WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE VALE’S DECISION TO BECOME A COMMUNITY HUB?
IAN WOODWARD: “As I live outside the area, I have to confess that I don’t know a great deal about it other than what I’ve read in the local press. I do think that football clubs can play an important role in the community and providing help and support at this very difficult time is to be applauded.”
MARK WALTON: “I’m distant from Burslem these days but it’s heartening to see the club act as a focus for help and support in troubled times, assistance that is likely to be needed long after the virus is overcome. You can only imagine the contrast if Smurthwaite were still owner.”
PHIL SHERWIN: “A superb idea, everybody needs to pull together in the present crisis.”
PAUL DIXON: “It was no surprise to see Port Vale be used as a hub for the vulnerable and it’s great to see in these tough times.
“Since Carol and Kevin Shanahan purchased the club, it was high on their priority list to “hand “ the club back to the fans and community.
“We are getting back to being the focal point of Burslem due to all the hard work being put in. Having done some voluntary work there, I can honestly say the club is on the up and the team behind the owners are all pulling in the same direction.”
ANDREW BLAKEMORE: “It really is great news. It just goes to show how much the owners care about the community. In times like these, when some of the elderly and vulnerable are unable to have any support, it really shows how much the club cares about the city.”
FOOTBALL AND SPORT HAS TO BE WAY DOWN THE LIST OF PRIORITIES RIGHT NOW AS THE NATION DEALS WITH FAR MORE IMPORTANT MATTERS. BUT WHEN FOOTBALL DOES EVENTUALLY RESTART, WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN? TRY TO FINISH THE SEASON, MAYBE TAKE THE PROMOTION AND RELEGATION PLACES AS THEY ARE, OR JUST START AGAIN?
IAN WOODWARD: “This is a difficult one and, with everything that is going on at the moment, I have to confess that football has barely crossed my mind during the past week.
“I see that some leagues below National League level have already made the decision to finish with immediate effect with all results being expunged and thus declaring their competitions null and void.
“For clubs in the Premier League, the EFL and National League, it’s an entirely different matter, with the stakes far greater. Those with a vested interest in winning trophies or securing promotion will obviously argue for the season to be played out to its conclusion for however long it takes, whilst the likes of Stevenage for example would probably be very happy if it was declared null and void now.
“I guess it all depends how long this pandemic lasts and when it will be safe for players and spectators alike. I just don’t see football as we know it resuming any time soon if I’m being honest and then there’s also the start of next season to consider.
“My thoughts at the moment – and I am prone to changing my mind- is that this season should be declared null and void if we haven’t resumed by July 1.”
MARK WALTON: “Although football, along with almost all other sports, pastimes and entertainments, has been put on hold for the time being, its absence only serves to emphasise its importance in our lives.
“It’s not worth risking anyone’s health for of course but in normal times it’s one of the things that turns mere existence into something worth living. It’s for that reason – and not just because Vale are doing so well – that I’m desperate for the season to be finished properly. To freeze teams in their current positions or write off the season entirely would leave a lasting sour taste. And it’s not just us who would miss out. Imagine the feelings of Liverpool fans in touching distance of their first title in three decades. Or Leeds, on the cusp of returning to the Premier League for the first time since 2004.
“Logistically, it’s likely to be very difficult, especially if this season threatens to run into the next, but I hope a way can be found that brings 2019/20 to its proper conclusion, ideally in front of paying fans not just a TV audience. Who isn’t, right now, imagining that first game back at Vale Park when this nightmare is over?”
PHIL SHERWIN: “The crucial part of what to do next is when can we start? The best scenario is of course to finish the season.
“But if we can’t start in June, if it turns out to be August or even later then that gives a very small timescale for next season even with no cup competitions at all. A November start to next season gives around 28 weeks to play 46 league games alone in the EFL.
“I can see that situation giving credence to the idea of ending this season now. Not by declaring it void, but by promoting and relegating teams on a points per game basis. The top six levels of non-league have voted to end the season but it can’t be ratified by the FA until the main four divisions decide what they are going to do.
“With it being a pyramid, with automatic promotion and relegation throughout, surely they all have to do the same, although there is talk of some non-leagues voiding the season and going their own way. I suppose the behind-closed-doors idea is at least a way of finishing this season but I’m not sure it is practical in the current climate. If it isn’t safe for fans, how is it safe for players?
“Nothing can be decided until we are given a date to start again.”
PAUL DIXON: “The season has to be finished, whether it be behind-closed-doors or with fans. The latter would be preferable.
“I’d say probably get rid of all cup competitions, including European games for one season until the league catches up.
“Maybe this will be a wake-up call for the FA to make sure TV and other money is passed down equally to the lower leagues.
“Whatever happens, I hope all health concerns are dealt with and no players or supporters are put at risk. Stay healthy and safe Valiants.”
ANDREW BLAKEMORE: “For the sanity of us all, it has to be finished. I think the not knowing what could have been will eat away at us.
“The news this week that the FA have confirmed all levels below the National League will not finish the season is a concern, but you cannot really see the EFL nor the Premier League going down the same route, no matter how next season’s fixture list may look.”
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