Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has given his verdict on two of the controversial season-ending ideas which would impact on Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion.
The first one is arbitrarily handing out titles, promotions and relegations based on where teams are now in their respective tables, and the second is rendering the season null and void.
English football has ground to a standstill and speculation has been raging over how to see out the 2019-20 campaign, and some of the options up for debate include rendering the season null and void, declaring it finished as things stand, and seeing the remaining fixtures out, either behind closed doors or once it’s safer to do so.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds and Slaven Bilic’s West Brom are currently first and second in the Championship table, though Fulham are just six points behind the Baggies with nine fixtures to go, so the conclusion isn’t as foregone as that of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
Liverpool legend Carragher believes that, by arbitrarily promoting Leeds and West Brom, it would not be fair on the likes of Fulham and Brentford, as he pointed towards Marcelo Bielsa’s side slipping out of the top two and into the playoffs last season as proof that anything can happen.
Carragher reckons the season should be finished when safe to do so rather than declaring it null and void, which would also be unfair and could cost the likes of Leeds dearly.
“There was talk of the top two in the Championship going into the Premier League and then everyone’s happy and there are no relegations,” Carragher told The Debate (19/03/20, 19:55pm). “Well, how would Fulham feel? I think they are only five or six points behind Leeds and West Brom.
“Leeds blew it last year when they were in the same position. There are so many questions really around if you stop the league now and we all take our positions. I just think the Premier League, the FA, or whoever it maybe there will be owners getting involved. People will be getting sued left, right and centre.
“I just think it’s going to be an absolute mess throughout the leagues [if you go with 22 Premier League and no relegations throughout the divisions] – if a league stops it doesn’t feel right… if Leeds don’t get up this season that could stop them for the next four, five years and maybe they lose their manager. Who knows?”
Given the unprecedented halt in proceedings due to an unprecedented health crisis, the number one priority is to keep people safe, but at the same time, the question of what to do with the various competitions needs to be resolved.
It’s a very controversial issue as every possible solution proposed has pros and cons which are bound to affect at least some clubs adversely, and so it’s not a decision that can be taken lightly.
The personal view of the TBR writer is to see the 2019-20 season out when it’s safe to do so, even if it has to be in the summer or autumn – it’s important that the campaign, and its permutations, can be fulfilled as intended in the name of integrity and fairness.