The 2020-1 English football season is proving to be an odd one – and it’s difficult to be sure which way it’ll end up going. In the Premier League, for example, you don’t get the sense that anyone is dead keen on winning it. And, as you filter down the divisions, the stories that are still waiting to unfold could have any number of endings. For the casual fans, it’s almost like the headrush you get when chancing your arm on the free spins at https://www.reelsofjoy.com/. And there’s still at least two months of it to go!
Of course, there’s still the outside chance that an early curtain will still have to fall. Well, perhaps not at the very top level. After all, each Premier League footballer deserves an unquestionable knighthood after turning up to work – shock horror – twice a week in an effort to keep us locked-down plebs entertained*. But trickle down to, let’s say, the non-league zenith that is the Vanarama National League. There you may hear rumblings of early finishes and no relegations as playing in front of no fans costs a lot and pays little.
English Football Season: At the top…
It’s been called the “most open Premier League season in history“. But we’re not sure if Sky Sports went a little early with that claim in December. The current table now we can see spring on the horizon shows a group of four looking like the most likely teams in the hunt for the title. Still, even they are dropping points in unlikely spots; Man Utd losing at home to relegation-haunted Sheffield United and Liverpool defeated by Brighton.
With odd results dotting the Premier League landscape, it only needs one side to get on top of things and the title is up for grabds. And Man City look like they could be that side.
The open season tag doesn’t quite extend to the bottom of the table. The Blades, along with Fulham and West Brom, have a huge amount of work to do. If they’re to avoid going down, there’s a big gap to close. They can at least hope, however, that there’s enough in this campaign’s ups and downs to promise yet more freakish results.
If there’s one division that doesn’t seem to be throwing up many shocks, it’s the second tier. At the top, there are clear runners and riders for promotion to the top flight. Our FA Cup Third Round oppo, Swansea City, are one of three sides to have already soar past the half century of points. It’s Norwich who lead the way at the moment and it’ll demand quite the collapse for the Canaries to be out of the frame come May.
… and further down the pyramid
As the Football League ploughs on despite the lingering Covid-19 situation, the picture is much less certain beneath us. National Leagues North and South seasons have been on ice since early January due to a lack of grant funding. And it seems as if they aren’t going to come back to finish it off. Darlington and AFC Telford United are just two teams to vote in favour of calling the whole thing off; the leagues to be null and voided.
Of course, that has implications for the National League – and League Two. The issues of promotion and relegation can so often be decided by a quirk of fate, or a moment of magic – much like the twists and turns at casinosonline-canada online casino. But, with null and voided National Leagues North and South, there would be no ups and downs. Great if you find yourself rock bottom of the National League as Barnet currently do, innit?
It’s bad, however, for clubs like Notts County at the top end. And it’s no surprise that you’ll find the Magpies wanting to play on. After all, no promotion and relegation in the National League means no promotion or relegation to/from League Two. This will immediately shift the dynamic in our own current predicament; freed, like others with us down at the bottom, of any threat to our League Two status. So, then what do we have to play for.
The caveat is that a) National League clubs might not pass the motion to null and void the season and b) the loans on offer may be turned into grants. A petition is up and running to make that happen; a spokesperson saying: “National League clubs are facing catastrophe and a perilous situation in the next few days. We need a sustainable lifeline that does not leave clubs facing future ruin.”
Like the last season, there are bigger forces at play in the wider world. And it’s creating an odd, curious season. Some aspects of it we’d maybe like to see continue into future years. Others, however, can very much do one once we get the better of Covid-19 and send it on its way. We need our clubs to survive, to get fans back in the grounds, and to have football back at its thrilling best. But first we’ll take a vaccinated nation and a chance to hit the pub.