Well, what a ride we are all having to kick off 2020. With the country effectively on lockdown and a period of uncertainty for society to come, we all await the next steps regarding the 2019/20 football season.
On Tuesday, news broke through sources like the Non-League Paper and Ollie Bayliss of the BBC podcast ‘The Non-League Show’ an announcement was issued to say that the season would be ending for steps 5 and 6.
Further confirmation came from the Isthmian League that steps 3 and 4 would be following suit and suddenly the season appeared to be over.
However, there would be a further twist to the tale as an email from the FA surfaced online that said that whilst leagues and clubs had been contacted to discuss the possibility of terminating the season, no decision had been made and any initial decision would need to be ratified and verified.
So what does this mean?
It means that as it stands steps 3, 4, 5 and 6 are believed to be set to receive the news that their season would be ending, it is only a matter of when.
What will also need to be confirmed is how the season will end. It seems that there are two possible outcomes, a null and void season or working out final league positions using a points-per-game process.
Craig Martin, who manages Hellenic Premier side Longlevens, has been one of many to welcome the news of a potential end to the drawn out season.
“I think it’s the correct decision [to cancel the rest of the season, if that’s the one they make,” said Martin.
“I just hope that teams who deserved their promotions are rewarded for their hard work. Personally we would be gutted that we wouldn’t be able to finish the season but from our perspective we would be happy with a PPG (points-per-game) outcome as I believe we achieve our highest ever finish,” Martin added.
Amazingly, the hard work has already been done by Non-League E Sport (@NonleagueE on Twitter) and their man Peter Miller, who have posted the below table showing the final positions if the Hellenic Premier is settled on a points-per-game outcome.
As you can see both Longlevens & Lydney Town would be amongst the sides who see no change to their league position, with the former finishing in the top 6 in an incredible season for them.
Bishops Cleeve and Tuffley Rovers, who both had a significant number of games in hand would benefit most of our sides, with Cleeve leaping 6 places up to 7th and Rovers moving up 4 places to 11th.
After a difficult start to their season and a long wait without a league win, Brimscombe & Thrupp would finish 15th in the league and as we knew already would finish comfortably away from the bottom spot and potential relegation.
The interesting one would be Fairford Town. Now, the promotion and relegations crossovers always are a bit of a muddle at this time with a lot of speculation of league’s being reshaped and rebuilt and there will be uncertainty with Fairford.
In the image above they would finish 3rd, behind Binfield and Champions elect Westfields, and could potentially receive a promotion.
Last season only the top team were promoted, however in the season before all three of Bracknell Town, Highworth Town and Champions Thatcham Town were all promoted, so a similar outcome to the 2017/18 season would see Jody Bevan’s side promoted into the Southern League.
We all await further news and decisions to be finalised, but one thing for sure is that if all is to be believed then the non-league football season appears to be over.