Category Archives: League One

EFL OPENING WEEKEND ROUNDUP

Whilst the eyes of the football world focused mainly on Liverpool against Leeds and Chelsea’s new look squad, under the radar dotted around the UK the English Football pyramid also began the 2020/21 campaign this weekend in earnest.

Here is your roundup of all the goings on and everything you need to know!

Championship

All three relegated clubs kicked off their season with wins as they all look to bounce back at the first time of asking. Norwich striker Adam Idah grabbed an 80th minute winner away against Huddersfield Town, whilst an early Craig Cathcart strike was enough to give Watford an opening day victory against Middlesbrough.

A Bournemouth side under new management after Eddie Howe’s departure got themselves entangled in a classic with Blackburn Rovers, the Cherries running out eventual 3-2 winners thanks to a late goal from Arnaut Danjuma.

Last seasons play-off final runners-up Brentford lost their opening day clash away at Birmingham City. Swansea City who made the play-offs semi-finals in dramatic fashion kicked off their season with an impressive away win at Preston North End, Wolves loanee Morgan Gibbs-White with the only goal.

Other Results

Wycombe Wanderers 0-1 Rotherham United, Barnsley 0-1 Luton Town, Milwall 0-0 Stoke City, Cardiff City 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City 2-1 Coventry, QPR 2-0 Nottingham Forest, Derby County 0-2 Reading.

League One

There was plenty of goals around League One as Sunderland began another season in the third tier with a 1-1 draw at home to Bristol Rovers.

Ipswich Town kicked off what they hope will be a successful season with a 2-0 win against Wigan with Teddy Edwards and Gwion Edwards on the scoresheet, whilst Swindon Town were perhaps most impressive on the day as they ran out 3-1 winners against Rochdale.

Northampton Town and AFC Wimbledon played out a 2-2 draw at Sixfields Stadium with all four goals coming in the first half.

Other Results

Lincoln City 2-0 Oxford United, Doncaster Rovers 1-1 MK Dons, Gillingham 0-2 Hull City, Portsmouth 0-0 Shrewsbury Town, Fleetwood Town 2-1 Burton Albion, Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Blackpool Town, Accrington Stanley 2-0 Peterborough, Crewe Alexandra 0-2 Charlton Athletic.

League Two

The story of the day in League Two came at Roots Hall, but it wasn’t for Southend United. Instead Harrogate Town in their first ever football league game ran out 4-0 winners with a Jack Muldoon brace at the heart of the victory.

Cambridge United went second just a goal behind the newcomers as they beat Carlisle United 3-0 at home. Manchester United legend owned Salford City drew 2-2 with Exeter City.

Morecambe left it very late as they crept past Cheltenham Town, a 92nd minute winner from Carlos Mendes Gomes giving the Shrimps all three points in a 2-1 first day win.

Other Results

Scunthorpe United 1-1 Newport County, Oldham Athletic 0-1 Leyton Orient, Barrow 1-1 Stevenage, Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Forest Green, Port Vale 2-0 Crawley Town, Mansfield Town 0-0 Tranmere Rovers, Walsall 1-0 Grimsby, Bradford City 0-0 Colchester United.

With Carabao Cup action this midweek the EFL ties will begin again on Friday night with Coventry v QPR in the Championship.

EFL League One & Two clubs vote to end seasons early

Football League One and Two seasons have both been ended early after a vote by all clubs on Tuesday.

Both tables will be settled on points per game, while promotion, relegation and the play-offs all remain.

Coventry and Rotherham have been promoted from League one, While Wycombe leapfrog Peterborough into the play-off places.

Swindon have been crowned League Two champions, but ongoing disciplinary matters mean it is not yet certain who will get relegated into the National League.

Currently, Stevenage are rooted at the bottom of the table, but they could be reprieved after Macclesfield Town were handed a fresh EFL misconduct charge at the beginning of the month.

Macclesfield, who sit three points above Stevenage, have already had 11 points deducted for previous rule breaches this season and have a further suspended two-point penalty hanging over them if they transgress again.

Both votes were passed with an overwhelming majority, according to the EFL. No dates have yet been confirmed for the League One play-offs, but the schedule for the Division Two play-offs has been decided with Colchester entertaining Exeter on Thursday 18th June and Northampton facing Cheltenham on the same day in the first legs. The second legs for all four sides will be on Monday 22nd June, with the Final played at Wembley on Monday 29th June.

Clubs in League One had previously been divided over whether to finish the season or not. Initial talks were put on hold when at least six sides said they wanted to continue the campaign.

However, the new regulations proposed by the EFL board and approved by the 71 clubs on Tuesday, meant just over half of the teams in any division needed to agree on ending the season early.

With the decision of points per game decided by the board, it has thrown up one major change to the League One table, with Wycombe who originally were in eighth placed replacing sixth placed Peterborough United in the play-offs.

After the conclusion of the season, the next few months are going to be a very anxious time for clubs in League One and Two. Many of whom are going to find themselves financially very insecure.

 

Should Salary caps be introduced in the English Leagues?

In the current economic situation, sport and football clubs in general are having to tighten their belts, like they have not had to do so ever before.

Recently FIFA President Gianni Infantino reportedly spoke out about this problem by saying that there may well be a need to introduce salary caps in post Covid football.

The curtailment of  some leagues along with the absence of paying spectators will certainly have far reaching effects on all clubs, bar the biggest clubs worldwide, and Infantino now feels that this is the time for the game to take a step back and seriously reflect on this growing concern.

