11:30AM, Friday 27 March 2020
FOOTBALL 128026-149Peter Griffin. FOOTBALL. Maidenhead FC V Margate FC. Last match of the season. Margate Football Club, Hartsdown Rd, Margate. Promotion Celebrations.
The Football Association (FA) are yet to make an official decision but it looks very much as though Maidenhead United have played their last football of the 2019/20 campaign, writes Daniel Darlington.
This week the National League has asked for the FA’s assistance in bringing the National League, and National League North/South, to a premature end but what’s not yet 100 per cent certain is whether the campaigns will be declared null and void or promotions/relegations sorted on a points per game basis.
The league has told clubs it’s working with the FA to discuss all reasonable and practical options for the termination of the season, and is providing advice to clubs on the ongoing issues of player contracts and registration for next season. A final decision is yet to be made and will be relayed to the clubs as soon as it is, but it will have ramifications for the non league pyramid below and the EFL above.
At present it’s uncertain when football will resume again, and it’s not yet decided which division Maidenhead United will be playing in when it does. However, if the season is voided they would remain a National League side, and, if the decision on who goes up and who goes down is made on a points per game basis, it’s likely they’d also get a provisional reprieve, despite being in the bottom three.
However, sat at home playing football in the garden with his children, Magpies chairman Peter Griffin isn’t worried about any of this.
He’s just hoping everyone follows the Government’s advice, stays at home as much as possible and does everything in their power to prevent themselves, their family and friends from catching the coronavirus.
He is also looking forward to the time he and his friends can return to York Road and enjoy the football with a pint, irrespective of what division the club is playing in.
“At present I firmly believe the season should not be postponed, it should be cancelled,” he said. “Because there’s no prospect of the matches being completed. As to what then happens with league positions and next year, I don’t really have a view on that. It will all be decided in time and there are no options that are satisfactory to everyone.
“But what’s more important is that all clubs get through this and survive, and help the communities they are in. For now we just have to keep safe and everything else can be worried about later.
“It’s put everything into perspective for me, which is ‘I can’t wait to get back down to York Road, to have a pint and watch the football’. Quite frankly what division we’re in doesn’t really matter at all. That’s something to look forward to. The football returning to York Road again is what really matters. Everything else pales into insignificance.”
Recent results had put Maidenhead United on the precipice of relegation from the National League, but, with the campaign now likely to be brought to an early end, various options are being put forward for how the season can be concluded. None of them are particularly satisfactory, according to Griffin, but he says the club will abide by whatever decision the FA makes.
“That’s not a criticism to say that,” he said on Monday. “But there’s just not a satisfactory outcome. Whether they void the season, try to play out the season – logistically I think for non-league that’s impossible. We could be seeing out the campaign with a different playing squad due to players no longer being in contract. They could opt for a points per game method, stop the league as it is, we could just have promotions, and every league would have a bigger division.
“It’s just a big unknown at the moment and people will be for or against each depending on whether it suits the club or not. We don’t want to be relegated, of course not, but these are questions for another day.”
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