The pundits & players who want 19-20 cancelled – & those who want it finished

Quick Reads

Liverpool and Leeds United fans are among the supporters currently worrying about how the 2019-20 season will be ultimately concluded amid the outbreak of coronavirus.

Football has been suspended in England and across much of Europe, with no clue how the current campaign will finish and when 2020-21 will begin.

We’ve rounded up how pundits, players and administrators have suggested football should continue when possible.

Ron Martin

“If the season was extended for a couple of months it has a knock-on effect for next season and then when does it stop?” asked the Southend United chairman.

“That’s the reason why it makes good sense to draw a line under it now and say it’s the end before starting the new season afresh in August.”

Luke Edwards

“Stop the pretence this season can be completed,” wrote the Daily Telegraph journalist. “Football thinking it can plough on regardless when so many others [are] forced to face up to [the] reality of [the] situation is kinda weird.”

Richard Keys

“Let’s be realistic – the chances of finishing this season are receding by the day,” Keys wrote on his blog. “My old mate, Javier Tebas, who runs the Spanish League, has this morning called for the season to be cancelled. For once, I agree with this over promoted egotist.

“Cancel – now. Re-set the clocks. Go back to last August and start again with everything as it was. That includes the same teams in the Champions League, Europa League – all of them. That will suit the big boys clamouring for a closed shop of CL clubs anyway.”

Keys then doubted whether Liverpool would have even clinched the Premier League anyway – which, let’s be clear, is f*cking mental.

“Liverpool have been magnificent at times this season,” he added. “They’ve blown teams away. They looked invincible. It looked as though they’d set a new points record in the PL. I think we can all agree?

“Of course it looks as though they’re going to win the title. But they haven’t won it. Who knows? Their form in recent games has been sobering for their fans. They’ve been poor. Very very poor.

“Have Klopp’s infamous demands of his players caught up with them again – as they have in previous seasons? Has last season’s fantastic chase of City left them empty? We don’t know. And we might never know.

“Apologies, by the way, If your team plays lower down – but who cares about that? Liverpool fans appear not to. I left you out of the argument to make that very point.”

Karen Brady

In a surprising turn of events, the vice-chairman of West Ham, currently sitting above the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference only, wants the season declared null and void.

“There is no dodging the possibility that all levels in the EFL, as well as the Premier League, will have to be cancelled and this season declared null and void because if the players can’t play the games can’t go ahead,” Brady wrote in The Sun.

“The PL hopes that an interlude of three weeks from today will enable it to restart but that may well be dreamland.

“So what if the league cannot be finished? As games in both the PL and in the EFL are affected, the only fair and reasonable thing to do is declare the whole season null and void.”

Jesus Garcia Pitarch

On a similar theme to Brady, Aston Villa’s sporting director Pitarch, who works for a team currently in the Premier League’s relegation zone, wants the competition cancelled with no teams relegated.

“If the peak of the Coronavirus is to occur in May, no one thinks of a competition in which players, coaches, and health personnel of the club will continue to appear every day,” he told Cope’s Game Time.

“There are clubs that do not see admissible that the competition resumes on June 30th.

“The most reasonable thing that everyone thinks is that, if the league has to be stopped, that there are no relegations. There is a certain unanimity that there should be no descent.”

Jamie Carragher

And now to the pundits supporting the idea that next season cannot start until the current one finishes.

“You can’t start next season until this one finishes whenever that is,” Carragher tweeted. “No title winners? Who goes in the Champions League next season? Leeds, West Brom and plus one miss out on Premier League. Three clubs in the Premier stay up!”

Gary Neville

Darren Fletcher

“You can speculate about cup competitions and things like that, but the biggest thing for me is the Premier League, and the leagues have to be finished,” Fletcher told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Even the knock-on effect of that for the Champions League next season, forget about that, these are easier things to delay and cancel and postpone.

“When you’re 30 games into a Premier League season, it’s very difficult not to see it out.”

Chris Sutton

“If we were to cancel the FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League and say no one will be declared winners of those competitions this season, then we could live with that,” Sutton wrote for the Daily Mail.

“But to cancel this Premier League campaign right now, declare Liverpool as champions and relegate Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich, would open up a can of worms.

“Why? Namely because of Villa, their game in hand and the money involved in all of this. Win that extra match and Dean Smith’s side would be 16th. They’d be safe. So to say you’re going down because you’re second bottom as things stand would be utterly unfair as far as they’re concerned.”

Michael Owen

Greg Dyke

“It doesn’t make sense to try to cancel the season,” the former FA chairman told The Times.

