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League One: How are teams set to vote over ending the season?

Football | Published:

League One is heading towards a crucial vote that could bring the curtain down on the season.

How will teams vote in regards to ending the League One season? (AMA)

Thirteen of the 23 clubs in the division will be needed for a majority. Here, we go through each club and how it looks like they will vote.

Coventry City (1st)

Likely vote: End season

Coventry are deservedly in pole position and, unsurprisingly, they won’t want to risk that by resuming fixtures.

“We believe that the situation should be dealt with the same way as a number of other countries have,” said CEO Dave Boddy.

“France have produced a final table on average points per game and I believe Scotland have done something similar, so the mechanism is there.”

Rotherham United (2nd)

Likely vote: End season

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Unsurprisingly, with Rotherham second in the table and set for automatic promotion, they are happy to call it quits.

Manager Paul Warne said: “I think that any team who was in our or Coventry’s position would expect and demand an automatic promotion. There’s no owner out there who would say: ‘Well, if we were second we would rather play on’. Why would you risk your automatic position?”

Oxford United (3rd)

Likely vote: Play on

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Oxford’s managing director Niall McWilliams said: “We have said all along that we think the fairest way to decide the league is by playing matches, always with the proviso that it is done with the health and safety of our players and staff as the priority. The EFL has asked clubs to give their views and ours will categorically be ‘let’s play’.”

Portsmouth (4th)

Likely vote: Play on

Chief executive Mark Catlin has been consistent in his view that the season should be resumed.

He said: “It’s a difficult situation but we continue to press with a number of other clubs to actually finish the season on the pitch, under government guidelines and when safe to do so. We have been consistent in that view.”

Fleetwood Town (5th)

Likely vote: Play on

Boss Joey Barton has championed a resumption of fixtures and though his club’s play-off place would be secured on points per game, the Fleetwood boss is still keen to get his players out on the pitch.

He said: “We have to return to normality because if we don’t, then at some point the economy will fail and the football economy is already creaking now. We’ve got to get moving is my take. I’m happy to take that calculated risk based on everything I’ve been told about testing and about the distancing in place. If we don’t get back moving, what are we going to do? Just sit and stay in our house and watch people go out of business?”

Peterborough United (6th)

Likely vote: Play on

With Posh set to drop out of the play-off positions on points per game, owner Darragh MacAnthony has been among the most vocal on the subject of resuming the campaign and remains firmly of the belief football should be resumed when safe to do so.

He has, however, withdrawn his threat to take legal action against clubs who vote to end the season.

“I did legal advice, as did many clubs, as it’s the sensible thing to do in business,” he said.

“But I was tired last week when I made those comments about suing other clubs. It’s not something we will be doing.”

Sunderland (7th)

Likely vote: Play on

Sunderland can only be promoted in one scenario, and that’s if the season is completed on the pitch.

Chief executive Jim Rodwell also believes his players want to resume competitive football to prove they can earn contracts for next season.

He said to talkSPORT: “Our players that Phil (Parkinson) is in daily contact with, want to play. They’re professional footballers. They want to play football. I listened to Chris Wilder and he was right, the majority want to get back to playing. I think there’s an important point here that’s slightly getting missed, specifically in League One and League Two. We’ve got hundreds of players out of contract. Those players need to play the last eight, nine games to showcase their talent and earn contracts.”

Wycombe Wanderers (8th)

Likely vote: End season

While Manager Gareth Ainsworth would ideally like to win promotion on the pitch, he accepts his view is unlikely to be shared by new owner Rob Couhig, especially given Wycombe would secure third spot if points-per-game was applied.

He said: “Costs and finances are a huge concern, for my owner included. From my own competitive point of view, give me the 10 games remaining because I think we’ll finish in the automatics at least. But it has to be safe, and we cannot be putting clubs out of business. We want to play but if it doesn’t make sense financially I understand my owner’s position.”

Doncaster Rovers (9th)

Likely Vote: Go with the flow

Playing on is likely to cost Doncaster Rovers in excess of £165,000 for Covid-19 testing alone and they also stand to miss out on around £400,000 in gate receipts.

The club have remained neutral in the argument over the last couple of months and look set to continue on that path to the end.

Ipswich Town (10th)

Likely vote: Play on

Ipswich have consistently stated their desire to play out the remaining games of the season, with owner Marcus Evans writing to EFL chairman Rick Parry recently to make his feelings clear.

Any lingering hopes of breaking into an expanded play-off tournament appear to have been dashed, but the club is likely to stick to its guns.

Gillingham (11th)

Likely vote: Play on

There have been some mixed messages from the Gills with manager Steve Evans happy to continue, but chairman Paul Scally concerned about how much it will cost.

The club would certainly be happy to continue if some financial assistance was provided. Official word is that they want to resume.

