Now we as Bolton fans have been allowed to move on a little following the turmoil of the last five years we are starting to understand the damage we have done to the reputation and integrity of League One.
It absolutely breaks my heart the damage our recklessness has caused. Some teams in our division had to play against younger players whilst some teams then had to play against older players, I know, shocking stuff. The fullness of time has allowed me at least to realise just how much this has wrecked the very fabric of a league table that aside from our selfish interventions, won’t finish with the same amount of teams that started it.
All the apologies in the world can’t make it better but we can only learn from what has happened at the UNIBOL and I have some suggestions on how to protect the integrity of the league moving forward. The idea of these suggestions is to make League One football fair.
1) No Transfers During the Season
It is completely unfair that teams can sign players. This means that one side will face a team with one squad whilst another will face the same team with a different squad. It is this very sinful act by Bolton this year that caused so much issue. Before Bolton this season, no team in the history of football had looked to improve themselves within a transfer window once funds became available to them. It wasn’t just unsporting by Bolton but also a flagrant disregard for the poor clubs that hadn’t played them yet.
2) Every team must name exactly the same matchday squad every week
Squad rotation causes unfairness. Unless every side faces exactly the same set of opponents, the process is unfair. There is an argument that you could switch your squad at the half-way point of the season but then some teams will have played a certain team at home whilst some will have played that team away, rendering the process unfair.
3) No Injuries
For the above to work, teams cannot be allowed injured players. Players must always be fit to protect the above rule and make the competition fair. Look at Blackburn now Bradley Dack is injured, it’s unfair on the clubs that have already played Blackburn Rovers with Bradley Dack. It is ruining the integrity of the league that Dack is injured. Injuries are not allowed, they are unfair.
4) No Managerial Changes
This one is simple. If a team is performing poorly under a certain manager, this is not to be changed as it is unfair on the teams that have to play that team under a new manager.
5) Teams Must Ensure the Same Attendance at All their Home Games
This is important, atmospheres can affect games, if we are to ensure that each away side faces exactly the same set of variables, we must manage the attendance. It must not only be exactly the same amount but also exactly the same individual people. There is an argument each individual spectator should make exactly the same noises at exactly the same points in games but I think we need to be realistic about these changes.
6) Each Game must have exactly the same referee
We’ve all seen it, a referee can change a game with a decision. Two referees are two different people with two sets of beliefs and influencers, this is completely unfair and must be addressed urgently.
7) Game Conditions
It should be the responsibility of the Home side to ensure each opponents faces them in exactly the same climate conditions to ensure fair competition. It goes without saying that the same pre-game music must be played as this has been proven to affect player motivation. League officials should be deployed to ensure that each side is using the same type of isotonic drink as they have used throughout the season as well.
It is also important that the exact same pitch measurements alongside grass length are being used for each fixture. A measurement should be taken at half time to ensure the growth rate of the grass is the same as in previous fixtures of that season. In fact, this reading should be sent to the League after the first game of the season to allow the League to monitor, we can’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
At the end of the day, these are simply suggestions and a starting point if you will for us learning from our mistakes and building a league of pure integrity that we can all be proud of. Please feel free to add your own suggestions, this is about saving the integrity of League One, which we all know is a cause bigger than our own. God Speed Everyone.