AFTER over two years of chaos, the football season is virtually over, and we can celebrate a year of relative normality.

With the coronavirus pandemic striking Britain with a vengeance from March 2020, it soon dawned on us how much we missed a good old relegation battle or a promotion scrap.

All of a sudden we had the horrors of no football for months, and even after its return, there were no fans, restricted crowds, groups of six and sanitised equipment.

All were scenarios we could never have envisaged, and all sucked a level of enjoyment out of the game, whether you were an avid supporter or passionate player.

I did an in-depth feature in September 2020 about the impact of coronavirus on clubs, and it laid bare the effect the virus had had on the day-to-day operations of a football club.

Thackley chairman Ben Oliver said his club were on a sound financial footing, yet he feared for others, one of whom was Guiseley, who even had to crowdfund last season when they had games and outlay, but no supporter revenue.

But even the Dennyboys were affected, with Oliver admitting back then: "One of the things for us as a club is the rules on clubhouses and bars.

"We've just renovated ours and it was a big investment. We were open on Tuesday (for a home game with Albion Sports) and had all the social distancing guidelines in place and sanitiser available.

"But the rules have changed since that fixture and now it's table service only.

"That cuts down the maximum occupancy in the clubhouse, so again it's just chipping away all the time at these potential income streams that we already do have.

"We still can't have functions there either. Somebody wants to have a wedding reception there next summer, but whether that will be able to take place we're not sure.

"We want to be out there marketing and we've got some potentially really big interest for a launch event for the clubhouse, but we can't deploy it because we can't encourage a gathering of that size.

"So it is challenging, and it's something we're monitoring on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Everyone is keeping an eye on the news, any announcements, and that's the only thing we can do."

Campion joint-manager Lee Ashforth talked about the issues from a playing perspective back then, saying: "We've just got to make sure we do what we can as a management team, making sure the players are covering the Covid rules, travelling in cars themselves, not going to games with each other etc.

"Everything else will be dealt with by the government and the FA in the best way they see fit and we've just got to buy into those guidelines.

"As a nation we all want to play football, kids want to play football, but the safety of people has got to be paramount.

"That's from grassroots football right up to Premier League and international football. We've got to do what's right for the country, for the safety of it and the safety of the people who live here.

"Football will always come second to that in my opinion. While we can play football, fantastic, but if the decision is made where we can't we have to deal with that."

Bradford (Park Avenue) were fined for not playing games that they couldn't afford to take part in, to their undisguised chagrin, seasons were stop-start, and it all looked to be a never-ending nightmare.

But with restrictions pretty much lifted for the whole of 2021-22, there have been some dramatic moments to remind us what football is all about.

Liversedge looked well on course for promotion in 2019-20, but coronavirus curtailed that season, to the fury of boss Jonathan Rimmington.

They only played seven games in 2020-21, winning all of them, but their brilliant record over two successive Northern Counties East League Premier Division campaigns meant they were promoted to the Northern Premier League East Division on a points per game formula anyway.

And they thrived there, winning a titanic virtual title decider 2-0 against Marske United on Easter Saturday to secure a second straight promotion.

Tonight they get the chance to secure a famous double when they take on Brighouse Town in the West Riding County Cup final.

Avenue looked to be in National League North relegation danger at the turn of the year, but some battling defensive displays and counter-attacking brilliance have helped them stay afloat.

But their rivals Guiseley (35 points) and Farsley Celtic (37 points) are engaged in a dramatic battle at the bottom with AFC Telford United (36).

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kaine Felix's winner on Monday kept Guiseley alive. Picture: Alex Daniel.Kaine Felix's winner on Monday kept Guiseley alive. Picture: Alex Daniel.

Only one will go down, with tomorrow set to be the mother of all shootouts to stay in the league.

Elsewhere, Eccleshill United missed out on promotion via a play-off penalty shoot-out, Steeton achieved their highest ever league finish in the football pyramid and Ilkley Town stayed up in their first season in the semi-professional game.

Football is a great example of not realising what you've got until it's gone. It's been great to have it back.