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Aberstone

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Well the way we vote will be immaterial to the National League as there will be more than enough votes for the division to continue playing on, irrespective of how the club votes.

Normally I'd have heard something by now but clearly the board are keeping their cards very close to their chests.
 

Wooderson

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Hardly any of the NL (ie Step One) clubs have said how they are voting. I think Jacob said there was an Athletic article that said 15/16 wanted to continue. Anyone got a link?
 

Chief Rocka

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Hardly any of the NL (ie Step One) clubs have said how they are voting. I think Jacob said there was an Athletic article that said 15/16 wanted to continue. Anyone got a link?

The full article is behind a paywall and I've yet it see it posted anywhere.
 

Darlofan97

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I can’t, for some reason, link the article but, it states that “a National League Chairman estimates that 15 of the 23 National League clubs want to carry on”.
 

Casey

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Where exactly does the Dover chairman think the additional funding he writes about is going to come from?

The government has a debt that is astronomical, the Premier league has shown the extent of it's largesse already (not a lot) and I think we can all forget about local business for the next couple of years. Maybe he has looked at Wrexham and is hoping Hugh Jackman wants to compete against Ryan Reynolds in real life?

But there again, if he cannot pay the players he has very little choice.

Casey
 

PuB

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Where exactly does the Dover chairman think the additional funding he writes about is going to come from?

The government has a debt that is astronomical, the Premier league has shown the extent of it's largesse already (not a lot) and I think we can all forget about local business for the next couple of years. Maybe he has looked at Wrexham and is hoping Hugh Jackman wants to compete against Ryan Reynolds in real life?

But there again, if he cannot pay the players he has very little choice.

Casey

Parmenter is an arse wipe who regularly says he’s going to mothball the club, they benefited more than they should have done with the previous grants.

The grants came from Camelot by the way, not the government.
 

Spire1866

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I can’t, for some reason, link the article but, it states that “a National League Chairman estimates that 15 of the 23 National League clubs want to carry on”.
I've got a subscription 1 second.
 

Spire1866

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The National League: ‘It’s getting nastier and nastier’ and self-interest rules​

National-League-scaled-e1612554221139-1024x683.jpg


Welcome to the National League, once the friendly remedy to the perceived ills of the professional game but now a fractious and unhappy home to rancour and sniping.

“It gets nastier and nastier,” said one chairman this week.

Yet somehow, after a flurry of strongly-worded statements from its 66 clubs over the last five days, there will be matches to play on Saturday afternoon. Not as many as there ought to be on an FA Trophy weekend, but just enough to keep the wheels turning in a season no one can be sure when it will end.

This was the tumultuous week that clubs across the three divisions – National League, National League North and National League South, the fifth and sixth tiers of English football – were asked to decide if this campaign should run its course.

A £10 million grant from the National Lottery, enabling the season to proceed behind closed doors in October, only stretched to the turn of the year and, much to the dismay of clubs, it has since become clear that any further financial support would have to come predominantly in low-interest loans.

For some, that is either unpalatable or impossible and has already led some to vote in favour of ending the season here. Southport, Darlington, Chester, AFC Telford, Blyth Spartans, Bradford Park Avenue, Kings Lynn and Tonbridge Angels are among those to publically declare they have ticked the null and void box.
Others, such as Bath City, Kettering and Curzon Ashton, say they will not play again until the vote — in theory spanning 28 days — has been resolved. Dulwich Hamlet and Spennymoor Town, meanwhile, went further to stress it is their intention not to play again this season.

The greatest hunger to carry on regardless can be found in the National League as a dozen or more teams cling to the hope they could be an EFL club in August and lay hands on the £1 million windfall that comes with promotion. Unlike National League North and South, whose two-week pause to the season ends on Saturday, there has always been a collective eagerness in the fifth tier to press ahead.
One National League chairman who spoke to The Athletic this week estimated that 15 of the 23 clubs in non-League’s top flight wanted to keep playing, with fifth-placed Stockport County the de facto whip urging against a vote for curtailment.

John Rooney, Stockport County


Beneath that, though, are clubs unwilling to continue. It is believed 13 of the 22 National League North clubs will eventually vote to null and void this season and, though the number is lower in National League South, there is enough opposition to threaten the integrity of the competition.

The National League, led by interim general manager Mark Ives, has attempted to cajole clubs into playing this weekend with the threat of sanctions under Rule 8.39. Any team not fulfilling its fixture, an email warned, would have its case heard by a disciplinary sub-committee. The punishments available range from a warning to expulsion from the competition.

Trenches, though, are being dug deeper and deeper. To carry on, some say, would threaten long-term financial health. “An absolute mess,” says Dulwich chairman Ben Clasper, succinctly.
“If the League does not fulfil its responsibilities then Dulwich Hamlet FC are not in a position to fulfil its fixtures until the League are no longer placing the short or long-term future of a 128-year-old community club at risk,” it was added in the south London club’s unequivocal statement.


