Originally the blog I was going to put up tonight is already written and has been for some days, I’ve managed to get into the art of getting these written which is handy considering I’m posting more often.
This post could’ve gone up two days ago, but the FA Council meeting to rubberstamp the decision to null and void the season for Steps 3-7 was postponed until today, Thursday. Not surprisingly the decision was ratified today despite opposition from nearly 200 of it’s member clubs and some backing from Football League clubs.
As per usual as I’ve stated in these blogs, the health of the nation and it’s people outweighs the moral compass of football, no change to this being a delicate situation and won’t be for some time. Despite this afternoon’s decision this story is going to rumble and it would be silly not to pass comment or imply my opinion, after all we all have one. I have no official affiliation to any club so there is no bias, I may ‘support’ one or two and follow a bunch load more, which will appear in a future blog (nice little plug there!), but merely my reaction to things.
So, as we stand we’re done from Steps 3-7 in non-league football for 2019/20 and soon after the FA released their statement the National League board also came out and reported they’ve asked their three divisions of member clubs to vote on whether the season ends or plays on, there is no guideline yet as to when that decision will be announced.
After Easter is put away for another year, I would expect to see what direction those clubs who disagree with the decision are going to take. That at least gives them three or four days to discuss amongst themselves if they plan to pursue the matter or ultimately accept the FA decision and press onwards. I would be surprised if they didn’t take it through the courts, they’ve already started a process and aren’t in agreement with the FA.
The biggest gripe I feel the football family has is the almost sheer bloody-mindedness of the PL and EFL to want to complete this season whenever they are allowed to, the National League are currently halfway between this. The cost of voiding their season and no recognition from UEFA if they do coupled with TV payments potentially being withheld could mean clubs in the Football League will buckle under the financial pressures. Should football void itself from top to bottom then we’re all in agreement even though there are clubs promoted and well set for promotion when games were suspended.
You only have to look at the likes of Jersey Bulls, Littlehampton Town, Stowmarket Town, Worthing Women to name a few, all unbeaten and two of those four having actually secured promotion before the suspension of games. The FA also stated today at clubs at Steps 3-7 will remain as per the constitution at the beginning of the season, but already since mid March ten clubs have resigned from their leagues and I’m pretty sure more will follow as the issues become more widespread over the coming weeks and months, so who replaces those ten clubs as a minimum? Do they promote ten clubs? Do they run each league short of one club? Has that been thought through and what if more clubs follow those first ten? I would hope some forward planning has already been done, but with the FA I’m loathe to believe so.
There is no doubt the footballing landscape can not look like it does now and survive after this crisis has passed. For years I’ve been wanting the game to go bust effectively, to re-set, redress from poor financial issues and look healthy again, it’s sad that it’s taken a life sapping virus to possibly achieve it. Having had my own involvement in grassroots football as a Secretary and a Treasurer over the past couple of years I’ve seen all too well how difficult it is to get money into that level and keep a club afloat whilst the game itself is awash with more money that it has ever seen.
Now is the time it has to change for us to have a pyramid of football for the next 100 years and beyond, this might be the only chance for the game to take a long hard good look at itself and stop the greed and look after the smaller cousins, we know the game is going to look different once it returns it’s how it looks which can be determined, but only if everyone plays their part…………