League Two: Port Vale chair left ‘shaking’ after voting to end season

Port Vale players

Port Vale chair Carol Shanahan says she “came away shaking” after voting to end the League Two season despite the club being one point outside the play-offs.

The English Football League said clubs “unanimously indicated” a wish to end the season via a “framework” including tables decided on points per game.

Vale are eighth in League Two and would miss out on any potential play-offs.

“It wasn’t an easy thing to do. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Shanahan told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Then I had to do the awful thing of ringing the manager to tell him.

“Port Vale fans could look at it and ask ‘why on earth did Carol vote for this that meant we missed out?’. Well, it was for the greater good. I think it was the right thing to do.”

The EFL said an unweighted points-per-game system was agreed upon at Friday’s meeting, with recommendations to be discussed at a board meeting on Wednesday.

Any move still needs to be ratified by the EFL and the Football Association.

“When I went on to the call today I felt I really wanted to finish the season. We’re eighth in the table and have every chance of getting into the play-offs. We had everything to play for,” Shanahan said.

“[But] being part of League Two I felt that the unity of League Two and the unity of the club we belong to, the needs of that was more important than the hurt Port Vale would feel.

“It’s not been a great afternoon. We felt the hurt and went into a board meeting to plan for next season.”

Forest Green players line up<!–

‘Calling the season would be like pass the parcel’

Forest Green Rovers owner Dale Vince has disputed the notion that there was a “unanimous” feeling to end the regular season, saying deciding on promotion and relegation in an incomplete campaign would cause “lots of inequity”.

“How do you call the season now? It’s a bit like pass the parcel – the music has stopped,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Do we just call it according to where we all are in the league? Automatically promote the top three, relegate the bottom clubs and have a play-off, or not have a play-off?”

Forest Green are 11th in League Two, nine points off the play-offs.

“We think for the integrity of the competition, for the promotion and relegation battles, it’s [completing the season] the only proper way to do it,” Vince said.

“It’s going to happen in the Premier League, Championship, probably in League One and I think that League Two should follow suit.

“Playing out the season now would give us experience of the testing, playing behind closed doors and of streaming games live, which is a new income stream for clubs in League Two.”

Barrow waiting in the wings?

An unweighted points-per-game system was agreed upon as a way to finalise the table by League Two clubs, meaning Stevenage would stay bottom.

Yet clubs have also requested that relegation from the fourth tier is removed this season.

That might have meant bad news for Barrow, top of the National League – which was ended last month – but Bury’s expulsion from the EFL in August means there is a space to be filled for next season.

“Hopefully we come on the end of the right outcome, which is what we deserve and I don’t think many people can argue about it,” said Barrow boss Ian Evatt.

“If we (the National League) follow the EFL, which is what I understand we’ve been waiting for, I’m guessing we’ll be crowned champions and will hopefully be invited to take Bury’s place.”

Barrow led the fifth tier by four points, with nine games left, when the league was halted because of coronavirus in March.

The National League had been waiting on the EFL to announce an outcome before deciding on promotion and relegation.

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