07:00PM, Wednesday 03 February 2021
Mark Bartley has said he feels like those in the corridors of non-league footballing power have settled on a decision to null and void various campaigns, without having the foresight to consider other options.
The Blues are waiting to hear from the Isthmian League South Central Division on what is to become of their league season, but the general assumption is the league will be cancelled and declared null and void.
Bartley has already begun planning for next season and hopes to get back to action for the players’ health and mental-wellbeing sake, as soon as possible. But he does believe those who wield power at this level have been shortsighted and feels they could have explored the possibility of playing matches over a two-month period in April and May.
Two weeks after returning a survey questionnaire from the league on what should happen next, Bartley believes clubs will hear from the league either this week or next. But he feels those in charge of the decision have already anchored themselves to a position of null and void.
“It feels like everyone wants to null and void, so that’s probably where we’re going to end up,” said Bartley.
“I think that will happen because it’s the will of the majority of those who have the ability to influence it. The managers and players at most clubs want to continue playing, but there’s this overwhelming voice from the corridors of power that seems to want to null and void, so that’s where we’ll probably end up.
“We responded to a survey from the league two weeks ago, but it feels like they were just using that to get some input and to say they’ve spoken to everyone. I think they’ll anchor themselves around trying to null and void the season. There has been some talk about continuing the season after the summer, but that doesn’t make much sense. There’s no guarantees we’d have the same group of players and I think it would just be a bit of a mess.
“It’s likely that when restrictions are eased, we’ll still have two months in which to play. We could play two games over a 12–14-week period, and clubs could use five subs because it’s an extraordinary time. If we got 14 weeks, that’s 28 games and if you add that to the seven or eight most clubs have already played, you’re not far off what we’d have played in the regular season. It would have been a bit artificial, but something could have been done.
“If the leagues were forward thinking they’d be saying ‘when we get back, we’ll split the leagues into two halves’, and they could have a number of options depending on how much time we had. But they just seem to want to null and void as a default.”
Bartley also can’t understand why it’s taken the league more than two weeks to collate club’s responses to the survey. He feels that information could have been made public and a decision taken on the future of this season much quicker.
“We’re expecting to hear back soon really,” he said. “They will have got the results back from the survey two weeks ago, but football seems to live in a time machine. They’re saying they need time to sit down and work it all through, but you could have used Survey Monkey right, which would have captured everyone’s opinion.”
“Who is running these organisations. Two weeks to collate responses. It just doesn’t make sense. They get sick of me highlighting these things and think I have too much to say, but the reality of it is that it’s farcical. Their time is done. I think people have had enough of them. No leadership, constantly moving the goalposts, and even when they come back and talk to us, it might just be about what the results show. I believe they’re going to null and void it so I’ve already started planning for next season. I think there will be minimal movements because teams have only just started this season right, but I’ve got two players I would like to bring in and I’ve spoken to our coaches about one or two bits. We’re preparing for null and void and for pre-season to start again in June. That’s where I think we’ll be.”