To understand the depth of the hole National League now finds itself in, you must go back to the first weeks of autumn.

With supporters unable to attend games owing to COVID-19 restrictions, it was made clear the 66 clubs needed significant financial support if they were to proceed.

Not until October 2 did Michael Tattersall, then the National League’s chief executive, put in writing that a £10 million grant would be distributed among the 66 clubs, belatedly providing the assurances required for the season to begin the next day.

That was to cover costs for October, November and December but the metrics used to allocate funding soon left a bitter taste for many. The money was not carved up based on attendances, with well-supported clubs making vehement complaints.

York City, the best-supported club in National League North, received just £108,000. National League minnows Boreham Wood, traditionally averaging less than a third of York’s gate revenue, were handed £252,000.

Criticisms of the distribution model led the National League to commission David Bernstein, the former FA chairman, to head an independent review that found an “imbalance” in payments. That review has still not been shared with clubs.

All the while, there was a bigger train coming down the tracks.
With money running out and the prospect of fans returning as distant as ever at the turn of the year, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport made it clear no further central grants would be forthcoming. Low-interest loans, through the government’s £300 million Winter Sport Package, would become the primary source of assistance.

The National League has maintained its belief that grants had been pledged by the government to cover the season, but has nothing to back up that argument beyond words.

“There’s a lot of bitterness that runs quite deep,” says Terry Casey, co-owner of Maidstone United in National League South. “In my opinion, there’s been such amateurish leadership. If someone told me they were going to give me £11 million in January, I’d ask for some confirmation in writing. This has exposed the weaknesses of the National League.”

Tattersall, who left his role at the National League at the end of December, was approached by The Athletic for his recollections of meetings with DCMS. “I’m no longer involved with the National League, you would have to contact them,” he said.

DCMS are clear. “Last year we brokered a unique deal between the National Lottery and the National League to provide a £10 million cash injection for these much-loved clubs,” they said in a statement. “Since then we have announced a further £300 million investment to protect the immediate future of spectator sports, including another £11 million for National League clubs to help them finish the season. It is incorrect to suggest funding was ever promised as grants.”

Clubs that sit on the National League board have contested this and maintain grants were assured if supporters had not returned by January.

The ongoing absence of clarity – and income – brought drastic measures in January.

Although the National League has been able to continue, a board meeting decided to halt the National League North and South for two weeks in the hope a resolution could be found.

The season is formally resumed with games in all three divisions, but harmony and agreement are conspicuous by their absence.

The latest twist in this interminable saga came on Monday evening, when all 66 clubs were invited to vote on what comes next. Four resolutions were tabled, essentially to decide if the season was to continue and if so, at which levels.
Slowly but surely, clubs have declared the hand they have played. Notts County, the National League’s best-supported club, surprised nobody in voting to continue, along with Hartlepool, Chesterfield, Altrincham, Welling, Boston and AFC Fylde.
Hartlepool


Seventeen clubs from the North and South had got together by Wednesday night to say they would support a recommenced season “only when both clubs participating in a fixture are in agreement and when there is a fully-funded COVID testing regime in place, as both the National League and its member clubs have a duty of care for the safety of players and staff”.

Opponents have pointed towards COVID-19 testing as an excuse but the statement also had a pointed ending. “We must finish the season with all 66 clubs in existence,” it read.

Self-interest, predictably, rules. Most with something to gain are willing to play on. Those unlikely to feature in any promotion race are the ones more likely to place cues back on the rack.

That has created an inevitable divide and sparked thinly-veiled criticisms from one side to the other.
“It is our belief that to not finish the season now would be inexcusable having accepted the grants to date,” said Welling United.

Boston’s chairman David Newton wrote: “We feel strongly that, with the above generous support available, the National League should be instructing the clubs to play, as there are no financial reasons why they should not do so.”

Fylde, hopeful of winning promotion from National League North, said: “Having received public funds to cover loss of gate revenue in the first part of the season, we are of the opinion that we have a moral obligation to our fans and community to continue.”

“Everyone has got vested interests, let’s not pretend they haven’t,” said Chester chairman Andy Morris, who wrote he felt “a mixture of anger and devastation” in voting on Friday to curtail the season. “We’re not prepared to take out a loan to finish the season. Our position hasn’t changed. We were never going to do that.”

Yeovil chairman Scott Priestnall, who also sits on the National League board, said this week that 82 per cent of clubs were against loans and it has all led awkwardly to a constitutional crisis on the next turn. A majority of the 66 are content to continue but there are also enough in opposition to create huge obstacles to those plans.

The voting process could well be key. Resolution one, allowing the National League and National Leagues North and South to break away and make their own decisions on the season, requires the support of 75 per cent of clubs.

That was considered a given but The Athletic understands at least two ambitious clubs in the regional leagues could abstain in the hope of retaining the current decision-making process, whereby National League clubs, who favour continuing the season, have a greater say than those in National League North and South. It is one vote per club in the top flight, with four apiece coming from the two regional leagues.

