Tranmere down, Wycombe into play-offs… it’s totally unfair! Adrian Durham passionately outlines why points per

Tranmere down, Wycombe into play-offs… it’s totally unfair! Adrian Durham passionately outlines why points per thumbnail

The EFL has achieved the impossible – with their lack of action, lack of leadership and lack of decision making they’ve managed to turn a well-respected club like Wycombe Wanderers into one now being derided by some football supporters. They’ve turned fan against fan, and turned middle-aged professional people into sneering social media trolls. They’ve even created a situation where AFC Wimbledon and Milton Keynes fans are agreeing with each other – they both want to end the season so that they can’t be relegated. Amazing work, EFL. Amazing and absurd. GETTY Wycombe will jump fron eighth to third if PPG decides the final League One table Was there, or is there, a proper way to end the season? Anyone with any notion of what’s right and fair would agree that playing all of the 46 fixtures out would be that proper way, if possible and safe to do so. League One clubs have been given a vote, and all of them are looking after themselves. That’s exactly what anyone would expect – and I don’t blame them. But it means that a long list of blatantly and embarrassingly unfair outcomes look likely. The vote looks set to favour no more games played in the regular season, points per game (PPG) deciding final position, which would mean the top two promoted, Tranmere relegated and regular play-offs to end the season. PPG is a simple equation – it divides the number of points gained by the number of games played to find the average number of points gained over the season. That is then applied for the rest of the season. It doesn’t factor in form, number of home or away games played, quality of opposition to come, January signings, nothing that applies to football on a regular basis – it’s just a mathematical formula applied to football. In League One, below the top two, you have three teams on 60 points and three teams on 59 points. The unpredictability that comes with pressure has no place in the scientific formula. For that reason alone, this is a totally unfair way to do it. GETTY The League One table as things stand – but it could look very different if the season is curtailed Down at the bottom Tranmere made changes in January to their squad, they’re the form team in the division, their vote to carry on playing is outweighed by the vote to end the season from the three teams above them, which means an unlikely bond between MK and Wimbledon has grown. Principles no longer matter, AFC Wimbledon fought for years for the right to play football, and now they don’t want to play football. Meantime, the EFL are allowing four teams in League Two to compete for Tranmere’s place, while Rovers are not given that opportunity. It needed someone brave at the EFL to work out a better way. But they gave clubs the vote, and that encouraged selfishness, unfairness, and if social media is anything to go by, it has generated levels of hate and nastiness among fans of all clubs. By merely pointing out that clubs are looking after themselves and how unfair PPG is, I’ve received that hate. I’m not asking for sympathy, the haters are the ones who need that. Overall, the biggest issue is the virus. GETTY Tranmere won their past three matches to move to within three points off safety – with a game in hand – but would be relegated under the PPG system Financial meltdown is something some clubs are warning about. Fans have been told by owners that clubs will die if they play out the season. And that fear is always thrown in to defend the vote of that club. But it’s thrown in without any clear evidence. We all know that there will be financial issues, nobody knows for sure how deep they will be. But if the PFA and EFL step in to help, would clubs really be crippled by playing the remaining games of the season? Is it that clear, has someone worked that out? Wycombe will, according to all sources, vote to end the season, but will then be allowed to play in the play-offs. Nobody can defend the sheer hypocrisy of that decision. A club statement this week laid out Wycombe’s financial position. They can’t afford to play the season, but they can afford to play in the play-offs, and the statement clearly said the club WILL survive. That statement doesn’t smell good. Simon Jordan says lower league clubs ‘are staring at absolute armageddon’ during COVID-19 crisis I hope the financial sob stories are proved to be lies. But don’t ever let yourself be kidded into thinking there is a family of football. Good luck to whoever is in the play-offs, especially Wycombe and Fleetwood, who have exceeded all expectations on the pitch. We can only hope Rotherham try a bit harder after being gifted another Championship chance, and nobody grudges Coventry fans their moment after the pain they’ve been put through on the EFL’s watch. People will think this is all about my club Peterborough, who will be denied a play-off place on PPG despite sitting in a play-off position and being in great form before the break. It isn’t about that. In fact I’d be happy right now if the EFL admitted it is wrong to relegate Tranmere and addressed that situation. But with the play-off situation being so tight, PPG is clearly an inappropriate way to conclude things. There doesn’t seem to be a fair way, but this appears to be the least fair. GETTY Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough were sitting sixth in the League One table when football was stopped but may be knocked out of the play-offs without kicking another ball this season Had Wycombe’s game in hand away to leaders Coventry been scheduled for March 10 instead of March 24, it would have been played and we’d be a little clearer. But because it wasn’t played, the EFL use points per game to work out Wycombe would have earned 1.73 points from that fixture. Coventry’s form at home is sensational, Wycombe have won fewer games away than Tranmere – they recently lost at MK. The maths may seem undeniable, but so many football variables make the scientific logic of PPG unworkable. Wycombe might have won the game, who knows? But they benefit because of fixture scheduling – how is that fair? Incidentally, Coventry’s PPG is 1.91. So for Coventry vs Wycombe, the EFL award Coventry and Wycombe a total of 3.64 points. Are the EFL good with that? So do Posh deserve a play off place? No, of course not. Does anyone deserve a play off place? No. Wycombe may have had an unexpectedly great season but they haven’t earned anything – nobody has. So nobody deserves to go up, down or into the play-offs. That’s an absolutely undeniable fact. If Tranmere are relegated it will be indefensible, they do not deserve to go down. Let’s strip it down. The EFL have pitted club against club and fans against fans. The EFL should have been decisive, not divisive. Football is perfect because of its imperfection. Nobody should be promoted or relegated on guesswork. Adrian Durham is the host of talkSPORT’s Drivetime show (weekdays 4pm-7pm) and GameDay LIVE. Follow him on Twitter @talkSPORTDrive,

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