Keep your mails coming to email@example.com…
How to reduce 92 matches to 11…
Let’s sort this thing out in a week and move on with our lives.
Champions – Liverpool. Obviously. No need to play again
2nd Place – Man City. Obviously. No need to play again. Can concentrate on getting past the odious Real Madrid in the CL.
3rd Place – Leicester. Far ahead enough. No need to play again.
The next 8 teams then go into a knockout for the remaining European spots.
4th plays 11th, 5th plays 10th, 6th plays 9th and 7th plays 8th. This would be played at a Neutral venue over a few days. The Etihad would probably be a good choice.
Winners go through to semi finals and losers end up in positions 8-11 based on their current points tally.
The winners of the semi finals each go into the CL and play in the final to decide who is 4th and 5th. The losers of the semis play each other for 6th and 7th place and the Europa League.
Positions 12-14 don’t need to do anything. No games to play for them. A bit tough on Everton but they have 2 losses and 1 draw from their last 3 games so it’s not like they were firing on all cylinders.
Then at the bottom, Villa and Norwich go down. No need to play again. Sorry guys. That’s the way the cookie crumbles and lets face it, you were going down anyway.
Then 15th-18th (Brighton, West-Ham, Bournemouth and Watford) have another play off at a neutral venue. The Emirates or Tottenham Hotspur Stadium would do. The exciting thing about this one is that the winners don’t need to play again. You win your semi and you are safe. The losers then play in the “final”, with the loser taking the 3rd relegation spot.
It’s tough on a few teams but it would all be over quickly and there would be plenty of time left for the FA Cup and the CL. Only 2 venues used. Both mini-tournaments can be done in a week-long lockdown so you only leave the venue when your team is out. This means that minimal testing is needed so it saves resources for the NHS.
Only Villa and Norwich would probably vote against it, so it would go through a PL vote.
It’s not ideal but there is no ideal solution, and this would at least be be exciting. Can you imagine the tension of two teams playing to stay in the PL? Or the possibility of Arsenal vs Spurs to decide who goes into the CL? Come on, who wouldn’t want to see that?
Adonis (Only slightly tongue-in-cheek) Stevenson, AFC
No risk, no football
I have been reading the coverage of, and opinion on, Project Restart with interest.
My take is that, like everyone else, they should be complying with the guidance as it applies to them and if the conditions are such that they are able to go back to work, they should.
Let’s not forget that people like builders have been going to work throughout this crisis, making appropriate adjustments. Today, vast swathes of the workforce have been told to get on their bicycles and go to work if they can’t do it from home. All of those people are being forced to take additional calculated risks. I know that it’s crass to say that lives should be risk to restore economic activity but that is the society we live in – if we do not restore economic activity when and where we can at the right times, even if that involves calculated risks, then there could be a tipping point where the adverse consequences of that (which will include negative health outcomes including death for many) could be worse than the risk we are currently dealing with. Note – I don’t know when/where that tipping point would be, but there would be one, which is a major factor for judging when any activity including professional sport should resume.
Footballers obviously work in a contact sport which adds an additional layer of risk but one than can be, and seemingly is going to be, mitigated by rigorous testing procedures. They are also, as elite sportsmen, in one of the lowest risk sections of society, with access to elite personal medical services. Yes they may have young families but they too would also statistically be at generally lower risk. Some may be living with at risk individuals but, like everyone else, they need to make appropriate arrangements or personally isolate – just like everyone else has to. This may leave teams without certain players but that’s no different to any other matter that takes players out of their teams, like injury or paternity leave or any other matter.
I know also that apparently approx. 300 other people are needed to make a given match run. Well – these matches are taking place in stadia that accommodate 20-70k people – they have plenty of room to socially distance. Many people who typically work at football matches, like the press, should just be working remotely.
If the impression I’m giving is that I think they should crack on with the season today or at the beginning of June, I should be clear that that is not what I am saying at all. I don’t think (though hands up, I’m not qualified to judge) that the conditions are safe enough yet to justify it. The position with the Dresden team in the Bundesliga – in a country who have their situation under much better control than we do, has hinted that conditions are not yet ready. What I am saying is the point will come when they have to go back to work – and that point is not when they can be assured of having zero risk.
Touching the void
I may have missed something early doors but can someone explain the necessity for voiding the season if it can’t be finished? I don’t mean a whole ‘Project Restart’ debate, I mean why do results have to be scrubbed if the season isn’t finished? I get that it is looking increasingly unlikely that the season will be completed and that someone will have to call a halt at some point. Even if they don’t decide on final places why do we have to void?
If we void the season, we will be in the utterly bizarre situation of having to pretend last season didn’t happen. All the stats about team x haven’t won at team y since 1972 will look a bit odd if team x smashed team y three months ago. Liverpool will be one a run of nine successive wins when everyone knows they lost two games ago (I would particularly look forward to Liverpool playing away to Watford as the commentators will have to say that Vicarage Road holds no fear for Klopp’s men seeing as they won 3-0 on their last visit). Records will show Harry Kane has scored 125 Premier League goals when video evidence shows him smashing in 136.
