Derek Carter says...
The first thing I want to hear is that they’ve actually made a final decision, because I’m now at the stage where I’m considering having the words “we’ll know our fate by next Monday” tattooed on my butt cheeks.
I know the League One clubs are in a bit of a no-win situation, but in my opinion they should have been doing everything they possibly could to persuade clubs to finish the season. It’s looking likely that the majority of clubs may deem otherwise, but they need to be mindful of the out-of-sight, out-of-mind scenario; some fans might just decide there is actually more to life than football. One thing is certain - the game is facing a radical overhaul.
There’ll be a lot of players on the dole, so the power has switched back towards the clubs when it comes to wage demands and the decent and honest agents will come to the fore, the dubious ones will be found out.
If the season is scrapped altogether, then maybe the EFL should seriously look at regionalising the lower leagues. It’s not ideal but the financial situation may force clubs down that route in an effort to survive. Bury were the tip of a massive iceberg so it won’t be a massive surprise to see other clubs sinking like the Titanic.
Malcolm Dugdale says...
While I would love for Sunderland to have one more chance to go up this season, my honest expectation is that the season will be ended and the PPG formula will be used to define placings, and hence promotions and playoffs will commence that we will not be part of. If the league teams vote a majority that way then we have to accept it as the right way too, though we don’t have to agree with it.
Looking at the table of 23 teams, it is reasonable to expect that the present top two will vote for no more standard games and PPG to be used. They will go up and take no further risk, neither in football, costs of play, or club medical health.
The same could be said of several teams in the present play-off slots. Teams like Oxford United and Fleetwood Town would surely relish the chance of a play-off shot? Oxford haven’t done so since coming up from league two a few seasons ago, and though Fleetwood managed 4th a few seasons ago, they haven’t finished better than 11th in the last two. One fly in this ointment is the statement by Peterborough officials that they want to play on, and may sue if that doesn’t happen. Let’s assume that’s hot air, so that’s 6 for “stop and use PPG”.
Sunderland, Wycombe, Doncaster, Ipswich and potentially Gillingham will all want to play on in my opinion, though in some cases that will require financial aid for testing to do so. They would all hope with a decent batch of games to go they may scrape a way out of the league, though for the latter two/three clubs the play-offs are probably the ceiling. So that’s five clubs all for playing it out.
For me Burton, Blackpool and Bristol are in clear, “dead rubber” territory. At least 11 points off the play-offs and at least 13 points above relegation, they may well abstain so are unpredictable in this estimate of who votes what. Let’s optimistically assume they agree to play on, so a questionable 8 for that vote exist now.
Then we are down to the drop zone end, and for me with a game in hand on teams even as high as Lincoln, Tranmere will want to play on. After a recent points deduction announcement for Southend, and the 12 point handicap at the start of the season for Bolton, I doubt these two will revolt against the recommendation. The rest of the relegation threatened clubs will likely want to stay as is to stay up, unless the PPG drops them down, which I don’t think is the case.
So, best case, 8 teams want to play it out, and the rest want to do PPG and take what they have now, or don’t care/don’t want the cost of Covid tests and empty stadia. I really can’t see a swing of 4 anywhere, and the 8 is probably 5, so this looks the likely outcome.
What the league does need to do, to determine the right way forward, is learn from this situation. Being promoted on 2/3 or 3/4 of a season is not fair to any past, present or future team, so this shambles cannot happen again. I will watch with interest the vote result, but also what is done to prevent avoidable situations like this coming round again.
Matthew Foster says...
There’s been a lot of debate on how this season will be decided, and regardless what decision is made there’s going to be aggrieved clubs. But as the saying goes; you can’t please everyone. PPG will undoubtedly cause some unrest, but the cost implication that will be incurred to play on, and more significantly, the risk to playing and non-playing staff that goes with finishing the season, it seems impractical to do so.
Of course, I would much rather Sunderland got a chance to avoid a third season as a League One club, but we will not be alone in clubs seeing their promotion/play-off hopes prematurely ended through PPG. It is perhaps harsher on Tranmere, who with a game in hand over their closest relegation rivals Wimbledon, would plummet out of League 1 with an already doomed Bolton Wanderers.
I think we all will be eager to see the EFL’s decision on the 9th June, but in my opinion, I can’t see a more reasonable solution to the unparalleled set of circumstances that have occurred.