Fuller Flavour: Why I don’t think League One season should be decided by PPG
In his latest column, Karl Fuller offers his thoughts as to how the League One season should be finished, as clubs vote today.
The best thing about the columns I have written since the 2019/20 season was halted is that they have been centred around nostalgic times of better days at Ipswich Town.
To not have to write about Town and the malaise we found ourselves in prior to lockdown has been somewhat of a blessing. However, I suppose this week, I should touch base with my thoughts around the possibilities of how the season will end, with clubs voting about just that today in an EFL meeting.
Personally, I was only ever comfortable with one option and that was to null and void the season. Yes, with the position we were in before the game stopped, it is so easy for me to say that.
Would I feel differently if we were occupying any place between first and sixth? Probably! I just cannot agree with ending a season in different circumstances to not only how it started, but how it was played for more than two thirds of the campaign.
To go from that position to start using points per game or indeed any other fantasy formula is just wrong and not fair. There are too many imponderables to consider. Football is a funny old game and it is capable of throwing up the most unexpected scenarios, especially at the end of the season. It is a time when so many teams are under pressure for varying reasons and some cope with that pressure better than others.
With eight games to go, how often do we see a team put a run together unexpectedly to clinch a play-off place against the odds? Equally, a team might be in position of relative comfort also with eight games left only to find themselves sucked into a relegation battle that might be decided on the final day of the season.
It’s these moments that make the game what it is. To have the season restarted from where we left off using a totally different method to decide clubs’ futures is just wrong for me.
What I also find astonishing is how there can be a potential for different leagues at the professional level of the game that all fall under the umbrella of the FA, to have different means to an end.
Even if you argue that the Premier League is its own organisation and therefore can do what they want, the three other leagues that are governed by the EFL should at the very least have a uniform ending.
Maybe it is just me, but I do have a problem with the season continuing now in any shape or form. If I had to select any option other than one with a null and void outcome, it would be to play the season to a natural end without crowds.
My reason for not doing that though is because there would be an advantage/disadvantage (depending on your viewpoint) of not having crowds present now compared to earlier in the season. It would be more advantageous for away teams to now not to have to play against a ‘home’ crowd, compared to those that had to play as the away side earlier in the season and contend with the majority of a crowd against them.
The only thing that will make me happy for this season to be concluded one way or another is then we can have some clarity as to when next season will start and then hopefully, from start to finish, we will see an even playing field.
Like many of us, I am asked almost every day if I’m missing football. In truth, no, I am not. I was struggling before the suspension of play to derive much enjoyment from watching the games.
I suppose I am wondering when my 800th Ipswich game will be as I am stuck on 799. I will concede though that I am missing the social side of the game very much. I think of many friends that I only see and drink with at football and how much I have missed them.
Those days will be welcomed back very much – whenever they will be!
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