Category Archives: Stevenage

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.

 

Is The League One & Two season coming to an end?

Friday saw a very important meeting take place, with all the owners off the respective League One and League Two clubs, as they come to an agreement with what to do with the rest of the 19/20 campaign.

LEAGUE TWO

After a lengthy meeting on Friday, owners off all of the league Two teams decided that the best option for everyone involved was to finish the league two season, and decide the final table on Points Per Game (PPG).

This would mean that Swindon, Crewe And Plymouth Argyle would all be promoted to League One. Unfortunately, this would mean that Stevenage would be relegated to the National League for the first time in a decade. This means, the Play-Offs would be played  just like any other season ( Two Semi-Finals and a Final) to determine who the final promotion spot goes too.

A statement on The League Two Season was released by the EFL on Friday.  Here is what was said:

“Having considered the protocols and costs that would be required to be met to conclude the current season, League Two clubs have unanimously indicated a preferred direction of travel to curtail the campaign in line with the framework outlined by the EFL Board.

In addition, clubs asked for consideration to be given to suspending relegation to the National League for 2019/20 as a result of circumstances created where fixtures cannot be completed. No commitments were made in this respect and the Board will now consider the implications of the division’s preferred approach at their next meeting.”

So, therefore, the vote is subject to approval from the EFL and the FA.

League One

In the same way as League Two, The Owners from all of the respective League One clubs held a meeting to determine what would be the best way to finish the League One Season.   However, they couldn’t come to an agreement on what was best, but IF League One was to be determined using PPG, Coventry & Rotherham would be promoted to the Championship.  Subsequently, Tranmere Rovers, Southend United & Bolton Wanderers would be relegated to League Two.  Just like League Two, however, The Play-Offs would stay the same, (Two Semi-Finals & A Final) to determine the final promotion place.

Here is what the EFL had to say on the League One Season:

“There were varied views shared in League One and it was determined that there would be a further period of reflection and consultation to understand what creative solutions could be implemented. It was acknowledged that the need to find innovative and creative solutions was of paramount importance as was the need for decisions to be taken quickly.” 

There is expected to be an announcement on the League One Season in the next couple of days.

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.

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

The Battle for Football League survival

With less than 9 games left in League Two, we here at 24/7 football decided to look at the final games for every club in the fight to retain their Football League status. This season has thrown up a few surprises and looks to keep that trend going into the final 8 or 9 games.

24. Notts County

Currently sat at the foot of the League Two table are Nottinghamshire based side, Notts County. County, who were preseason favourites for promotion, currently find themselves on the verge of entering the Non-League for the first time in their history. The oldest Football League club are also having a nightmare off the pitch with the club currently up for sale.

Notts County’s recent form – LDLWD

The Magpies head into the final 8 games in a slight rejuvenation of form with 4 points being acquired in their last two games. However, County have only picked up 5 points in their last 6 games and have struggled to string a prolonged run of form together all season. To add further salt to their wounds, County have been dire at Meadow Lane in recent weeks, with the Magpies having only picked up 7 points in their last 8 home matches.

Notts County’s final 8 games

Exeter City (H) 23/03/2019

Stevenage (A) 30/03/2019

Northampton Town (H) 06/04/2019

Crewe Alexandra (A) 13/04/2019

MK Dons (H) 19/04/2019

Crawley Town (A) 22/04/2019

Grimsby Town (H) 27/04/2019

Swindon Town (A) 04/05/2019

County have a fairly balanced final 8 games with Notts having to face 2 promotion-chasing sides in MK and Exeter. County also have to play an inform Northampton side and a playoff-chasing Stevenage. A tough easter weekend awaits on the horizon with the Magpies facing MK on the Friday before a long away trip to mid-table Crawley on the Monday which could be a deciding factor in Notts’ survival.

23. Macclesfield

Newly promoted Macclesfield town currently sit 23rd place under the guidance of former Arsenal and Spurs defender, Sol Campbell. Since Campbell’s arrival, the Silkmen have seen an improvement in their fortunes,  picking up 7 points in his first 4 league games. However, Campbell’s men have slumped back into their old habits over the recent weeks with Macclesfield winning just one of their last five league games.

Macclesfield Town’s recent Form – DDLLW

The Silkmen head into their final 9 games in good spirits after defeating 22nd placed Yeovil Town, 2-0. The victory over Yeovil ended a 7 game winless streak and has left Macclesfield only 3 points away from safety with the Cheshire-based side also having a game in hand on Yeovil.

Macclesfield Town’s  final 9 games

Stevenage (H) 23/03/2019

Lincoln City (A) 30/03/2019

Morecambe (H) 06/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 13/04/2019

Northampton Town (A) 19/04/2019

Newport County (H) 22/04/2019

Port Vale (A) 27/04/2019

Cambridge United (H) 04/05/2019

*Exeter (H) Date to be confirmed

Macclesfield arguably have one of the toughest final 9 games out of all the teams facing relegation with the Silkmen facing 3 of the top 7 teams. Furthermore, Macclesfield have to face both Stevenage and Northampton who will be hoping they can sneak into the playoffs. Macclesfield finally have two huge games at the end of the season facing 20th and 21st placed Port Vale and Cambridge who will be hoping to seal their futures as Football League clubs before the final two games. However, if the Silkmen can get results against the teams around them they can pull away from the drop zone.

