How does the season end? Part 2
How does the season end? Part 2

In Part 2 of our discussion, KSN football writers Colin Head, Ryan Clark and Mark Doig explore the financial reality for non-league clubs, contractual concerns and the changes the non-league game should make for when football returns.

Financially many non-league clubs could well end up going to the wall if we don’t resume any competitive football until September (if that), what should be done about that or is it just a harsh consequence of the time we’re in?

CH: If the National League honestly wants to continue the season then the Premier League and its clubs should be donating a small percentage of their huge income towards teams lower down the pyramid. This would be for a sense of football community, but also to help the game stay healthy and grow. 

RC: Unfortunately it looks like non-league clubs are going to struggle. Growing up in Barnet and going to many of their games for many years, the news about them really hit hard for me. We’ve also seen it with Dover as they have released their physio due to financial ramifications. On the topic of Dover, their fans have set up a go fundme page to help their chairman with costs at this difficult time. This could be an option for other clubs as they look to get through this difficult period. However, more needs to be done by the FA and the National League to make sure clubs don’t continue to fall victim to this. 

MD: I understand that the F.A. have massive reserves and they should look after non-league clubs. I don’t see why Premier League teams can’t donate a million pounds each, those who have enjoyed Champions League riches could add another million.

Most of the National League clubs would run contracts until June 30 but the National League North and South is predominantly part time, if the National League decides to resume over the summer – wouldn’t this be deeply unfair on those clubs? Isnt there a huge contractual issue that cannot be overcome?

MD: Players through agents may already have moves set up for when their forty week contract expires. Others will have booked holidays with their employers if they have other jobs, knowing that they can only take a break in the few weeks between the play-off final date and the start of pre-season.

CH: It’s very tough as it is on semi pro teams. It encourages over spending and financial risk. That’s another reason for ending the season now. 

RC: Although it might be unfair, my opinion is that players (and clubs) will want to play to get the season to a conclusion, even if this does mean playing it in the summer. This might be difficult for some PT players who have jobs, but might just be the best that can be done in what is a difficult and unprecedented situation. 

Football has a rare moment to stop and breathe and think – if you could only make one change to the non-league game moving forward what would it be?

RC: Moving forward, I think more needs to be done to increase attendances. Every year we get non-league day, but apart from that their is not much to help with non-league attendances. More events like this need to take place to help get casual fans to their local non-league ground. This doesn’t just help the financial side of a club, it also helps with increasing atmosphere with these casual fans hopefully continuing to come to games.

CH: I’d like to think we’d all have a bit more perspective and calm down a bit about results etc. But I’m a dreamer. I guess clubs will now know to have a contingency plan n place, because I doubt this will be the last time something of this nature happens. I fear that many of them might not make it through to the other side of this nightmare. 

MD: There is a world of difference between various levels of Non-League football. The National League is virtually Division Three while SCEFL clubs sometimes get gates of under 50 so I don’t see one change that would be suitable for all of Non-League. One change that I would like to see at all levels of football is to do away with meet and greet at the start of games. Many players don’t even look at each other as they slap each other’s hands and as soon as the match starts they are trying to get each other sent off.