Without in any way wishing to lessen the effects of the devastation the Coronavirus has caused, and whilst wishing everyone a speedy return to good health and the swift departure of this disease, matters regarding football will always remain close at heart for all followers of the game.
Focussing for the moment, purely on the sport, then Ramsbottom United, as a club, is desperately disappointed at the action taken last week by the FA to declare this season from non-league level three down, “Null and Void”, and to expunge all results.
From our own perspective, this has totally ruined what had been an excellent campaign, and for the FA to jump in with what is an easy decision for them to merely waft a hand at hundreds of clubs and tens of thousands of individuals and ignore us all as though we do not matter, has caused much distress and controversy.
To act as swiftly as they did, in many eyes, was unnecessary, and gave very little time for the matter to be discussed fully. As a result, the FA have received many communications from the likes of the North West Counties League, over sixty clubs and numerous individuals asking that they do not ratify their original decision and take the time to seriously consider the impact on those hundreds of clubs and thousands of individuals. Indeed most Leagues and all clubs were not involved in the decision to effectively abandon clubs at non-league levels three to seven.
We, as a club, were certainly not involved in any deliberation. Surely a brief questionnaire referring to the three alternatives that were on the table should have been sent out?
1-Wait a couple of weeks to see how things develop, 2- End the season now but use the much-publicised “Points per Game” method to at least have given the nine-month campaign some purpose, 3- End the season as null and void.
Answers could have been prepared within minutes allowing the FA to make a decision based on the desires of the clubs they purport to be supporting.
But no, all the efforts put in by everyone over the last nine months apparently will now count for nothing, unless the FA has a change of heart.
This has angered our management and squad members who have produced some excellent football, especially after the inconsistent opening weeks of the season. One defeat in the last seventeen league games had put the club within touching distance of promotion, a target is cruelly taken away.
Club officials and helpers feel as though they need not have bothered with all their unpaid hard work in keeping the club in good shape.
The ever-growing number of supporters have been let down dreadfully, having spent much money and hundreds of hours following the team around the north of England. For what?
We accept that self-interest has played its part in our feeling of injustice as the seemingly preferred-by-many option of “Points per Game” conclusion would have seen the Rams finish second in the Division, whilst no doubt clubs now being given a reprieve from relegation will probably be smiling with relief.
But is it fair to reward a failing season and punish a successful one? That is what the decision of the FA has done.
We will probably have no choice other than to seethe at the unfairness, roll up our sleeves and prepare for the next campaign.
The hope is that we can enter it with a similar management team and squad and that we can hit the ground running, in an effort to right the wrongs of this abandoned season.
We can only hope that those extra supporters who have climbed on board over the last few months, continue to follow the team and help encourage them to promotion in just over twelve month’s time.
Ramsbottom United would wholeheartedly like to thank the management, players, committee, helpers and supporters for all their work and support over the last nine months.
Like everyone else, should the decision to null and void the season be ratified, Ramsbottom United wish to put on record their disapproval and disappointment.