Boxing Day, the traditional beginning of the festive football. But in-keeping with the rest of this unnatural year the dreams of those heading out for a fix of football were dashed in the past seven days or so.
Rightly or wrongly whichever way your opinion sways on the current situation for many families and individuals the fresh air from the stands and terraces has something that has long followed Christmas Day like night follows day.
A lot of my childhood Xmas memories involve a Boxing Day game, usually a morning or lunchtime kick off similar for games all around the country, mine being somewhere in Kent more than likely Maidstone Utd, Dartford or Welling. If I was lucky there was an afternoon kick off thrown in as well.
That tradition continued for a few years and then stopped, but more recently I’ve been able to go again and of course had plans like most for the second day of the festive period, but with tier 4 being the ruler it’s back to streaming games or relying on the TV offerings from the Premier League for my fix.
Of course it’s not just restrictions causing the issues, the positive tests have also put paid to a few ‘elite’ non-league games as well, Barnet included in the National League along with a few others and it’s no word of a lie that there is going to be a massive fixture pile up for clubs all round despite seasons being extended to the end of May and even into June.
There is a huge difference in the number of games played with a north/south divide when you look at the current tables. Most leagues have not played since the beginning of November’s lockdown and those that did play completed in most cases less than three rounds of fixtures.
It must surely not be too far away should non-league football not resume by the middle of January that there has to be some serious discussions about how this season is either curtailed and worked out or somehow it is completed.
I believe if I remember correctly the Isthmian League did present their clubs with two or three scenarios for a season’s completion including what would happen if we got to January and things were no better and we’re almost at that point.
Looking for example at those who have completed nine league fixtures there is a mixture between around twenty-nine to thirty-six fixtures for clubs to fit in to complete their own season, but there are clubs in the northern end of the country who have managed between just two and five games so far, how on this earth are they going to get a season completed in time for a new one to start? These guys have day jobs, most graft hard with manual jobs for their living and to ask them to continually play Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday to get a season in is asking a heck of a lot, good performances sacrificed just to get games played. This scenario doesn’t include cups as well, it’s got to be impossible to get this full season completed surely?
Not only will performance suffer, but people will also struggle to afford to attend so many games in such a short space of time, players are going to be more susceptible to soft issue injuries and bodies not having sufficient time to recover.
Null and void caused so much confusion and anger in April this year, will clubs, their volunteers, supporters and board of directors stand for this to be used again this season? Will points per game be any clearer? With so few games having been played by there is clearly many advantages for some more than others.
It’s been talked about the integrity of the competition to ensure this season is completed but time is starting to run thin for all to compete on a fair and even basis and to please everyone here is going to be impossible.
Each way has its merits for completion and ensure a clean slate is there to be had for a new season, from the outside looking in it looks a proper mess to sort out and for once the FA must admit some blame in taking an easy option out back in April rather than look at the bigger picture although as always hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The next few weeks as has pretty much been the case this year will be awaited to see what the next steps are, some forward thinking this time needs to be done to protect the future, let’s see who steps up and who steps back………..