All posts by freyamartin21

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN LEAGUES ONE AND TWO?

With UEFA announcing today that they require leagues to make decisions about the remainder of the season, 24/7 football decided to look more closely at the effects of Covid-19 on lower tier football in England.

It has been rumoured that in EFL Leagues One and Two promotion may be decided through an eight team mini tournament. In turn this would mean no relegations for the 2019/2020 season, instead additional relegation places would be introduced for next season.

With a clear conflict of prioritising the opportunity to go up and trying to negate the effects of relegation, it goes without saying the league organisers have a real struggle on their hands. From the perspective of teams struggling at the bottom of their respective leagues, such as Bolton, Southend, Stevenage and Morecombe, this could be a blessing. A null and void season with no relegation could be seen as a ray of hope to recruit and rebuild for the upcoming season.

On the other hand it could simply just postpone their misery. Relegation was instated for a reason, in that the clubs which find themselves at the foot of the table simply could not cut it in their league. However, like with most football matches, no one result can be predicted. Condemning a team to relegation would be a subjective decision that those at the bottom would not have been able to change their fortunes in the regular season, an issue which would undoubtedly have been highly disputed by fans and clubs alike. Additional relegation spots next season could ensure increased competitiveness, delivering great football but with the cost of more heartache for those extra teams who face relegation.

Now turning interests to the top of the table, and the idea of a potential eight team play-off tournament. This in fact seems like a good prospect, in terms of competition and could produce some wonderful football games.  Not only that but it will also includes some new and unprecedented traits. This idea would see eighth placed teams granted with an opportunity of promotion, great for them, but the higher placed teams will have greater competition.

Arguably the higher teams should experience a little more ease in promotion, in reflection of securing results through the duration of the season. In fact this method does recognise that this season is far from regular and holds the potential to be an exciting prospect of a new promotion scheme. Even if these games are held behind closed doors.

Which brings me to my next point. The play-offs. Wembley. Your team in the play-offs at Wembley. Would not dream of missing that would you? In what can sometimes be a once in a life time experience, the play-offs are the pinnacle of English League football. We cannot imagine the play offs being the same this season, with the sheer lack of competitiveness, nerves and atmosphere. It would cause a huge anomaly for this season, let alone the absent fan experience.

In this particular situation we are inclined to side with idea of the two top sides securing promotion as normal, with the teams in the play-off places staying put. With future plans in mind and with recognition of the play-off placed teams during this season, it would be interesting to see the 2020/2021 start with positive points on the board for play-off placed teams, to increase the likelihood of their promotion next season.

This season and the next as like any other, will see clubs struggling with the financial loss in relegation and the struggle with keeping up with monetary issues in the higher league after promotion. The EFL are tasked with finding an answer that will be best for these clubs, a conclusion which is continuing to become more and more complex.

A glimpse of the footballing world through covid-19

As football came to a standstill, with the last football fixtures played over a month ago, clubs submerged into circumstances which would cut revenue and throw thousands upon thousands of jobs into jeopardy. Uncertainty of cash flow has seen various individuals sacrifice a wage percentage to ensure non-playing staff receive income. In one example, Reading manager Mark Bowen and chief executive Nigel Howe took a ”substantial percentage” wage cut in order to pay staff at the Berkshire club.

In the uncertain times of today, football clubs and their players have not been short of ideas in helping out and keeping busy. Social media has been flooded with entertainment courtesy of the biggest stars in football, whether that be Cristiano Ronaldo using his children as weights in his home gym or Nottingham Forest winger, Joe Lolley throwing a pan over his house. We have certainly seen a variety!

Premier League Season Extends Hiatus Indefinitely Because of COVID ...
As Coronavirus causes disruptions across the globe, we gain insight to how the footballing world is reacting.

With recognition that a football club is a colossal source of employment relative to a small town or community, it has become crystal clear just how important the football industry has become to towns and cities across the country. Fears of small clubs being disabled in recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic puts whole communities in a dismal situation. Despite this pressing thought, the football clubs we know and love are giving back through support in the community.

In regards to the 2019/2020 football season as a whole key decisions certainly need to be made. After all, with so much money at stake and livelihoods of many at risk, should there in fact be any relegation’s this season? Dropping down a league is a deeply emotional as well as a troubling financial affair and in the current situation may we see the Premier League and the Football Leagues decide to stop the drop?  Perhaps the most likely of the options is to finish the season – when safe for players, immediate staff and reporters to do so- behind close doors. This option is certainly the safest and potentially most sensible option, but both players and fans alike will argue this does not allow for a true representation of the season considering how atmospheres in stadiums can affect the game.

As for promotions and league titles this has to be concluded, not only because the whole team, fans included, have been building towards that target, but have also pledged large amounts of their budget on the basis of gaining promotion. Suddenly having that taken away could have dire financial consequences. When it is safe to do this is still unknown,however some reports say that the start of June is a possibility.

