What next for football? The Yorkshire Post fans panel on moving on from coronavirus

On Friday, the English footballing authorities are due to meet to plan a way forward for the game once the coronavirus outbreak has eased.

CUP QUANDRY: Sander Berge's Sheffield United are in the FA Cup quarter-finals but should the competition be completed?

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2019-20 Fans’ Review - Highs and lows in equal measure from season that is far f...

Matches have been suspended since mid-March, and with players and fans on lockdown and warnings it could be six months before we return to normality, the 2019-20 season could yet go the way of other major sporting events and be cancelled.

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We asked supporters from Barnsley, Bradford City, Doncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Hull City, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Rotherham United, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday if they agreed with the Premier League/Football League view that it is important to complete the campaign if possible, and what their priorities were in trying to make the fixture list work this season and next...

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: There were mixed views about whether games such as Wolverhampton Wanderers' Europa League tie at Olympiacos should be played without fans

SIMON NICHOL, 39, from York

Supports: Barnsley

How important is it that we finish the season?

Not important but I’d have a different view if Barnsley were top of the league!

UNDER THREAT: Matt Crooks's Rotherham United could be denied promotion if the season were voided; Leeds United would be in the same boat

Would you be prepared to accept games behind closed doors if it was the only way to get games played?

Yes.

Should the FA Cup be finished this season? Should we still have the play-offs?

Yes if possible.

ADVICE: Information to fans on the scoreboard at Rangers

If next season gets squeezed what, if anything would you be prepared to sacrifice?

The integrity of the game is compromised if there are fewer league games so less time between matches would be my favoured option.

JAMES MACKENZIE, 44, from Cullingworth

Supports: Bradford City

How important is it that we finish the season?

This is going to sound harsh to those teams in promotion chasing positions, but I don’t think it is that important from a Bantams perspective. In a lot of ways, it already feels like a rebuild for next year is required so if the season doesn’t finish, we won’t lose any sleep at Valley Parade.

The less serious answer is that if the season is null and void and Leeds United don’t get promoted there will be some wry smiles in the BD postcode.

Would you be prepared to accept games behind closed doors if it was the only way to get games played?

Yes, but it would be seen as a purely functional thing to help us move on to next season as quickly as possible

Should the FA Cup be finished this season? Should we still have the play-offs?

I think we need to be pragmatic, and this helps as we’re not in the cup or a real shout of the play-offs. It’s easier if the season does finish to remove the FA Cup first. The play-offs are more complex as that is changing the rules of the competition materially whilst in play.

If next season gets squeezed what, if anything would you be prepared to sacrifice?

The Football League Trophy can disappear easily. I don’t think you’ll get many fans in the lower leagues against that.

STEPHEN WADDINGTON, 46, from York

Supports: Doncaster Rovers

How important is it that we finish the season?

Very.

Would you be prepared to accept games behind closed doors if it was the only way to get games played?

Yes, get them played even behind closed doors, with viewing permitted online.

Should the FA Cup be finished this season? Should we still have the play-offs?

Yes for the FA Cup and realistically no for the play-offs. It should be just the top three in each division or the top four in League Two going up.

If next season gets squeezed what, if anything would you be prepared to sacrifice?

Less time between matches. EFL clubs need the revenue to make up for the current losses from no matchday income.

STEVEN DOWNES, 23, from Cleckheaton

Supports: Huddersfield Town

How important is it that we finish the season?

If it means keeping everyone safe and healthy but abandoning the season, then so be it, there is more to life than football. However I understand those supporters (Leeds fans) who want it finishing. The other alternative is that you don't have a 2020/21 season and finish the 2019/20 campaign and start again for the 2021/22 season.

Would you be prepared to accept games behind closed doors if it was the only way to get games played?

Yes, but obviously it would be a strange scenario and there are lots of questions to be answered on that one.

Should the FA Cup be finished this season? Should we still have the play-offs?

Same answer as to should the season end. I don't see how you can just end the season and say right Leeds or Liverpool have won the league or Man City the FA Cup when it's not completed. If the season is looking to be completed then yes to both.

If next season gets squeezed what, if anything would you be prepared to sacrifice?

Keep the FA Cup and everyone just plays each other once in the league. Play-offs still over two legs.

RICK SKELTON, 39, from Hessle

Supports: Hull City

How important is it that we finish the season?

Despite the temptation to wish it had never happened, it is vital that it gets completed and we start afresh next season - whenever that might be.

Would you be prepared to accept games behind closed doors if it was the only way to get games played?

Yes. It's obviously not ideal but it's going to be a long time before we're comfortable with crowds so if that's the only way, it should be done.

