…is another club’s gain 😦
When I wrote “We have a small budget compared with many other Ryman League clubs and spending to stave off relegation would have been foolhardy – that path leads to ruin and the death of a club. Everyone knows the tale of Fisher Athletic. I may have appeared to be showing prescience in the light of the news that Worksop Town FC have subsequently resigned from the Evo-Stik League. In truth I don’t have a crystal ball but in the last week of the regular season the rumour mill was alive with stories of the possible demotion of Worksop Town amid suggestions that they were likely to lose their main source of financial support. That is as far as it went at the time and I think we assumed that it was purely speculation. Wingate’s fans, by and large, took our relegation on the chin and were not surprised to find ourselves back in the Ryman Division 1 North.
Then, on May 21st it was announced that Worksop Town’s Owner Jason Clark was leaving. The news prompted a statement from the club which included an emphasis on the club’s financial status as being debt free following Clark’s period of tenure and announcing that there would be further meetings to discuss the way forward for the club. In the context of that statement it must have come as a shock to the club’s loyal fans to see a statement on May 24th announcing that the club had resigned from the Evo-Stik League as attempting to fund playing at that level would incur losses. Subsequently following at least one emergency meeting an attempt to withdraw the resignation was made on May 26th which the Evo-Stik League board rejected as the resignation had already been notified to the FA as a matter of urgency “due to the knock-on implications of club allocations across Steps 3, 4 and 5 of the National League System.”
For those of you wondering how the resignation of a team somewhere in the industrial wilds of Nottinghamshire affects the status of a team playing in one of the leafier suburbs of London, re-read that quote from the Evo-Stik League Board. In the professional leagues there is but a single structure allowing simple up-down movement between the Premier League, The Championship, Leagues 1 & 2 and the Conference Premier. Below this level the number of teams qualified to play at each step of the football pyramid is too many for a single division structure so, the Conference Premier is fed by the Conference North and South divisions. And so the Pyramid broadens as you descend to the base – You can check out the structure at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_football_league_system. For the record, Wingate & Finchley were in the Isthmian League Premier Division last season and were relegated to the Isthmian League Division One North – though we could equally have found ourselves in Division One South!
Now, while I have been writing this, confirmation has been sent to the Isthmian League by the FA that Wingate & Finchley are reprieved – you can read the statement at http://www.isthmian.co.uk/blues-reprieved-after-second-reshuffle-19724/ and see how that decision to reprieve our team was reached. Will that be the end of the matter? Who knows, but Worksop Town were said to be considering appealing the Evo-Stik Board’s decision not to allow them to rescind their resignation. I’m not sure what grounds that appeal would have – it’s not like appealing against something that was out of your control.
While this reprieve is great news for The Blues it brings with it a degree of responsibility – responsibility to prove that we do deserve to be in the Ryman Premier Division and that means upping our game from last season. There is no room for complacency (or Swans for that matter!) and I note from our news pages that two new strikers have been added to our ranks over the last couple of weeks. I don’t doubt that the Skipper will be driving the team on to get results 🙂
To conclude – I must tender my sympathies to the fans of Worksop Town and wish them well for the future. It is a salutory lesson regarding clubs relying on a single benefactor – something which happens all too often in the non-league set-up. Who knows where their club will be slotted back into the pyramid but hopefully it will thrive and climb back up the tables – they have the experience of the likes of Maidstone United to draw strength from.
Anyway… I’d better get the cameras ready for the preseason games and the inevitable team photo 😉