Another thing to consider is how will contracts and the transfer window work? Players and staff contracts usually run until the end of June/July in order to cover the season. Will contracts have to be extended to see out the current season or will a general rule be brought in? How will the Transfer Window work with Social Distancing rules? Could deals be done via video calls, potentially yes, but will everyone be satisfied by this ?

On a large scale, we’ve seen in the space of two weeks players unite with #PlayersTogether. A charity set up amongst the Premier League club captains in order to fund and provide PPE, vital equipment for NHS staff and key workers on the front line of the pandemic.

At a local level, many clubs have delivered for those wonderful individuals of the NHS. In Watford, Vicarage Road has been opened to allow a place of rest and recovery for Doctors and Nurses and Watford General Hospital.

While up north, Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook has transferred managerial skills to supermarket delivery skills, signing up as a key worker to deliver shopping to those in self-isolation.  

Manchester United and England striker, Marcus Rashford has also continued his work within the community by partnering with FareShare, a charity which is reaching out to school children who would usually benefit from free school meals. Rashford’s involvement has helped the charity raise over £20 million which is directly bettering lives through distribution of meals to over 400,000 school children.

Arguably social media has been poignant in lifting spirits of everyone bound to their homes, giving us an insight to the lives of footballers and also allowing engagement between clubs and community. Various footballers from all teams have been video calling with young fans and we even had an insight to the Liverpool side having their morning meeting via today’s technology.

Furthermore, the Match Of The Days boys are ever present on social media and also completing one of many football podcasts. In the time slot of the regular highlights programme the show continues to add some routine to football fans across the country.

In a time of little positivity, it is these small gestures that are welcomed to bring light to the situation.

To hear more about football during isolation please listen to our podcast below.

The Isolation Pod: When will football return and Newcastle to be taken over?

https://247-football.com/2020/04/21/blades-players-take-partial-wage-bonus-deferrals-due-to-ongoing-covid-19-pandemic/

Should the FA Cup replay’s be scrapped?

Following the New Meadow 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury and Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp stated his first team players, nor himself, would appear in the replay back at Anfield.

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Shrewsbury’s Jason Cumming’s scored the equaliser on Sunday to take the tie back to Merseyside.

Since Klopp’s arrival to the Premier League he has shown no happiness towards the busy December period and the replay format of the cup, it seems he believes the players are requested to play too often, hindering their physical capability and lack of recovery time. Despite this, his team way ahead at the top of the Premier League do not seem to be suffering on the whole. A factor which is potentially being interpreted as ignorance when their competition is from the lower leagues who play more games than those in the top division with remarkably less money and resources.

A recent discussion on BBC Radio 5 Live heard how Great Britain hockey star Samantha Quek argued the FA Cup replay’s should be scrapped and the format should be changed to two separate pots of Premier League and Championship teams and another of the lower divisions. A disgruntled Tranmere fan was on the phone to explain how much the FA cup meant to a lower league team, not just financially but sentimentally, and rightfully so.

The FA Cup ties and replays are renowned for bringing extra revenue to smaller clubs which can become a vital input for changes that Premier League clubs do not have to think twice about. Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts explained how the money from the return trip to Anfield would allow for improved drainage of the pitch and cameras for analysis to be used in games. Something Premier League regulars may take for granted.

The FA Cup allows for extra distribution of money which is circulated within English football, vitally this money can reach the lucky lower league teams who make it through the rounds. But it is also the importance of sentiment that the cup brings. For a supporter, the FA cup can be a magical occasion and allows for that chance to visit a Premier League ground to watch their team play against some the world’s greats. Similarly for a player, who may have finished a day working, to then take to the stage lined up against world famous players, a great euphoric feeling which can’t be replicated.

Yes, the Premier league may be tasking for players who play a higher standard week in week out, but they are professional. Their clubs, if anything out of respect, should participate thoroughly in an FA Cup game as if it was any other game.

FA Cup Replays – Who can cause an upset?

An enthralling game is in store for those in North London tonight where Tottenham host Championship competition of Middlesbrough. The inform tier two side may be concentrating on reaching a vital 40 points in the league, but there is no doubt the northern side will put on a valiant effort to progress into the next round. With this weeks news of Harry Kane’s absence till April, Mourinho has interesting squad decisions to make, and the strength of tonight’s team will surely have in mind their distance from a European spot for next season. The FA Cup may the silverware they strive for in Mourinho’s inaugural season as Tottenham manager.

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Kane out until April: Jose admits that without him, they cannot play the ‘Tottenham way’.

Another Premier League team with potential to fall with an upset are Newcastle United, who take on League one Rochdale at St James’s Park. The original fixture saw Rochdale bite back in the latter stages of the game with a goal made by two players aged two decades apart. Youngster Luke Matheson, who made his name when he equalised against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup earlier last year, grabbed the assist which booked Dale’s replay on Tyneside. An already classic FA Cup story, it seems written for Rochdale to go all the way, but will Premier League quality become too much and halt their FA Cup story?

