22nd Sep, 2020

Reaction as Redditch United and Alvechurch escape the drop after season is ended

Liam Moakes 2nd Apr, 2020

REDDITCH United and Alvechurch have been spared possible relegation from Southern Premier Central following the Football Association’s (FA) decision to end the seasons for all non-League football at steps three to seven.

That decision is yet to be ratified by the FA Council but, assuming it is, the duo will begin the next campaign in the same division, along with Bromsgrove Sporting whose promotion ambitions have been curtailed.

However, more than 100 clubs have sent an open letter to the FA, calling for it to “urgently” reconsider the decision to expunge seasons from the men’s seventh tier and the women’s third tier downwards.

As things stand though, Redditch will avoid being relegated despite losing 25 league games in a row this season and Alvechurch – nine points from safety with two games in hand – will also stay up.

This week, the three divisions of England’s National League have been suspended indefinitely because of coronavirus, with National League chiefs looking at “how best to conclude” the season.

It is not yet known if the competition, which is made up of the National League – English football’s fifth tier – National League North and National League South will also be cancelled with all results expunged.

Reds chairman Chris Swan had mixed emotions about the early ending of the season.

He said: “I feel particularly gutted for our ladies team, led by their coach Tom Blaymires and captain Jess Lippiatt.

“They were top of the West Midlands Regional Premiership by eight points and if promoted they would have been competing at the league’s highest level against teams like Wolves next season. They were also in the quarter-final of the League Cup.

“I’ve spoken to Tom and true leadership and team spirit is coming through and our incredibly successful ladies will go again next season.

“As far as our first team men’s team is concerned, although bottom of the league we were competing and beat Nuneaton in one of our last games.

“The league is a competition and nobody is worthy of promotion or relegation until it is mathematically possible.

“We have a spirit to build on for next season and, if that could only be matched by great support, I have a strong belief we will do well next season.

“By way of update, the club is going through hell as it battles for survival. It’s a very difficult time, but the situation is helping us evaluate how we operate and what propositions we can afford to operate for this coming season and who we will work with.”

Alvechurch defender Jamie Willets said: “The decision to null and void the league season was always going to be tough to take if you’re at the top end of the table.

“However, with some teams still having to play 13/14 games, points per game ratio seems fruitless. There is no right or wrong answer here.”

Sporting boss Brendan Kelly said: “I could see it coming if I’m honest.

“Obviously, we’ve got to take into consideration there’s a national crisis going on at the minute.

“People’s livelihoods and lives take priority so I can understand why they’ve done it.

“When I put my football head on, I’m a bit disappointed they couldn’t finish it to some extent with maybe a points per game calculation, but I’m guessing it’s the fairest way they could have done it legally for everybody.”

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