Dave Gooderham: Let’s prove we are a football family in these unprecedented times

Football is suspended at the moment - and Dave Gooderham says we all need to come together to help s

Football is suspended at the moment - and Dave Gooderham says we all need to come together to help strugging clubs Photo: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

I must start this column by saying the only thing important right now is the health of our worldwide society.

I won’t repeat this line, but please know that the following football thoughts aren’t really that important.

If my views on what should happen to the current football season come true, I will be pleased. If the football authorities, at home and abroad, decide on another plan of action, I won’t lose much sleep over it. Football isn’t more important than life and death, and we must all realise that.

But I did offer to write some words on one of football’s most challenging predicaments in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, so here goes…

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This football season must not be declared null and void. Teams must not be offered a title with 10 games to go (even Liverpool) and leagues should not be expanded to suit clubs currently in promotion or relegation spots.

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This is just my opinion, and we all differ, but I can’t understand why we don’t just end the 2019/20 season whenever it needs to be ended.

If that is in April or May, behind closed doors, then that is an option – though not a favourable scenario, I admit. The better plan is to take our time.

Coronavirus will impact what is left of Ipswich Town's season. Picture: PA

Coronavirus will impact what is left of Ipswich Town's season. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

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The expected, and understandable, decision to delay the Euros opens up a bit of room. Maybe our professional leagues can resume – and end – their campaigns at the start of the summer. For most, there are around 10 games to go so that could be played over five weeks. If that means June, with July as a break and August as pre-season, so be it.

If the worst comes to the worst, and this flies in the face of UEFA’s hopes, then this season should be concluded in September, or whenever, before next season starts. If there is an impact on the 2020/21 campaign, then let’s worry about that after concluding this current season. Scrap the EFL Cup and maybe the Carabao Cup. The leagues have to take priority and football has to take some tough decisions.

Of course, I’m making this all sound too sensible. I’m fully aware it opens up a number of questions. How long do we leave this delay? What happens to players’ contracts when they run out in June or to loan signings? Is it fair that some clubs and players (Tottenham and Harry Kane for instance) will benefit more than others? On this last point, even Ipswich might benefit with the likely return of James Norwood and Kane Vincent-Young.

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To be honest, I don’t really care. For me, this goes beyond the norm and therefore normal rules shouldn’t apply. Maybe there should be a transfer ban, if lawful. I don’t have all the answers. I just have an opinion which is all us football fans, really have right now.

That’s the football side of things. The what happens on the pitch. The bigger, far more serious matter facing football is the business side of things. The 60 or so staff facing redundancy at Barnet and the fears that this is just the beginning.

The beauty of our game is not just the 20 clubs at the top. It’s the 92, the amazing 92 professional teams who give us FA Cup giant-killing, meteoric climbs up the Football League or a chance for some of our best young talent to make the grade.

Paul Lambert's Blues still have eight games left to play - but it's not clear when football will be

Paul Lambert's Blues still have eight games left to play - but it's not clear when football will be able to resume. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Our gluttonous Premier League must step in support those underneath them. The Football Association must help our non-league sides and every football fan must do the same – as with any local business – when all of this begins to improve. Let’s prove we are a football family.

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As for Ipswich Town, any decision on how this season ends shouldn’t affect them, given their league position. But they will be financially hit by this period of inactivity, as every club is. An engaging and illuminating You Tube video from Peterborough owner Darragh Macanthony has suggested that each League 1 and League 2 club will need £600,000 to safeguard their immediate future. Worrying figures, though some will be worrying more than others.

There might be holes in my argument, but if so, please illuminate me. Getting this season completed has to be Plan A, B and C, in my opinion. I would say this whether Ipswich were top, bottom or tenth - it matters not.

As mentioned, I won’t repeat fully what I said at the start of this article. But it should remain in the centre of all our thoughts for the foreseeable future.

These are unprecedented times – in the world and the world of football. Stay safe, be kind, show love. There is nothing more I want to say.

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