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40 year-old Aaron Wilbraham scored the equaliser at The Spotland Stadium

Nigel Pearson has seemed to flip Watford’s Premier League fate on it’s head as after this weekend they sit above the relegation places for the first time season. However, his team were not as focussed as they conceded three second half goals to draw with Tranmere Rovers on the 4th January. A heroic display from the struggling League One display confirmed a replay which neither side would have desired at kick off, but one that could bring joy to the one set of fans, who have perhaps endured a poor season so far.

With current form, it would be suggested Watford would progress to the next round, but Pearson may rest his usual players for a tricky London derby against Tottenham on Saturday, as they continue to try secure Premier League status for next season. On the other hand, the Merseyside club will be hopeful for more FA Cup magic in the replay and may see a strong team out to finish a job they so excellently accounted for in the original fixture. Similarly to Watford in managerial terms, it will be argued the priority should be on Tranmere too escaping their relegation zone position.

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Watford must be delighted with Pearson’s impact so far, but what will his attentions be for The FA Cup

TOWN’S TRANSER MARKET

Reflection of Huddersfield’s activity, or inactivity, in the transfer market proves them not to be big spenders of any sort, a pretence their supporters have come to terms with therefore dampening any real January excitement.

However manager Danny Cowley has shown no hesitation in expressing the necessity to bring in new bodies during the transfer period, and most recently promised the club were working hard to bring players in during a post match interview following their FA cup exit courtesy of two Southampton goals made in their academy.

In terms of the West Yorkshire team’s own academy, the past week has seen many development players recalled. With the likes of attacking minded player Rekeil Pike returning to his parent club from Rochdale, it is possible additions to Cowley’s youthful squad are coming from recalls. Since their arrival from Lincoln City, the Cowley brothers have not been shy of taking risks with the youth players, with the risk best executed late on against Charlton; academy graduate Matty Daly scored a late winner to secure all three points for the Terriers in the capital.

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First team appearance on the cards for Pike? The striker is the latest youngster to be recalled back to Huddersfield.

Largely, Huddersfield fans will argue the Aaron-Mooy-shaped void in midfield is the priority for debut season owner Phil Hodgkinson to get sorted. Not to ignore the effectiveness of current central players Jonathon Hogg – nicknamed ‘ the general’ for his control, maturity and clear passion for the team- and youngster Lewis O’Brien who has flourished in an attacking midfield position under the Cowley’s, but the evident Premier League quality of the Australian is not yet to be replicated. Consistently giving class performances in the countries top league, Town fans are well aware his rising price tag could be windfall for a quality signing to commit to the northern club.

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Aaron Mooy’s departure to the Premier League left a difficult hole to fill for the struggling Championship side.

Owner Phil Hodgkinson’s takeover was made a subtle affair as former owner, and Town fan Dean Hoyle gave protection and appealed to the fans to be patient with the clubs handling. Facing relegation in 2019, after an emphatic past two years, the humbled status of the club led to almost a state of acceptance that Huddersfield had had its time and was almost a return to reality. It was made well aware the bank was not in danger of overflowing to put it one way. Knowledge of this becomes contributor to Huddersfield’s limited hopes of a busy transfer market but Cowley insists he is adamant for new faces at the John Smiths.

Similar to recent seasons, rumours are surrounding young Premier League loanees. With Rhian Brewster been linked with a loan move to the championship after recently recovering from an ankle injury, he would offer a different striking option. Close links to the Merseyside club from the David Wagner years, who was close friend Jurgen Klopp, has seen Liverpool-Huddersfield connections before as with Dominik Solanke who was linked with the club last season. Solanke, who went to play for Premier League side Bournemouth, is an example of maybe the lack of attraction Huddersfield hold and maybe why chasing Premier League club players is not the most realistic of options.

To look at lower league possibilities, Marcus Maddison of Peterborough would be a great addition for the Terriers, with 10 goals and nearly as many assists to his name. The attacking winger could be a goal scoring source for Huddersfield who struggle more often than not to take their chances. A natural winger could be vital for the team, who are rumoured to release two wingers in Adama Diakhby and Isaac Ebenza who have not been favourited by the new manager. The outlet of a new winger could see Karlan Grant return to be a more central striker which is the position he played so well in the early days at Town.

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Maddison at Peterborough shapes the ideal addition for Terriers’side.

In speaking to Huddersfield supporters, due to the lack of current concrete rumours, a few lower league names also cropped up, one being Jerome Opuku of Fulham. Currently out on loan on Accrington Stanley, he would create competition for a centre back role and is also adaptable to play at left back. His addition would raise competition for Schindler and Stankovic who have played well but Opuku could offer pace in the centre half’s position.

It seem likely that Huddersfield’s supporters can expect the arrival of loanees from lower league clubs to improve the depth and quality for some areas of the squad. As much as they would enjoy the return of past strikers Jordan Rhodes and Nahki Wells who have begun to hit the back of the net in the Championship again, as they once did so well at Town. However there is hope to be had with Danny Cowley’s obvious strive for achievement, January may just have to be a patient one for the Huddersfield fans.