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Roker Ramble: Unfinished Business

Football is distracting us all from one of the really big issues of the whole coronavirus pandemic that just hasn’t had the publicity it warrants - hair.

Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
So there’s some good news and some bad news.............................................................ok, I lied about the good news.....
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

So, we’ve a bit of a situation here really - an unfinished season, and no indication of when or even if it can be resumed. It’s a tricky one for the FA - who were quick enough to write off the smaller teams efforts this season, but seem strangely reluctant to pass judgement on the professionals - however, it’ll have nothing to do with returning TV money for unplayed games, so let’s just get that off the table right now.

One of the suggested scenarios is that games are played ‘behind closed doors’, which when thought about for a second really doesn’t bear thinking about. Until a vaccine or cure is found, the virus is still out there, and those people who haven’t had the disease will still be vulnerable. Not being able to watch 22 players stay away from each other for ninety minutes won’t be a hardship, but neither will it be a game of football.

Another solution is predicting the result of the remaining games using modelling. Not plasticine, at least not yet, but mathematical and analytical modelling, and there is some previous here. Back in the days when the entire country embraced moderate gambling without realising it would lead them into a devastating downward spiral of crippling debt and shattered family life, there was such a thing as the ‘Pools Panel’.

If a game couldn’t be played because of the weather, the Pools Panel would decide what the result would’ve been so that the pools coupons could be completed and the weekly cycle finished off neatly. So, there’s no reason why we can’t resurrect a pools panel type solution for the current predicament.

We could try and give the whole process a bit more gravitas by chucking in some new technology, like the ‘Expected Goals’ offering that flashes up in the bottom corner of our MOTD screens for a nanosecond like some CIA sponsored subliminal messaging, before being totally ignored by everyone, in an effort to convince those clubs relegated by said panel not to sue the arse off the FA at the first moment the courts start sitting again.

Previews - FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019
Qatar races to finish the World Cup stadiums in time for them to be used as hospitals for the coronavirus outbreak.
Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Maybe not the ideal solution then. There is a third suggestion that nobody’s mentioned yet and it involves the 2022 World Cup. Due to the heat – because someone thought it a good idea to hold the competition in a desert — the tournament is going to take place in December, which correct me if I’m wrong, is right in the middle of the northern hemisphere's football season.

I’m sure somewhere the FA have a plan for what they’re going to do when half the Premier Leagues players disappear for two months, but then I also thought Brad and Jen would get back together and that ‘Sunderland Til I Die’ would have a happy ending.

The idea would be to change the start and end dates of the seasons so that we get to the end of the 2022 season in time for the World Cup. But then the 2023 season would have to start in January and it all gets a bit messy, so maybe not a plan after all.

So there really is only one answer which is fair to all, and that is to abandon this season and hope that next season can be started at roughly the normal time. It’s tough on Liverpool, but none of the other promotion and relegation battles are that clear cut... and, they’re de facto winners anyway. It’s not like they were going to have an open top bus ride were they?

If we can build the biggest hospital in Europe in nine days then sorting out the end of a football season really shouldn’t be beyond us. And the sooner it’s done the better, because it’s distracting us from one of the really big issues of the whole coronavirus pandemic that just hasn’t had the publicity it warrants.

Leicester City Training and Press Conference
This is the future people - be afraid....
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Hair. We’re in lockdown for three months or more, what are we going to do about hair grooming, and more importantly what are footballers going to do it?

If you’ve ever wondered what the seventies were like, just watch people emerging from their houses when restrictions are lifted and you’ll feel like you’re in the crowd for Hawkwind at the Mecca in 1974.

Harry Kane has already made his mind up. Immaculately groomed Harry has come out this week and revealed that he won’t simply stay at Tottenham ‘for the sake of it’. What he really means is that he won’t stay at Tottenham since José had that spectacularly bad haircut just before lockdown. Let’s just see how that one grows out, shall we?

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
No, I promise it won’t be too short...
Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Personally I’m going to try and self-administer a ‘Jack Grealish’ – without the head band obviously. I was tempted to go for a Patrick Van Aanholt but I don’t think we have enough yellow highlighter pen to carry off the top colouring with the style and panache it demands. And a ‘Grealish’ shouldn’t be too difficult – a #3 around the sides and back, and just let the top grow out and comb it back. Fix it down with enough product to destabilise a small ecosystem and the job’s a good un.

Which is more than you can say for the man himself – the day after he used social media to launch a video in which he urged people to stay home to ‘protect the NHS’, he went out ‘to see a friend’ and ended up crashing his Range Rover into some parked cars.

Part of me feels like the world needs to know how he can have an accident when he’s the only car on the road, but the guy should be ashamed of himself and Aston Villa should treat him the same way we reacted to Darron Gibson. But of course they won’t.

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