Category Archives: Barnet

National League clubs vote to end regular season

Following The FA’s decision to conclude the 2019/20 season for Grassroots football, The National League Clubs (Steps 1 & 2) have voted to end their current season as it stands.

A National League statement added:

“In the knowledge that the ordinary resolution has passed, the League’s board has chosen to communicate the decision now and before the last few responses are received, which will not change the outcome, to enable clubs to make business decisions with greater clarity as soon as possible.

“The options concerning the sporting outcomes of the 2019-20 season remain under careful and timely consideration, and further updates will be given in due course.”

The promotion and relegation outcomes are now under “careful consideration” after the league’s board had urged clubs in its three divisions to vote in favour of ending the regular season without further games because of coronavirus.

The National League board will now meet on Friday (24/04/20) to discuss the next steps and whether it will be plausible to continue with the playoffs or not.

The idea of ending the current season as it is, as opposed to voiding it, leaves some clubs in a promising position and Barrow AFC boss Ian Evatt has said cancelling the league ‘is the right thing to for football’, and Barrow should rightfully be promoted to the Football League.

Barrow took a huge gamble being one of the clubs to vote for the league to be ended. For some in non-league though it is more than the standings they have to think about.

Evatt told talkSPORT:

“We understand that contracts are 44 weeks and we’re getting to that stage where players are out of contract at the end of April and clubs need to save that money, it’s that simple.”

With The Northern Premier League abandoned as a result of Grassroots football being concluded, some will be having a watchful eye on the National League developments, one being league leaders South Shields.

The Mariners were runaway leaders in the competition before it was considered null and void but should the National League find a way of deciding promotion and relegation it could see a way for South Shields gaining entry to the National League North (NLN) next season.

One way that is said to have been considered is by a points-per-game basis. If that was to be the case then York, who top the NLN, would miss out to Kings Lynn who, despite being second, are only two points behind playing two less games hence, a higher points-per-game ratio.

On the contrary, a club disappointed with this outcome is Notts County, who are playing in the National League for the first time in their 158-year history.

“We would like to place on record our disappointment that the season has been brought to a premature end,” said a statement from the Magpies’ board of directors.

“While we appreciate the views of other clubs and respect the overall outcome of this vote as a representation of opinion across the three divisions, our stance has always been that the National League should operate in tandem with the EFL due to the intrinsic link between the two leagues.” The full statement is on their website.

The National League will have to work with the English Football League (EFL) on the principle of two teams getting promoted. What’s more, there is still the task of balancing the books after Bury’s expulsion left League One with 23 teams.

Football in England is suspended indefinitely, with the Premier League and EFL still hoping to play seasons to a conclusion.

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

Up and down in League Two

The basement division of the Football League, League Two, is highly competitive year in year out with teams ensuring they don’t fall through the trap door and into non-league football at one end and at the other, teams desperate for promotion and the opportunity to play some well established and reasonably sized clubs in League One.

Some big clubs have fallen out of the Football League and struggled to come back with the likes of Wrexham FC, Stockport County and Macclesfield Town to name a few still plying their trade in the non-league side of the game.

With this in mind, we take a look at the clubs who look like getting promoted this season and those who unfortunately look like falling out of the Football League.

Firstly at the bottom end of the table, Barnet FC who currently occupy the last place are going to need a miracle to survive. The ‘Bees’ find themselves 7 points adrift of safety and with just 1 win in their last 5 games, they look a team bereft of confidence. The club did this week part company with manager Graham Westley and immediately after announced that Martin Allen would be back in the hot seat for the FIFTH time.

Whether Allen can provide the great escape remains to be seen, but with the club still having to play teams around them this could provide them with a platform for that escape.

The other team in desperate trouble at the wrong end of the table are Chesterfield FC, who like Barnet have gone through a change of manager this season as they bought Jack Lester in to replace Gary Caldwell in September. Despite the change of management the ‘Spireites’ still find themselves in trouble as they are 6 points adrift of Grimsby Town who are just above them in the league table, and with the two sides locking horns in early April it could be the decider as to who ends up going down.

At the top end of the division sees the side with one of, if not the smallest budget in the league flying high. Accrington Stanley finds themselves top of the league 3 points clear of Luton Town with a game in hand and on a run of 9 games unbeaten.

John Coleman’s men have surprised many to be sitting top of the league with just 9 games to go, but having played some attractive attacking football and having 3 players in double figures with goals its hard to deny ‘Stanley’ top spot in the league table. If they can continue the terrific run they have been on then come May they will be lifting the league title.

Luton Town were the early pace-setters in the league but recent form has seen them slip to second place and on a run of 5 games without a victory it will be cause for concern for the ‘Hatters’ supporters, as they would prefer to go up automatically rather than via the playoffs.

