Coronavirus: Don Goodman believes some football clubs may need help to survive

Don Goodman believes that money from outside football may be required to keep some smaller clubs afloat, as they struggle with the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many clubs in Sky Bet League One and Two rely on gate money to remain in business and are struggling to pay the bills during lockdown.

The British government has already announced a £16m fund to help rugby league and Sky Sports’ EFL expert Goodman feels they may have to step in to help football clubs in trouble to stop them going to the wall.

“We’ve already seen Bury [expelled from the Football League], we’ve seen Macclesfield and Bolton struggle,” the former West Brom, Wolves and Sunderland striker told Sky Sports News.

“Even prior to the pandemic, which has really enhanced how bad things have the potential to become, there were clubs that were struggling to hold it all together and keep their heads above water.

“It could involve external intervention from outside football, perhaps with government help.

“Football fans are the lifeblood of clubs, particularly at EFL level, so playing games behind closed doors is a really costly exercise and some clubs probably couldn’t afford to survive on their own merits.”

What we are talking about in the EFL are clubs simply not surviving this.

Don Goodman

Goodman concerned for football pyramid

Goodman hopes the severity of the current situation will see clubs work together in the common interest, although he concedes clubs must also consider their own personal circumstances.

“It’s about having a rounded view of the whole situation but as we are seeing in the Premier League, there are vested interests,” he added.

“You look at your own club first and foremost, and we understand that. What we are talking about in the EFL are clubs simply not surviving this.

“We might be talking about the collapse of the pyramid system, starting down in the lower league and working your way up, and so many players have done that.

“I hate the thought that that system would be altered dramatically because we haven’t been able to help out clubs in need, or to find resolutions where there hasn’t been the need for anybody to take legal action.”‘

‘No perfect solution’ on how to end season

As for how the current season could be satisfactorily concluded, Goodman suggests an enhanced form of the already proposed points-per-game format could be used, while an alternative version of the end-of-season play-offs could be utilised to settle promotion and relegation issues.

“There are some clubs that will have games in hand, and no one knows what the outcome of those games in hand would have been,” said Goodman.

“If it is going to be a points-per-game scenario, I think average home and away points-per game has to be a factor.

“I would go even further and throw into the mix how well sides have done against teams in the top half and those they have played in the bottom half, on average, and then make a calculation based on all of those factors.

“That’s probably as close as you are going to get to fairness, as there are going to be clubs who still have to play the top teams and those that have all the bottom teams to play.

“There’s no perfect solution but I am glad I am not the one making these decisions!”

‘Play-offs need to be adjusted’

In League One, just three points separate second-placed Rotherham to Wycombe in eighth, a state of affairs that means Goodman feels play-off positions should be extended to offer the chance of promotion to those who were in the hunt before the season was suspended.

“A play-off would be unfair on Coventry, who are seven points clear of the third-place team with a game in hand,” added Goodman.

“But with the other clubs below, could we manipulate some kind of play-off scenario where we get two clubs promoted from those?

“If you look at the bottom of League Two, Stevenage are cut adrift, but then you have Morecambe and Macclesfield both on 32 points. Would there be a scenario where they would have a play-off match?

“I don’t think you can treat each division the same if you are looking at play-offs, I think you need to take each division individually and look at what might be the fairest [system], based on the points accumulated and the gap teams have over and above other teams.”

As for what the future holds, Goodman insists football must adapt to the current situation until a coronavirus vaccine can be found.

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