Should the FA Cup be finished this season? Should we still have the play-offs?

Yes, you need to finish the competitions as started. Behind closed doors would mean they can slot games in quickly to turn them around. I'd do away with two legs though.

If next season gets squeezed what, if anything would you be prepared to sacrifice?

I'd drop the league cup and football league trophy to open up more midweek fixtures. The lower ranked teams need to be compensated accordingly. European competitions going to one leg knockouts for a season would help too.

MICK DRUCE, 58, from Bramley

Supports: Leeds United

How important is it that we finish the season?

Vital, and not just for Leeds United, everyone deserves to see their efforts and investments rewarded, be it by promotion, relegation or the winning of cups.

Would you be prepared to accept games behind closed doors if it was the only way to get games played?

Yes certainly this season must be played to a conclusion and if this is the only way then so be it.

PS I will not be asking for a refund for my missed games.

Should the FA Cup be finished this season? Should we still have the play-offs?

Yes these must all be finished, once completed we can then look at starting the next season and the ramifications around a later start for example transfer windows. Too many teams effort and money will have been wasted if not.

If next season gets squeezed what, if anything would you be prepared to sacrifice?

In this case I would prefer to drop the cups, though I realise this would impact on lower league teams with a potential drop in revenue.

GRAEME BANDEIRA, 45, Harrogate

Supports: Middlesbrough

How important is it that we finish the season?

Imperative. It would be easy for me to say scrap the season and we'll stay up but the reality is a season is contested over a number of games to decide every team's fate. In my opinion you finish it when this pandemic is resolved and look at ways of extending contracts and possible abandoning next season.

Would you be prepared to accept games behind closed doors if it was the only way to get games played?

Yes. It's painful enough watching us live but if it means finishing the season then crack on.

Should the FA Cup be finished this season? Should we still have the play-offs?

I'd continue the FA Cup. It's a prestigious event that might restore the feel-good factor and give everyone something to look forward to watching on the TV once this pandemic blows over. I'd also keep the play-off format. It'll reinvigorate teams to finish with a flourish.

If next season gets squeezed what, if anything would you be prepared to sacrifice?

I think the league cup could be suspended, no international breaks for meaningless friendlies and less time between matches, In effect teams could be playing three games in seven days. Demanding, yes. More opportunity for managers to introduce young players and shuffle the pack.

LEE ROWBOTHAM, 55, from Rotherham

Supports: Rotherham United

How important is it that we finish the season?

It is secondary of course to everyone’s health but yes, whilst I would like to finish the season as we stand due to us currently being second I believe it is also the fairest way and important to do so for the integrity of the game.

Would you be prepared to accept games behind closed doors if it was the only way to get games played?

It has to be an option. Ideally it wouldn’t come to that but if that was the only real viable way of finishing the season then it must be considered.

Should the FA Cup be finished this season? Should we still have the play-offs?

Now we are past the early rounds of the FA Cup I would say it is a competition we could cancel this season if it helped with the fixture congestion. The play-offs, however, with the money and status involved has to be completed if the season was to resume.

If next season gets squeezed what, if anything would you be prepared to sacrifice?

Ideally, no matches or competitions should be sacrificed. However if we had to the best options would be to lose cup matches and move the league matches to Saturday-Tuesday on repeat.

JIM BLACKBURN, 59, from Sheffield

Supports: Sheffield United

How important is it that we finish the season?

In the great scheme of things , not that important, it's more important that people are safe.

Would you be prepared to accept games behind closed doors if it was the only way to get games played?

Yes.

Should the FA Cup be finished this season? Should we still have the play-offs?

I can't say yes to that, I would love to lift us to lift a cup but once again safety trumps all of that.

If next season gets squeezed what, if anything, would you be prepared to sacrifice?

I guess the Carabao Cup would have to go and FA Cup replays, even though I would be very sad about that.

LOUIS SHACKSHAFT, 33, from Doncaster

Supports: Sheffield Wednesday

How important is it that we finish the season?

I think it’s more important for those clubs who are sat in promising positions, let’s hope the season starts again sooner rather than later.

Would you be prepared to accept games behind closed doors if it was the only way to get games played?

Of course, it’s not ideal but public health is obviously at the forefront of people’s minds and should always come before sport.

Should the FA Cup be finished this season? Should we still have the play-offs?

That is difficult to answer, I think the league should take priority over any cup competition with the play-offs incorporated if possible.

If next season gets squeezed what, if anything would you be prepared to sacrifice?

I think the removal of cup competitions makes sense in the hope that a full regular league season can still be played.

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Editor