So then here we are, the close season well upon us, but not in all respects. Still we wait for a conclusion to the National League season although that should become clearer following the EFL meeting early this week. The likelihood is the play offs will take place, whether that extends to the South and North divisions is again unclear.
But what of those beyond the top tiers in the grassroots game? There is a mixture of feelings underneath the National League, more heightened at the back end of last week with the announcement of the women’s game stopping and cancelling as they were and titles awarded whilst teams were relegated. Now you can imagine eyes from Steps 3-7 were all over this one and we’ll wait to see if there is any murmur of movement from any club camp in the next few days.
There are certainly a lot of clubs who feel aggrieved at the decision ratified for the woman’s game, Worthing Woman lower down their pyramid, Jersey Bulls in the men’s games are two that spring to mind having already won promotion from their respective leagues but will now have to do it all over again next season. There will also be other clubs in strong positions up and down the country that would argue they could have gone on to win titles and promotion, at the bottom lots will say they would have put together a run of form and gotten out of trouble and it’s very much as case of we’ll never know.
They will also point to the early decision to null and void, was it too quick? Could the season have been suspended and moved into the latter part of this year with a truncated 2020/21 season minus a few cups and less league games? Hindsight is a wonderful thing as we all know and hopefully they will look back and think things were decided hastily and not completed properly across the board.
In a few days time clubs at Steps 5 and 6 should understand where things stand right more and only the most unorganised of clubs won’t have planned to be ready to start in July. Personally, I believe things will begin in September with just a month of football to catch up on over the course of the rest of the season. I expect of course social distancing to be in place and where attendances are lower at those levels I can’t see too much of a restriction on capacity numbers.
However, at Steps 1-4 I would expect 50% of capacity only to begin with and regular checks and updates to eventually get back to a full house. Whilst this virus is on the decline we still need to be wary and do everything we can, we all know though that non-league football can’t begin behind closed doors and the reality for some Football League clubs will be the same, in three months time the situation will be much changed from what it is now and the same is being seen all over the world, we can’t do more than keep the faith.