Dolly Blues boss slams Northern Premier League for a lack of leadership

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell has blasted the lack of leadership shown by the Northern Premier League which could see his men without a game this weekend.

By Craig Salmon
Thursday, 17th December 2020, 8:34 am
Updated Thursday, 17th December 2020, 8:36 am
Lancaster City boss Mark Fell
Lancaster City boss Mark Fell

The league’s Board announced earlier this week that clubs could re-start their season and play on Saturday – if they were in agreement.

That directive followed the announcement on December 10 which confirmed the return of spectators to grounds in Tier three areas.

Initially, it was the league’s intention to wait until the government’s review of their tier structure yesterday before making a decision.

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However, after receiving a high number of requests from its member clubs to play this weekend, the league committee agreed to allow games to go ahead between clubs who are happy to do so.

Unfortunately, City look like they will not be playing as their scheduled opponents on Saturday – Scarborough Athletic – have not agreed to play.

The situation has incensed Fell, who believes the league should have compelled all clubs to play this weekend.

As it is, the league have revealed they intend to resume the fixture list in full on Boxing Day, although City now look like they will re-start their season on Tuesday away at Radcliffe after reaching an agreement with Boro late on Wednesday afternoon.

On Wednesday morning Fell said: “I have no idea if we will be playing this weekend and that’s the shambles of it all really.

“What we do know is we won’t be playing Scarborough, which was the scheduled game for this weekend, because they have decided they don’t want to come.

“They say it’s too short notice for them.

“I imagine a lot of clubs have furloughed a lot of players, so the clubs who are better resourced than we are have probably furloughed their entire playing staff.

“And why wouldn’t you keep them on furlough when the Government is paying the wage bill?

“There’s no point dressing it up, that is what’s happening. I guess there is no point bringing players back into training until they absolutely have to.

“My frustration is all this should have been pre-planned.

“What the league should have said is if this scenario happens, if we get notification that crowds will be allowed back in then clubs have got seven days and the league fixtures resume.

“But they haven’t. They have been indecisive. They have not wanted to make a concrete decision.

“Communication has been weak – I think at this moment there have been two games confirmed for this Saturday.”

Fell is hopeful that his men will have some sort of fixture, whether that is a league fixture against somebody else or a friendly.

Indeed, they had arranged to play neighbours Kendal Town but Marine’s elimination from the FA Trophy in midweek means the Cumbrians are now set to face the Merseysiders in a NPL North West fixture.

“We want to play this weekend,” Fell said.

“What we have done is request to play any other club who are as like-minded as us.

“The league needs to play games. If the Board want to finish the season and get the full set of fixtures played like they have said they want to, then we need to play.

"Let’s get on with it, let’s get it done.

“We are available to play Saturday and then Tuesday.