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Should Sunderland’s season be scrapped, resumed, averaged out, or played behind closed doors?

We asked our Twitter followers their perspective on how Sunderland’s 2019/20 season should be finalised in English football. But what do you think?

Sunderland v Gillingham - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Earlier this week, after a raging debate in the Roker Report group chat, we took to Twitter to ask fans what they thought would be the preferred method of finishing the current season.

Both the Dutch and French leagues have decided to cancel the remainder of their league’s seasons. Bundesliga clubs are rumoured to be returning in the coming weeks, but English football still seems uncertain as to how the remainder of the season should be concluded.

From play-off tournaments, to computer simulations, and cancelling the lot - we asked Twitter what they thought the best method would be. After over 2,300 votes: here are the results.

Coronavirus - Stadium BVB Photo by Bernd Thissen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Finish on points per game: 4%

I must admit that I was surprised how many fans thought this wasn’t a viable option, but then again who’s to say that a club’s form won’t suddenly change?

One bad injury to a key player, or the sudden boost of confidence gained after snatching a last-minute winner - football can swing from one extreme to the other either side of 90 minutes. As such, it seems rather cruel to leave promotion and relegation in the hands of pure maths.

There is perhaps an argument to be made for Liverpool, as an example in English football, one more win from their final run in would have seen them clinch the title. If only they hadn’t have lost away to Watford...

But in League One, for example, this simply wouldn’t seem fair.

Watford FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Finish the season with current table: 5%

Again, voters were not impressed with the idea of just stopping the leagues altogether and awarding promotion/relegation based on the current table.

The immediate question that comes to mind would be whether two or three teams would go up and down? Games in hand don’t make much of a difference in League One (table below), but they might elsewhere - is it fair then to scrap teams’ numerical advantages in the name of putting an end to a difficult decision?

As such, to simply finish the season as it stands just doesn’t seem fair - again it kills the magic that is football. The unpredictability, heartache, and joy are all part of what makes football the beautiful game, so to simply say it’s over with: here are the victors and losers - it just doesn’t feel right.

Null and void: 36%

Over one third of our voters argued that the EFL should simply make the season null and void. No titles, no promotions, no relegations, no sweet bliss of mid-table mediocrity...

It would be a disappointing end to the campaign for teams like Coventry who have looked almost certain to gain promotion, yet the decision would also be a blessing for the likes of Bolton, whose points deduction effectively sealed their fate at the beginning of the campaign.

For Sunderland fans, another season in the third tier of English football is a rather grim prospect; however, if we are to look for a silver lining then perhaps the fact that an end to the season would allow Sunderland more chance to either sell the club, or lay better foundations for a more successful season next time around?

Coventry City v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

In favour of resuming / top 8 play offs: 55%

The clear majority of fans, however, want some kind of resolution for this season that involves actual football determining promotion and relegation. Of course it goes without saying that this should only be done if practical in terms of ensuring the health and safety of every person involved.

If truth be told, it doesn’t feel realistic to suggest that the season proper would be able to resume in the coming months. Most teams have around eleven games left to play - though Sunderland only have ten. Logistically speaking, it just doesn’t seem possible to simply pick up where we left off - not if we are to make health and safety a primary concern.

That being said, a behind-closed-doors play off with the top eight teams from League One has been suggested, and that proposal is perhaps the best option out there - especially if teams are able to isolate in a central location.

Ultimately, though, time is running out for the power that be in English football to decide their next move, and it will be interesting to see just how much money has to play in terms of determining the fate of the 2019/20 campaign.

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