News   |    July 21st, 2021

Ups and Downs

National League clubs in all its three divisions have voted to end the season immediately following the suspension of matches on 16th March 2020 and they did so with a clear majority of clubs who voted. However, nothing has been decided about promotion and relegation, and the uncertainty has led to disagreement amongst clubs as to how promotion and relegation should be decided if at all. Middle of the table clubs that can neither go up or down probably in reality don’t care too much what happens next, but for those in the promotion and relegation positions, they will now vote largely on the basis of self interest.

Two clubs are due to be promoted from the National League to League Two. Four clubs are to be relegated from the National League to either the National League North or the National League South, and they will be replaced by the champions and play-off winners in each of the National League North and South leagues. Below the National League North and South, all results have been expunged and the season ended.

It seems to me there are only three viable options:

Option one: to take a points per game average and apply it to the matches outstanding.

Option two: to promote the top two clubs in each division and relegate all those clubs currently occupying the relegation positions.

Option three: to expunge all results and no team is then promoted or relegated.

As a former player, I want to see football outcomes decided on the pitch but clearly in this case it is not going to happen. The reality is that after 46 games (in the case of the National League) the best and most consistent teams are promoted and the worst and most inconsistent teams are relegated.

Of the three options available, I have come to the conclusion that the best way forward is option two. Football is a competitive sport played for prizes/trophies over a season. I guarantee you that every player who has gone on to that pitch week in week out trying to gain three points for the benefit of their football club, their fans, themselves and their families wants this solved through finishing the season.

The immediate cancellation of the season will affect all players/clubs in the same way based on performances over the games played. As a player I was lucky to experience the joy of promotions and and the despair of relegations and emotions run high on both counts. In this current ‘never before seen’ situation I see it only fair that results stand, the season ends with the top two clubs in each of the three leagues promoted and the bottom four clubs in the National League relegated. As the leagues below the National League North and South have had all their results expunged there should be no relegation from those two leagues and no promotion to them.

When football returns new stories will be written for sure be they positive or negative for the clubs involved.

In years to come the nation’s quizmasters will have a field day so the history of this season and the reasons for it will never be forgotten.

If you are interested in the services Integral Sports Management provides, please contact Head of Football Operations Mark Arber

E: marber@integralsportsmanagement.co.uk

Mark Arber - Head of Football Operations, Integral Sports Management

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