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By Rhys Evans

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a wave of uncertainty and panic, including within the footballing world.

The impact has been devastating and perhaps everlasting. As the general public eagerly awaits the returns of the Premier League, it may be easy to overlook the clubs further down the pecking order.

On the 26th of March, the FA announced that they would be cancelling the football season between steps 3-7, expunging the results that had preceded this decision.

The National League followed suit by cancelling their remaining games on the 22nd of April; however, they are yet to decide on their final standings.

The decision to cancel the season was inevitably met with a mixed reaction. According to the BBC, over 100 non-league clubs sent an open letter to the FA pleading with them to reconsider.

The Fa upheld their decision, and some teams might be thankful for them doing so despite the financial struggles that this brings.

An infographic laying out a timeline of key decisions made by the FA during the ongoing pandemic.

Chorley FC has had to resort to fundraising in a bid to improve their home ground, Victoria Park, which they say need “fairly major improvements.”

Despite this, the club voted to both end and expunge the current season as they sat rock bottom of the National League, 17 points from safety and their relegation all but confirmed. 

On the flip side, Jersey Bulls in the Combined Counties League were in the middle of an extraordinary season. Twenty-seven games played with twenty-seven wins; promotion already mathematically secured but now snatched from their grasp as if it were never there.

They and Vauxhall Motors were the only two teams in the English leagues to have mathematically secured promotion; however, they were not the only ones to have been dealt an injustice.

Down in the Isthmian South East League, Hastings United occupied the only automatic promotion spot with just ten games to go.

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They sat 3 points clear of Ashford United in 2nd, who had played an extra two games, and 17 points ahead of 6th place Chichester City in the bid to secure a place in the playoffs.

I spoke with Jake Elliot, 21, who is a defender for Hastings. He voiced his concern to me on their chances of retaining critical players for a second title bid next season.

“I think for the team it is a bit of a problem because a few of the players have offers from higher clubs because of how well we were doing. If we got promoted, then it would have been a lot easier to keep the players, but now I think a few of the players will leave.”

Jake admitted that Hastings seem financially stable due to their generous owner; however, he realises that fellow clubs may be in financial danger.

“I think we’re fine going forward, but I think for other clubs, they are struggling a bit. Obviously, they are not getting any money in, anyone on contract they’ll still be paying them, and some clubs will still be renting their pitches. I know some clubs are struggling.”

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May 2024