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Purgatory extended

And still we wait…

As yesterday’s news that League Two have decided to end their season filters through, those of us in L1 have to remain in limbo for just a little while longer.

This is starting to get a little bit silly.

OK, that’s maybe a bit unfair – we live in unprecedented times, after all, and if the all-powerful Premier League are still having difficulty in restarting, what chance have we got?

It seems the issue is those six sides wanting their chance to complete the season. That it just so happens to be those chasing the playoffs is, of course, purely coincidental.

That’s why we haven’t had anything confirmed yet, and with the season supposed to be ended a fortnight ago, it’s getting irritating.

League Two have called their season off because they can’t afford the current safety protocols, and to pay the players.

In truth, most of League One can’t do either, ourselves especially.

OK, you had the FGR chairman trying to convince everyone (himself most of all, probably) that L2 could have finished, and saying that L1 can do likewise.

And you suspect the Peterborough chairman (on behalf of Oxford, Sunderland, Fleetwood, Pompey and Ipswich) is trying to do the same – namely, bounce clubs who know they can’t complete the season into slitting their throats.

Even if Tranmere joined that list, it sounds like there aren’t many more on their side. Which is why we haven’t had a decision yet.

Those who want L1 to continue have two options : they can either have their own playoffs** to see who goes into the Championship.

** – am I alone in thinking this is a bit *too* sensible a proposal? If there’s four teams, you could just have two semis and the final, and can be done in a week at a neutral venue.

Or they can shell out of their own pockets the testing, the police bills, the stewarding, the other expenses for the other clubs. Oh, and pay our wage bills while they’re at it.

They can afford it. Or if they can’t, then nobody else can either.

Not that they have the ultimate choice, because it’s ultimately up to the EFL/FA to rubber stamp it.

L2 wants three automatically up via PPG, playoffs and no relegation to the Conference. That’s not guaranteed at the moment.

I don’t subscribe to the Athletic, but apparently today it’s said that the FA, L1 and Championship are opposing the no-relegation decision.

If that’s the case, and providing the EFL/FA have decent lawyers, their word is effectively final.

As we should know ourselves with the whole Franchise litigation thing, you ultimately can’t defeat the governing bodies because they make the rules you sign up for in the first place.

For all the bluster that the Posh chairman might come out with in the next few days, the authorities will want the cleanest finish to the season possible.

We’ll wait and see. Things are about to get interesting.

It’s all vested interests at the moment, and obviously at AFCW we have ours. The biggest threat to our L1 status is restarting the fixtures.

Should it go PPG, we’re safe by two points via this method, and while it’s possibly unfair to Tranmere – I really don’t care.

I want us to stay up. Even – actually, especially – without kicking a ball, if need be.

That said, if we did restart and we did end up getting relegated after all, the whole thing would be too messed up to get too down about.

One reason L2 kiboshed the whole thing was the furloughing, something I expect will ultimately decide L1’s fate too.

Think about our own squad, and not just having to keep on the likes of Appiah and Wordsworth for another few weeks.

Presumably those we have on loan (ie Trott) can’t play because their deals would have ended by now.

Yes, I know that in practice, they’ll be extended, although if we’re bending loanee rules for this campaign, can we have Forss back?

Practically speaking, I’m not sure if some clubs can restart anyway – pitches may already be dug up ready for next season.

We’re now two weeks since the planned end of 2019/20, and there’s plenty of work that needs to be carried out on stadia everywhere.

And in the case of a certain L1 club from south west London, we might not even have a venue to play at.

Pictures of the Dons Trust hut thingy being lifted away from KM, and other rumours that AFCW related signs are being taken down, suggest we’re departing from KT1.

Now, I don’t doubt that if push came to shove, Chelski would let us borrow it (KM, not the hut) again for the remaining four games of 19/20.

But it’s interesting that, CV19 related issues notwithstanding, we’re not hanging around our venue for the last eighteen years.

I don’t know what that means with regards to “home” games in the first month of the season, unless we’re really sharing at Stamford Bridge for a couple of them.

I appreciate things are fluid at the moment, and I’m not one of those entitled/needy fans who demand to be told everything yesterday, but a word from the club on this would be nice.

We did get a little nugget earlier this week, though. The Plough Lane Bond got yet another extension, presumably to try and catch those last pennies, but the update had an interesting little aside about the loan.

I quote:

“We know fans are waiting for the announcement of a loan to complete the funding picture – we are now very close to this and will have more details as soon as the due diligence and paperwork is completed.”

It seems that the club is pretty confident that they’ll finally vault this one remaining hurdle.

Like everything else, the financial world is turned on its head right now, so being in this position is eyebrow raising.

Nothing is confirmed until it’s finally signed, of course, and I hope we’ve got a backup plan.

But assuming it’s just now a case of the formalities, AFCW is clearly not worried about the ability to pay it from next season.

The 2020/21 campaign will either need a workaround for social distancing, or it will need the EFL to bail out all its clubs.

I guess the club is banking on one of those two scenarios, especially if NPL has to sit empty for a lot of it.

One assumes Buckingham are finally wanting the full whack to complete the job, and we should feel lucky they’ve been more tolerant than they could have been.

Maybe the loan is such that we don’t have to pay too much of it off for the next year, and that crowds returning is a case of when, not if**?

** – which they will – if there’s no vaccine then life simply returns with that added risk. Anyone petrified simply has to get on with it by that stage, and it’s not like there won’t be effective treatment for it.

We’ve all gone through ad nauseam why the loan wasn’t at least agreed in principle in the last two years, although that would apply to a lot of things under one ex-regime in particular.

But even though we might not get to fully enjoy the homecoming, the end is now in sight.

NPL continues to come along nicely, and it’s a nice shot in the arm every time you see it. I don’t even care that the green stuff is the artificial grass bits of the turf.

The other three Bournemouth-esque stands are being constructed off site, and it’s going to feel even more real when the first of them gets put in place.

Finally, you might have noticed something if you’ve been on the club’s Twatter feed or the OS – yep, we’ve redesigned the badge.

Released a couple of days ago – 14th May, when else? – the club is clearly pushing the Return-Home-New-Era angle.

And yes, while going home will be the next stage in our journey (hopefully with a more adult, less naive approach to funding), things will definitely be different from now on.

The redesign, though? Well, it’s not really much of one, to be honest.

It’s a little bit “meh”, probably because I liked the previous one which looked quite classy.

That said, it’s not a bad redesign, I don’t hate it and I’ll get used to it. It’s not like you can (or should) radically alter our badge anyway.

And yes, it’s for the good reason of us returning home, though I’d like us to bring back the old WFC badge for merchandise reasons.

Mind you, as long as it’s that classic badge and not the bastard one

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