7th Jun, 2020

Clubs in limbo as non-League campaign ends......or does it?

Rob George 3rd Apr, 2020

CLUB chiefs at Worcester City and Malvern Town have reacted with mixed emotions to the decision to controversially axe all football below the National League as the row over the decision rumbles on.

Hillsiders chairman Chris Pinder and City manager Ash Vincent both spoke out after the Football Association announced non-League football below the National League’s three divisions would end immediately with results expunged.

It means there will be no promotion or relegation in a staggering 91 leagues. The same applies in the women’s game below the Women’s Super League and Championship level. The decision is yet to be ratified by the FA Council.

More than 100 non-League clubs have sent an open letter to the Football Association, calling for it to ‘urgently’ reconsider the decision to expunge their seasons.

Clubs in the running for promotion have led the calls for a rethink with Martin Hillerby, the chairman of Stockton Town who currently 13 points clear at the top of the Northern League Division 1, branding the move unfair.

Malvern Town were a point clear with two games in hand at the top of the Hellenic League Division One West when football was brought to a halt because of the Coronavirus and in a statement Pinder revealed the club’s mixed emotions at the decision.

“It’s true to say all of us been dreaming of celebrating a promotion, maybe even as champions, for a long time. This now ill-fated season there was justifiable hope that we would achieve our ambition,” he said.

“The decision to render the season as null and void leaves us feeling at a rather low ebb, but we should be proud of how we performed up to now and we mustn’t forget the highs.

“Of course, it sucks; it’s hard to take and we are bitterly disappointed. This virus is cruel in more ways than one, impacting not just those infected.

“Right now we’ve all got to roll with the punches and get on with it and after all this is over I’m sure we’ll all love and appreciate football, its family and its community a little bit more.”

Blue and Whites boss Vincent described the move as a ‘difficult’ decision which provoked ‘objection and frustration and maybe even relief in equal measure’.

“I absolutely sympathise with those clubs with a realistic opportunity of pushing for promotion as we are near on three-quarters through a season. I think they only would have liked the opportunity to finish what they had started, so it’s totally understandable and those clubs should be recognised and congratulated for their efforts,” he said.

“Without everyone in good health and being able to attend with no risks attached, then we don’t have the game we all enjoy so much.

“So there’s no doubt in my mind that, based on that factor alone, that at this difficult time people’s health and future welfare comes before anything including the game we all enjoy so much,

“To all the loyal City fans we hope you will all stay safe and continue to support each other through this tough time. I’m convinced by doing this better times are round the corner for us all.”

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