Date: 22-01-21Is this the end?

22-01-21 - News - Is this the end?

Today came the, not too surprising, news that there will be a two week suspension to this already crocked season. 

Originally, back in September, when it was announced that the season would finally begin again in October the National League promised that grants to begin the season would be forthcoming but they never materialised. Instead money came via a back route from the National Lottery.

Now in January, and with those original monies ending soon, many clubs were expecting the promised grants to appear at the end of this month but now the league say that they will be in the form of a loan to be paid back over ten years at an unknown rate of interest. Obviously without any ‘coming through the doors’ income clubs are having to say no and instead, in some cases, are calling for the season to be written off.

The options in a questionnaire sent out by the National League was for:

a. Clubs to take on long term low-interest loans with initial payment holidays.
b. The League takes on the loan and gives clubs grants, with future League central payments to clubs then reduced.
c. Suspend the season.

These options were never going to be acceptable to any club whether rich or poor due to zero income streams from punters and hospitality. They’re basically asking the clubs to fund the remainder of the season them selves by taking on a loan that has to be paid back – including interest at an unmentioned rate – within ten years.

Eleven clubs in our league responded early last night casting doubts on the scheme working and saying that a grant was essential and also wanting full COVID testing too but we, Kidderminster Harriers, chose to keep our powder dry and even now we, the fans, haven’t been told what their response would have been.

The league were supposed to be meeting to discuss the questionnaire results next week but then announced they would be meeting instead this afternoon. Then in a panic they met up this morning and, on the back of the renegade eleven, they postponed the season for at least two weeks.

Personally I think that they’ve throw their toys out of the pram and would rather not come to some kind of compromise that would give all clubs the reassurances they were looking for. Namely a way to continue the season without a financial penalty now, or ten years down the line. 

So was the game at Gloucester City two weeks ago the last game of our season? Who knows but we just have to wait only two more weeks when our fates will finally be decided.