September 24th, 2016

Let clubs decide over extending season, says Alvechurch boss

Let clubs decide over extending season, says Alvechurch boss Let clubs decide over extending season, says Alvechurch boss
Alvechurch boss Ian Long wants clubs to vote on whether to extend a weather-hit season. Picture courtesy of Alvechurch FC.
Updated: 4:49 pm, Feb 11, 2016

ALVECHURCH manager Ian Long says the Midland League clubs should have their say in whether to extend a weather-ruined season.

The Churchmen have played just six matches from a scheduled 13 since Christmas and now face having to cram in half their league programme – 21 matches – plus two cup competitions into the final 12 weeks of the season.

The season is due to end on April 30 but Long says the authorities should consider adding a further week.

Arch-rivals Hereford – who top the Premier Division table – have already voiced their opposition to any extension but Long says the vast majority of clubs are facing a major fixture backlog.

Long said: “We have had unprecedented rainfall and so many weeks of postponed games that I think we really need to look at extending the season.

“I think it would benefit not just us but the majority of clubs. We’ve got half a season to play – we’ve played 21 and got 21 to play – but there’s a lot of teams worse off than us. Coventry Sphinx have played only 18 games, Highgate and Stourport have played 19 and Sporting Khalsa 20.

“We’re already playing every midweek but adding an extra week will allow us to fit in another three games.

“I think it’s something the league should really look at. I know leagues have extended seasons before because of bad weather and the clubs should have a say. It is a democracy and the clubs should be able to vote. I hope common sense prevails.”

He added: “I’ve read the Hereford manager (Peter Beadle) saying it shouldn’t be extended, but they’re a massive club with a former League ground, with the ground staff and the resources. They’re still a Conference Premier club.

“They’ve still got the FA Vase as well as the league so they have got a busy run and I’m sure they wouldn’t want to win the league by default because other teams are ending the season playing four or five games a week.”

Alvechurch have four games in hand on Hereford, who have an 11-point lead, with the sides still to play each other at Lye Meadow over Easter.

With the weather forecast again less than encouraging, there are already question marks over Church’s match at Rocester on Saturday. On Tuesday, Alvechurch are due to head to Lye Town.

Long, however, insists he will not be using an increasingly busy run-in as any excuse in Alvechurch’s push for honours.

He believes he possesses the squad to cope – and he will draw on previous experience of surviving an exhausting schedule to guide a team to a title. He – and the bulk of the current Church squad – did exactly that with Tividale to win what was then the Midland Alliance crown in 2014.

“I’ve got 21 players and they’ve been through this before,” said Long. “We’ll be prepared.

“We’ve been doing a mini pre-season to keep our fitness. Even when games have been called off, we’ve been working hard in training. Hopefully that will stand us in good stead.

“The lads have shown a fantastic attitude, fair play to them. They deserve a pat on the back as their attitude has been first class.”

Striker Jordan Nadat was allowed to link up with a former club, Sutton Coldfield Town, on Tuesday to get 90 minutes – and net a goal.

“That will do his confidence the world of good,” added Long.

Wideman Connor Deards is the only injury worry, with the former Redditch United player having treatment for a bruised toe.

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