Simon Grayson, who managed Leeds United between 2008 and 2012, has given his verdict on how the English football season should be completed, in conversation with Love Sport Radio.
The nation’s football has ground to a standstill until at least 30 April due to the global health crisis, and speculation has been raging over how to see out the 2019-20 campaign.
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 are currently first in the Championship table and on the brink of a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2004, so the Whites will be monitoring proceedings closely.
Leeds want the season to be seen out and all teams given the opportunity to earn their rightful place in the table – and permutations met – after 46 fixtures.
Grayson told Love Sport Radio: “Well whenever they decide to finish, I’d like to think there will be a finish of this season because I think we’re so far down the line now, there’s so many things that have to be played for; what you do with teams in X, Y and Z position for promotion, for relegation?
“I don’t see the problem in finishing the season later on, and maybe shortening next season because nothing has even started next season. This year there’s gonna be so much riding on it.
“And I mentioned yesterday when I did a couple of interviews, if the season was not to be finished and teams stayed up or got relegated at this moment in time, you could have a lot of clubs going to certain authorities, and maybe going to court because they’re going to lose a massive amount of money or losing out by not getting the promotion when they think they’ve got this.
“I think we should try and really finish this season whenever it may be. Then maybe have a shortened pre-season because players are getting a bit of time off at this moment in time. So maybe they don’t need as much time in the summer that they normally have 6, 7, 8 weeks off.”
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 contentious 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 – it’s important that the campaign, and its permutations, can be fulfilled as intended.