Just treat it like the close season has come early.
Ordinarily, we would be looking today at
bricking ourselves over facing Tranmere tomorrow. Obviously, these are not ordinary times, and won’t be for some while to come.
How long “some while” turns out to be is something we don’t know yet. You could drive yourself very mad if you start thinking about that already, though.
As we all know, nothing is going to happen until April 30th, at the very very least. If it’s true that the peak of the MexicanBeerVirus will happen around or a bit later than that time, then the whole country will be on lockdown by then.
Well, maybe. As I write this, there’s still no tight restrictions of anything other than the likely pubs/clubs/cinemas/restaurants, which may have already happened by the time you read this.
Perhaps the intention is still get as many people get it as possible without collapsing the health service/country in the process? Even though they’ve officially changed track over the whole “herd immunity” thing.
After all, most people who get it won’t get that ill by it (though it still won’t be fun) and it sounds many will have it without realising it.
It’s the vulnerable and the unlucky who are at the increased risk, although try telling the older people – who are fatalistic about their own mortality – that they have to effectively go under house arrest for too long.
Or to put that another way – if games start again at KM, good luck keeping a number of them out of the venue.
That’s for later. And it’s possible there may be games again this campaign. The Prem/EFL are telling everyone that the season must finish, no matter how long it takes, which does contradict UEFA’s 30th June cutoff.
The season can finish if games can restart again as near as dammit to the end of April. They can even wait until the middle or even the end of May as well and still get it all in by the end of June.
And I don’t blame the authorities in that regard. While we can all laugh at “integrity”, completing the season does at least settle matters on the field of play, without nulling and voiding things or getting into some horrific legal wrangles.
Also, let’s face it – when football returns, and when stadia reopens games everywhere will be sellouts. The population will be so glad of anything that they might even turn up to Stadium:MT.
It’s that serious.
For what it’s worth, I still can’t see the season getting completed for one main reason : UEFA’s deadline. I think has been done because they’ll expect to be back playing Europe-wide by then.
They’ll want to know who will be in the Champions League and Europa, and playing 19/20 until September/October will bugger all that up.
At some point they have to cut it off and write off this campaign as a bad lot if it’s not completed. It will suck for many clubs, but them’s the breaks.
They may well end up being flexible on that date, but they can’t be too lax over it. Contracts end, not just players but sponsorships and others as well. It’s not relevant today but it will be later on when those deadlines are near.
With such a cut-off point, and with so many games that need to be fitted in, it’s a tough ask anyway.
True, you can fit about 8/9 games in a month or so. In the past we’ve called that particular period “February”.
Sure, it will be a slog, but it effectively becomes a 9-game season with the end in sight in less than eight weeks.
But assuming that CV19 is at its peak, there’s likely to be at least one team per matchday who can’t play because somebody has just picked it up.
If you’re playing 3 games a week and you have a deadline, that’s not easy. But it won’t be one team, it will likely be half a dozen per division if you’re playing at peak virus.
Throw in the whole cup competitions, playoffs and what have you – that also need to be completed by then, according to current UEFA guidelines – and you’re only a game or two away from a complete mess again.
That’s all for later, though. In the meantime, we’re still sin futbol for the forseeable. While I think it’s one of those situations where you really will get used to that, it’s undeniably going to be tough for many seeing their social lives effectively ended.
You can do that for a few weeks, but you cannot do that for months at a time. Especially if they’ve had the virus already and have come out of it the other side.
Because nothing is going on, that means no money is coming into the coffers – as the EFL’s link earlier said, there’s a £50m short term relief package available – and no doubt, more to come.
The news that our office is closed until further notice came earlier this week, presumably partly to keep running costs at KM down and also to stop half our admin getting struck down.
This is where we should be using the EFL’s money – as tempting as some think to pay the remainder of NPL off with it, I don’t think that will go down too well with the authorities who we may need again before long.
That may also explain the comments by Joe Palmer today. It seems we’re confident of weathering any financial storm to our short-term funding.
Presumably down to the rescue package, but also because this might be one of the very few times running on a shoestring works to our advantage. We don’t have a lot coming in, but we don’t have a lot going out either.
Some clubs will be in trouble though, and like CV19 it might finish off those that are teetering on the brink (Southend springs to mind here, for some reason).
That said, just as it’s not politically possible to lock down people for anything more than a few weeks, football will be damaged by the PR of letting various clubs hit the wall after this. Especially given the wealth of Prem clubs.
Aside from the other reasons stated above why the authorities want the season to finish, even playing some games could save some clubs from following Bury into the graveyard.
As for NPL, it seems like construction carries on as much as normal. I don’t doubt there may now be supply chain and workforce issues, but the longer we can keep it going the better.
The west stand is into the cladding and internal works stage, and you can find photos of the drainage system for the pitch yourself.
Should there be a full lockdown, we’ll all have to accept that us moving in will be delayed. Mind you, the 2020/21 season is likely to be delayed anyway, so maybe we’ll finally get a bit of luck and open the first game of the season there?
Interestingly enough, despite the lockdown in Italy construction sites are still operating…
I don’t envy a lot of people right now, and one of those is the AFCW media team, who are having to do the equivalent of Channel TV in the 1979 ITV strike (basically, one hour of local news, repeats of the New Avengers and every single crappy film in the archive).
I did note the Farewell Kingsmeadow update earlier this week, and it seems increasingly obvious that regardless of whether NPL is complete we won’t be there next season.
From the point of selling season tickets, it makes a world of sense – if we’re planning on 5000 it’s much easier to utilise a bigger venue if we need to than deny at least 2000 people who have paid their money but can’t get into see us, because we’re still holed up in KT1.
A few of our fans suspect that we’ve already played our last competitive game there. I’m not so sure about that right now, but ask me in a month’s time and I may end up agreeing with them.
We don’t really know the relationship between ourselves and Chelski over this. Have we told them that we’ll be gone in the summer/close season a while back and they’re holding us to it?
It’s not their fault we fucked up over the whole £11m gap (and in the unintended consequences category of CV19 – at least the PLB has died the death), and I doubt they want us holding up their plans for a venue they now own.
Sure, they might say we could use it on occasions, but perhaps they mean for things like the Carabao Cup or the fLeasing.com? Though right now, it will be for pre-season friendlies rather than competitive football.
I haven’t forgotten the loan that we still need. If there’s one on the table right now, grab it and sign it – at a distance, obviously – and worry about it later before the lender changes their mind.
As for the rest of it, there’s not much else to say right now. Things aren’t happening, and they won’t be for a while, so it’s best to sit tight and rewatch Eastlands in 2011 on loop.
We may restart the season, and if we do we’d better hope it’s after the 3rd May. Otherwise the last ever competitive KM game will be against Franchise…