I look forward to seeing if Bruno Fernandes can cut it in the Premier League seeing as he has never playing in a big five league before and poor Odion Ighalo will never have played for Manchester United. That’s before we get to the more bizarre situation of Spurs sacking their manager straight after reaching the Champions League final and Watford sacking their manager straight after finishing eleventh and reaching the FA Cup final.
So, in very simple terms if possible, if the season cannot be finished why does it have to be voided rather than abandoned?
Micki (voiding unsaved games on Champ Man since 1992) Attridge
It’s Monday as I write, the day after the Prime Minister’s announcement of changes to the lockdown.
I hope everyone advocating Project Restart (aka “Project Let’s Move English Football to Malta” or “Project People Die In Car Accidents All The Time So Why Can’t I Be Allowed To Watch Football On TV?”) has had a large dose of reality.
Project Restart isn’t happening, because it’s complete nonsense to consider it now. Boris Johnson didn’t mention it at all in his announcement because he knows that is the case, and doesn’t want to be associated with it. But nor does he want to be the one to publicly stop it, because he doesn’t want to be unpopular with the small-minded membership of his core vote.
Now the big meeting of Premier League Clubs planned for this morning – already postponed from last week – has become a farce. They have no clue what to do because they can’t reconcile their financial greed with obvious public health requirements, and there is no Government advice to guide them.
If we were in Germany, where they controlled the virus infinitely more effectively than Britain, restart talk could be plausible. Even there, plans are now in jeopardy after the entire Dynamo Dresden squad has gone into quarantine.
Please try to get a simple fact into your head: you cannot socially distance while playing professional football. For now, that is the end of the debate. This doesn’t mean all preparation such as player training must completely stop – if it’s safe it can happen in a controlled way.
In a few months’ time when we’ve sorted out the more important things in life (like sustaining it), all the owners, managers, players, broadcasters, sponsors, and unions can have a nice sit down and figure out what a resumption of football is going to look like. Until then everyone in the game and everyone who follows it should be focused on how we are going to keep clubs and careers alive in the interim, not thinking up ways to spread death and disease.
To penalties we go
Football has to happen and the season completed because it will collapse. However, I have an idea. One day, one stadium, penalty shootouts. All the season is completed, though not perhaps in the way we would like. It can be controlled and that is the end of it, with limited external support. No physical challenges, no heavy breathing, no spit and no blood. We can then end the season and move on, starting the next season at some stage in the future.
Maybe someone has thought of this already, but I just wanted to share.
Nick in Woking
It isn’t only football
“Football as an industry is so in love with itself, it can’t believe it isn’t of the most importance. So of course it must be rushed back into action as soon as possible. It is so missed, so wanted, so axiomatic to life. To not believe in football’s exceptionalism is to not believe in football itself.”
This would be a fine point to make were it not for the fact that football is far and away not the only sport discussing how it can return. Formula 1, horse racing, rugby, GAA – every single form of any sport (or business – effectively everyone and everything) is trying to find a way to return.
Football is a self-important industry but it’s far from the only one trying, rightly or wrongly, to start again.
Have just watched that woeful 90 minutes v Switzerland and can safely say that there is no chance of winning the tournament if we carry on playing like this! Venables hasn’t got a clue, once plan A went out the window there was no plan B, wrong substitutions at the wrong time, we’ll now HAVE to beat Scotland, we will definitely get beat by Holland and may just scrape through as runners-up which will probably mean meeting Germany and our journey ends there (you heard it here first).
Anyway, player ratings:-
Seaman – 8, did nothing wrong, no chance with the penalty and will never save one if he continues to dive the wrong way.
Neville – 7, hard to believe he’s only 21, good defender but sadly offered nothing going forward, not an inspiration and can’t see many young footballers wanting to emulate him.
Adams – 7, solid peformance but did contribute to the goal conceded with a poor header.
Southgate – 8, calm and professional performance, obviously is a great reader of the game which could take him far once his legs give up.
Pearce – 7, reliable as ever, just hope we don’t get into a penalty shoot-out and he has to repeat Italy 90
Anderton – 4, does he have compromising photo’s of Venables, how on earth did he get 90 minutes, was ineffective playing out of position and invisible when in his usual role.
Ince – 5, the ‘governor’ was over-ruled, only came to life once Switzerland equalized, but I’m sure he’ll have a logical explanation
Gascoigne – 5, flattered but was easily closed down by the Swiss and didn’t produce anything like, would rest him for the Scotland game as Hendry will eat him up.
McManaman – 8, England’s MOM and a constant threat but can’t help feeling his style would be more suited abroad where I’m sure he could win big trophies
Sheringham – 6, constantly came too deep leaving his partner isolated, don’t think they work and may need to be more of an impact player
Shearer – 6, goal apart, did very little, the top class pairing of Vega and Henchoz, who could both be an asset to any premier league team, kept him very quiet, had only 5 goals in 23 previous appearances and international football may be just a bridge too far for him.
Overall a poor display and result, Venables should be looking at the likes of the young lads Beckham and Scholes at ManU to provide some impetous and winning mentality, throwing a 30 year old and clearly past it David Platt on late in the game is a sad reflection of the squads depth.
Howard (like the look of Czechoslovakia) Jones
With “Project Restart” needing to fall in-line with current Govt. advice, does the mean that the Premier League can go again but with teams only made up of players from the same household? If that’s the case, then I’m changing my support to #TeamDeBoer