If the club can rekindle some of the form that they were in at the start of the season then there is no reason why they can go up automatically and also push Accrington all the way to the wire in terms of who will win the league title.

Wycombe Wanderers occupy the final automatic promotion spot in League Two and find themselves 3 points ahead of the chasing playoff pack. ‘The Chairboys’ have plenty of firepower in their team with Craig Mackail-Smith, Nathan Tyson and Adebayo Akinfenwa but indifferent form in recent times hasnt helped the club consolidate a strong automatic promotion spot.

Just two wins in their last five games will be cause for concern for the Wycombe supporters but with the playing staff they have access to and the fact that they are the leagues second highest goal scorers behind Luton, they will be hoping that they can fire themselves to promotion.

League Two fans let us know who you believe will go up and unfortunately go down this season in the comments section…

Checkatrade Trophy: Is The Format Working?

Last season the EFL brought in a new format for the old Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and really it hasn’t helped teams in lower leagues. The new format encourages teams in the Premier League and the Championship to submit an Under 21’s squad into the competition. So is this format still a good idea?

The final of last season’s Checkatrade trophy was between Coventry and Oxford and broke the attendance record for the competition with 74,434, but all of last season the attendance figures at games across the competition was still low, Peterborough United as an example had an attendance of 1696 at their game against Norwich Academy which is a 4,000 less then their average attendance last season.

Last season as well clubs got fined for not fielding full strength squads,  on the 16th November Luton Town and Portsmouth were fined £15,000 for breaching this rule for all three of their group games, whereas Bradford, Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, MK Dons, Millwall, Charlton, Peterborough, Sheffield United and Southend all got fined £3,000 and Fleetwood were fined £5,000. That doesn’t sound like a lot to big clubs but in lower levels it is a lot to those clubs.

The group format is a nice new addition to the competition but for me I think if you took out participation from the Under 21’s it would be a good competition for lower league clubs and will hopefully increase ticket sales for the clubs as that can help boost finances. They also need to remove the full strength squad rule as fining teams for putting different squads out isn’t fair on teams that need to make sure people in their team stay fit and get a chance to show what they’re worth.

*Feature image courtesy of EFL.com*

 

Is football for the fans anymore?

It’s been a crazy summer for football this year with some crazy numbers coming from the amount that clubs have spent with Neymar and Mbappe etc. The money from the new Premier League television rights deal is well and truly coming to fruition with Premier League spending and revenues on the up. Even in the Championship spending has increased with Wolves paying 14 million pounds for Ruben Neves (just one player!)

 

With all of this money you would think that this would benefit English fans who follow their teams week in week out right? It couldn’t be more wrong as the price of season tickets are going up and kick off times for matches are set to change for an international audience.

 

So this begs the question do clubs really care about their local fans who pay their money to support them through the good and the bad times?

 

The answer to that question has to be a no. English clubs are charging a monumental amount of money to go to football matches and even when they are there the cost of food and drink is extortionate.

 

Premier League newcomers Huddersfield are the only exception from that statement as their cheapest season ticket comes in at just 175 pounds which is amazing considering the start they have had. In reality Arsenal’s cheapest season ticket comes in at just over 1000 pounds. That is a ridiculous amount of money to expect from a working class fan base.

 

Even in League One Bradford City fans were charged 28 pounds at Peterborough for a pay on the gate match. 28 Pounds for an away game in League One is scandalous and shows the director that English Football has taken.

 

On top of the prices clubs have all gone into the corporate fan bases which gives people the opportunities that most fans can’t afford. An example of this is Manchester City’s new Tunnel Club which offers people the chance to meet players and get up close and personal with the management team in exchange for a hefty price. City have alienated their fan base by taking opportunities away from their traditional working class fanbase and giving them to people who can afford to pay for the privilege. It’s not just Man City who are guilty of this as it can be seen up and down the country.

 

I’m not saying that the people who go to matches in corporate hospitality are wrong because they have paid for the service and fair play to them. Whats wrong is that most English clubs no longer see their traditional fan bases as the most important.

 

Another example can be taken from the recently named Carabao Cup. The third round draw for the competition took place live from China at 4:15 AM (GMT) meaning most British fans were sleeping when their teams draw took place. A spokesman for the FSF said: “In our 2017 national supporters’ survey fans expressed increasing frustration at instances of overseas audiences apparently being prioritised over domestic supporters. Holding the draw in Beijing at that time can only increase the sense of disconnection many domestic fans feel.”

 

Do you think that English Football is losing touch with its fans and becoming corporatised? Let us know in the comments section below…