Gary Neville has proposed a “festival of football” to finish the season when it eventually resumes after the coronavirus-imposed suspension.
The Premier League and UEFA competitions – along with most other semblances of joy in this world – have been put on hold until at least April 30th in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus, but there is no certainty about exactly when the remaining fixtures will be played.
Manchester United legend Neville pitched this idea on Sky Sports’ The Debate: “The last thing I’m worried about is sorting out the fixtures
“If football players need to play every day for nine days to finish the Premier League as a worst-case scenario, they would do it because they’d get their heads around it and make it a festival of football.
“Doing a festival of football where the league is finished in two weeks, the Champions League gets finished in a week and the FA Cup is finished in four days could be something quite special.”
I’m a big fan of Neville as a pundit but he’s got his head in the clouds here.
Forgetting the physical impossibilities of it all, it just wouldn’t be fair.
The whole reason that the authorities have decided that the 2019-20 campaign must be finished is to retain the integrity of the 38-game season. That is why we aren’t just calling it a day now after 29 games and handing the title to Liverpool, or sending Norwich City back to the Championship.
Playing all remaining matches in two weeks, or thereabouts, would jeopardize the quality and validity of those matches to an extent that it wouldn’t even be the Premier League anymore; it would be a completely different entity to the league played before the world came crashing down.
For example, the enforced squad rotation and lack of tactical preparation time – to name just a couple of variables – would mean that Tottenham wouldn’t be playing the same Arsenal, West Ham and Bournemouth that half of the league have played twice in the first part of the season.
Therefore these final nine results would not have the same integrity that everybody is so desperate to protect about the ones that have gone before.
It is just a non-starter. I’m sure Gary can do better …with some time.