When Saturday comes again (The return of football)


We've been obviously rather quiet over the last few weeks with little football to watch, read or write about. But over the last month or so we've been keeping abreast of developments in anticipation of football’s return. Bad news first, but we all know this, we ain't going to be attending a match for some time, maybe even until 2021. The leagues are unsure whether to postpone, cancel or condense the remaining fixtures. The National League and French Ligue 1 already canning their seasons. However, there is unfinished business in all divisions, winners and losers, promotion chasers and relegation battles to be settled. Can the season be declared null and void? Can it be played behind closed doors at St George’s park in some sort of biosphere of football? Let’s be really honest across the EFL and Premiership there’s only a few clubs and fans who need to see it completed, those pushing for titles and promotions. Clubs in the relegation places would certainly take a null and void as would those teams like Huddersfield who could still get drawn into the scrap should the season finish. We’ve already seen calls from Karen Brady and other club directors about cancelling the whole season, ensuring another season of top-flight football for West Ham and dodging the relegation battle. So there’s certainly a majority of teams for whom a do-over would be preferable. The truth is there’s probably too much cash on the line in TV rights to not play out the season, but time is ebbing away, with the 20/21 season due in August. The latest news is of a potential return to training in a couple of weeks, on May 18th with a view to playing games from two weeks later at the start of June. All to be confirmed and even though closed-door games tend to be lacklustre, lack passion and noise, any sport right now would be a total blessing for those of us starting to crack under lock-down. Sport has a place in the collective psyche, it’s a sign that things are getting back to normal and life can have the irrelevance of sporting rivalries once again. The government are understandably keen to restart football and send a message that the UK is out the other side, given the global platform it has the Premiership and Championship are essential to the reopening of the country. It will happen and most likely be completed before the end of July. Good news now! Yes good news, remember that! Should the season boot up again we will have a wealth of sport to watch follow and keep us occupied as the lockdown and knock-on consequences threaten to occupy the rest of 2020. We will see all leagues play out in around a few weeks of congested football scheduling. Not only will there be LOADS of football all at once, with games played every day, but it will also all be on TV. That is ALL football matches as no crowds will be allowed, whatever your team affiliation you will be able to watch you team. Maybe even free to air! We’ve even scrapped rule many of us have long thought to be self-defeating, the Saturday 3pm games can be shown, live and in full! This is a real breakthrough and we will most likely never see it reversed. This is fantastic news and may have passed some of you by, what with all the death tolls and wobbly political press conferences, but it is a monumental moment for TV coverage, now the UK will be able to be like the rest of the world and watch Saturday 3pm football on British TV. Saturdays just got a whole heap better! So, in short, we may have been stripped of football for the moment, but we will have a glut of football all on TV for a whole month, we will see the battles we’ve invested in for 8 months of the season play out. We will see Leeds fall apart, we will see Liverpool lift the Premier League, we will also see the survival of Town in the Championship and maybe even reach mid-table mediocrity. The break will have given Messrs Cowley a good amount of time to assess, review and plan for the rest of this season and next, given what they did with the team in short shrift when they arrived I expect good things from the Terriers. What of the players? Now, this is where it gets tricky and contractual. With the majority of contracts running to the end of May and the scheduled end of the season, all teams will have the logistical problem of keeping playing and non-playing staff safe, players out of contract, loans that have expired and an uneven level of fitness through their squads. There has been talk of mandating that contracts running till June, be extended on mass until “the end of the season” whenever that might be, sounds easy but given the complex nature of football contracts these days will be no easy feat to achieve. We would, however, expect most parties to play along with this as it is a rather extreme and unprecedented situation we find ourselves in. What does this all mean for Town? Well first up some good news, Smith-Rowe and Willock may return next term, as the game time objective of their loan spells is going to fall well short. We’d be delighted if this happened as these are two superb players and we really want to see more of them in the blue and white stripes of Huddersfield. There may be a permanent move for Andy King and hopefully a new contract for Danny Simpson. Sadly though we may have seen the last of a fan favourite and cult hero Colin Quanner, with Bambi out of contract at the end of the year, it seems likely Super Col will move on to new pastures. We should in all probability survive in the Championship whatever happens with the remainder of the season and have 20/21 to look forward to, another transfer window and a full pre-season for Danny and Nicky to work their magic. Looking forward to better times next year. When or if football returns, I know you will all be there (or not as required) jumping about singing and shouting providing the 12th man from wherever you are.

How do you think the season should finish? Let us know in the comments Until football returns UTT

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