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Finish the season, surely…
Obviously football played behind closed doors would be a bit rubbish but surely we can all agree it would be better than the current situation of no football at all? Plus it would mean we hear what players shout at each other during games. We’d also get a great insight into the impact of home/away advantage.
If you void this season how do you resolve the Leicester/Spurs conundrum. One has earned a place in the Champions League whilst one has been awful. Do we void and say it’s Spurs’ turn again? You can’t make one award without making all of them…
Bias implied in sign-off.
…The solution is actually crystal clear. If there is a Premier League season where we have to compromise, it ought to be the season that has yet to start, i.e. the 2020/2021 season. Be it resuming this current season in May, or June, or July, or even November, this season simply has to be completed because of sporting reasons. Back in 2005, Real Madrid played a ‘six-minute’ game because that game was postponed in the 86th minute weeks ago due to a bomb scare. While today’s context is different from that 15 years ago, the end result should be the same and that what is left unfinished should be completed before we start anything new.
Look, if football could resume before August 2020, we should have enough time to finish this season, and start the next one with a bit of compromise in terms of schedule arrangements (e.g. no winter break). If the coronavirus is only under control in October or November, I don’t see how we can finish the 2020/2021 season by June 2021, and because of this, does that mean that the 2020/2021 season will be nulled and voided too? It would not make any sense at all. Instead, if that’s the case, we could continue the 2019/2020 season in November or December 2020, and then allow it to complete by March 2021. Of course that would leave us with a big break in 2021 but we could occupy ourselves during those empty months with international football, or even the League Cup which has already been completed this season with a winner.
What I am trying to emphasise here is that every result deserves its recognition and nulling or voiding a result because of non-sporting reason is simply unacceptable. Even when the champions have been decided, or when teams have been relegated before the end of the season, matches involving these teams still proceed. While the results may not be material in terms of securing titles or avoiding relegation, it is precisely due to sporting reasons why the games have to proceed because every result must be respected.
I am a Liverpool fan and I have been waiting for 30 years for our team to lift the holy grail. But I am sure every Liverpool fan will tell you what’s most important now is that we find a cure to this pandemic. We could lift the trophy in an empty stadium, or we could even lose all the remaining games and surrender the title to Man City. Those are really secondary to what we are facing now. But when we are finally done with this coronavirus, we want things to continue from where they have paused, in the right manner.
…I am really struggling with the concept of voiding the season. I’m a social distancing Liverpool fan with a young family and my own business so its probably other things I am struggling with but I am going to take it out on every player, ex-player or supporter of a Premier League tea who had a crap season who wants the league to be voided.
Void isn’t cancelled. Voided means never happened. We know that clubs will have to return nearly £800m of TV money that they already have in their bank. They would lose out on bonuses based on where they finished. I would wager that they would lose a hell of a lot of money from their betting sponsors as if the season is voided and never happened then neither did all those bets. Finally we see may see a skint bookie as they refund the duped masses. There is no way voiding the season makes financial or legal sense.
Sky are showing Premier League years and highlights. This is what football is about. Memories, moments, emotions. Voiding the season takes away all of these. They never happened. You were wrong to take joy from them as they can be taken away from you. As a Liverpool fan there is a crazy amount of bloody excellent football that would be taken away. From Curtis Jones’s first goals to literally the best first 29 games of Premier League football that has ever been.
As an England fan this season saw record-breaking champions elect play with two young English defenders, a legendary old boy and a captain getting his trophy lifting twinkle toes ready yet again. Joe Gomez and TAA were often touted pre-match as the weaker of the links in that Liverpool team. Trent goes on to get 12 assists and Gomez has a ridiculous unbeaten record. Voiding the season takes all that away from them.
The Premier League isn’t actually that competitive. This is genuinely a rare chance for a new Premier League winner. And it’s not even unlikely. Based on City’s form Liverpool already have enough points to win the league. The only bookies taking bets on it are trying to get you addicted. It already is a title-winning performance. And it is worth being remembered. I don’t want to hear from anyone associated with a team who have had a forgettable season about how they want to take people’s memories away.
There are nine games left. Round 9 happens in mid-October. That 6-7 months away. Based on what the Government is saying it is unlikely that we’ll be having mass gathering again in 6 months. Even if we get there and there is a managed restarting of society and games are played without a crowd you would have to have a full week between fixtures to see if symptoms appear in the playing and backroom staff. There would be no festival of football until there is herd immunity or a vaccine.
