been a long 48 years and they’ve done their fans proud by keeping the flag flying.
"Overall, the game is in a state of crisis. How many clubs will go to the wall is anyone’s guess."

The play-offs are more difficult to resolve. Might be more difficult to justify Harrogate Town getting the second promotion spot – so get your thinking caps on National League Management Committee.

The four relegation spots are presently occupied by Ebbsfleet United, Maidenhead, Fylde and Chorley. And surely, there’s one club there that sticks out like a sore thumb and its Ebbsfleet. Our last home game was a bad advertisement for the game with most of the trouble being instigated by the Kentish visitors with time wasting, niggling and a mass brawl after the final whistle. I saw the game from the Cyril Knowles Stand and never heard any racist comments. Yes, there were chants of "Cheats, Cheats, Cheats" and whilst I didn’t join in I sure agreed with those sentiments. Its not the first time Ebbsfleet have been involved in on-field problems and I, for one, would be delighted to see them relegated. If they do escape the drop, then I would like to see Poolies boycott the away game down there next season. Assuming around two hundred Poolies attended the game at £20 a throw then that’s £4,000 they’d lose. Serves them right. I know a lot of London and South East Poolies would be disappointed but let’s hit them where it hurts – in the pocket.

Overall, the game is in a state of crisis. How many clubs will go to the wall is anyone’s guess. I’m no stranger to long periods of inactivity. I’m old enough to remember the 1962/63 season when we had almost three months without football. The season was extended by a month, the FA Cup draw had to be suspended and husbands got under their wives’ feet or were dragged round shops. The game coped but can it do so this time? The game changer this time is that football is a prisoner of money generated by television. It was always a high-risk strategy and the suspension of the game through coronavirus might see a number of clubs going out of business. Some clubs have acted swiftly and a large number of players have willingly accepted wage cuts but not all and we’ll see if the chickens come home to roost.

Hopefully, Pools will emerge from the crisis and the fact that government help may be forthcoming might ease the pain. Forget about the end of April – it might not restart for a long time. If at all.

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