I always play this rare gem at the end of each campaign. And it feels ever more poignant right now…
So, after close to three months since the last ball was kicked, and seemingly double as long waiting for somebody to make a final decision – League One is ended.
To be honest, I feel relieved more than anything. I doubt I was alone in dreading the return of actual games.
Trying to win every game 0-0 with a bunch of eunuchs up front, and a defence/midfield that delighted in a points-costing brainfart each game, strangely lost its appeal.
That doesn’t matter now. We start life back home next season as a League One side. And that’s all our aim was a year ago.
I’ll do a proper review of 2019/20 either later this week, or more likely next week, but I’ve never experienced anything like this in 37 years of being a fan.
And I doubt I will for the next 37 either.
We are living in unique circumstances at the moment, and the longer this went on the less likely restarting was a realistic option.
And it’s two simple words that has ended things in the matter we see today – real life.
In real life, crowds won’t be allowed into stadia until later in the year, denying clubs at our level vital income.
In real life, contracts still have to be honoured and wages have to be paid in some way, shape or form.
In real life, top flight players have just been allowed to resume full training – three months since the season was halted.
In real life, the Premier League with all its money and clout have gone through so many hoops to get to even this stage.
In real life, there will be a number of people who don’t think the football should be restarting full stop**
** – although most of them will be the permanently offended types who mope around on Twatter, spending their day whining that life should stop because one squad member in L2 got tested positive.
And in real life, we’ve ran out of time and money when it comes to completing the League One season.
Reality is a place certain club chairmen need to be reeled back into, methinks.
We’re winners right now, but in times like this there has to be a loser or three.
Bolton and Southend were long gone, and they have few complaints. I do have some sympathy for Tranmere though, and I’m not going to dance on their grave.
They were on a roll, maybe would have overtaken us, but have now been demoted through off-field decisions.
I don’t think they helped themselves with their proposals though – as somebody elsewhere said a couple of weeks ago, it would have been better if another club (us?) suggested them on their behalf.
It just came across as blatant self-interest disguised as a “fair” solution, and everyone saw through it.
Not that it was particularly simple either – I tuned out going through it, but I think it went something like this :
PPG + Last Three Seasons Points Average / Amount of times Mark Palios shagged Faria Alam x Amount of times people from Birkenhead get called Scousers per day = XYZ
Where XYZ meant not only keeping Tranmere up, but promoted three divisions and awarded the Champions League in the process.
As pissed off as they must be right now, they can spare the whole “we’ve been stitched up” bullshit, because they haven’t – they had enough time to persuade others to back their idea, and they simply failed to convince enough people.
The outcomes aren’t ideal, but some forget that it’s the clubs themselves who are making the decisions.
If somebody wanted a different proposal accepted, they should have lobbied the others more effectively to begin with.
And they can keep quiet over accusing other sides (like AFCW) of acting in their own self-interest.
Let’s face it – if fourth-bottom Tranmere were three points ahead of third-bottom Wimbledon with a game more played, they would do exactly the same thing as us today.
We all act in self interest. Anyone who claims otherwise is a liar.
That said, I don’t blame anyone at Prenton Park for being upset right now. It hurts to get relegated in such fashion, and if I was them I’d be looking for some money from the EFL/whoever to soften that blow.
If this happened a year earlier, it would have been us.
On the other hand, I’m pissing myself at the toy throwing coming from Peterborough, and I expect MacAnthony ended up pissing off too many people in the end.
He’s starting to remind me a bit of Paschal Taggart in the langer stakes, opening his mouth many days before engaging his brain.
It’s almost quite entertaining reading the rant he did before the vote. “Mickey Mouse” and “Fake Promotion” is all rather emotional and over-dramatic.
At least it would be if he wasn’t so dangerously ignorant with this point:
I did some transparent costing and it would be no more than £400k to finish the season, not the £750k-800k other clubs have claimed.
So, is he accusing other clubs of lying? And clubs “only” losing £400k, because of course that’s pocket change to most of us.
That’s sarcasm, by the way, because they probably genuinely think that at London Road.
In the real world, the one where nobody in Peterborough seems to live, £400k is a helluva lot of money for clubs like us, Burton, Rochdale, t’Stanley etc.
It could genuinely push clubs like ourselves into admin (or worse), because that’s the harsh reality of life at this level.
Why should AFCW, or t’Stanley, or Burton, or Rochdale, or whoever have to be strongarmed into potentially risking their own future, just because some jackeen has an entitlement problem?
And it’s not like Posh are some fallen giant who is on loan to League One – they’ve spent five years total in the second tier in their entire history.
And they were the last club we beat last season. They deserve to lose out for that alone.
Still, if we’re going to get loads of “vengeance” rhetoric from there over this summer and beyond, bring it on. It’ll be motivation for next season for the likes of us too.
It’s not a crime to act to keep your club alive.
For this reason as much as anything, I want Wycombe to win the playoffs, because the pissboiling will be a sight to behold…
Anyway, we’re in League One again next season, and the planning can begin. When the lockdown first started, GH was doing the scouting, and you hope that we can start making changes already.
To be blunt, I am glad I don’t have to see certain players in an AFCW shirt again.
Whether next season will start in August, or September, in front of a crowd or not, we will have a six-month break from it all. And I think we’ve needed it.
Your editor spoke briefly to an SW19 reader last week, and their words summed it up – five years of crap have taken their toll.
It’s been too dire for too long, too much poor and uninspiring stuff for too many matches. And was something that was souring our return home.
Yet we received a once-in-a-generation chance to hit the pause button, take stock and we end up on our feet.
God/Satan is a Womble after all.
True, things will be a bit different this close season, with so much up in the air, but we can renew a squad that was in truth on its way to L2.
It’s not going to be fun for released players finding work at the moment, and some are going to have to make important decisions.
For us though, we might be in a good spot. There will be a number of high wage earners gone, and we now have some resemblance of a scouting system in place.
We will be able to “sell” the new stadium side of things, in a way we’ve never been able to do since 2002.
Additionally, we’re lucky that with so many teams likely to need their yoof players next season, our own thumbsuckers have a season of experience under their belts.
Some clubs will spend silly money, needless to say, but many won’t. Maybe – just maybe – we will be a bit more competitive in the transfer market this next few months…?
We don’t know when we will get to kick the first ball in SW19 for the first time since 1991, or indeed when we can take in paying punters to see us do it.
We will be hosting Sunderland, Ipswich, one or both of Pompey or Oxford, and whoever comes down from the Championship.
Coming up, we say hello again to Swindon and Plymouth, and Crewe too, plus whoever comes through those playoffs.
There’s some potentially very, very decent away turnouts next season, and I hope we’re allowed to take advantage of that.
After all, the Football Gods have smiled on us yet again today. Let’s hope their generosity lasts a bit longer…