If we void this season because the season can’t be finished then we have to void next season if the season can’t be started again by mid-October.
The Premier League years of this season is a cracker, and not just for Liverpool. It can’t be forgotten.
Thanks for listening.
Alex, south London
Go straight to penalties
I have read almost everything on the matter of calling this season null and void. And possibly all the arguments pro and against.
Can I just propose a simple solution to all concerned?
Let’s go straight to pens. Let’s decide each remaining game in football through penalties like in a proper match which after 120 mins is a draw. Drastic circumstances call for ingenious insight.
Lets give each side a 5 pen count. So, instead of 90 minutes, we would have 5 penalties. There would be winners, losers and draws. If after 5 pens all is square it is a draw. A win 3 points. A loss – nil. The competition would be fair, social distancing kept alive – 11 meters is more than enough between two players – TVs and sponsors and players would get their money and the drama might be quite astonishing in these dire times. The competition would be fair and broadcast live on TV. Footballers wont need pre match practice to get football fit. Goalkeepers would be analysed in every possible way. Those who miss and those who score would suffer and enjoy properly. Fans too. The whole thing can be over in less than 20 minutes and the spirit of football and proper competition would be kept alive. You never know what might result from the remaining ‘games’, this way. And at the end of it all we might have a deserving winner and some real escape from this existential mess. The specialists can sort out the finer details but in my opinion it is a possible solution that cant be discarded.
I am really looking forward to read the arguments why it can’t be sorted out this way.
Gent (LFC, Tirana, Albania)
Why scrap next season?
A few people in the morning’s mailbox saying, in response to Rio Ferdinand’s suggestion that the season should be scrapped, that next season should be scrapped instead and that that would be the logical choice…
But it obviously wouldn’t be. No sensible person would suggest scrapping a programme of 38 fixtures per team rather than 8 or 9 – the 8 or 9 that have actually been disrupted I might add. If things can resume as normal from August/September (a big if) and if something was to be abandoned, then the balance of this season is up for the chopping block… it doesn’t suit me either, as I fancied United to lock down a Champions League place.
The thing is though, talk of scrapping either is, for me, extremely premature. Some musings on the matter:
Whenever football resumes, the starting presumption should be to pick up where we left off and finish this season, play next season’s league fixtures and be flexible about start and end dates – even if that means 2-3 years of adjusting the exact calendar dates of the season. This would mean that no team gets prejudiced on promotion and relegation, continental qualification and/or being crowned [a first time premier league winner]/[the GOAT] (delete according to preference).
The above approach is doubly necessary because we cannot assume that there will not be further lock-downs. There is every chance that we may all get let out over the summer and for this all to happen again next winter – the most sensible approach would be to put a pin in the relevant season(s) and pick up where we left off – scheduling fixtures and breaks (including breaks for international tournaments, which are logistically trickier than domestic leagues to rearrange) as necessary.
To find time in the calendar, international friendlies, the Carabao and FA cup could be scrapped (in that order). Ideally, this season’s cup should be finished, but no-one could complain about the cup not going ahead next season if that means no teams are being discriminated against.
I have no time for the suggestion the season should be scrapped because of player contracts expiring. The simple solution to that would be:
Determine new transfer windows to fit in with adjusted programmes;
As a starting point, continue to not allow players to register with new clubs outside those adjusted windows;
If a player’s contract would expire in the meantime, clubs and players should be encourage to agree at least a short extension on the current terms;
If the player doesn’t want to and lets their contract expire, don’t let them register for a new club until the window opens;
If the club doesn’t agree to extend, let the player register for their new club as an exception – the club wouldn’t be able to sign a replacement until the window opens.
A Caribbean Premier League XI
Here is my attempt at the regional XI games, in this case a Caribbean Premier League XI. Players must have represented a Caribbean nation as their main international side (some have flirted with other countries or played for youth teams) so this rules out the likes of Kingston-born Raheem Sterling. Think this is a decent team, with a good defensive core and plenty of flair in attack. Midfield a bit weak but I reckon would be good for mid table and some cup runs.
GK- Shaka Hislop (T&T)
Clear choice for this position, Hislop was part of the Newcastle Entertainers side, won the Championship with Portsmouth and collected an FA Cup runners up medal with West Ham in 2006. Represented T&T in their World Cup debut in 2006. One of the stars of this team, Hislop currently works as a pundit on ESPN.
