Mouth of the Tyne: Sorry Liverpool but if Colney Heath aren’t going to get their title, neither should you
- Credit: PA
In his latest opinion column, Herts Advertiser and Welwyn Hatfield Times sports reporter Neil Metcalfe looks at the ongoing fall-out of (some of) non-league ending their season early. And he wants the FA to take charge and make the most sensible decision they can.
Got your attention already with that headline eh?
I can imagine the fury this will cause on Merseyside and elsewhere. How dare I compare Liverpool’s situation to that of the Magpies. I mean who the hell are Colney Heath anyway?
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying Liverpool don’t deserve the title. In fact I am saying exactly the opposite, their position means they should be champions. They probably would have been champions by now anyway had coronavirus not arrived with such awful consequences.
But the work they did to get clear at the top of the Premier League is no different to that done by Colney Heath to place themselves six points clear in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division and with a game in hand and just 10 more matches to go.
Each club has put the hard yards in on the training pitch and in games. Both have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get to this position, not just over this season but previous ones too.
Many hours have been expended by staff, paid and unpaid, to make sure fans, players and all connected with the club get to have their moment in the sun.
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The only difference between the two is that the Reds may yet taste triumph while Heath won’t, and may even have the efforts wiped completely from the history books.
And it’s not just Colney Heath. You can easily substitute them for the likes of Barrow, Worthing, Maldon & Tiptree, Stowmarket Town and 1874 Northwich.
That’s the one thing about yesterday’s announcement, that the non-league season is not only over but may be voided completely, that really got my goat.
I understand football isn’t important at the current time. This is an unprecedented situation as we are constantly told, and well aware of, and the fact it is truly a matter of life and death does trump all other considerations.
But if you are going to void the season then it has to be done for all. You can’t pick and choose who does and doesn’t get to finish their efforts.
We all know the Premier League and EFL probably won’t and the FA have given them the opportunity by extending the season indefinitely. The National League also want to play to a conclusion, the sticking point in the world of non-league.
Below them though the other leagues have drawn a line on the season and now just have the tricky decision of voiding the season completely or using points-per-game to decide the final positions, a decision that splits the membership straight down the middle apparently.
Some like Berkhamsted, currently sitting top of the Southern League Division One Central, have released a magnanimous statement saying what will be will be and that all clubs should “just accept the decisions that are made and move on”.
Another of their hopes though is that whatever the decision is, it is applied consistently across all leagues from the Premier Division down.
It’s a mess of a situation and the decision for the authorities is a ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ one.
But don’t make it worse than it already is. The tangled minefield of some leagues playing to a finish, which could be August or September, while others are starting the new campaign would be huge.
Points-per-game would be my choice. It would reward the efforts of all clubs and while not ideal, would allow us all to move on.
Football and sport will play a huge part in rebuilding the morale of the country once we are through to the other side. Don’t sully the integrity of the competition before it starts.
It’s one for all at the moment and if that means Liverpool and Colney Heath miss out on their silverware, then so be it.