“I heard some interesting proposals on a wide range of topics.” Infantino said.

“From salary caps to transfer fee caps, to the possible obligation of governing bodies to contribute to a reserve fund which can be of assistant in hours of need such as now.”

He also promised to look into the amount of matches top players are asked to play each season. But surely it was FIFA after all who are mainly responsible for the extreme demands on their players. They for one are the only ones who brought on this problem.

Surely at some point in the coming months there must be a situation where lower wages will have to happen at every single Premiership club. Days of players reportedly earning around 15 million per year will end.

Another possibility could well be a gradual phasing out of the transfer fee system, but the most likely way forward in my opinion would be to bring in a salary cap in all leagues in English football including non-league level as well.

I am sure this would certainly become unpopular with the cream at the top of the Premier League for now, but if a salary cap was introduced it would give every side in their appropriate league the chance to become more competitive.

The likes of the Liverpools, Man. City’s. Chelsea’s and Man Utd’s would suffer but by bringing in a salary cap this would give other sides a much better chance of aiming for a top six finish.

If this idea was introduced into football at all levels it will always be open to some sides breaking the cap rule, which has happened recently in Rugby Union with Saracens being punished for their misdemeanour’s, but I’m sure this would only amount to a handful at most.

It would also see the end of excessive spending by most clubs, and in so doing secure their chances of surviving in the crazy world of football for many a year to come.

Article Written by Peter Moore

Football desperate for bail out

Whilst the welcoming news recently that the Premier League will be back on our screens shortly now is the time to spare a thought for the clubs in the lower levels of football, most of which are struggling financially in this current climate.


The Premier League is under increasing pressure to explain how it will deliver the Government’s call to share the financial benefits of Project Restart through the entire football family.


In his announcement on Saturday, the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden described this distribution of income as part of the challenges he had set elite football, but so far little detail has been forthcoming.
The Premier League is already committed to solidarity payments to the rest of the professional pyramid, which have been advanced for this summer. But according to the Daily Telegraph, no new money has been forthcoming as a result of the Premier League restarting.
With Premier League clubs failing to reach any definite decision with there players on wage deferrals or cuts, understandably they desperately want the league to resume as soon as possible to minimise any rebate to the broadcasters.
It is estimated that Premier League clubs keep around 93 percent of their broadcast income. A huge amount considering the vast sum of money that Sky, BT and Amazon Prime pay for this service.
Football League chairman Rick Parry recently said,

“I would love to see money trickling down, but I’ve not seen any evidence of it yet”. The question to ask at this moment in time is are we really going to see any money work its way down the lower leagues from the Premiership very soon.


Charlie Dobres, a director at non-league Lewes said “

For most clubs outside the Premier League, COVID is potentially an extinction-level event. Oliver Dowden referred to the entire football family. Family is such a good analogy because families look after each other.”

Paul Doswell, Manager of Havant in the National League South said

“the reality of the Premier League’s advance solidarity payments was that his club received £8,500 a few months earlier than it was due. An amount of money that wouldn’t last a month in the non-league world.
The worrying fear for an awful lot of lower league sides is without a big bailout from the Premier League boys, there is a very strong threat that a few could well go out of business sooner rather than later.

Article written by Peter Moore

EFL CLUBs could go bust

While the main topic around the return of football centres on the Premiership, lets take a moment to reflect on finances of clubs down the lower leagues.

Huddersfield Town’s owner Phil Hodgkinson has gone on record to say that up to 60 sides in the EFL could go bankrupt if clubs are required to play in empty stadiums next season.

Hodgkinson said that the domestic football pyramid could be destroyed as a result of the ban placed on supporters attending matches during the current pandemic.

He said recently. “The problem is not whether we finish this season or not, it is what happens after that.” There are clubs I know of that are only still trading because they are deferring wages and tax and other creditors.” There is an absolutely real stark probability that if something isn’t agreed now within football to ensure all clubs can pay their bills and get through to the point where income is resumed, you will be looking at 50 or 60 clubs ceasing to exist.” he warned.

This clearly is worrying times ahead for the lower divisions of the pyramid.  If the game was to continue for clubs in the EFL, it would cost them between £150,000 and £200,000 for testing to get to the end of this season alone.

Will all lower league clubs having to rely on gate receipts, match day sales of leisurewear, shirts, programmes and food and drink along with match day hospitality and sponsorship, it doesn’t need a calculator to work out that it is virtually impossible for clubs to continue without crowds being allowed into grounds to watch the games.

Unlike the Premiership, the TV deal for the EFL is peanuts compared to the big boys of the top league in England. The only feasible solution to help out clubs in the EFL should be to reduce players wages at this unprecedented time sport is going through.

Yes, the players are not to blame, but the reality is that they are part of the solution because if some clubs do go out of business, their contracts won’t get paid by the clubs anyway.

The PFA in consultation with the clubs should put in place salary cuts until such a time as crowds are allowed back into football stadiums.

At this worrying time for all levels of football, surely it is time also for the Premier League to help out their fellow players by dipping into their ever-increasing large revenues and funding the EFL and the Non-League pyramid.

After all, the beautiful game isn’t just about the big clubs, it’s about the smaller ones to. So please let’s not forget them, as I’m sure no football lover in the country would want to see any team fold in these very trying times that we live in.

Article by Peter Moore