Danny Peacock March 29, 2020

Under the grand scheme of things football seems meaningless right now.

We have been told rightly by the government to do what we can to survive in this life of ours and to protect others against us. To do that we must stay at home, distance ourselves, forget about work, forget about fun, we’ll all get compensated just stay indoors and please watch the news all day or binge on Netflix for as long as we can because you have no sport to watch (or play) either.

Seems a little sad doesn’t it? After all life is and always has been about survival, but with it we’ve taken for granted the fun we’ve had, our freedom, being entertained and playing and watching the sports we love.

For me football is the pinnacle of those sports. More than just a sport, football is about love, passion, community, religion, tribalry, belonging, till death do us part… Without football what is the meaning of life? After all it brings meanings together and merges them into one. People like me eat, sleep, breathe repeat football… So forgive me right now for being a little bored.

It’s even got to the stage where I read the latest death toll as I would a football league table… Pre-Season favourites China setting the pace, Italy overtaking them at the top surprisingly before the big boys USA climb up to number one with the UK hovering in and around the playoffs… I know it’s wrong.. But that is the way I look at things.. It’s the way I’ve always looked at things… I compare everything to football… If I compare it to football it becomes easier for my basic brain to understand.

So when I hear last week that ‘All’ football this year below a certain level here in England is to be classed as null and void, unimportant, never happened, ceased from all records… I have to raise my concern.

Now for those that don’t know.. Last week all leagues in England below the National League North & South (ie steps 7 and below) have been told to close shop. No promotion, no relegation, no further postponements.. Season cancelled… Leave it where it is, forget it ever happened and lets go again in August…

Now being a football fan and understanding what football means to everybody involved in the game I simply don’t get this verdict? Now I understand the leagues are under pressure during testing times to ‘put some clarity on the matter’ but forgetting it all happened in the first place for me is just not right.

Why do we play football? To win? To get results, to have competition in our lives and to give everyone at every team the chance of winning silverware. A moment in glory for those at the top, a chance to become iconic by doing something magnificent in sport.. Making history for personal and collective glory and for the acclaim and gratitude of those who watch through thick and thin wherever whenever. So why at the business end of the season are we taking that away from folk?

For what it’s worth I think whether it be finished in December this year the show ‘must’ go on… The 2019/20 campaign should have a December 31st cut off… and whilst the 2020/21 season will rely on the finish date of ‘this’ season why not cut that short instead? After all it’s not even started yet.. How hard can that be?

Now we’ve all had a laugh at Liverpool’s expense but how fair would it be, boot turned on the other foot that the Premier League continues but the Northern Premier League does not? That Leeds go up but South Shields don’t? No matter what level, it should be unified across all.

And although I’ve shared those jokes about Liverpool the best team in the country not going on to break their 30 year hoodoo in reality I hope they do, because they deserve it, and if they do it means the country must be getting back to normal with football being played before time again.

Football needs an end result. This season needs to be played out and if it means an FA Cup Final in the middle of winter so be it.

Next season can start depending on the outcome of this.. Let’s do everything we can to finish what we started and play our cup finals, play out our league games and then.. We look at a potentially shorter season going into the delayed Euros in the summer of 2021.

And who’s to say a shorter Premier League won’t work well? Play each other once with ten home games, nine away games or vice-versa and a further round with the ten teams drawn out of the bag that played away given a home tie against the ten of those that have already played their ten at home? Play the FA Cup without replays, scrap the League Cup for just a year, play the Champions League as a straight knock out? It is all possible.

If we learn anything from this seasons disruptions it is that our already packed football schedules are too packed out… We need to thin football out a little to allow it the chance to breathe and allow us to enjoy it more without the game being rammed down our throats like it often is… As we realise ‘finally’ that football isn’t life or death.. People like me will still say It is far more important than that… And as football fans we also understand like life and death, it must always have its natural outcome.

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