RWB- Pascal Chimbonda (Guadeloupe)
I remember him as being a marauding, entertaining player for Wigan and Spurs. He was in the PFA team of the year after Wigan’s debut season in 2006. Gets in on a technicality as he does have a cap for France, but initially played for Guadeloupe. If this annoys purists, sub in Emmerson Boyce instead (Barbados).
CB- Wes Morgan (Jamaica)
Leicester’s title-winning captain is a shoo-in.
CB-David Sommiel (Guadeloupe)
Crowbarred into the team after I found out he scored Man City’s first ever Etihad goal. Props.
CB- Frank Sinclair (Jamaica)
Played for Chelsea in the 90’s and won the League Cup with them. Rounds out a decent-looking central defence in front of big Shaka.
LWB- Ricardo Gardner (Jamaica)
‘Bibi’ played 12 seasons for Bolton in the Premier League, including being part of the iconic Okocha side. Has 111 caps for Jamaica and played in the 1998 World Cup. Scored for Bolton against Bayern in the UEFA Cup in a colourful career. Currently runs a reggae label and is a dedicated Rastafarian.
CM-Jloyd Samuel (T&T)
Tragically died in 2018 in a horrific car crash, Samuel played most of his Premier League games for Villa and Bolton. Interestingly rounded off his career with four seasons in Iran, and won the league there. His job is to hold the fort and let the attack do their thing.
CM- Robbie Earle (Jamaica)
Part of the Crazy Gang, played 284 games for Wimbledon and scored 59 goals. Adds a cultured presence to the midfield. Was dismissed as a pundit by ITV in 2010 for selling tickets to a third party.
FW- Kenwyne Jones (T&T)
Fast and physical and a nightmare to defend against, Jones played for Stoke and Sunderland. Began his career in T&T for a wonderfully named club (Joe Public!). In the team mainly as I seem to remember him being great value on MOTD highlights.
FW-Dwight Yorke (T&T)
Who else? Captain and star player.
FW- Ricardo Fuller (Jamaica)
Another flair player, scorer of wonderful goals and adds unpredictability.
Just read your underused England XI, and got as far as Jonathan Woodgate and realised that you have made a massive mistake.
148 Premier League Appearances
11 Premier League Goals
3 Premier League Titles
3 FA Cup Titles
1 League Cup
1 Cup Winners Cup
1 England (B) Cap
0 England Senor Caps
Step forward Stephen Roger Bruce.
(A fair shout but we concentrated more on those thwarted by injuries or attitude rather than other players – Ed).
Football, big money and globalism here to stay
So let get this straight, Johnny wants the government to pay for football rights…..because its going to cause less Type 2 Diabetes and depression and save the NHS money. Right.
First of all the world has much changed today. Football on television and as an actual sport may be one of the entertainment venues for kids in the days Johnny grew up. That is not the case anymore as we have so many more alternatives for entertainment. Fortnite for example is free to play on most electronic devices you own and gives you the interactivity and competition without leaving your home. There’s also Netflix, social media, YouTube, etc. More competition for your time.
I’m not saying football as a active sport is not popular but to link and solve the entire full medical tab of diabetes and depression to justify buying the rights, especially as football is already the most popular sport in the UK, is ludicrous.
It falsely assumes that a) people who play football never experience depression and b) people cannot get depression from non football or non physical exercise reasons.
Johnny’s philosophy is simple: change everything back to this good old days, which given what I read about the period, he is cherry picking which aspect to emphasize.
But guess what, the globalism of the EPL is here to stay. Proof? Some random young adult in Malaysia is writing a mail to an older British guy on a website. And he checks out their news and website of a football league oceans away.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, etc aren’t going to lose their fans. Overseas TV rights will still be a thing (and under the upcoming new deal, local rights fell down while overseas went up) and will go to the highest bidder. Merchandise sales for those clubs will still be a force to be reckon with and they will have more revenues and income than most clubs even assuming broadcast revenue lowers.
Big money will be here to stay. Like any free market, there will be some times where it will be lower and higher but unless football itself goes out of fashion, they’ll always be huge demand and the ability to supply for it, leading to prices that are higher than a certain level. It ain’t gonna be infinite growth but it ain’t gonna be peanuts either.
And lastly the British government has got way more important things to spend on than a bunch of people kicking a ball around. Important to communities yes, but there’s already controversy on how to fund the BBC going forward, with an economic crisis looming and debts that need to be repaid, you can bet they have other more important things to worry about than whether people get their football fix even after this is all over.