Today, after earlier having put up the statement that we received late last night from the National League, in regards to their guidance, reasoning and thinking for the remainder for season 2019/20 and beyond, I will try to break that statement down and explain in layman’s terms, it’s ramifications to the best of my ability. This follows me studying both the statement and speaking with National League Chief Executive Officer Michael Tattersall on his interpretation and exactly what the statement means.
Firstly, let me say as a member club we of course support the League, and we’ll try to follow its guidelines, its reasoning and its decisions. Whether I agree with them or not at this point is irrelevant, as I accept the decisions being made are being made in good faith, though possibly I feel made more in hope. That said, at the moment hope is perhaps all we have, and hope is very important to us all.
After having read the League statement front and back, like me you might choose to read it once again simply for clarity, as the devil is often in the detail or in this case in certain wording…
However, based on my discussions with our League Chief Executive, my long standing colleague Michael Tattersall, I’ll try to help simplify what all this exactly means, to us, to you and of course to the wider non-league football world.
Basically the National League are saying, that it is shut down for now, but it does want to find any way possible to finish this season and they would in an ideal world, like to restart and finish this season’s league program between say June, July, August or even September of this year, government guidelines permitting.
If the league were to get past that first hurdle, they would in simple terms want to go very quickly into the 2020/21 season. For that to be possible, it’s reasonable to expect that the 2020/21 league season would need to be extended into possibly May or even June 2021.
However, the League are also saying to me, that whatever the English Football League decides in the coming weeks and months, our League would do its utmost to follow suit and align ourselves with them.
It is my understanding that our League’s view, which I acknowledge is that promotion and relegation is paramount to our League, no matter what the cost. However, for a long standing Chairman and owner of 21 years and counting, the cost cannot for a small community club be “whatever the cost”…
It has also and I’m repeating myself for a reason, been explained to me that the National League will if at all possible and I repeat “will if at all possible”, want to align itself, with the EFL finishing their competition.
Which means we do not worry too much about what the Premier League are doing, as they have their own problems to overcome. Namely the Premier League must finish their League competition by July 13th or possibly risk losing over 750 million pounds in TV monies… Let alone all the other endorsements, sponsorships, and other worldwide TV monies.
All that means, by trying to align ourselves with the EFL, that all promotions, relegations and play offs, can only be settled after we know what the EFL are doing. Which subsequently means, the National League’s stance results in the rest of the non-league football pyramid below us not being able to make any decisions on promotion or relegation or allocate their clubs to the correct leagues.
Whether the above National League views, are the views of this Football Club or not, as I’ve said earlier are an irrelevance, but it is our league’s view and as a member club we will if at all possible, try to adhere to it.
While we await further instruction and guidance from both the FA and National League we must try to clarify things like new transfer windows, any new rules regarding the signing of new players and those falling out of contract on April 25th, while learning what the new loan rules might look like going forward.
So to clarify, we believe that all non-league clubs at steps 3, 4, 5, 6 and below, might now find their leagues finished? If true, they will have all their relegation and promotion decisions put on hold, until ourselves and the EFL play out our remaining league games or make our final decisions.
The National League clubs at steps 1 and 2, which in laymen’s terms are the National League Premier, North and South. Are for now put on hold… but for complete clarity as has been explained to me as of 10pm last night, the National League competition is NOT cancelled for the foreseeable future.
I hope that and all my other comments above have made sense? We will of course keep you informed of any updates or any news as and when we are told, but for now that’s as much as we know.
So to finish, we again ask you to listen to all present government guidelines, to keep yourselves safe and take care. Trust me you can be confident that your Football Club will still be here on your return, even if it might need some TLC, but the Wood Army can rest assured Luke, the players and our loyal staff, will all be here to welcome you back with open arms.
On a personal note, can I thank you all for your incredible messages of support and your loyalty. No doubt we’ll all see each other soon when we get through this and until then take care, stay safe and God bless to you all.