Much to the annoyance and anger at Ramsbottom United, the FA Council, in it’s questionable wisdom, has ratified the earlier decision to “null and void” the 2019/20 season. This means that all results are expunged, and come August (or whenever) we all begin again.

To be fair to the Northern Premier League, when the original discussions between the various leagues at non-league steps 3 to 7 took place, their preference was, should the decision have been made to end the season, a “points-per-game” finish which would have allowed promotion and relegation.

However, they were outvoted by other leagues, and had to bow to pressure to accept the “null and void” outcome.

Also, the proposed extra division in the NPL for step 4 has been deferred until the beginning of season 2021/22, so it’s a case of “as you were”. Already cancelled were the Chairmans’ meeting, the Players Awards night, the League AGM and the Presentation Dance and Awards evening.

So in effect, we may as well not have bothered putting in all the hard work and support over the last nine months.

We fully understand that the current situation is a one-off, and could certainly never have been anticipated, but it still leaves a feeling of frustration and disappointment. Whilst football at overall levels seven down have been decided by the FA, it is interesting to note that they have so far failed to instruct the top six levels what to do. Not sufficient power presumably!

We have no choice other than to accept our fate, but with just one defeat in the last seventeen league games, the denial of a possible promotion is hard to take. How will things look when the game is finally restarted?

As with every closed season, changes will be made, but the hope of everyone connected with “Rammy” is that a consolidated effort will be made from the very beginning to right the wrongs of this decision, and an all-out attempt to gain promotion come May 2021 that could and possibly should have been ours in May 2020. The new season will also begin without the sponsorship of BetVictor, who have pulled out of their joint sponsorship deal with the NPL, Southern League and Isthmian League. A new major sponsor is currently being sought.

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