Impossible task in bid to keep everyone happy after lockdown - Sue Smith

Of all the columns I have written for The Yorkshire Post, this has perhaps been the most difficult because every time I think about the dilemmas as football weighs up how and if it can restart the 2019-20 season, I come up with a different opinion.

End of the season for Bradford City's players.

There is just no answer which suits everyone.

Whenever someone comes up with a solution for one issue, it creates problems in other areas. What suits one team does not suit others, so it is just a case of trying to find the safest and fairest way, and I do not envy the decision-makers.

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Everybody that loves football wants the season finished to see how it plays out – but only under the right circumstances.

A veiw through a locked gate at the AESSEAL New York Stadium home of Rotherham United.

To declare it null and void would not be fair on teams like Leeds United. If the season counts for nothing, what was the point in all the football played?

Deciding who finishes where on a points-per-game basis as League Two wants to just feels like it would leave unfinished business but we cannot play again until the time is right. The last thing you want to do is be insensitive, but having football back on would return us to a bit of normality though we could only consider it once people are safe.

We will all be waiting to see what happens in Germany and if it does not work there, surely we have to accept it will not happen here either. If it succeeds, we can learn from the things they do well and the things we can do better.

I just do not think we should make any rash decisions. Who knows if we will get another spike in coronavirus deaths, or how long it will take to discover a vaccine? Maybe if it comes quickly, people will say the leagues that cancelled early were too hasty.

But then another part of me thinks how long can some leagues wait? No-one else has television deals the size of the Premier League’s buying them time.

Playing behind closed doors is not financially viable for Leagues One and Two, and now the fourth tier has decided to act it seems inevitable League One will not be completed either.

I hate to say it, but when I think of the costs involved in getting top-level women’s football up and running again, I just do not think the numbers add up. In not making a decision are they just delaying the inevitable?

Some high-profile players have come out this week to talk about their worries, and it is vital to speak to them and take their fears into consideration.

It is not just health concerns. Around 1,400 Football League players are due to be out of contract at the end of next month. Lower-league players need to know what is happening so they can look at other clubs or, with so many out of work, other jobs. As lots of people are finding at the moment, having your job at stake must be so mentally draining and scary.

If I was in a team which had four of its best players due to leave I would be concerned but if we could get replacements in, I would want to play.

I just cannot see how the women’s game can afford to restart unless the FA fund a big share of the cost, and they have their own money problems. Hopefully, the clubs attached to men’s Premier League sides, like Sheffield United, are being well supported but I worry for those who do not have that. You just cannot imagine they would be able to afford the necessary testing and cleaning to get up and running again.

Everyone knows how massive a decision it is whether Leeds men are able to win promotion to the Premier League, but jumping from the Women’s Championship into the Super League is huge as well because it means going from being semi-pros to full-time players.

With six games to go, Aston Villa are top of the Women’s Championship, well-placed to go up, and for some girls it could be their last chance to turn professional but nothing is done and dusted and the likes of Sheffield United will not have given hope of catching them.

One advantage the women have is they can never bank on living off millions of pounds of earnings so they are always looking at what will be next. The majority had dual jobs on their way up to the top and always have to think about setting themselves up for life after football.

Across football, everyone has different needs and different problems, which makes pleasing all of them impossible.