I wrote a post on 28th March last year titled “They think It’s all over” which confirmed that all results for step three football leagues and below were to be expunged and unfortunately we are close to that again 10 months later.
‘The F A have confirmed that all step three and below league results for the 2019/20 season have been expunged. This followed a lot of media quotes from league and club officials who could not see a way to finish the season within time and financial constraints and the ethical position of the need to put all resources and time in fighting the pandemic. This is sad for teams like South Liverpool, Vauxhall Motors, Jersey Bulls, South Shields and others but these are difficult times.‘
With the Covid pandemic sadly still with us causing personal and economic tragedy and a national lockdown until mid February and most probably beyond, or replaced by a tier system, it has meant there has been little or no Non League step 3 and below games since mid December. With fewer than programmed games completed and none planned it looks impossible again to complete the season and all leagues and county associations are contacting clubs for their views although the organisers of the leagues just below the national leagues have stated their position that the season cannot be completed.
Football in general faces lots of issues that will be faced in 2021. Premier league media rights for 2022 to 2025 will be finalised this year and as so thoughtfully discussed by John Nicholson in his book ‘Can we have our football back’, there could be a reduction in bidding. This may well again lead to the super six looking for their own media rights deal or the often floated European League.
If fixtures are again ended and the F.A. do not implement their structural reforms, which should have been in place this season, will those league administrators of Leagues that were to be disbanded who agreed to continue for this season do it again for another year.
Is the public falling out of love with football, televised games are often sterile, the attempt to get extra income from fans to be able to stream their team only created resentment and anger.
Have a new generation been further inveigled by the games industry and not football. Has the game shown the wrong image during the pandemic.
Players have flouted Covid restriction rules, teams have gone away to Dubai, players continue group celebrations and fixtures are disrupted due to Covid outbreaks in squads.
There have been some positives to counter this, Marcus Rashford’s campaigns to counter child poverty a shining example.
The weekends F.A. cup tie round produced some high points, Aston Villa’s Louie Barry grabbing an accomplished equaliser for their youth team against a strong Liverpool before being overwhelmed, Crawley Town’s magnificent 3 nil win over Leeds, Jose Mourinho not devaluing the Cup by puting a very strong team out against the Marine minnows and Chorley defeating a Covid ravaged Derby County.
The big issue though is will all football clubs survive and a recent article by Simon Stone on the BBC Sport website gave an inside view, https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/55575536 We cannot afford to lose a part of our community that ties us together and for many improves general welfare both physically and mentally.
Finally a report from the Derbyshire Times (Chesterfield), about a man being issued a Covid 19 penalty ticket and given a strong warning after being stopped in Lincolnshire and explaining that he had left his house the previous day and was touring football grounds.