Burton Albion (12th)

Likely vote: End season

Chairman Ben Robinson remains unchanged on his stance that the season should be curtailed now.

While sympathetic to the clubs in the play-off positions, he feels his club do not need the extra cost of playing the remaining nine games.

He said: “For me, now I know what the impact would be, there is only one option and that is to void the season.”

Blackpool (13th)

Likely vote: End season

There hasn’t been much official word come from Bloomfield Road on the matter, but all logic points to them voting to end the season, with little chance of promotion on the cards.

Bristol Rovers (14th)

Likely vote: Play on

Rovers don’t have to play on as their league position is unlikely to shift from mid to lower mid-table, but there is a desire to give manager Ben Garner more games to continue his adaptation into League One ahead of next season, which will also give him greater clarity in assessing his squad before the transfer window.

There has been no official word from the club over their stance and likely direction, but is also a strong sense of ideology being considered – that they are a football club, and a football club is designed to play matches for its supporters. That being said, there remains an understanding and obvious concern with the potential financial issues faced by others in the division.

Lincoln City (15th)

Likely vote: End season

There has been a shift in the Imps’ stance on this with Chairman Clive Nates engaging Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony on the matter via Twitter.

He said: “That (ending the season) was not our preferred option but it has become clear over the last couple of weeks that the mood among clubs and from the EFL has changed as the reality of the situation has hit home. Just appears to be too many obstacles to complete the season by 31 July.”

Shrewsbury Town (16th)

Likely vote: End season

Town chief executive Brian Caldwell has suggested that completing the remaining fixtures could cost his club £500,000 and so there is no willingness on their behalf to start again.

He said: “First and foremost, for us to play the remaining games isn’t right morally, in my opinion. I am not comfortable with bringing staff into the environment when it is such a critical stage and putting them at risk. Secondly, it is financial suicide for any club to gamble. Some of the clubs at the top end of the league are happy to gamble half-a-million pounds in order to facilitate the remaining games.”

Accrington Stanley (17th)

Likely vote: End season

Chairman Andy Holt wrote on Twitter: “When the time comes, if ending the season now is on the list, we will be voting for it.”

Holt has also been critical about some of the rallying and chest-beating which has been going on at League One level and the fact clubs will have to fund their own Covid-19 testing.

MK Dons (18th)

Likely vote: Go with the flow

Dons CEO Andrew Cullen says sporting integrity was already damaged by what happened with Bolton and Bury earlier this season – but that his club would side with the majority in the vote.

He said: “Our position all along as been that we’ll be consistent with what the league wants to do. If the majority want to continue, then we’ll continue. But if we cannot carry on, we’re happy with points per game as a solution, with promotion and play-offs. We will look again at the solutions, what it means economically and for integrity.”

Rochdale (19th)

Likely vote: End season

Dale’s CEO David Bottomley believes the timescale required to get players fit in time to resume the season and avoid the problem of those who are out of contract at the end of next month means resuming the season is too difficult.

He has also voiced concerns about the costs involved in Covid-19 testing and social distancing when travelling to away fixtures.

AFC Wimbledon (20th)

Likely vote: End season

The club’s CEO Joe Palmer believes the season is ‘moving towards cancellation’ and the club has issued a statement outlining their preference for the season to be concluded early, citing that the health and safety of everyone involved with the club was their priority, although they do have sympathy with clubs who want to play on.

Tranmere Rovers (21st)

Likely vote: Play on

Tranmere’s chairman Mark Palios has vowed to fight any decision to decide the season on points per game, which would relegate his club.

“It is a hard-earned League One status that we will not just give away. It is more than the cash,” he said.

“It is actually the pride of being a League One club. It is having the games against the likes, with all due respect to League Two, of Sunderland and Ipswich. That is what all the fans actually like. There is much more to this in terms of the League One status than just the cash impact which still hasn’t been measured.”

Southend United (22nd)

Likely vote: Undecided

Southend have yet to make their decision on how to vote.

Bolton Wanderers (23rd)

Likely vote: End season

End season… End the misery.

Some might say Bolton were lucky to be starting the 2019/20 campaign – even with a 12-point deduction for going into administration – but they have rarely looked like climbing out of the bottom three and sit 21 points adrift of safety with 10 games to play.

The club has maintained in public that they would abide by the EFL’s decision and now, pressed for a decision, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess which way they will go.

Result: End season (11), Play on (9), Go with the flow (2), Undecided (1)

Assuming the two who are likely to go with the flow follow the biggest share of the vote, then that will give the 13 clubs needed to end the season. Southend, though undecided, are cast adrift in the relegation zone – while other clubs with little to play for such as Bristol Rovers and Gillingham would not take much persuading to change their likely vote.

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