“We are assuming that Euro 2020 is not going to happen, so you have to complete the season even if that means playing into August and delaying the start of next season.

“You might even have to play behind closed doors to fulfil the contracts for the broadcasters, otherwise they are just not going to pay up, and that could mean hundreds of millions of pounds. You may even have to play three matches a week just to get them done.”

Alan Shearer

“Not completing the season has to be the very last option on the table,” Shearer told The Sun.

“Every angle and scenario has to be looked at in order to reach a conclusion, even if that means a long delay before playing into next season.

“There is so much speculation and opinion. But the bottom line is that everyone is guessing, and right now there are far more important things.”

Wayne Rooney

“We’re happy to play until September if the season extends to then, if that’s how it has to be,” Rooney wrote in The Times. “That’s our job. As long as we know we’re safe to play and it’s a safe environment for spectators, we’ll play.

“The next World Cup is in November and December 2022, so you could actually use this situation as an opportunity and say we’re going to finish the 2019-20 season later this year, then prepare for 2022 by having the next two seasons starting in winter.”

Jamie O’Hara

John Barnes

“You have leagues to be finished and I think leagues have to be finished, not just from Liverpool’s point of view or any other club in any country,” Barnes told Sky Sports.

“It’s obviously bigger than that, you are talking about promotion and relegation all the way down the divisions. So I think if the leagues can even be delayed – you don’t have to rush back to them – maybe you have to write off a season.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen on April 3 [when the EFL suspension is currently due to end] and maybe they are going to delay it further.

“Even if we have to start in July or August, what we have to do is finish these games even if it takes up until December, which writes off the [next] season.

“These are desperate times and this is an unusual circumstance.”

Peter Ridsdale

On the suggestions the Premier League should be cancelled with no relegation and Leeds and West Brom promoted to make a 22-team competition, Ridsdale replied: “I’ve never heard anything so nonsensical in my life.

“Who says that Leeds and West Brom are the two teams to go up? I’m not suggesting they won’t eventually, but the only way to determine that is after the 46 games.

“I also think it’s disappointing that the primary voices that we’ve heard over the last few days in the Premier League suggesting no relegation, happen to be teams that currently are sitting precariously above the bottom three.

“Therefore that does appear to be self-interest. The only thing that’s right and proper is that at some point in time, we complete the season.”

Tim Cahill

View this post on Instagram

What's everyone's thoughts on the premier league and football in general? Main priority is health and making sure everyone is safe and free from #coronavirus My thoughts are in this clip and it's important that we look at football across all the leagues and think about how it affects the lower league clubs and most importantly promotion and relegation as well. Clubs work so hard to get to play offs and we cant just write off playoffs cause it's easy to do. If we suspend all cups and international football then this will help a season to catch up as an option. If contracts are an issue then they must be extended till the season restarts and finishes which is another thought. So many financial and working implications not only for players but also staff as well. So much to think about but the discussion is open and loads of important issues that need addressing from strong leaders. Season has to be finished once its #coronavirus free. @bbcsport @mrdanwalker @robharrispix @diondublin09

A post shared by TIM CAHILL 417 (@tim_cahill) on

Gordon Taylor

“I think it would be unfair to void the season or even present the trophies now, not least of course on Liverpool,” the PFA chief executive told Sky Sports News.

“But all clubs who are doing well, they would be accused of, ‘oh well you don’t know if you would have won it or not’.

“It would devalue it and I think those clubs that have done well and are at the top deserve to be there.

“And those clubs who are at the bottom deserve to be given the chance to get out of trouble, because that’s how the game’s always worked and that’s how the competition was at the beginning.

“So I think we should do all we can. I think it would seem really weird if we started a new season. It would be unfinished business behind us and I don’t think that would look good.”

Robbie Fowler

“I think the season has to play out, regardless of how long we have to wait,” Fowler told Sky Sports News.

“I think they (the Premier League) should wait as long as it takes and then play all the games.

“If any season is going to be interrupted it should be next season because then everyone starts on a level playing field and knows what the implications are.”

Barry Hearn

“I don’t understand issue in football so much – the coronavirus is a disaster for the country and it will affect millions of people, so our problems in sport are minuscule in comparison to the overall bigger picture,” Hearn told talkSPORT.

“But I hear people saying we should declare the season void… no!

“What we do is just extend the season as and when we can play and we finish this season completely before we start the next one.

“For the integrity of the sport we have to conclude the fixture list. If that means delaying, abandoning or changing the following season, so be it.

“Next season is next season, whether it starts in October, whether it starts in February in 2021, we will deal with that problem then.”


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