Well, it looks as if it could be. Next week, Leagues One and Two will hold a vote on whether their seasons should continue, and the chances are they won’t!
As things stand, the EFL is aiming to complete all three of its 113 divisional fixtures outside of the Premiership over 56 days, and all the games are to be played behind closed doors. The players have been asked to return to their clubs for a short pre-season on May 16th, but according to an article in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, this season could be declared null and void as early as next Thursday, the 14th of May, when the matter will be formally discussed and put to a vote via a conference call meeting between all the lower league clubs.
Telegraph Sport understands that the issue of curtailing the season will be formally raised by the English Football League and 23 clubs in League One, and the 24 in League Two will be told to cast their votes. If this goes through, as indicated, then the writing is on the wall for the continuation of the current football season, as only three League One clubs are said to want to play the season to a conclusion and we can guess who they probably are, and the same applies to League Two. What is unclear is whether it is one vote that will decide it or two? Are the votes cast for each division, or is this a collective decision? This could make a significant difference to the result.
Clubs are arguing against a resumption of football on the grounds of health concerns, and there are even some clubs who are contemplating legal action should the EFL force them into action. The other overriding issue here is the cost of staging the remaining matches without the paying public, and this is estimated to cost a minimum of £700,000 to every club, which is too great a financial burden for many of them to cope with.
In Ipswich Town’s case, you would think that has to be a good idea and yet, officially at least, the club has indicated its desire to resume the season. This is a curious stance, as our chances of promotion are exceedingly small. I find it hard to believe that we would want to vote to continue but this is what we are currently being told. That said, I think most fans would think otherwise.
I can understand Coventry and Rotherham being frustrated because they are in prime position to go up automatically, and perhaps Oxford United and Portsmouth too, as they are both close to those automatic promotion spots, but why on earth us?
I am assuming that this Daily Telegraph article is not entirely accurate, and I could see as many as eleven in League One voting to re-start; if of course, we are indeed one of them? After Gillingham in eleventh, the gap is too great to bridge – even allowing for a mathematical miracle but that would, of course, be enough to keep the season going because there are now only 23 clubs in our division these days, due to the expulsion of Bury Town.
I am sure basement buddies Tranmere Rovers, Southend United and Bolton Wanderers would dearly love this Telegraph leak to be true but I am still not entirely convinced myself.
Interestingly, there is news today in the EADT that the majority of the 8,000 ticket holders who have previously paid using the club’s interest-free direct debit scheme have automatically renewed. This is encouraging given the current uncertain football climate.
On the official Ipswich Town website, Marcus Evans commented, ‘I am therefore giving our existing season ticket holders a chance to renew now, pre Early Bird, at the same price as last season with some special additional benefits and also so that they can continue to use the very popular interest-free Direct Debit scheme. To allay any concerns you may have if any matches next season are played behind closed doors, please note that we are adding four major benefits for all season ticket holders renewing by May 7.’
Well, in the face of such uncertainty, it is reassuring to know that Town supporters have not lost the plot – even if everybody else seemingly has!