Eastleigh farce puts NL stance in context
LAST season, the National League wouldn’t allow the likes of Darlington, Poole Town and Hungerford Town to compete in the North and South playoffs because they deemed their grounds not up to standards, yet it’s not even the end of September yet and my club Chester have already had two games postponed because of problems with other clubs’ facilities! First, Solihull Moors on the opening day, and now Eastleigh, pictured, both reporting problems with their grounds that had been known about for some time. What kind of impression does this league want to give of itself ? You’ve got clubs like Forest Green running up £3m losses every season in a hamfisted (or Quorn-fisted, if you prefer) attempt to get into the Football League, and now they’re finally promoted they seem to be the whipping boys. You’ve then got clubs like Eastleigh offering players wages that Football League clubs can’t compete with, yet they can’t be bothered spending to fix a drainage issue they’ve known about since at least the summer. Does the National League want to be the unofficial Football League 3 or the Premier League of Non-League? At the moment, it’s neither. It’s too unprofessional to be thought of as anything but Non-League, yet there’s also a widespread attitude of buying success and winning at any costs that’s out of keeping with the grassroots game. It’s just an awful limbo between professional and semi-professional football that embraces all the worst aspects of both. It’s time for this league to up its game. Introduce Financial Fair Play and seriously push for three up, three down from League 2. I strongly believe in supporter ownership, but this is a miserable league to play in for a club like ours.