That would effectively see clubs willingly surrender greater powers in an attempt to force all three divisions to carry on. Voting under the current system would almost certainly attract a majority vote for the season to reach its conclusion.

That, however, raises further questions. How can one club decide that another must play on? How can a financially stable or well-backed club push a community asset into trouble?

The reality is that none can be forced and that threatens the integrity of a competition that has so carefully aligned itself with the EFL. If clubs are forced to fulfil fixtures, there would be little to stop others following the lead of Billericay Town in National League South. Their first-team players are currently on furlough and it will be their under-23s and non-contract players who face high-flying St Albans City this afternoon.

The fifth round of the FA Trophy provides a distraction for others this weekend, among them Maidstone United. A phoenix club who filled the void of their predecessors, liquidated in 1992, are loath to get into financial trouble but plan to fulfil their remaining games in National League South.

“Football at all levels is important to the morale and spirit of people,” said Casey. “It gives people a grasp on what was normal. While it’s far from satisfactory, our 2,000 supporters were all looking at the results and checking how we were going. That lifts spirits and reminds them of what life will be like in the future.
“It’s like opening a restaurant, employing your chef and waiting staff, buying your food but you can’t have people coming in. It’s the exact same thing for us as a football club. We have to pay our players, our security, but we can’t have anyone in to pay for it.

“The thought of getting a loan is ridiculous. We’ve spent the last 10 years running the business in a fit and proper way. We’re going to do the right thing and play on until a democratic vote comes in telling us what we have to do.”
 

AJS

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We tend to stay very hush hush when it comes to things like this. Wild wants to continue but I’d imagine our chairman will want to stop given hes made it very clear in the past we will live within our means
 

LongEatonPie

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Where exactly does the Dover chairman think the additional funding he writes about is going to come from?

The government has a debt that is astronomical, the Premier league has shown the extent of it's largesse already (not a lot) and I think we can all forget about local business for the next couple of years. Maybe he has looked at Wrexham and is hoping Hugh Jackman wants to compete against Ryan Reynolds in real life?

But there again, if he cannot pay the players he has very little choice.

Casey
Exactly, wait until income tax goes up to 25% NI goes up. Council Tax goes up. We will all have to pay for this pandemic.
 

#Beebot

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Again, the grants were from Camelot.

The government get 12% of the revenue from all lottery tickets sold and get sway over what Camelot grant funds to. Camelot only operate with the government's permission.
 

PuB

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The government get 12% of the revenue from all lottery tickets sold and get sway over what Camelot grant funds to. Camelot only operate with the government's permission.

Not tax payers money then.
 

LongEatonPie

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Again, the grants were from Camelot.
They were but any further grant or loan will be from either Sport England or direct from the government.
The money from this comes from the tax payer. So clubs demanding money from the government because its community clubs want it means that said community will pay for it, either in council tax or income tax. Grants wont be free to the town/cities people.
 

iesty wfc

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if Jefferson Louis doesnt play this weekend on non contract terms for one of the furloughed teams then i will be very surprised
 

rudebwoyben

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Exactly, wait until income tax goes up to 25% NI goes up. Council Tax goes up. We will all have to pay for this pandemic.
That is not how economics works. You’re feeding into the fallacy that a government’s finances works in the same way as a household budget.
 

EnglishRed

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if Jefferson Louis doesnt play this weekend on non contract terms for one of the furloughed teams then i will be very surprised

There is a chance for him to really get his numbers up this season. Gun for hire.
 

BornUnderTheElmslie

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We've voted for 1, 2 and 4.
 

Wooderson

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We've voted for 1, 2 and 4.

Wealdstone gone for N&V then.

Is anyone keeping a tally?
 

BornUnderTheElmslie

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Wealdstone gone for N&V then.

Is anyone keeping a tally?
It won't make any difference as the rest of the league will vote to continue, so probably a tactic to help us stress our financial difficulties in advance of a grant or loan application. This is the downside of being supporter owned and run.. with all revenue streams (apart from streaming games) shut down to us, we are dependent on govt bailouts or asking our fans to put in more money (we've donated nearly £100,000 this season already).
 

John Still

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You’ve been signing players throughout the season along with sacking a manager that would have required some sort of compensation but now want to null & void as you’re struggling. All these votes are purely self interest votes on league position nothing to do with finances, the null and void excuses can get in the bin.

I reckon we might well vote the same and if we do I will be saying the same thing about my own club before anyone starts bleating.
 

rudebwoyben

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You’ve been signing players throughout the season along with sacking a manager that would have required some sort of compensation but now want to null & void as you’re struggling. All these votes are purely self interest votes on league position nothing to do with finances, the null and void excuses can get in the bin.

I reckon we might well vote the same and if we do I will be saying the same thing about my own club before anyone starts bleating.
In fairness to the Stones, aren’t most of those signings either loans or non-contract signings?
 

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