Neil Humphreys: Don't reward failure by voiding EPL season
Going 'Dutch' to void season allows weak teams to profit from Covid-19 crisis
This is no time to recognise failure. It is currently banished from our lexicon.
Failure, of any kind, feels contagious in times of crisis. Failure shatters those fragments of hope that we cling to as we hunker down.
So why anyone would willingly tick the box marked "failure" defies belief.
To void the current English Premier League season and pretend it never happened rewards failure. The crud rises to the top. Rubbish reigns.
Relegation-bound teams are gifted a reprieve that wasn't earned. Those clubs falling away from the top six may miraculously land safely back in Europe.
Managers staring down the barrel dodge a bullet. And those footballers suffering a shocker of a campaign get all their demons exorcised with a stroke of a pen.
The flops profit as the best are consigned to history. Actually, it'd be worse than that. The history is shredded. The glorious antics of those that excelled, entertained and delivered would be erased.
So, it's all about Liverpool again, then?
That's the popular refrain from everyone from Gary Neville to your Manchester United-mad neighbour. While the world deals with an omnipotent coronavirus and omnipresent misery, those whiny Reds continue to drone on about their 30-year title drought.
But voiding the season is actually not about Liverpool. Scrubbing the campaign sends the wrong message at a pivotal moment in the crisis.
Success stories are the only antidote we have right now. As that gravelly voice-over used to say in movie trailers, this is a time for heroes, not villains.
On Saturday night, a nation gathered to applaud healthcare staff and essential workers putting themselves at risk every day to ensure our safety.
We need to recognise courage, endeavour and perseverance because the thought of pondering the alternatives is too much to handle.
Failure cannot seep into our psyche, let alone take centre stage.
Why should the EPL be any different? How could a season that initially provided so much joy end so miserably and with such a nasty gut-punch? How can the failures profit from a crisis?
Of course, the Dutch feel differently.
Over the weekend, the top two leagues in Holland were abandoned, with no promotion, relegation or titles rewarded.
RUNNING OUT OF TIME
Just Spee, president of the Dutch Football Federation, feels other European leagues will follow suit as they run out of time. But at this juncture, what's the clock got to do with it?
Euro 2020 and Tokyo 2020 are pushed back by a year. The Champions League has offered an extension until August and no one - apart from accountants, lawyers and TV rights holders - is remotely interested in next season at the moment.
And even then, other possibilities remain. The season could be shortened or curtailed and the final positions settled on average points per game, goal difference or even head-to-head results.
There are always options beyond simply expunging this one from memory.
Besides, if one was feeling particularly pedantic, the impact of lost TV revenue upon a club's finances isn't anywhere near as precarious in the Eredivisie as it is in the EPL, not to mention the vast imbalance of power at the top.
When the season stopped, leaders Ajax Amsterdam and AZ Alkmaar were separated by goal difference. Liverpool were 25 points clear of Manchester City. They really were playing in a different league, in every sense.
Both quality and quantity should rule out the EPL voiding its season.
World War II has been mentioned to justify abandoning the campaign. When Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, the season was voided and there were no complaints.
But Blackpool, the league leaders, were not punished any more than those at the bottom were somehow rewarded. They had played only three games.
In stark contrast, most EPL teams have already chalked up 29 games, completing 76 per cent of their fixtures.
Ending the season now, with nine games to play, would still be a more reasonable scenario than wiping it out altogether.
At the bottom, Norwich City, Aston Villa and Bournemouth would inevitably lodge a legal complaint as all three can mathematically escape relegation.
But it's still the fairest way. And a basic sense of fairness must be retained as we meander our way through a horrifying nightmare that has been anything but.
Do not void a season simply because it's the path of least resistance or it satisfies puerile prejudices involving other clubs.
Recognise what the season has already given us, rather than obsess over what could be potentially taken away.
On Saturday night, we came together to recognise human achievement, even if those achievements are not yet complete. The EPL should do exactly the same.