22.Yeovil Town

In 2014, Yeovil Town were battling relegation from the Championship. Fast forward 5 years and Yeovil currently find themselves ominously facing relegation to the National League for the first time since they were promoted to the Football League in 2003. Yeovil, who had started the season in encouraging form, soon fell away and have subsequently been dragged into a relegation battle.

Yeovil Town’s recent form – WWLLL

Yeovil’s recent form makes for vexatious reading for Glovers fans, with the Somerset-based side sitting bottom of the League 2 form table. Yeovil have only picked up 9 points in there last 12 games and to add to their problems, have failed to win in their last 4 away games with the Glovers only scoring one goal in those 4 away trips.

Yeovil Town’s final 8 games

MK Dons (A) 23/03/2019

Newport County (H) 30/03/2019

Swindon Town (A) 06/04/2019

Crawley Town (H) 13/04/2019

Crewe Alexandra (A) 19/04/2019

Colchester United (H) 22/04/2019

Northampton Town (A) 27/04/2019

Carlisle United (H) 04/05/2019

Yeovil arguably have one of the toughest finishes in the League with the Somerset-based side face 3 playoff-chasing teams in their final 3 games. With Macclesfield facing Port Vale and Cambridge, it could be crucial that Yeovil stop the rot and pick up points earlier and secure their survival.

21.Cambridge United

Cambridge United currently sit 8 points clear of the drop, however could still get sucked into a relegation battle if the U’s fail to pick up points in their final 9 remaining games. United will be hoping to seal their fate as a Football League club and play a sixth straight season in League Two.

Cambridge United’s recent form – LLWDD

Cambridge have managed to pull away from the bottom two with a burst of positive results. The U’s have managed to pick up 18 points in their last 12 games, allowing them to pull away from the drop. Cambridge have also improved their home form, picking up 15 points in their last 8 league games at the Abbey Stadium.

Cambridge United’s final 9 league games

Carlisle United (A) 23/03/2019

Colchester United (H)  30/03/2019

Mansfield Town (A) 06/04/2019

Newport County (H) 13/04/2019

Swindon Town (H) 19/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 22/04/2019

Morecambe (H) 27/04/2019

Macclesfield (A) 04/05/2019

*Bury (A) date to be confirmed

With the U’s facing 3 promotion chasing teams in their next three games, Cambridge could get dragged into a relegation battle if Notts County, Macclesfield and Yeovil all pick up points. Furthermore, Cambridge have to face both Morecambe and Macclesfield on the final two games of the seasons both of which might be must-wins if the U’s are dragged into a relegation battle.

20.Port Vale

Sat 8 points clear of the drop are Staffordshire-based side, Port Vale. Vale have been dragged into the relegation battle following poor on-field performances and off-field issues that have plagued the club this season, similar to the situation at Notts County. If Vale were to be relegated, it would be the first time the side has played outside England’s top four divisions for 100 years with The Valiants last playing Non-League football in 1919.

Port Vale’s recent form – LDWWD

Port Vale have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance of form over the past few weeks with the Valiants picking up 8 points in their last 6 games which has allowed Port Vale to create a sizable gap between them and the bottom two. However, Vale’s home form has been horrific with the Staffordshire based side only winning 2 of their last 8 home games.

Port Vale’s final 8 games

Forest Green Rovers (H) 23/03/2019

Northampton Town (A) 30/03/2019

Crewe Alexandra (H) 06/04/2019

Exeter City (A) 13/04/2019

Stevenage (H) 19/04/2019

MK Dons (A) 22/04/2019

Macclesfield Town (H) 27/04/2019

Bury (A) 04/05/2019

Vale have a gruelling final 8 games to play, with 7 out of the 8 still having something to play for. However, if Vale can put together a successful run in, the Valiants should secure their Football League status.

19. Morecambe

Morecambe appear to have retained their Football League status for 12 seasons in a row and have the astute guidance of Jim Bentley to thank for that. However, the Red and White army still could get sucked into a relegation dogfight if the Shrimps fail to pick up points in their final 8 games.  

Morecambe’s recent form – LLWDD

Morecambe’s resurgence of form has seen the Seasiders pull away from the bottom two with the Shrimps now having a 9 point gap between them and 23rd placed Macclesfield Town. Morecambe have picked three wins in their last six league games ranking them as one of the inform sides in League Two. Morecambe in recent weeks has picked up impressive results against MK Dons and playoff-chasing Forest Green.

Morecambe’s final 8 games

Swindon Town (A) 23/03/2019

Crawley Town (H) 30/03/2019

Macclesfield Town (A) 06/04/2019

Grimsby Town (H) 13/04/2019

Mansfield Town (A) 19/04/2019

Cheltenham Town (H) 22/04/2019

Cambridge United (A) 27/04/2019

Newport County (H) 04/05/2019

The Shrimps on paper appear to have one of the easier run-ins with the Red and White army only facing two teams in the top half of the table. The rest of Morecambe fixtures are against mid-table sides and fellow relegation candidates. Arguably looking at Morecambe’s final run in it is safe to predict that the Shrimps will be playing League Two football for a 13th straight season.

Who do you think will be relegated from League Two?